Friday, October 31, 2008

Mak's passing, 14 years on

Location - HKL. Date - Oct 31, 1994.

"Riz, can you pass me the apple, please?"

"Of course." I picked a green apple from the fruit basket, one of many given to Mak since she was admitted about two weeks earlier. But after two or three bites, Mak had breathing difficulties. She was gasping for air. Right before my eyes, with Ayah and family friend Mr Ng at her bedside. I panicked. The nurses were quickly summoned!

The three of us were immediately told to leave the room. Ayah was bracing for the worst. I did not know whether or not he was prepared for this moment. As for me, I did not know what to think, what to do. My mind went blank.

Later Mak was transferred to the ICU. Relatives and friends were informed. They came in droves but only a few were allowed to see her. Mak was in a state of comatose, being kept alive by the life-support machine. Makcik Pah, Mak's cousin and a staff at HKL, facilitated things. Some whispered to me "the signs are not good", telling me to prepare myself for the shattering news.

Ayah, Kak Lin, Aishah and I were in a state of shock. Atok almost collapsed upon reaching the hospital. Then Mak was transferred to the CCU. Man was the only member of the immediate family not present as Ayah waited for him to finish his classes at IIUM. Man arrived around Maghrib and quickly recited the first few verses of Surah Yaasin, with tears flowing down his cheeks. Moments later Mak was pronounced dead. It was as if Mak was waiting for her youngest son to bid farewell. Our beloved Mak was gone. She was only 51.

Ayah must have known something about Mak's illness but he kept it away from us. Mak was hospitalised for 13 days but the doctors, both Dr Christopher Lee and Dr Zainuddin Abdul Wahab, were evasive each time they saw me. I failed to realise the true extent of Mak's sickness. It dawned on me later that she could have been suffering from lung cancer.

Atok was devastated. Three of his loved ones - her husband, her eldest daughter and now her only surviving child were all gone. Atok Antan passed away at the age of 67 in 1983 due to stroke, while Mak Long Ramlah died at the age of 28 in 1969, a year before I was born. Mak had two younger brothers who died shortly after they were born.

My colleagues at Berita Harian, including my superiors Hishamuddin Aun (current GEIC of New Straits Times), Badrulhisham Othman and Abdul Ghafar Ismail (Editor of Harian Metro), paid their last respects later that night.

Mak was laid to rest the following day, after Zohor prayers. A few of Ayah and Mak's friends, including two present Cabinet members and their wives, paid their last respects as well. One Parliamentary secretary who is now a Minister even faithfully accompanied Mak's remains to the burial ground.
The year Eric Cantona was born, Mak and Ayah got married, with Pak Tunggal (Jamil Sulong, left) and Mak Nani as the guests of honour

Mak and Man at seven months

Volkswagen was Ayah's first car, while Mak listens attentively to Razak Abdul Hamid, who survived the Hiroshima bombing. Read here

Mak (standing, left) represented Malacca in badminton

I think Mak (standing, second from right) was a half-back in this hockey team

Mak was a member of class of 1956, the pioneering batch at Sekolah Menengah Perempuan Melayu, Melaka, the forerunner of Sekolah Tun Fatimah. Among her fellow pioneers include Aminah Ahmad Badawi, Zubaidah Abdul Rahman, better known through her Sri Siantan column in Berita Harian and Badariah Mimbar, whose son here is my fellow Johannian and a spitting image of his father. As fate had it, Badariah, a real garang teacher, taught Man and me at St John's. Read Najmuddin Najib's Mum for a brief history of STF


Oh Bum-A said...

May your mother's soul rest in peace.

I like the pictures. It shows how the Malays back then weren't always clouded about religion.

Thus it didn't matter if Malay girls back then wore nice skirts and shorts. They became good mothers and role models.

Today's Malay women wrap their whole body up but are a sham of the community.

Anonymous said...

Hanya doa sahaja yg dapat kita berikan untuk masa kini tiada lain daripada doa dpd anak yg soleh
Tiada pertalian nyata yg dapat menghubung antara dua roh ini
Sebagai manusia kita kena sentiasa ingat mengingati,supaya kita tidak taksub dengan apa yang kita ada,apa yg kita miliki sama ada harta atau PANGKAT atau pun kelebihan kerana allah itu maha kuasa dan kita tak mungkin dapat menandinginya kerana kita tak boleh cross the line
Amin ya rabal alamin

rizal hashim said...

Oh bum-a, yes that's true, the emphasis was more on what's inside you, substance over apperance! Thanks.

rizal hashim said...


Benar. Terima kasih. Kita harus saling ingat-mengingatkan.

Anonymous said...

It has been 14 years since Mak's passing on. Semoga Allah mencucuri rahmat ke atas roh Mak. Let us be the righteous children and pray for Mak and Ayah parents all the time.

Fowler is God said...

May her soul rest in peace

kajang-today said...

if only you inherited your beloved mum's sporting genes!
ohh i forgot u represented ur class 4 Merah...Acis in that team too?

SANIBOEY said...

She was only 51? It should be she was 51. You know what I mean. Al-Fatihah.

rizal hashim said...

boey, you know what i mean as well. It was a huge loss for me and the family. To my mind, her death was premature. It was hard losing a parent at any age, but I wished I was given a longer period of time to appreciate my Mak a little bit more!

rizal hashim said...


yes acis was in that team, along with miere, taufik, you were a classmate of shahril! Yeah, you win some, you lose some. Sure I did not inherit her sporting inclinations but what I got instead was the love and passion as a sports fan! my arwah Mak was a keen follower of my articles. She never failed to point out my mistakes when I wrote for Jaguh and Berita Harian. sayang she did not long live enough to read my articles in MM!

muhammad hakimi said...

doa kami sekeluarga untuknya. wassalam

Anonymous said...

model and your groovy volkswagen too.

for the game. for the world.

Superzac said...

you must miss her very much. my condolences to you and your family.