Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Till we meet again, Ayah

Ayah with the Tun

Ayah would have turned 72 today. I shall never forget the moment Kak Lin broke the news that Ayah had passed away suddenly, slightly after midnight Dec 20, 1997, 20 Syaaban, 1418.

Hours earlier, shock and sadness enveloped Balai Berita after we were told that former sports editor and renowned writer, Mansoor Rahman, had died of a heart attack while playing tennis.

Mansoor was generous with his encouraging words to me ever since I introduced myself to him in 1991. By right I should be making my way to his residence to pay my last respects. Somehow something was holding me back. I was reluctant to move away from my chair at the subs desk of the Malay Mail.

Husin Rahman, acknowledged as one of the greatest sportswriters of his generation, was asking me “hey come lah, let’s pay our last respects to Mansoor!” The call went unheeded.

It was sometime before 1.0am that I got the call, over extension 3473. No Twitter, no Facebook and of course e-mail was still a foreign word to most Malaysians at that time.

“Adik…(it was Kak Lin on the other line)…in between sobs…Ayah dah tak de (brother, Ayah has gone)…

My world came to a crushing halt. I felt numb. I was lifeless. My mind went blank. Thankfully Husin was there for me. It was Husin who drove me home in my Suzuki Swift. It usually took me 20 minutes to reach home but the trip lasted like a life time.

Ayah died in his sleep. Peacefully, without creating any fuss for his kids. The whole family made the trip to Yong Peng and eventually Kampung Sengkuang, Sri Gading, for the burial. With us was our late Atok who was inconsolable. Mak, her daughter, passed away at the age of 51 three years earlier.

More than 1,000 people from all walks of life paid their last respects to Ayah the next morning. There was a slight drizzle as Ayah’s body was laid to rest.

Ayah was a strict father. While my younger brother Man was the ever filial son, I was the loose cannon of the family, uttering words to Mak and Ayah which are not fit for print here. As a result I often felt the brunt of his loose buckle.

But months prior to his demise, I felt as if I was beginning to renew the bond Ayah and I had while I was in my childhood.

We talked about politics and life in general.

I remember as soon as I could talk, he taught me to memorise the name of my great grandparents by hard – Muhammad Rizal bin Hashim bin Mian bin Sulong bin Gantang bin Bontak…his way of telling me our lineage and roots.

“Ayah dulu pergi sekolah jalan kaki dan kaki ayam saja…zaman Jepun. Riz sekarang beruntung. Ingat. (I walked barefooted to school during the Japanese Occupation…remember you are very lucky)

“Riz kena jaga adik-beradik, siapa lagi nak jaga kalau bukan kita” (You have to take care of your siblings or else who would?”

Being an avid fan of sports, counting tennis, football and badminton as his favourite sports and a qualified level 3 referee, Ayah was supportive of my sporting pursuits though he must have realised I was not cut out for the rigours of the sporting world.

I remember the day when Sheldon Xavier, now a media personality, keeping goal, Zaimi Ridzwan and Harishah Shaari manning the engine room and Acis the musician in attack, representing St Johns 1 and playing SK Padang Tembak at their backyard in 1982.

I was fielded as a right-back by coach Cikgu Azmi. But I was a nervous wreck throughout the game and was eventually replaced. Ayah who was standing behind the goal without me realising, looked disappointed. He took time off to see with his own eyes how I made a fool of myself.

On the few occasions I did manage to make him proud, I did go on stage on Awards Day twice – once as a member of the winning-side in the inter-class football competition, and once as the most improved student in English.

Man who often accompanied Ayah wherever he went, is a blessed child. Man was the winner of the Lembaga Tabung Haji Award and the Tan Sri Kadir Award, as best student for Bachelor of Laws and best student for Bachelor of Laws (Syariah) of the IIUM, as reported by the New Straits Times in November 1997. His convocation was held 26 days before Ayah made the journey to the next life. Mak was pronounced dead shortly after Man recited a few verses of Yaasin at the Kuala Lumpur Hospital on Oct 31, 1994.

The good son and loose cannon

Still, Ayah and Mak nourished my passion for football. They knew when I locked myself inside my room, I was not doing arithmetic or memorizing scientific terms. Instead I let my mind wander and draw figures playing football. I even came up with my own clubs and designs for jerseys.

Football and art, combined

Ayah and Mak would buy me football books, most of them still in mint condition, and replica jerseys from their travels.

Dear Ayah, I am now blessed with a beautiful wife and three boisterous kids, who one day may prove to be a handful as God’s way of testing me for all my sins against Ayah and Mak.

Ayah's grandchildren he never got to meet

May we meet each other in the Hereafter. In the meantime Ayah, rest in peace and may your soul be shown the door to eternal paradise. Al-Fatihah.

The latest addition to the family, Man and Adilah's bundle of joy who was delivered to them after a five-year wait, on Ayah's birthday - 090909 - at the hospital of which Man served as the secretary of the board chaired by Tan Sri Hassan Marican


animah said...

Thanks Rizal for sharing. I teared as I read this. I remember both your parents with fondness. I still remember the car rides from school with your dad, "Kak Lin" and you two boys. He was always so friendly and "layan"ed us so well.

I will share this with my dad who was good friends with yours.

Ms Pame said...

Woah woah.He would have feel proud of his son(s).

Anonymous said...

god bless

Fowler is God but Torres is the new Almighty

khairyn said...

Dear Rizal
I'm lost for words...
I missed my own abah soo much especially now that we're towards the end of Ramadhan where he usually spent the nights iqtikaf in the mosque.

