For three tragedies in my life all occurred in the 80s - in 1982, 1983 and 1984, all on a trot. 1984 though, was the rock bottom in my life. 1984 was the year bapak died.
And it was a miracle that I still passed my university's exams all those years! Mind the word 'PASS" ok.
For one, my memory of him is fading fast. Twenty four years has passed since he was taken away from all of us; leaving behind 13 kids - the oldest 22 and the youngest 8 months.
He must have gone after the election that year - by chance that day was the 13th of May; the darkest day in our nation's history.
Of course we knew nothing of the happenings in Kuala Lumpur then. We had no television and no telephone. All of the sudden, we lost contact with him and the news splash the next day showed KL in turmoil with the curfew imposed.
There was no news of bapak.
I was 6 years old then. While we were worried, I guess we just too young to get really worried. I don't recall how mum was trying to contact bapak's siblings in KL, or if that was possible at all. I am sure she was worried. I guess for at least a week, we did not know of his fate.
The passenger was wearing a songkok, as always.
As they approached Sentul, the cab was stopped by a road block, manned by Chinese rioters. Not knowing any better, the driver stopped his cab by the roadshow.
"Apa pasal lu bawak itu Melayu," the cab driver was asked, I guess the conversation could be in some Chinese's dialect. He was staring at bapak with angry eyes. Having no clue of the severity of the situation, the driver tried to play it down. But the Chinese mob at the roadblock were having none of them. The Malays were killing the Chinese and the Chinese were killing the Malays; here is one Chinese cab driver ferrying one Malay, and they didn't like it one bit.
Suddenly he took out a parang and slashed the cab driver!
But God is great; the cab driver, still conscious though in pain, hit the pedal and escaped. They then took refuge at the Sentul Police Station, where they were stranded there for at least a week.
If one were to look at the pics of the riot of 1969, one would tend to believe that version.
This is taken from Tunku's book "Mei 13 - Sa-belum dan Sa-lepas". Looking at these pictures, it is a wonder that bapak was unharmed at all, though he came back with a shirt stained with blood.
This entry is not about the election, nor it is about the riot that took place immediately after. It is about bapak, and he happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time then. It is also about the Malay-Chinese relationship symbolised by the Chinese cab driver and his Malay passenger.