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?!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Travelling and Zikir

I was late to work this morning and as I was about to turn in from Jalan Tun Abdul Razak to KLCC, I was feeling rather empty, or rather 'empty headed'... Right there and then I remembered a story my uncle told me a couple of years ago. It was about his friend who ride a motorbike daily from his house in Losong to Pasar Kedai Payang. This friend made a habit of reciting suratul Waqiah to and from Pasar Kedai Payang.

I recalled my mother talked proudly of one of her male relative who recites suratul Mulk whenever he drive to work. I remembered one good old ustaz who read surratul Mulk and Assajadah after Maghrib prayer just before he was called to give a 'cheramah' at a Masjid. I also recalled that my late father told me suratul Waqiah is surah Rezeki and I heard or read somewhere that suratulMulk will defend it's fan on the judgement day.

I still remembered the time when I sang and hummed all the way from Gombak Toll to Dungun and I managed to knock off my two children long before we reached Genting tunnel. I do not know whether I can last that long reciting whatever little I can remember, but I am sure it would be worthwhile for me to know how far my children can stay awake should I decide to make a change.