Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Was surprised to see on Facebook a picture I've not seen before, yet so familiar. It's a picture of my late paternal grandfather Allahyarham Haji Abdullah Haji Salleh (known affectionately to us grandkids as Abah) when he was still a teacher. My auntie posted it up from some stranger's short blog entry about him.

"Cikgu Lah adalah guru yang mengajar SMAS Pulai Chondong ditahun 70an. Ia tinggal di Kampung Galang. Ketika berulang alik kesekolah ia menaiki keretanya kalau tidak silap Datsun. Beliau sudah lama kembali kerahmatullah. Dahulu guru dapat mengajar murid dengan berkesan kerana dapat sedikit sebanyak dapat menggunakan body contact iaitu seperti menggunakan kekerasan tangan dengan niat mengajar. Jadi kita murid adalah merasa takut dan ambil berat untuk belajar." -

I've heard countless stories about him from my dad, my mom (whom Abah doted on like his own daughter), my aunties and uncles. Of course since I spent a lot of my childhood days with Abah and Ma, I have my own memories of him.

I remember him asking me to buy his favourite pack of cigarettes - Peter Stuyvesant - and I always get to keep the change. I remember him taking afternoon siestas on his favourite kerusi malas (deck chair with multicoloured plastic strings wound around the metal frame, you know what I mean) shirtless and waking with reddish stripes all over his back.

I remember motorcycle rides with him, me in the basket in front and him riding leisurely. Nobody wore helmets back then. I remember burning my knee on his hot motorcycle exhaust when I stumbled while getting off. I still have the scar to show for it.

I remember his ungainly Subaru (or was it Daihatsu?) minivan, and his red Fiat car. Apparently my dad said he loves small cars.

Che Na and myself on the hood of the Fiat, on the way to Bukit Ajil. Pic taken by Che Ni.

I remember trips with him and Ma and young Che Na and Makdik to Penang and Langkawi. I even remember asking him what does the signboard 'ikut kiri kecuali memotong' means.

I remember him taking the flight to KL with us, my first time ever. I remember him sending us off when we boarded the flight headed for London back in 1993. I remember excitedly reading letters from home telling us in East Ham that Abah and the rest are planning for a visit. He never came.

A few months later he passed away while we were a million miles way. While I was a million miles away.

To that unknown blogger, thank you so much for reminding me about this man I loved. Abah, once in a while Pih still thinks about you. Al-Fatihah.


hani@debumelukut said...

Ur papa showed me this article too.It makes me choked with tears. My memories of him will remain fresh.
still remember the old days when, knowing that i like to eat 'colek perut',he never failed to bring home the 'colek perut' everyday just for me (that thing was sold at some warong opposite his school)..and I hv to eat that 'colek perut' just not to let him down although I really had enough of that already.
And that nice black material with small floral prints he bought me that turned out to be my favorite 'baju kurung'.He was a man with taste.
But most of all, He was there when I needed a shoulder to cry on, only he stood tall by me when everybody else didn't.
He is your Your 'Abah' and my 'Abah'Ours.
Semoga roh nya di cucuri rahmat.Amin.

cacah said...

my father was in SMAS back then in 70s. he must have known your abah as well. and bukit ajil is my kampung! :)

pja said...

haisshhh..u must be very busy nowadays..put up some new entries.!!.hehe

rinaabdullah said...

when u wrote this, just in time (4 days before 25 oct 1993 - the day he died) for his 16th yrs ulangtahun.

And i still remembered when i saw cikgu kadir came to school during our casual morning briefing. I approached him asking for what do u do here in the early morning? and his answer "saya nak mari ambik ina balik rumah, abah tok sihat"

Got the permission and he drove back home in his small car.. Only then i knew that abah got heart attacked and he's in HUSM already...

HUSM - tingkat 8 (can't remember selatan/ utara or what) was the place. too much memories there..Abah's memory and Ilham's really scare me.. to go there again..