Friday, July 4, 2014

Belasungkawa Pak Cik Ya - Zakaria Bab (1939 - 2014)

Zakaria Bab dalam kenangan (taken from Uncle AhWok's FB
It was only slightly over a month ago that I was told that my name and my sister's name were always on his lip - that he would pray for our well being after each solah. 

I was taken aback, to be honest. Praying for somebody else is nothing new for all of us, I would think. I would pray for my parents; specifically mentioned names of my deceased relatives - my grandparents Tok Bab and Tok Adam, Nenek Bulan and even the grandmother I had not met in life Opah Tam Rafeah, my bro Naza, my uncles Pak Cik Ajis, Pak Cik Man, and the lists go on and on. 

But my lists are only for those who are no longer with us. In other words, I did not specifically pray for his wellbeing. Not by mentioning his name anyway. [sigh]

As a rule of thumb, very seldom, if ever, I would specifically mention names of those who are still alive and pray for them.

But he would never fail to pray for me.

I have lost two most important persons who had never failed to pray me. I not sure where I would be without their prayers. Mak is one who would always pray for me, I know that, and now after knowing that fact, he is gone too. Two lost prayers, and I certainly hope I would not be lost without them and their prayers. I have to quickly find others who would pray for me too.

I am just his nephews, after all, and he is (only) my uncle, my father's younger brother. Only 3 years apart in term of age - bapak and him. But I was treated like a son, when he has two of his own!

The story was related to me again and again during his funeral by his wife. "Äman, memang dia tak pernah lupa doakan untuk Aman dan Sham. Ku Wan yang dengar sendiri setiap kali dia solat. Dia sayang sangat dengan anak-anak sedara dia," she told me (and my sisters) in between tears.

And told anybody who would listen.

Tubuh Pak Cik Ya membujur kaku di tengah rumah.

I can only nodded my head. No, I was not crying, to be honest. Well, may be little bit, but the tears did not flow that day. I guess in some way, there was no more tears after Mak passed away two years ago. No, I am not saying that I did not feel the lost. I do, and I do love and respect him as an uncle.

I am very sad, but in a sense, I have no regrets with him. Of course with each passing, there would always be a tinge of regret; for things that you did not do or should have done (more). But I have, a couple of years ago, asked for his forgiveness for things that I have said and done or not done to him, and he gallantly accepted an apology from his nephew.

So, I am more at peace at his funeral than anything else.

Of course there are many thing I would have like to have done with him. For one last time. Have a chat with him, hug him, should have been a bit more generous with him; you know all the what-iffs in the world. The list would never end of course.

I was the first amongst my siblings to arrive. Immediately after getting the news from my sister, I left the office to pick up Akmal and my wife. We sped out of KL, and quickly reached 180 km per hour or more on the highway. Soon, I decided to slow down to 100 as I knew we should have ample of time to reach Bidor. It is only an hours' drive, may be a little bit more. I just want to make sure that I would not miss his funeral, the way I missed for another uncle PC Ajis, also during a Ramadhan.

Yes, my sister and I were the recipients of his generosity when we were kids and he was a bachelor. Gifts - let's not talk about expensive gifts, shall we, were not a culture in my family obviously. We were lucky we have ample of good foods then. That's a luxury in life then when many were struggling with their lives.

So he became a favourite. A favourite uncle.

When I got married in 1987, his gift was the most expensive that I had received, that even today I could not replicate what he gave me to any of my nieces or nephews. It is a paid 3 days 2 nights honeymoon to Tioman, which included the airfare, during the days when there was no Air Asia. We took Berjaya Air from Subang and stayed at Berjaya Tioman Island Resort. It may not sound much for many nowadays, but back then  and especially to me then, it was a big deal.

And we were greeted by none other than Tun Siti Hasmah at the hotel lobby. Not recognizing her, I just smiled past her and did not say a word.

You can read about my exploits in Tioman here.

I have many far richer uncles, but I don't have one as big hearted and as loving as him. That Pak Cik Ya to me.

So there will not be any more Raya together this Raya.

I had asked my sister on the 18th of June where she would be having her Raya. Nowhere, she replied, since all her daughters would be having their exams this year. "But my heart says to raya with Pak Cik Ya" was her next statement.

That was the 18th of June 2014.

I did not bat an eyelid to be honest. I thought going up North for Raya would be a chore; a chore I do nt have to make after Mak's death. I dread thinking about having to drive up North for Raya, so I was not keen, to be honest.

No more raya with Pak Cik Ya. Ever again.

