Friday, September 18, 2009

Portrait of a Fortnight: Pre-Departure

Where do I begin? To tell the story of a fortnight, of many firsts. Mama’s first unforgettable sight of Venice, Papa’s first nerve wracking plenary presentation to a select audience comprising eminent management gurus from the leading business schools in the US and Europe, and me and my siblings being deprived of their intimate attention for a week. One whole week.

On Friday, a fortnight ago, i.e. two days before their departure to Italy, they invited a few friends to Suasana Permai for iftar. They ordered the masakan kampung from their favourite stall in Hutan Kampung. Understandably the weight freak guests did not eat like crazy and so there were lots of left-over food for them to tapau. To help with the cleaning up, Mama engaged the service of a super efficient Myanmar lady.

On Sunday the 6th of September, after work and school, they drove all of us first to Alor Setar to meet Mama’s friend who has generously offered to look after my brother during their sojourn. Her son also happens to be a classmate of my brother at SAHC. During the process of transferring my brother’s personal belongings at the emotional handover, my brother realized that he forgot to pack his white Bata shoes. Papa gave him an additional pocket money to buy a new pair of shoes and reminded him profusely “Jangan tinggal sembahyang OK” as we said our goodbyes.

From there, we drove to Mak Su’s place in Butterworth for iftar. After iftar my parents had their shower, and just before they made their way to the Butterworth railway station, they decidedly left behind their smelly office wear in the care of Mak Su. As I so enjoyed my sister’s company, they made a prior decision that it’s best that my sister stayed with me throughout our stay with Mak Su. Which means that she had to be absent from school for a few days, excluding the UPSR leave.

And so we had our farewell on the railway platform, right at the door step of the KTM train, which was a wise decision as I could see right before my very own eyes how my parents were whisked away slowly and tenderly by the romantic Senandung Malam train amidst the chugging lullaby sound of sweet “tuut, tuuut, tuuuut”. Just before they disappeared into the still night, they cuddled and smothered all over me with their kisses and kept telling me in quick succession
“Mama dan Papa pergi kerja OK."
"Nanti Papa bawa balik Percy dan Harold OK."
"Nak tak?”.
And I just nodded and nodded.

They arrived at the KL Sentral the next day, just before imsak. Mama called Mak Su Suria and Mak Teh, and arranged for an impromptu meeting at the Mid Valley. Later she called Makcik Chah who spontaneously invited them to an iftar function near KL Sentral. Much to his protest, Papa was asked to join the main table, and sans baju melayu and songkok, he was the odd man out. If they had told him it was an official function, he could have borrowed the Hang Tuah baju melayu designed by Mak Su Suria and perhaps added more lustre to an already commendable event.

After performing the maghrib prayer in jamaah, the driver kindly sent them to KL Sentral and they boarded the KLIA express to catch the KLM flight to Amsterdam en route to Milan.

(To be continued)

We would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Happy Selamat Hari Raya with families and friends and Maaf Zahir Batin.


Naz said...

Selamat Hari Raya!
... am looking forward to

Al-Manar said...

Welcome back from that successful and eventful trip - in time for a well deserved Hari Raya.
Salam hormat dan selamat hari raya

Awang Goneng said...

Selamat Hari Raya, Pak! Wah sibuknya, and congratulations! Shiver not among the gurus, for sometimes, they too bergurau.

Maaf Zahir Bathin.

GUiKP said...

You know very well this is not a suspense thriller ala Mat Sprong. But I shall try not to disappoint. Please bear with me. And I hope you haven't forgotten "I Love Taiping".

I truly hope it was a really really successful trip, although the truth is at the end of the 2-day symposium none of the nine plenary presenters have any clues who among us shall progress to the final ultimate destination i.e. publication in the NYU's Journal of Accounting, Auditing and Finance.

As I mentioned at the start of my presentation, I'm really thankful to the Editor and Co-Editor for giving me the opportunity to present our research to the distinguished panel of experts.

Allow me to echo Freddie Mercury: "Is this the real life, is this just fantasy?"

Anyway thanks a million for visiting and illuminating this blog.

The 2-day symposium attended by gurus with sense of humour in abundance had a very tight schedule, and run like clockwork. I bumped into a couple of the gurus in the Gent immediately after my session, and they wasted no time to shower me with their compliments and what not, for they had no opportunity to do so during the presentation due to time constraint.

Which brings me to this. I once attended a ball organised by Malaysian law students in London. At that event, I bumped into a senior member of Malaysian Royalty in the loo of all the salubrious places. Fraid, the venue had no VIP loo, LOL! Shiver, I did and so I missed the golden or platinum opportunity to compliment His Excellency's opening speech.

Awang Goneng said...

My dear Friend,
Just a few [sic] words in reply:
I have learnt not to trust gurus. They are just as clueless as the average person, but they expound it better.
I nearly choked on my cocoa (it's early morning here, and I'm typing and listening to Radio 4)when you mentioned Freddie Mercury. Aeons ago, a young man I knew was dressed in a black shirt and matching trousers in the old Nahar cafeteria in West Londra. (He was no fascist, and I knew him well). So I asked him, "Why all this bleakness and blackness, young man?" He look sad and replied, "Freddie Mercury has died."
My first question, as I turned to my other half was, "Who's Freddie Mercury?"

Footnote: On this Hari Raya: you'll probably find this young man not a milion miles from Almanar.

GUiKP said...

That is so uncool not to know the other notable Queen of England, the more flamboyant and enigmatic one. Perhaps you know him by his enigmatic exotic Persian name - Farroukh Bulsara.

I am now visualising Harian Metro or Kosmo screams this imaginary headline: "Siapa Freddie Merdury?" - Awang Goneng, in the same vein as Utusan's "Siapa XY?" -M. Nasir many moons ago.