Friday, April 23, 2010

3 Brothers and Cigarettes

Do you at times wonder.. how come you children's behaviour are so different from one another?. Few of their behavior even seem alien to that of your or your wife's behavior.

Here is my feeble attempt to uncover the mistery...

Back in 1973, I was invited by a friend to spend Hari Raya Idil Fitri in his house in Polis Depot, Kuala Lumpur. Having stayed with the family for a few days, I could not fail to notice 3 brothers with very different characters.

The eldest, always smiling but very reserved, answering in soft voice often in monosyllables and would not touch cigarettes with a ten-foot pole.

Another, 3 years younger(around my age), very jovial, eager to please, talk rather loudly and a social smoker who smoke if and only if there is somebody to supply the cigarettes.

The third one (my friend), 3 years younger than his elder brother, talk very loudly, rather bossy at times and started to smoke when he was in form 1 in all-boys boarding school!.

After breaking Ramadhan's fast a night before hari Raya, after spending some good time being interviewed by my jovial host, my curiosity get better of me.

"Can I ask Pak Chik a few questions and Pak Cik can refuse to answer if it is too personal?" I blurted.

" Oh son, please ask any question you want.. I will try my best to answer" my host seemed happy to be consulted.

" Well.. I noticed Pak Cik has 3 sons of very different characters.. I would like to know what were Pak Cik's activities during the respective times when these 3 sons were in the.. the womb... " I ventured.

By then his wife has joined us, bringing more Malay Kueh to the dining table.

With a cheeky laugh, my friend's father started to recall. "Well, times were hard in those days.. I applied to join Police training in late 1949". Immediately after I got the letter asking me to go for training in Kuala Lumpur, I asked my mother to ask for your Mak Cik's hand . I went to police training in KL a few weeks after I married your Mak Cik.. Some weeks later I received the news that your Mak Cik has been pregnant "

" Mmm, how was your social life back then in the Police Depot?"

"With a pregnant wife, small training allowance and being newly recruited.. I supposed I kept mostly to myself, trying to save money I did not socialize much and did not smoke either'

"When the second one was conceived, your Mak Cik has already joined me here, in Polis Depot. I have a lot of friends who at times offered me cigarettes. I seldom buy them as I has two extra mouths to feed unlike my other bujang friends" he then said.

"When the third brother was conceived.. ah.. life was a little bit better for me then.. I was already promoted to be the instructor to train the new recruits. Training them to march properly on daily basis, shouting myself hoarse at times. I did not have to buy much cigarettes ..those trainees were always too eager to support my bad habit.." he chuckled.

"Your three sons character/behavior seem to follow Pak Cik's behavior when they were in their mothers womb" I remarked.

"Now that you mentioned it.." he agreed. His wife smiled and then nodded in full agreement.

I have over times relate this story to few friends who cared to listen.. Most of the feedback are rather similar. The children behavior/character did (to most extent) follow that of their parent when they were in the womb of their mother.

One of the rather interesting feedback I has received was from a friend who worked in US when his wife was pregnant with his eldest daughter. They used to check the labels on every items they wished to purchase. They spent hours scrutinizing the labels for halal food.

Nowadays whenever he sent his wife and his eldest daughter to the supermarket in Malaysia.. my friend can safely go home for two to three hours.. his two ladies will be very absorbed checking the label on all items to be bought. "It did not matter that they have done this several times on same items before" he said, almost in despair.

Well, my parents did remind me that in their times when a husband heard that his wife has conceived.. he will ask the wife to join him in cleansing themselves (taking ablution etc.) before spending few hours reciting the Al-Quran. Reciting of Al-Quran will be repeated as many times as possible daily, until their child is born.

Now that we know.. which of our children's behaviors were inherited from our previous actions or inactions.. maybe we will not be too harsh in reprimanding them, Non?!


Lee said...

Hello Wan Sharif, I enjoyed reading your this posting. Very interesting.
I guess like the saying goes, 'like father like son'. But not always.
I for one started smoking when in Form 6....

I have 2 sons, both boys....both don't smoke.
The youngest one when age 6 did try....he picked up a burning butt I had flicked into the garden and inhaled.
He threw up, coughed like, kept throwing up....I stopped his mother from helping him. He was practically rolling on the grass, face blue, green...clothes all filthy from his throwing up, and crying quietly.

After several minutes, I was discreetly observing him from behind the window...he went to wash himself from the garden pipe, then sneaked into his bedroom...face pale and laid in bed...he dared not tell us.

He has never touched another cigarette again.
My eldest son, when age 9, I gave him a cheroot, told him to smoke "like daddy". He did.
He almost died, ha ha, threw up like nobody's business.
He too has never touched another cigarette.
This what I call 'gostan psychology', ha ha.
You have a nice day, Lee.
ps, I still smoke, but about 5 sticks a day.

Wan Sharif said...

Uncle Lee,
You sure have a good array of ammunition for all situation..Can always use your tips/experience as I go through life.
Terima kasih seribu for dropping by and putting valuable comments.

