Last three weeks, my phone rang. It's my dad.
“Din, our house flooding. Everything has gone.” Long pause. I didn’t know how to respond. He continued, “You need to come back to sort out everything here. I had no one here to help me out.”
I’d felt a silence in my throat. My mind just focuses on that particular thing, it is our most expensive thing in our house ever had. It’s an alphaOne therapy machine. “Did the therapy machine survived?” I ask my dad sounding a very deep hope.
“It's survived. The only thing survives, indeed. Kind of magic, I don’t know how to explain. I will tell you later. Just try to come back as soon as possible.” The call end as my dad said he got some urgent matter to solve. I felt a hugely relieved knew that machine safe and sound.
I made some called to the bus ticket counter to ensure they still sell a ticket to East Coast route.
I need a bus to get me to Chukai. This year, according to some news, the flood at Kemaman was the worst ever happened in the last 65 years. We never expected that as my dad called it as a shock call of God. I felt distressed because at the same time, #PowerShiftMsia was just around the corner.
The shocking news just made me retracted myself in a cocoon, felt helpless and knew nothing what is to do next. I just realised it's my mistakes in making the flooding stuff overwhelmed myself. I’d tell you it's almost a week I kept it hidden behind my smile.
I lied to my friends when they asked me whether the flooding affected my family’s house too. Till now I don’t really understand why I’d reacted such that. I didn’t even tell my #PowerShiftMsia about this and just decided to join them.
It's happening after my dad called telling those bad news.
It's Friday, Dec 6 when my phone rang again. My dad. He sounds angry as I knew him when he made such voices during any conversations. “Did you buy a ticket yet?” My dad yelled at me as he continued, “Don’t you think I really need someone here?”
At that moment I felt a shrugged in myself.
An awakening call. I nodded through the phone and end the call.
I need to think fast, I thought. Next day, I bought a ticket online after the bus service confirmed their services to East Coast on as usual. I gathered my courage to tell my #PowerShiftMsia colleagues about my condition and apologised to them on my silenced. I told my housemates too, after a week of pretend.
On Sunday, I rode the bus, and my dad waited for me at the bus stop. It's just two of us left to settle down everything in our house. My mum was not feeling well to do such cleaning stuff. So she stayed with my sister who lived in Kuala Terengganu.
One of my big brothers had to wait for his wife waiting for delivery. It is expected soon enough. The other one were not able to get an off from his company since he was at offshore. My younger sister had a stressful week at her pre-university college.
So it's just me left to help out my dad. It is on Monday morning, Dec 9 the flood had totally receded. We decided to start the cleaning processes since then.
Myself broke once I entered the house. The smell was hardly stinking. The dirt and thick mud filled the floors and walls. Everything in the house seems upside down. The washing machine, refrigerator, other electrical appliances, furniture, kitchen utensils and everything seem crap and never be used again.
My head spinning when I tried to self-calculated the “might be” lost we had faced in this catastrophe. My dad expecting it to be almost MYR20000 lost if everything couldn’t be used again. The uneasy feeling just made me almost cried at that time.
I knew very well my family and how it would be financial disasters for us. I could just imagine how we end our 2013 with such flooding thing and the surfer would affect our next year planning.
We started the cleaning process by removing all total-lost things such furniture and sidelined leading electrical appliances which I thought it might still operate if repaired in the right way. On the first day of cleaning, there are not many things we could do. The floors and walls left without attention on that day.
We realised another problem. It’s a big problem after all. We didn’t have a water jet machine — the machine which usually used by car wash outlet — making the cleaning process difficult.
Our neighbored at left and right enjoying the machine just made the problem even worse. The water pressure just too little and caused our house did not have enough water.
The water stream was seldom out of their host.
I just could be muttered about the water all day without able to do a thing. We decided to seek a water jet at the workshop store. “It's sold-out already lah. Everyone bought it. Ini banjir punya pasal la.” The uncle at workshop try to look sorry for us, but I knew he glads the disaster just brought him bundles of profits.
It's carried the same on the next days.
Suddenly on Thursday morning, Dec 12 my dad got a called from my sister. She told her friend would lend us the water jet machine. It's such a relief, to be honest. And another relief was, some of my dad’s friends coming over and help us to clean the house.
Well, kind of unexpected things happened this day, I thought.
The floors and walls just need one full day to finish it up and need another entire day to ensure the water totally dried. After that, we started the side task, especially to clean up the clothes and crockeries.
And yet we hadn’t touched any electrical appliances to fix them up. This kind of job, need us to put more patient and go slowly step by step.
I clearly see, and shared my understanding with my dad on this issue. I realise it might be my father is old enough and not really interested in kept many of the household things which seems totally damaged.
He was intent to throw out everything and just simply bought the new one. I disagree with him, and sometimes we argued about this.
I just felt like, we need to try to fix it first and minimise the lost as possible. I know the major heartbroken to my dad is his motorcycle was seems turned into the crap in flood while his car safe, and supposed to grateful for that too.
“I know dad, God is just testing us for MYR500 lost. Not MYR20000 if we patience enough.” I ensure that again and again to my dad. And so we put aside all electrical appliances at the clean spot and intends to start work on it in the next couples of days.
I just forget to mention about the most important event in my family occurred on Dec 11. My sister-in-law soundly delivered a baby boy, such a precious gift to our family by God!
It's my third nephews, even though what we are expecting is a baby girl.
