Saturday, June 13, 2009

Papa - Mengingati Bapak

While this was not his lifestory - it was the other way round actually, but I can never thank him enough for all the foods he brought to the table; and all the guidance, just like Paul Anka's dad.

Everyday my papa would work
to try to make ends meet,
to see that we would eat,
keep those shoes upon my feet.

Every night my papa would take me
tuck me in my bed
kiss me on my head
after all my prayers were said

there was years
of sadness and tears
through it all
together we were strong, we were strong

The times were rough, but papa he was tough;
and mama she stood beside him all along

Growing up with them was easy
Times just flew on by
The years began to fly
They aged, but so did I

I could tell that mama was not well

This is the part that was different. We could tell that he wasn't well. He has told me many times that he was not expecting to live long. "Bapak rasa bapak tak lama," he would tell me when we were alone in the car. He had the hunch, but as a guy, I would always dismissed it then, even when he was in and out of hospital due to his hypertension, something I have inherited I guess from him myself.

Only at my own perils I guess.

Well said, Paul Anka; and a great song. Would always bring tears to my eyes; then and now.

Everytime I kiss my children
Papa's words ring true
He said, "Your children, they live through you,"
I remember every word my papa used to say
I kiss my kids and pray
that they'll think
think of me, that way, some day....

Here is the original recorded version; the song as I knew it in the mid 70s.

Selamat Hari Bapa.


Time was tough, but we had more than enough food on the table. There was never a time when we had tighten our belt. Yes, sometimes food had to be rationed but it was more to make sure that all of us would have tasted and eaten it. Accrodng to Mak, he even gave up cigarettes at her behest, since the monies saved could be used to buy more food for his children!

In fact the only time when food was not enough, it was at school or at least as far as good, edible food is concerned.

Times were even tougher when he was growing up, especially with a step mother. I knew then he missed his mother, as he would sometimes spoke of her.

Luxury is not something that he would have tasted in his life. It was always second hand or third hand cars for him. The Morris Minor (AD8479) lasted him from the mid 60s till about 1979, I think.

When he was in and out of hospital, one food I love bringing to him as a home-made tenggiri fishball soup. You should try this; this is perhaps one of only recipe I could cook on my own, right from buying the fish and making the fishball, to cooking them. Much better than the fishball you could find in the market. The recipe is simple; get fresh tenggiri, mince it, add tepung jagung I think (dah lupa), pepper secukup rasa, the more the merrier for me, and of course couliflowers and carrots to complete the soup. There would be two versions of course - for him it would be with less salt, and another broth for the rest of us.

Honestly, I still love buying tenggiri and make fishball out of it. It was Mak's recipe of course, and tenggiri was and still is, expensive, but I guess then with my Australian dollar allowance in the early 80s, I could bring him that for my hospital visitation when I returned home for summer vacation.

He would normally be able to finish them off, there was no doubt about it.


  1. Hmm, deja vu.. previously it was peugeot cars, now tenggiri fish balls?.... myself in defining moment, wondering what next?

  2. Hey, for next week doa selamat, I'll prepare myself the fishballs for all of you for old time sake! If I can find the time lah to mince it myself, which is not really a problem since tenggiri is normally soft.

    You can just eat it on its own - no need rice.

    Well, you know bapak loved his food actually. I would not say that was his favourite as there would be many.

    I have forgotten many old stories and incidents, but I would write as they came trickling down.