Friday 6 February 2009

all things must pass...

My mother died many years ago. I was in Perth when my father called from KL and told me that it would be a good idea if I came back to KL as “your mother is very sick”. I arrived at about ten that night. I knew she was in a bad way because my cousin who came to pick me up was wearing a songkok and was in Malay Dress. We went straight to GH - to the neuro ward where her head was completely covered in bandages because her brain was swelling up and she was already in a coma. All I could do was looked at her and after sometime headed for home. For the first and only time in my life I hugged my father when he came out of his room. She died the next day. From then on it was just a blur of things happening until I was back on the plane – crying to myself at the loss of my mother – and heading back to Perth because my wife had just given birth to our son a day before my mother passed away.

My Father died not too long after. I was also in Perth. I remembered that day well. It was a Sunday when the phone rang very early in the morning and it was my auntie and she was ringing to offer me her condolences because my father had passed away a week ago. Imagine her shock when I told her that I was not aware of my father’s passing. Let us not go into the whys and why not of what happened– suffice to say that I have not spoken to my brothers since that day. As is usually the case, greed overcomes all other consideration. 

And then there was my auntie who had phoned me to offer her condolences on my father’s passing. She and my wife were the best of friend. She had cancer of the lungs and was already at stage four when diagonosed. In the last two years of her life we were all living in Bangsar – she at Lorong Maarof and we at Jalan Tandok - just a few minutes walk form each other’s house. In her last few months I would say that my wife was at her place almost everyday for each other. She was slipping away before our very eyes. On the night before she died we got a call to come over around midnight because they wanted to take her to GH as she was not feeling well. I remembered looking at her face and into her eyes as she was carried into the front seat of our car sitting beside me. It did not look good. Early the next morning the call from GH came from her daughter to say that she had just passed away.

These are three people that I know well. There were all good people, God fearing as only the Muslims can be. They were part of my life.

Where am I going with this? It is this. It is the realization that I now handle the reality that both my parents and Angela are no longer alive with a familiarity that makes me think. Will my children also handle my passing with the same familiarity over time. Does anybody care when you are gone? Who cares even now? 

This realization shapes by existence. Dictates my self worth of myself. Directs the path I take with my life. Decides what I do or do not do. There are other considerations but there are not of much consequence. My life is now for my wife, daughter and her family and my son. Nothing else matter. Nothing else prevails. The concession I make towards being civil with people, having good manners when in the company of people are temporary and forms part of my social skills to allow me an easier passage through life where there is a need for me to be with these people. 

I watch people and decide if I want to prolong contact with them. If so for what selfish purpose. If they want to continue to see me – for what selfish reason do they do so and for what selfish reason will I reciprocate. No I am not paranoid. Not introvert. Not self centered. Not without social skills. A good listener. A good person when I want to be. Only sure of what I want and what I do not want. And there are no constrains around me to forbid me to do what I choose to do. But then there are people that craves company, cannot live without them and go out of their way to mix and mingle in this world. So where do you fit in? When you find your niche – be happy that you have found your niche. Do not judge other lest you to be judged. What I want to do is right for me. Do the right thing for yourself. 

Do not walk in front of me for I might not follow. Do not walk behind me for I might not lead. Do not walk beside me. Just the hell leave me alone because I walk into walls.


  1. Hi Hussein,

    I came to the same conclusion not too long ago. I, too, realise that the most important people in my life are: Chuan, my husband; my daughter; and, my son. Everyone else comes after them.

    If some people don't like that, it's their problem. Not mine.

    But being so focused has helped me. I know how to answer an invite; when to change a plan; in fact, how to live my life. And it is good.

    No more frivolous nonsense about keeping 'face' and guarding other people's 'faces'. Life is simpler this way.

    Don't you agree? :)


  2. Why are muslims less pious when it comes to money and the sharing of wealth and inheritance. If there is a will, then there should not be any greedy grabbings of wealth when the family patriach passes.

    I share your sorrows upon your parent's demise and without the wealth has made you, in my view a better man. I hope to hear from you in the future and may you find a way to keep writing!