Monday, January 25, 2010

Al-Fatihah: Syed Arif bin Syed Alfandi Barakbah and to those who have passed.

Nobody can see nor guess what the future holds. There is a strange "superstition" or "thinking" in certain members of our clan who stated that, whenever one member closest to you passes away, there will be 2 more. In short, whatever they were trying to say was that when death happens in a particular clan/family, it will happen 3 times, and 3 members of that clan/family will pass away. But why would anybody believe this? I'm not the one to believe such matters. I always believe that everything that lives, passes on, in accordance to the plan and system devised by God.

In December, my 79year old aunt, Sharifah Rofeah bt Syed Salim Barakbah passed away after a battle with lung cancer. Not even one week later, another uncle who was also my primary school teacher, Syed Faisol Barakbah, passed away. I must say that the most tragic news received was when we lost 2 cousins, Sharifah Hasanah Al-Junid and her sister, Rafeel(their mother is one of our aunts) in the horrifying Sani Express double decker bus accident in Perak which also claimed 8 other lives.

It was on the 23rd of January 2010, I was cooking while at the same time listening to the news when i received a call from my sister in law, Suraya Yaakob. She was frantic and near-hysterical and I couldn't understand much of what she said, but the last part was clear when she said, "Arif meninggal."

The news floored my wife and me. As my brother was still at the hospital arranging for his son's body to be released, I had the arduous task of informing my father, mother and sister of this news. No matter how the news is, we accepted the fact Syed Arif has passed away. It seemed that Arif had an accident on the morning of the same day and was only known somewhere in the evening. He had cycled to his friend's house and was hit while on his way back. The scene was about 1-1.5km away from his house, on the notorious Jalan Kuala Kedah which is always busy and dangerous. The police and hospital did notify the public for assistance in identifying him through Radio Alor Setar.

Syed Arif is the second son of my brother, Syed Alfandi Barakbah and his wife, Suraya Yaakob. Suraya is the Assemblywoman for Sungai Tiang, under the parliamentary of Pendang. Arif seems to be more like the father, usually shying away from people apart from his friends and quiet as well.

Guests flooded my brother's house since 9pm, and I was making calls andreceiving calls from relatives, friends and individuals who were inquiring. The body arrived at the house somewhere around 10pm, along with my brother. Suraya arrived about 15-20 minutes late. Both of them, understandably, thoroughly distraught.

The funeral process proceeded well amidst the sadness in the atmosphere. The body was brought for prayers at Masjid Aman at Jalan Kuala Kedah and was later brought to the Kawasan Perkuburan Islam Kompleks Al-Bukhary and was laid to rest at 11:30am. Among the dignitaries who attended were the DYMM Sultan and Sultanah of Kedah and Tengku Intan Safinaz. Also present was the Menteri Besar of Kedah and (I think) several state assemblymen.

I spent the whole night thinking about the incident and how my son is growing up, being over-active, scheming to get his way through. Just like any boys, he loved cycling. I live in a housing area which is not that far from the main road, which also connects the Alor Setar Utra-Selatan highway exits and the road to and from Perlis. It is horrendously busy. There is always that fine line between controlling my son and letting go. I am just hoping that he might just learn from what had happened.

Alfandi and Suraya still have Afiq, their eldest son and Aiman, the youngest. I only have a son. Some people never understand why I can be a bit overprotective.

Ucapan takziah kepada Syed Alfandi Barakbah dan Suraya Yaakob. Semoga Allah mencucuri rahmat ke atas Allahyarham Syed Arif.


Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Road So Far...Am I That Far?

Believe it or not, my son's finally in Standard One! Yes, I find it hard to believe that 7 years have passed by...which also explains the lack of hair on my head nowadays.We registered him for the Sekolah Rendah Kebangsaan Taman Rakyat, Alor Setar, Kedah. It is one of the top 2 schools in Alor Setar...or is it in Kedah? It seems that the Taman Rakyat school competes with Sekolah Rendah Kebangsaan Taman Uda for the top spot in UPSR results. Last year, it was Taman Rakyat, and this year, it's Taman Uda.

Anyway, after 2 years of preparations, such as kindergarten, pre-school, headaches and hypertensions, we managed to get our son to the basic education...yes, the one he'll be doing for the next 15 years or so.

I was at the school this morning, checking out the usual hurly burly concerned parents who came to make sure their children's entry into the school system goes well as planned. There weren't any crying this morning as I'm sure pre-school has prepared them for it. It's nice to see the change: no more children feeling hard to let go their parents when they go to class for their first time...although i did notice that there were some parents who find it hard to let go. Anywhooo, my son's day started with an assembly and a speech by the Headmaster. I find him quite interesting as he reminds me of my Principal back in MRSM Balik Pulau. Yes, they tend to talk on and on and on. The difference is, nobody really knew what my Principal was really babbling about back then. One of the basic similarity they held is, when they say, "To end this,..." that means another 10-15minutes minimum.

My son seems to be happy, and he didn't really want me around. I don't interact much with him at school, I just stayed on the sides, watching until recess, after which I left for office before coming back to fetch him around 1:15pm.

A groundbreaking day for a late parent like me, but like I always do, treat it as another day. I pray my son will be a good student and grow up wise and intelligent to chase his dreams. My wife? I think she's slightly over-excited as I saw her clicking pictures away early this morning of my son in the uniform.