Monday, December 30, 2013

Confusing the kids

All my grandchildren were at KLIA in the morning of 15 December 2013 to see their greatgrandpa off balik kampung.  Amir, Amira and Asyraf are Nazim's while Adam is Shaida's.  They had a run of the place, literally running all over Level 5 while waiting for Wan to be checked-in.  We were amazed at the level of energy that they have.  While the hubby attended to Wan's wheelchair need, all remaining adults were on the lookout for the grandkids.  My youngest sister, Wan Norzila (La for short), was accompanying Wan for the KL-Kota Bahru stretch.  As she'll be working the next day, the plan was to have one of the brothers waiting at the Kota Bahru Sultan Ismail Airport to take Wan home.  La will be switching flight back to Subang Sultan Abdul Aziz Airport.  It would cost us much less to just let Wan travel solo with MAS's assistance, but we would rather have a family member accompanying so as not to distress Wan any further.

With Wan and La checked-in and going off to the waiting hall we ushered the grandkids to the Anjung Tinjau (Waving Gallery).  Being early morning, the place was less crowded compared to the check-in hall and there were ample empty seats for us adults to rest our tired feet.  There was ample space for the grandkids to race around stopping only to watch the speeding inter-terminal trains or the planes taxing for take-offs or parking.  Soon they grew tired of watching the same and were back to racing each other end to end of the hall.  We let them be for over an hour before giving the younger ones their bottles while Amir and Amira had their juices, then calling it quits to head for home.  Amir and Amira were profusely thanking their parents for such a wonderful trip!  It's not that difficult to have happy kids.

Nazim and family are staying in Subang Jaya close to his work place.  It was the Monday late morning after the airport trip that he got a call from Amir and Amira to settle an argument they were having back home.  Seemed that they were building airplanes from their Lego blocks.  Amir's plane was doing the aerial flights while Amira's was merely taxiing all the way, never taking-off.  Amir was telling the sister that planes need to take-off and fly away.  Not to Amira as the planes she saw at the airport were on the ground parked or just taxiing.  She did not see any flying.  Now who is right?

Incidentally Nazim had his phone on the speaker mode thus attracting the attention of the entire office floor.  After helping settle the kids argument he got back to work.  He, however, did notice that the floor was abnormally silent as if everybody was in deep thought.  Then someone quipped, "Think the sister is right, it was what she saw".  "Planes are meant to fly," someone else responded.  Soon the whole floor was arguing!  It was a much needed break for the floor from their mundane database job.  It was really getting out of hand to have the boss popped his head out the office door to inquire what the commotion was all about.  With things explained, he offered a suggestion that Nazim take the children to the oil palm plantation off the airport to watch the planes taking off and landing.  Indeed such happenings were not seen from the Waving Gallery as the plane take-offs and landings were obstructed from view by the airport structures.  MAB do take note as children do believe what they see.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Caring for Wan

Wan has eight children from three different marriages.  Kak Nah, the eldest is from the first child bearing wife.  However, that marriage was not to last.  True to the Kelantanese spirit they (Wan and his ex-wife) remain friends and we children used to stay over at her (ex-wife's) place during the school holidays.  My eldest sister was brought up by her mother.  Next came my brother and me before my mother passed away.  My remaining five siblings are from my stepmom who brought us all up.  She passed away in 2000.  Thanks to my stepmom we remain close-knit to this day.  A younger sister passed away this year, leaving seven of us to care for Wan.

Wan at tea time.

We believe Wan is in his 90s but no one knows for sure.  In spite his age Wan is in excellent health.  Until a few years back he was zipping around his rubber holdings dotting from Air Chanal, Jeli to Kg. Landar, Pasir Mas in his 4D Toyota Hilux.  He is a very independent person until his sight failed him even with lens change operations.  Lately dementia has also set in.  Sadly he has to give up his independence and rely on us children who willingly take turns in caring for him.  For this I have to salute my brothers and sister-in-laws for they took upon themselves to care for him as except for my late sister all of Wan's daughters are staying out of state.  Kak Nah settled in Kuala Selangor, my youngest sister is teaching in Klang and me though retired chose to settle in Kajang.