My real Raya with him was in 2010. Then I stopped by for Raya at his house on the way back on Raya day to Taiping. Read my Raya day entry here.

Let me capture what I wrote about him during that Raya.

Eventually we arrived in Bidor at 2.30 pm - a good one hour later than plan, and visited PC Ya and family. He was also having a quiet Raya as both his son and daughter in law were working on Raya day.

Pak Cik Ya. Three generations of the Babs. But his size is
only half of ours. He does resemble his dad, Tok Bab,
who is my grandfather. He was a favorite uncle when
we were kids (in Lenggong) as he was quite
generous with his nieces and nephews.
It has been quite sometimes since the Hariri last visited bapak's younger brother. In my case, this is my second visit in two months. I certainly would not want to have any regret later for not visiting my elders.

"Thanks for coming," he said, as a matter of factly, "this could be my last Raya." I stared hard at him and said, "No, we are going to celebrate more Rayas together."

I was not having this kind of talk during Raya time. 

There will be not be anymore Raya this year with him. Ever again. In a sense, I don't regret it. I have a big one with him on 2010, I am sure I did not visit him in 2012, the year Mak passed away, I am not sure about last year, most likely not.

When I was (nearly) down and out in 2001, I spent many days with him and his family in Bidor. I know I can find solace with him. He was always supportive of his nephews and nieces. In fact, I don't think I have seen him getting upset for anything. Soft spoken and humble, but I can tell you that he is very supportive of change in this country ours.
PC Ya during his heyday
Honestly, I think much of Akmal and Arif's musical talent in someway perhaps came from him and his side of the family. He told me many times; the last of which when he stayed over at my house may be a year ago how he beat Najib Hanif, a singer with a recording contract, at a band/singing competition. AhWok, his old buddies from his LLN Taiping days said that he has a beautiful voice. Someone else said he was the Malaysia's Sinatra.
Gone, but never forgotten. Malaysia's very own Frank Sinatra,
according his friend Irwan Shah. I am not sure, I have not heard him during his
heyday, but I believe him.

Bapak as a matter of fact gave melodious azan, perhaps the best azan I as a child remembers, so I am not surprise that PC Ya has an even better one. Unfortunately none of us, including my kids took possession of those vocal gift. He was extremely proud of Arif and Akmal's achievement as pianist, and he listened attentively to their songs and piano play when he was last at my house may be a year ago.

I am very glad that I got involved in him going to the Haram a couple of years ago. I am thankful for that opportunity, his wife kept on telling that to everybody during his funeral. It was not much, but in away, it was a payback for him paying my honeymoon in 1987.

I do have a tinge of regrets, but generally I can accept that he is gone. I was told by the mosque people that he was there at the dawn prayer a few hours before he passed away. He passed away suddenly, but from what I understand from his son Shirman he was doing gardening when he fell, and he passed away perhaps in the arms of his youngest son. 

Senangnya pemergian almarhum. I guess he has facilitated many during his own life time that Allah gave him an easy passage. I did not take the picture but I would like to remember him as in life his last hours with us. He looks serene and peaceful, and as if he was smiling.

I am not saying this as a nephew. If he looks any other way, I would perhaps not mentioned it here at all. But what I saw is perhaps a reflection of the life he led.

Moga Allah mencucuri rahmat keatas ruh Almarhum dan dimasukkan kedalam golongan orang-orang yang beriman dan beramal soleh.


The funeral took place after asar and he was buried in Ladang Bikam Muslim Cemetery.

Death waits for no one.

All pix taken by Aboy
His widow, helped by her two sons, pouring scent water on his grave

His Eldest son Zanis. Heart broken and really taken by his father's
death. His younger brother Shirman was the rock pillar during the funeral
 and he told me that almarhum had an hour earlier
told him that he wanted to call his eldest son, but since he has no credit, he
had to wait for the top up that never came. He however was overwhelmed
by emotion when I approached him after the funeral.
The cousins after the funeral
My sis Shamsiah with others after the funeral


  1. "My family too felt the sadness of the loss of the very close personal friend ...the demised (Zakaria Bab ) my son Irwan Shah Abdullah commented in the FB" Gone but never forgotten.. Malaysia's very own Frank Sinatra"
    Rest in Peace brother...ooisiewhock (

  2. Salam taaziah to all mourning family members. Only knew this tuesday when told by my late father's cousin, Encik Zaki Sulaiman of Kg. Tersusun Talang. I was there for another burial, my 3rd cousin, Ahmad Noorhani Abas.

    Semoga Jannah untuk Che Ya.

    Allahummaghfirlahu, warhamhu, waafihi, waghfuaanhu.