A rejoice came over, despite everything dim in the flooding. This baby boy birth coincidentally just on the same day as his dad’s birth. My brother’s birthday was on Dec 11, 1984, and his son was on Dec 11, 2013. What a wonderful date indeed – 11.12.13.
We always joke about having a baby girl as my dad wish he wants a granddaughter this time. Anyway, welcome aboard Luqman!
Back to cleaning story, as my dad was not totally fit to do every chore, so it left to me to help everything. Nevertheless, I amused, did all these chores. As the process went longer and lighter, I realised how closed I became with my dad. I didn’t say we hadn’t got a good relationship before, but this time was different.
We even talked everything. I always thought it was normal for a boy to have a closer relationship with their mum compare to their father. So does me.
I have easily shared something with my mum and ask her opinion on some stuff. It didn’t go like that with my dad. So the flooding just brought us even closer.
“I start to think about painting and art stuff,” I told my dad as my eye continuously stared at one of the painting canvas which safely hanging on the wall and continued, “painting just like expressing myself. I hope I will get a chance to do that one day…”.
“Please don’t.” He cut me harshly. “You had no gift to do the painting. There’s no way for you to master it,” my dad barking his laugh at me as I continued putting a thought of how possible for me to do this art stuff and might make money through it.
Then he shared about his old friend’s story. Its relate to painting stuff. His friend was a portraitist. He told how gifted that old man, since his childhood, he could and would draw and painted everything he wants.
If he got a piece of wood charcoal and a sheet of paper, then you just need to wait until he showed the output. From his voice, I know my dad greatly admired that old man.
“I wish I had a chance to meet him one day. Is he still alive?” I ask my dad in admiration. “Yeah, he is. But I think he was old enough today. You try to imagine,” my dad paused a while like he tried recalling his old memory, “when I was a small kid he already working at the farm helping his father. I thought he was not less than 10 years older than me.”
I pray in silence, hoping I would get the chance to meet him before he died. Actually, I put a thought to start to do painting as a real thing. It's just unfortunate to me for didn’t get any chance to learn it properly during my childhood. To being set in science major just make the opportunity to play with brush and colour diminished.
My dad seems to enjoy my company when he’s telling the story of some of his old friends.
I took it for granted and wish one day I would have a chance to pay a visit to each of them, and telling them how my dad appreciates them as his close friends and asking them some important questions about life.
At least, I would hear some valuable advice on how to design my life, avoiding myself repeating the same mistakes they did when they were young.
On Dec 15, we started working out on some essential household items such refrigerator, television, washing machine, and some other electrical stuff. We decided to not call a customer service technician for a moment and did it by our own.
As for washing machine, we disassembled all its components and dried up all its electronic parts for 3 days.
We did the same to other appliances except for television. I told my dad since the television was looking too “electronic” to me, so I worried if the disassembly process we did would damage some of its important parts. My dad nodded as he agreed to call the LG’s customer service and let them handle this thing.
After everything has exactly thoroughly dried, we assemble the components and test those machines. And the magic occurred. All the appliances functions as usual. We scream in full satisfaction and relief. At least at that moment, we knew we didn’t lose any.
As I wrote before, my dad was not keen to work non-stop a day as he was old and got some health issues. So I took responsibilities to sort everything as usual. The unfortunate event occurred to me when I washed dishes.
One of my finger injured punctured by broken glass. For that, I took one day off from the cleaning process.
After two weeks we swear off our ass did cleaning operations, everything in the house looks back to normal. Except for some wood furniture, which my dad refused to throw his money to buy the new set.
I’d agreed with him, since all of his children weren’t staying with him anymore, including me. Everyone had their own life with their family and job. My dad realised that the furniture didn’t even use anymore if he insists on buying the new one.
It was the memorable moment in my life for having a flood experience. So does the every living creature in Kemaman. We got some news about mini zoo here just got captured, escaped crocodiles and some other animals. And so the mosques seems to desperately need financial relief to recover their damages.
Speaking about flood reliefs, a big applause should be given to several parties who independently helping peoples facing this disaster. They brought no name or titles in their beliefs. They just offered their sincere hands. They went to the house by house, providing a relief team for cleaning and stuff.
At the other moment, some group came over to houses and offering some essentials, which each of the essential stamped with the “Barisan National” sign.
We accept every relief provided. Regardless their political views or faiths.
It is flooding and flooded too. It's flooded with ignorant heads.
Today as I wrote this, I couldn’t stop thinking about some of the bloody stupid peoples who used the flood thing as a political campaign.
I would not name any of them, but to call and gathered the public in mosques and community hall just to deliver the hampers, yes, just the hampers and took a stage to lecture about the need to be grateful for the kindness of some parties in helping the peoples is utterly disgusting and sound too gross!
I didn’t care they want to send some sort of relief to the needy. It's their responsibilities at the very first place. To use the flood issue as a granted stage for them to deliver their political campaigns wasn’t acceptable. Why not let it free, as much as many other groups did.
They came by silently, lend their hands and leave quietly too. Again, for those unsung heroes a tight hug and big thanks was deserved to give.
On Dec 22, we went to Marang and pay a visit to our new family member. What a reddish and tender and soft his look like. I didn’t even dare to hold him as my brother ensure me it's OK to hold Luqman.
I just laughed to myself remembered that moment. And a moment when I confess to my mum, “Luqman will meet his cousin from me when he was 9 years old.”
Then I was flooded with embarrassing questions and teasing.
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Friday, December 6, 2013
"I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can only rest for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended."Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013
Rest in peace, Sir!