Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Chronicles of Dayah


The year is 1990. There hangs an awkward silence over the dinner table. A man breaks into cold sweat as his mother, without a trace of emotion, sizes up his girlfriend.
Will the relationship work out?
Or will true love be smashed irreparably against the unreasonable expectations of a mother?

Those questions bear heavily on every mind at the table save for one: a hyperactive 5-year-old girl named Dayah. She is the only cucu of the family, the apple of her grandparents’ eye, and allegedly as cute as a China doll (refer to pic above). Also, Dayah has taken a liking to this man’s girlfriend; constantly calling her cheerfully: “Aunty Esther, Aunty Esther!”

Suddenly, as if on cue, she jumps on the table and starts singing and dancing. The man breathes a sigh of relief as his mother and father laughs and claps along to the tune of their grandchild’s impromptu performance. All tension in the room seeps away; the ice is broken.

A year later the man and his girlfriend is married, the next year she gives birth to an adorable little boy named Mikhail.

On that basis it can be argued that Kakak Dayah, as I would call my eldest cousin, had a crucial role to play in my birth; that she broke down the walls to my grandma’s heart, so that my Mum could move in and win it with her charms. Without which I would not be here.

Mindblowing stuff right there, dude…

Kak Dayah: mastermind who made marriage possible.

Yet, I never really saw Kak Dayah as a puppet-master of my conception.

Instead I have always seen her as the natural Head of the Council of Grandchildren (CoG). After all, for 5 years Kak Dayah was the only member of the CoG – before Kak Nadhirah came along (henceforth to be called Kak Ngah)

Then I arrived, becoming the third-in-command of this esteemed organisation.

The membership of CoG did not stay at three for very long though; soon after came Taufiq, my BFF <3 <3 <3 (agak gedik di situ...)

Then my sister came along as the 5th CoG member.

Next, Ajmal a.k.a. “The Weirdo”.

Later still, Akhyar at no. 7.

Inayah a.k.a. “Penan” next.

Aqashah a.k.a. “The Sumo” at no. 9.

Danny boy my bro at 10th.

His partner-in-crime Haikal at 11th.

Along with Aishah at 12th.

Then Baby Chu my sis at 13th.

And last but not least, Raziq at 14th.

But the story, of course, is not as simple as an addition of cucus.

There has been no shortage of drama, intrigue and Korean drama-like twists.

A few dramas which come to mind include (but are not limited to):

  1. Kakak Dayah’s epic struggle for the family’s attention as Kak Ngah’s birth stole the spotlight away from her.
  2. Taufiq and I were arch-nemeses as toddlers, beating each other constantly (with fists). And stealing each other’s pacifiers. And pushing each other off baby chairs. But then we became buddies, and today only a petty MU-Arsenal rivalry (which MU totally dominates) is a thorn in our BFF-hood <3
  3. Dan lain2 lagi.
But sweet memories totally outweigh them:
  1. Acting out of P. Ramlee scenes for nenek/atuk’s birthdays.
  2. Random Cucu Day incidents (Mak Long tripping over a log comes to mind) :D
  3. Being forced to say “Mak Chu is pretty” everytime we visit rumah nenek (I’m totally not kidding) -.-
  4. Ajmal’s consistently odd facial expressions.
  5. Pak Yep’s stories (starring elephants and snakes. And the trademark line “Ko jangan salah paham…!”)
  6. Taufiq and I curi2 main snooker on Raya eve quietly so that Pak Yep won’t wake up and catch us.
  7. Playing badminton with pizza boxes as rackets.
  8. Playing football with balloons.
  9. Trips to the 7/11 near rumah nenek in Mak Chu’s car.
  10. Main mercun on Raya eve until kena marah by neighbour T.T
  11. Watching Jeepers Creepers 2 on Raya eve.
  12. Being called a “Kendil” (a species of monkey) -.- by Inayah.
  13. Calling Inayah “Penan” in return 8-)
  14. Beating Aqashah at Fifa 12 (despite him using the Classic 11 team :DD
  15. Dan lain-lain lagi.

Between the first cucu and the 14th lies 25 years, and how much has changed in those two and a half decades.

Kak Ngah is a teacher now. Seriously.

