Sunday, February 3, 2013


Less than one week ago, I wrote about my partner Ariffin, packing his family on a moment's notice, and returning to Sarawak to visit and care for his ailing father, the only man who has ever bathed me (his dad, not Ariffin). The post was entitled 101-Year Old Man, A Homecoming, An Uncle and Friendship.

Alas, now it is my sad duty to report that Ariffin's decision is inspired, for this morning at about 10am, I received a message from him on the cellphone that his father, Abang Bohan, has finally relinquished his hold of this mortal world, to return to the Divine Presence. 

Ariffin adored his dad, a man of distinct presence, and the only 100-year old man I have ever had the privilege of knowing. Two stories about them comes to my mind now, as I sit here in my bedroom, and the cool evening air wafts in like love's gentle comfort. For I too, in my little clumsy way, adored his dad.

Is this guy a Sheikh or something? First I recall Ariffin's happy return to the office after one of his (many) umrah (pilgrimage) to Mecca and Medina. But this time it was extra special because he brought his mom and dad too. And I remember seeing pictures of the pair with Ariffin pushing his ancient father on the wheel chair. "I treated him like a V.I.P, bro..." Ariffin shared as he smiled, " fact some people were asking me quietly.. 'Is this man some sheikh or something?'" Then he laughed. 

Dad's New Car! Then I recall sometime in 2011 (I think), as we lounged in the office after Ariffin returned from his hometown of Kuching. "Guess what I did, bro!" Of course, I didn't even bother trying and simply asked my partner what he did.

"I bought my father a Myvi (a little hatchback car)! " Then he explained, "One day I was sitting with my dad when suddenly he commented that he wished he had a better car than the old Kancil which he potters around in. You know... like the cars that his children now drive. So without hesitation I visited my friend's car dealership nearby and immediately ordered a Myvi. My friend was surprised because I didn't even bother test driving the car at all. When the car arrived at my dad's house, I quickly called him to come and see his new car. He was so excited that he ran out (albeit as well as a 90 plus year old man can run) when suddenly his kain pelekat ( a traditional wrap that Malay men wear) came undone and fell around his ankle. I helped him up and into the driver's seat and sat next to him. But after a while my dad just sat there and had not even started the car. So finally I asked him why isn't he starting the engine, to which he replied, 'Well... what did you expect? This is such a surprise!! Can't you see that my hands are trembling!!?"

Then Ariffin became silent and with a wistful look in his eyes, he confided to me, "Bro, I didn't think about the money and how I am actually gonna be paying for the car. Because the look of sheer joy in my father's face is worth any amount of money. If he had died there at that very moment, I myself would be happy because then my dad would have passed away in utter joy and it was I, who put that last smile on his face. After all he has done for me, it is the very least I can do for him..."

You know, our parents are not perfect. And even Ariffin admits one or two incidents which he felt that his father made a judgment call that may have been less than right. But that is what judgment calls are all about. Sometimes, when finely balanced between the pros and cons, even the best father or mother can get it wrong. But in the case of Abang Bohan, I think his correct judgments far outweigh in his favour. And I hope to fly down to Kuching soon to visit the family and pay my respects to this ancient man and the grieving family that he has left behind.

In our light moments, we both refer to Ariffin's dad as the Buddha, because he kinda looks like Buddha, venerable, ancient and timeless. And now I guess he has truly left us to return to the Timeless, our One God, Allah(s.w.t.) and the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s.).


Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank You my brother