Awang Goneng said...

Hmm, I never thought of that, but there are many theories about playing Mozart to the child in the womb.

Most interesting.

Wan Sharif said...

Thank you for dropping a line...
There are also stories on Jews pregnant women habits of avoiding eating fish head, taking up mathematics and trying their level best at solving mathematical problem etc.. just so that their children are well equipped to face the world.

anak si-hamid said...

Wan Sharif,
I don't think I'm qualified to add any wisdom to this conversation as we have no children - only thousands of kids and young adults whose lives we have touched in our teaching careers.

We were travelling from Bombay to Poona years and years ago in a very ,very crowded train and I observed this baby of about 18 months playing with her mother's bangles. She was picking them off one by one according to the colours of the bangles!
If she had not been born into a miserably poor family she might have turned out to be a genius!
So, nature or nurture??

Lee said...

Hi Wan Shariff, just dropped by say hello.
And to say its always a pleasure have you drop by my humble pondok.
Badan saya di Canada, tetapi hati ada juga very often in Malaysia, and as you from Trengganu, I must say that I have always loved Trengganu, for its beautiful beaches, Islands and great fishing.

This besides Penang where I had my ahemmm, nocturnal activities, ha ha ha.

Used to stay almost every 3 weeks at Primula hotel, or Tanjong Jara. And used to go deep sea fishing with Pulau Kapas, those days tada orang, as base, and go out deep sea fishing.

What I miss is Trengganu's nasi dagang, and Kelantan's ayam, ikan percik. Not to mention, ahemm, the lovely maidens to, *wink*.

Always enjoy have friends like you drop by like the Penang gang in my Blog....
Once again, thank you. You stay young and keep well, Lee.
ps, x'cuse my bahasa, but my bahasa sebelum Merdeka, ha ha....and my friends in my blog buat saya lintang pukang, kelam kabote with their short cut bahasa, not to mention their hilarious comments, ha ha. But hey...I'm learning. Ha ha.

Ida BorneoLove said...

yup interesting.

tq for sharing.

Wan Sharif said...

Dear AsH,
We have to accept our lot..maybe there is some hikmah somewhere.
I believed Ilmu yang berguna dan (do'a dari) anak murid can also be your salvation when you leave this world.. do'a saya semuga you panjang umor and continue to educate me on the wrongs/fallacies etc some of world's occupant (American,British, Jews etc and some us included) have committed.
Nature or nurture?.. now that is an interesting and tricky question. Hopefully the schoolmarm in you do not evaluate my answer, he, he. Well, I believed both are equally important in the development of human mind and behavior. (Payah ni..kena differentiate between the two, to answer correctly).. mintak tangguh dulu ya..
I try to learn about life from observation, as Al-Quran ask us to observe Allah's Creation.. and human is one of His interesting creation. I hope to share some of my observation.
Thank you for dropping a line.

Wan Sharif said...

Dear Uncle Lee,
Terima kasih seribu for dropping again at my gubok kecil.. Will continually drop by at your blog.. It is always very lively.. your writing alone is already captivating actually, the comments from your appreciative followers macam menambah keceriaan..
Nice to know that you enjoyed Terengganu and fishing/angling.. My best friend has been writing and publishing "Kembara Kail" for more than a year now.. my pictures (so far) have appeared on monthly basis only as pelakon tambahan and in the advertisement. The nasihat and pointers in the magazine is from my friend not from Ayah Wang(me) as purported to be.
Although I love the nasi dagang, sometimes I enjoyed the laksam and pulut cawan more.
Psst.. the reason that I am very slow at updating my blog.. because there are so many good material, lessons, experience and off course some good writing for me to enjoy..
banyak lagi entries yang lama lama belum habis baca..
kadang kadang diri ini terasa inadequate pulak nak blogging ..

Wan Sharif said...

Dear Ida,
Thank you very much for dropping by.. enjoyed your writing .. as I stayed in Miri for about a year in 1980 and spent some working time in Sabah.. kekadang rindu juga nak dengar cerita cerita dari Malaysia Timur..

Diana said...

Ayoh Wang, glad to inform you that I already khatam your blog.. My own blog dah terkubur but I do occasionally blog hopping and once I started I will try to finish it all the way.. This is one interesteing article, I can see my two daughters develop my eating habit while Im pregnant with them (totally different, one with Chinese taste & the other one Western).. but Im not sure whether they are following me or I was forced to follow them(during pregnancy). The third and last one, I never get to see but looking at my eating habit during my pregnancy, Im quite certain that he's going to be exactly like his father (Minang taste)...

Wan Sharif said...

Diana dearest,
Thank you for "kataming" my blog.. Hmmm maybe the guy inside you are forcing you.. A weak excuses to allow you to enjoy all the wonderful dishes! .
Did ask someone else from the office to read this post.. She found it rather interestng.. She will be careful now that she is pregnant! ;)