Taufiq in five years will be Dr. Taufiq, or Ustad Taufiq. Or both. :O

I’m not too far behind, also studying to be a doc.

Adik is studying to be a lawyer. Seriously.

Ajmal is taking his SPM soon, Akhyar and the Penan not too far behind.

Aqashah is a Standard 5 boy who is also a Pengawas Perpustakaan (macho kot).

And who knows what the Danny, Haikal, Aishah, Baby Chu, Raziq rabble will turn out to be one day?

But perhaps I am going a little off topic here…after all, this post is titled “The Chronicles of Dayah”. Hehe. So let’s get back to Kak Dayah.

And what has our protagonist been doing these past 25 years? She has gone to school and graduated, opened her own business, moved into her own house, gave countless Head of CoG speeches (primarily during atuk/nenek birthdays)…and fallen in love.

As of last week…THIS HAPPENED *jeng jeng jeng*

The engagement

But wait…there’s more!

During the engagement ceremony, my Mum was Kak Dayah’s make-up artist. The former “Aunty Esther” now puts on make-up for the girl who once upon a time sang and danced on the dinner table.  22 years on it is the 5-year-old who will soon be married.

And so the story comes full circle.

In the end, I guess this post is not just the story of Kak Dayah growing up; it is a story of how the family has.

This Raya I realized how much the family has changed. No longer are we spirited little kids dying for mercun on Raya eve. No longer do Taufiq and I stay up to play snooker as quietly as we can, so that Pak Yep wouldn’t wake up and catch us. Now the older cousins stay up to take advantage of rumah nenek’s Wifi, and are put in charge of making sure the younger cousins are asleep.

Before I get too sentimental, lemme just show some pics, aite? T____T

The Chronicles of Dayah in Pictures

Kak Dayah spotted at Mama & Papa's akad nikah. I can't help pointing out Ayah Ngah's 'Mat Rock' look :pp

Pic featuring an early Cikgu Kak Ngah

By the look of things, the founding of CoGG (Council of Great-Grandchildren) is not too far off :D
Kak Dayah: still at rightful place as Head of CoG

This is the chronicles of Dayah.

But it is not just her story, it is ours too…

Monday, August 13, 2012

Half-time at Badar

Half-time during a battle on the 17th of Ramadhan 2 Hijrah: 300-odd Muslims stubbornly occupy the wells of Badar. They could very well have chosen to stay home, but instead they were here. Ahead of them stood a Quraisy army, calling for nothing less than Muslim blood. Still they stood proudly, against a force outnumbering them 3 to 1.

Half-time during a match on the 24th of July 2012: 53000 odd fans (many of them Muslims) stubbornly occupy seats of the National Bukit Jalil Stadium. They could have chosen to fill their masjids, but instead they were here. Ahead of them stood 22 players, playing nothing more than a friendly. Still they stood proudly, the score 1-0 to Malaysia.

*                                             *                                             *

Half-time is a time to reflect on how the match has panned out so far. And so it should be for Ramadhan.

Have we been playing at too low a tempo, putting off our pursuit of pahala for the 2nd half?
Have we overlooked teammates, to go for a failed solo attempt at pahala?
What of player morale? Have we approached this month with the necessary enthusiasm?
What of the attendance at our masjids?
Have we been sloppy in front of goal, missing open chances? For is not Ramadhan an open goal pahala-wise?

Half-time is a time of anticipation of the rest of the match to come. And so it should be for Ramadhan.

Will the momentum be lost, so that eventually we just go through the motions?
Will the fans stay in the masjid until the final whistle?
Will we be blinded by the commercialism of Eid to lose to a last minute goal?
Will we make the obvious substitution, that of takwa in the place of nafsu?

If we find it hard to answer these questions perhaps we have not truly understood the Quran, our ultimate book of tactics.

*                                            *                                             *

Half-time at Bukit Jalil, Malaysia led 1-0. At full time they have lost 2-1.
Half-time at Badar, the Muslims were outnumbered 3 to 1. At full time they have routed the Quraisy, killing 70 and with only 14 syaheed.

Half-time at Badar showed how much we learnt. Half-time at Bukit Jalil showed how much we have forgotten.

Written by a big fan of football and a bigger fan of Islam.