It was 5am on 16 March 1982 when Ayah Ngah (our uncle) woke my brother Chor and I. He quietly told us that Bapak called from Temoh and asked him to get us home on the first train out of KL Train Station. I was waiting for my SPM result then and was spending my free time at my aunt’s place in KL.
Chor who was in his first year at UTM then was just starting his semester break. And we were supposed to go jalan-jalan in KL that day. But that was not to happen as Bapak has ordered us home. Pronto.
The reason? Cikgu Hasan had just passed away the night before.
Cikgu Hasan was Bapak’s closest friend in Kampung Perak, Temoh, Perak. Rightly so as both of them had married local girls and moved into Kg Perak to live with their wives’ families. That was in the early 60s. I guess being “outsiders’ they clicked and became fast friends. It helped that both their wives are also good friends and were teaching in the same school then.
I really don’t remember much about Cikgu Hasan except that he would occasionally dropped by at our place to berbual-bual kosong with bapak. Bapak would also do the same – sometimes as he drove past Cikgu Hasan’s house on the way home from the bank and the good Cikgu was at home, he’ll stopped by for a chat.
What I remembered though was that they addressed each other in that endearing Perak’s terms of “mike and teman” instead of "aku/saya and kamu/engkau". After they passed on, I’ve yet to come across people who really uses these terms in their conversations effortlessly, ever.
I remembered once when a hit Hindi movie called Bobby came to Kampar, their wives and children wanted to watch it. Both of them, for reasons unknown to me till today, decided to watch it first. Just the two of them. Their verdict: "the movie was no good. We fell asleep early on during the movie. So no need to waste time and see it!"
So my mother did not get to watch Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh galivanting all over India. I don’t know about Cikgu Hasan’s family though.
And when both their wives were treated "very badly and unfairly" by their headmaster at school, the two husbands waged a war against the "villainuous" headmaster. Both Cikgu Hasan and Bapak even declared that should they die, their jenazah should not be buried next to the headmaster (of course, if the headmaster also pass on at about the same time).
And if my memory serves me right, they were once blacklisted (in early 70s) by the many UMNO-based kampung folks because they attended a ceramah held by an opposition. Their reaction? They simply laughed!
When I was in my kindergarten, I was pushed by a friend from a table (yes, I was on the table)and broke my arm. It was such a big thing for me. However, I refused to have my arm put in a cast and howled my way out of the hospital. Cikgu Hasan and his wife then suggested to my parents to have my arm treated traditionally. That night, they together with my parents brought me to a very small town called Banir for the treatment session consisting of merely massaging my broken arm.
I don't really remember how many times I went for the massage but most of the time Cikgu Hasan and his wife will be tagging along with us. That much I remembered. My arm healed about two weeks later and my mother decided to hold a kenduri doa selamat. It was during this kenduri that my parents formally announced that both Cikgu Hasan and his wife became my "bapak and mak angkat." Perhaps, its my parents way of showing their gratitude towards Cikgu Hasan and wife. Very the official.
In late 70s, Cikgu Hasan and his family left Temoh and moved to Kampar – about 7 miles away. He settled at Taman Melayu Jaya, a new housing area (brimming with teachers and former teachers) just outside the Kampar town.
Although, I went to school in Kampar, we hardly see them anymore. But I believed that Bapak kept in touch with his friend.
Today, 25 years had passed since Cikgu Hasan’s passing. Apparently, he suffered a heart attack about two weeks before. He was at home with the wife and his beautiful youngest daughter, then.
He was admitted to the Kampar Hospital that night. Apparently his condition worsened and he was subsequently transferred to Ipoh Hospital a few days later.
And on the night of 15.3.1982 at 8pm, surrounded by his beloved wife, brother, and children, Cikgu Hasan succumbed. Al- Fatihah.
He was 54 and left behind a devoted wife, five children and a granddaughter, Faizah. Twenty-five years on and today his grandchildren include Zaki, Nizam, Nisah, Affan, Naim, Fudhail, Amin, Shadilia, Shibli, Suhail, Saliha, Safia, Shakira, Farhana, Nurul, Aisyah, Izzati, Farid, Alia, Asma and Arissa.
By the way in 1993, Bapak’s second son (that’s me!) married Cikgu Hasan’s youngest daughter Azian.