Friday, October 8, 2010

Farewell to thee, Bayum

The cousins during Raya 2009.
Bayum is the one in the middle in the background. The
Mahmuds are such a close-knit family.
Baharom bin Mahmud, 1963 - 6 Oct 2010

A dearest cousin of mine, and teman sepermainan back in the 70s in Aulong Taiping, passed away two days ago at Taiping Hospital after ~3 weeks in coma. I have only recently met up with him - on the 4th day of Raya, to be precise, and he was his usual self. I am not sure if I have talked much with him, as there were quite a number of people. So our conversation is still fresh in my mind. I could not have detected that that would be our last, to be honest.

They dropped by again after a couple of hours to pick up some duit raya we didn't get to give the kids earlier, and I told him at that point I didn't know the way to his twin Baharin's house in Simpang (they were all heading there).

"Tak pa, nanti Aman sampai sana, bagi tau, Bayum datang ambik," he said.

I nodded my head.

30 mins later, he picked us up on his old motorbike and showed us the way to the house.

Earlier, he had visited Mak and us on his old motorbike. I have to emphasize on the word old. It didn't  even have an odometer. The place where the meter used to sit in, is now an empty socket. Just like an empty socket without the eye. It is really in bad condition. I should have known that everything about the motorbike spelt trouble.

"Nanti simpan lah duit, beli kereta lepas ni,' his big brother Abg Ned told him that day. I was there to hear the conversation, right in the middle of it. I think he pitied his brother as he was the only one riding a motorbike that day - an old, dilapidated one at that. "RM3000-RM5000 saja." I am not sure what kind of car one would get for that amount of money. I didn't know one could get a car that cheap. Then again, I am sure Abg Ned was not talking about a new car.

But it was an advice a tad too late. A week later he met an accident on his motorbike and passed away 2 weeks later. 

Kak Sham and I decided to visit him about a day earlier. I was about to drive to Kuantan, but decided to postpone the trip when told about his deteriorating condition, and we both thought that it would be wise to visit him while he was still alive, albeit in coma at the ICU. His hands had already bloated - a sign that his internal organs had failed him. We went to his bed and flanked him - KSham on the right and me on the left..

"Bayum, kuat kan semangat. Ingat anak-anak. Nanti depa nak kawin, nak tengok Bayum ada sama," KSham whispered to his ear. I touched and held his turgid left hand.

We wanted him to fight to stay alive. But we were only met with silence - only the sound of the machine pumping oxygen into his chest, and the voice of KSham filled up the quiet atmosphere in the ICU.

"Aman nak raya sekali lagi dengan Bayum," I told him, after KSham had left to allow other to join us at the ICU. We would normally be alloted about 5 mins each, may be 10 at most, if we were to negotiate. But that afternoon we were the first visitors, so there was no competition for the ICU badge. "Aman tau Bayum kuat; nanti Aman datang rumah Bayum pulak."

There was no response whatsoever from him. I would not be able to tell if he would be able to hear me. My instinct told me to keep on talking and that they would be able to hear it in their mind. That's what we did with MCak when she was recuperating a couple of years ago. I was really hoping he would be able to hear me out.

He was looking forward to turning 50 in a few years. He has some money in EPF when he was working at Taiping Textiles aka Taifab in Kamunting  - we are all connected to Taifab in the 80s when I was an intern there, and he was a fulltime worker and he was looking forward to be able to withdraw some of his money saved. That's what he told KSham a few months ago.

But it was not meant to be. Tak sempat aruah nak merasa titik peluh berbelas tahun bekerja kilang, we all thought.

As for me, there will be no more Raya with him next year. For two consecutive Rayas (2009 and 2010), he had visited us in Sri Kota Taiping on his old motorbike. Without fail. We grew up together in Taiping, specifically in Aulong, so I can consider him as a friend and cousin. He is unique in the sense that he grew up with our grandparents - Tok Adam and nenek Bulan, which he would affectionately call as Abah and Mak respectively. And Mak, who is his auntie, was called Akak.

And I know I am going to miss him.

We had used his house in Kamunting as the venue for the dodol making in 2006. Once during Ramadhan 2005, I decided to sponsor his children's baju raya. So Mak and I took the children in the car and bring them to Taiping for a shopping spree; sort of. That's was about the only time I did something for his family. Looking at the shirts he wore during Raya 2009 and 2010, I knew I should have done more.

Looking back, should is a norm word for me. This is one person who didn't know how to help others more when he could.
A very young Bayum (right) with the blogger during Raya
in the 60s in Assam Kumbang. We are of the same age,
and hence can relate to one another.
He left behind a widow and five children, the youngest in Std 4.

Selamat jalan, Bayum. Semoga Allah mencucuri rahmat keatas ruh Bayum dan dimasukkan Bayum kedalam golongan orang-orang yang solleh.




  1. Al Fatihah, moga roh arwah dicucuri rahmat oleh Allah.

  2. Thanks Li. Appreciate the doa very much.