For all these years I had only a 10 day turn to care for Wan (28 November - 8 December 2013).  Not that we were not willing but as always, aging parents would rather stay in their own place or close by rather than some place else.  What more when we are out towners.  The opportunity to persuade him over was when my sister got talking to him about a well known eye doctor in Klang.  Seemed that a few of her friend's folks had their sight restored after visiting this doctor.

Another obstacle is to persuade him to take the flight.  Not that he is terrified of height but his rationale is that should there be a crash there would be nothing to cling to as everything will be crashing down!  Good thing that Tabung Haji only offers air passage for the compulsory once in a life time pilgrimage.  He would have taken the sea voyage should one be offered!  It was after much persuasions that he relented to fly into KLIA.

He was with my sister in Klang for a while before it was my turn to care for him.  Kak Nah came to give hand for the period of Wan's stay with me.  Being close to 70 herself, this is her only way to care for Wan.  There is no way for her alone to care for Wan.  This has been a great help for me for I am also taking care of Adam, my two year old stay-in grandson.  We soon set ourselves in a routine with me doing the cooking and bathing Wan.  Kak Nah took care of Wan at meal time for he can barely see what is served before him.  The hubby took care of chatting him up and keeping his wake-up hours occupied.  Nazim once took him to the barber for a shave.  With boisterous Adam in the house, Kak Nah mostly took care of Wan's day need while I took the night shift.  With her hypertension and diabetic conditions to care for, I made sure Kak Nah got to bed early in the night.  My night shifts normally start at about 9.30 pm.

The four-generation shot.

The challenge came in the night.  As he spent most of daylight sleeping away, Wan tends to be awake at night and he wanted to chat away.  He'll remember snaps of his past life and will relive it.  One time it'll be the parang going missing and he'll be searching the room for it.  Later we'll need to take the buffalo into the shade.  Then it's his motobike out there as he lost the key to unlock the gate to bring it into the house compound.  Soon there are robbers creating havoc in the house!  Took us a while to live his 'reality' and came up with appropriate responses.  Yes, the parang is safely in the store, the buffalo has been taken to the shade of that big tree, his bike is safely in as we've located the key, and the robbers were all dead in the gun-fight!  Try repeating that for ten nights plus other incidences and you'll get the hyper-tense situation we were in.

Alas all good things has to end.  After another short stay at my youngest sister's he insisted on going home.  Things were much easier this time around as the fear of flying has finally eased.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Appreciating Education - Zoya Phan's Memoir

My youngest presented me Zoya Phan's Little Daughter for my recent grand 60th birthday.  She was at the MINES Big Bad Wolf book sales recently when she came across the title.  Scanning through it she thought it is my kind of reading, and she was very right.  I thoroughly enjoyed the memoir as I can very much relate to Zoya's experience with my early life and education, minus the war and the refugee camp living of course.  Incidentally I have been saving the my early education story to be part of my Early Years series.  This I never did find time to write just yet.  A lame excuse indeed for being a retiree time is all that one has aplenty!

Though I did Southeast Asia History for my 1969 MCE (SPM equivalent), what Zoya endured was very much a relatively recent happenings (in history terms, that is).  General Ne Win was a personality to reckon with in my history readings then.  Reading Zoya, the general is not somebody you want to be associated with.

I have to plead ignorance of the plight of the Karen people.  Before Zoya I thought Karen is just a minority ethnic community, very much like the Meo/Hmong tribe of Thailand.  Indeed I am very wrong.  I feel for them, to be denied their very own rights in their very own country is just beyond comprehension.  To gradually lose their culture and with that ethnic knowledge cultivated over generations is a lost to all mankind.  I pray that Zoya's struggle will not be in vain.