May Allah bless both our abah/ayah and loved ones. Al-fatihah


pakmat said..., I did not teared as I read your post..for, indeed, you are among the lucky ones..a father who cared enough to buckled you..and yet allowed you to grow and matured into something that you wanted to be..and, no, he did not took time off to see you make a fool of yourself..he took time off to see you, one of his son, that's all..pray for him, LC, for only a good son's prayer can reached him, and you are a good son...Al-Fatihah..

frahman said...

brotner rizal, i feel it for you and u lupa, i know what u went through masa itu... u had other "things" in mind masa itu ... anyway al fatihah to ur arwah dad

Anonymous said...

my deepest condolences cool...he is in a good place with all the other heroes including...the late arumugam...the late ong yu tiang....arwah supermokh...arwah nazri...arwah kapt halim...brian clough...sir bobby robson...etc etc etc...what a team.

for the game. for the world.

Anonymous said...

Salam Rizal

Arwah ayah saya Cikgu Mohd Sari Hussin (remember honda accord merah di AU1C/4F) has the same birthday as arwah ayah Rizal. My arwah dad's birthday was 9.9.1934, he would be 75 today. Your dad would be 72, his junior. And both of us went to SJI primary n secondary.

Secara kebetulan ini semua kententuan Allah.

You know, my son's birthday 9.9.1999, so he is 10 today Rizal, Syukur Alhamdulilah.

Saya berdoa agar kedua dua orang tua kita di tempatkan rohnya dengan mereka yang beriman. Hanya doa anak mengiringi roh ibubapanya.

Salam ramadan.

Sharifudin Mohd Sari

Lelaki Sabah said...

Terkenang pada arwah emak..
Moga mereka ditempatkan bersama orang-orang beriman..Amin

NoktahHitam said...

So adorable.

Your parents are sure blessed with a great son like you.

God bless your parents, Amin

不來梅的youtube blog said...

hello,nice to meet you !

rizal hashim said...

Animah, ah the age of innocence. Please convey my warmest salam to Uncle Fuad.

Ms Pame, merci beaucoup...

Fowler, thanks

Yes Harny, may their souls be showered with Allah's blessings

AFAH, I always look forward to your comments...thanks...come to KL and give me a call...

Yes Fariq, you were very supportive then...thanks

For the game for the world who supports Nottingham Forest, discussing footy or politics?

Siapa tidak ingat Arwah Cikgu Sari...ketua penduduk di situ...sama-sama kita mendoakan mereka Mr Din...

Mustapa, usah putus-putus mendoakan orang tua kita...

Noktah hitam, thanks for visiting...lama tak datang...hehe

Anonymous said...

Selepas baca entry kau ni, aku terus sedekah Al-Fatihah.
Itu saja aku mampu buat dalam bulan yang mulia ni.Aku bukan orang kaya Bro.
Bob From Kuching

Wednesday FC said...

Lets all remind ourselves to appreciate what our loves ones have done for us. Remember the good, forget the bad.

take care bro.

Anonymous said...

there is no politics in football...its a simple game.

"If god had wanted us to play football in the sky...He'd have put grass up there."

For the Game. For The World.

Anonymous said...

Semoga rohnya ditempatkan bersama orang yang beramal soleh, insya-Allah. Al-Fatihah. - Once an angry young frenchman.

Zaizab said...

Riz, I was part of your childhood life with Ayah & Ngah.. You and your football things and so on.. Your writing has taken me back in I was writing this comment, I can't stop tears flowing out of my eyes. Im the Abang Long that was not your 'sibling' but accepted as a son and brother. I cherished every moment with Arwah Ayah & Ngah and the three of you, where I learned about the feeling of having a father,a mother, brothers and sister.

Alfatihah to Ayang and Ngah.

mr objective said...

Husin Rahman, acclaimed as one of the greatest sportswriters in his generation?

Come on Rizal are you blind, biased, or just plain stupid. He was a sportswriter whom no one wanted.

Ng Weng Tuck, sports editor of The Star then said this of Huson when the latter applied for a job :"I don't want NST's rubbish."

Hey, its your blog youy can write any crap u want.

rizal hashim said...

Mr Objective,

Yes I wrote Husin Rahman as one of the greatest sportswriters in his generation.

I don't care what other people say. You are entitled to your opinion, which means little to me for you don't have the balls to identify yourself, and by the same token, I am entitled to mine.

I try my level best to write issues or comment based on facts.

Husin Rahman remains:

1. The only Malaysian journalist to contribute to France Football, you know, France's most respected magazine, the magazine that mooted the idea of European Cup the forerunner of UEFA Champions League and the European Footballer of the Year award, oh, sorry you are not aware of this...

2. The only journalist to write for both BH and NST, again you are not aware of this

3. Highly respected for his descriptive writings based on the feedback I got nationwide. Surely you are not aware of this!

And Mr Objective, stop using the nick la. because to me you are not objective. Cheers

Anonymous said...

Teringat masa saya kecil Uncle Hashim selalu datang ke rumah di Alor Setar bertemu ayah. Semasa hendak ke sekolah pasti di hulurkan seuncang duit syiling yg banyak, gembira bukan kepalang. Nasihat supaya rajin belajar pasti diberi. Al fatihah buat Uncle Hashim.

rizal hashim said...

anon dari alor star, siapa ya? perkenalkan diri mungkin kita boleh merapatkan silatul rahmi