In memory of Pak Man - the best neighbor I ever had.
How many of us would talk to our neighbors, not just the one next door, but the whole 40 doors n.e.w.s, talk... not just smile and say hi, in this 'modern' era in KL? I bet..not many of us...
Well, Pak Man would, regardless of any race, religion, age, citizenship....everyone who passed by his house while he was doing his gardening, watering his beautiful n healthy plants, paint his gate and whatever work around the house that would kept him busy, he would talk n chat with them.
He was not being nosy of any sort but he always had something to talk about. He had a deep voice with a quite high tone, so whenever he speaks, everyone around could hear. He didn't sound irritating or annoying at all, in fact it was soothing to hear that he was around, taking care of the place he has lived in for more than 20 years.
We moved in beside his house about 6 months ago, but I knew him since I was little. his daughter is a friend of mine and we went to the same primary school. During my teen, I always hung out at my friend's house near his. So, I always saw him. But of course, when I introduced myself 6 months ago, he couldn't recall seeing me.
He was friendly. We chatted almost every time, after I send my kids to school. His wife, Aunty Munah is a very nice lady and she is the homey type, didn't get to talk to her much. See, between my house and his house is a beautiful-grassy alley. That's where his garden is. Although our house is a corner lot, we don't have our own land at the side of the house. So, Pak Man will always do his gardening at this no man's land.
That alley led to a village, where many Indonesians (who has been staying here for a long time) and some locals, live. Many of them are his acquaintance too.
I remembered I told him about my concern of the people who is frequently walking by just beside my window to him, and he said its okay, I'm around. I remembered, a week before Raya this year, when suddenly I heard a grass cutter sound from my backyard. I was surprised, to see someone was 'repairing' my lawn, and Pak Man was standing by looking at the man 'mowing', who eventually is staying behind my house (one of the villagers). Apparently, he requested that guy to do it for him by using his new cutting grass machine. Without me knowing, he asked my kids to opened up the backyard gate. I looked at Pak Man and shouted (as it was noisy, I wasn't rude), "Apa ni, Pak Man?"(slang utara, as he is from Penang) and he said, "Takpa, Selamat Hari Raya" and smiled...(he didn't have to shout, his voice is loud enough ;-)). I immediately called up my other half and said, we have to give him something in return, as he was so kind. Yeah, his kindness was countless.
During his family's Raya open house, we cooperated a bit, as he need to use some space. We didn't mind, and that was the first and the last time we sat down and chatted with him. A week after Raya, I barely hear his voice in the morning. I was wondering why, I thought he went somewhere for holiday. He didn't appear constantly as before. I thought of asking, but it didn't get there. Seriously, it was kinda odd to not 'hear' him. About two weeks ago, he asked whether I have a playar, I laughed and said, "I wanted to borrow yours a week ago but your house was shut". He grinned.
When I was sick the other day, my other half managed to speak to him. He mentioned about having hypertension and the doctor advised him not to carry anything heavier than 5kg..he said, "Pak Man takut dah, sebab if i go the market, it'll weight more than 10kg". Three days ago, I saw him got down from a cab. He held a pack of food in his hand.
Yesterday....... As I was about to go out, I saw a few cars....in front of my house. I was a little annoyed, as it was difficult for me to reversed my car out. Until I saw a light brown hearse from my rear mirror, I stopped...One elderly Indian couple was walking by the roadside towards me...I stopped them and asked what happened. The woman said, "He passed away..." I asked, "Who passed away?" The man said "Osman..." I said "What!!!" Then the woman said, " I still can't believe it, yesterday we were talking to him..and today he's gone". Pak Man is like a well like 'Penghulu' in this area, he sometimes walked around and talk to everyone. Many of the residents here are pensioners. Seems that, the day before his passing, he talked to many people around here. A way for him to say goodbye?...Wallahualam
I have an appointment that time, I drove...off. Blank. I drove to the shop nearby, made all necessary calls and returned home immediately. I changed my clothes and went to pay my last respect. The visitors...as per what I wrote earlier, from all walks of life..., many walked down from their house to his. The family was still shocked by the sudden demise. He had a Heart attack in IJN. He was buried after Isya' and I made my way to the cemetery, after I have settled my stuffs. Tears filled my eyes. No more of his unique voice every morning, afternoon and evening. My kid was asking, "Then who is going to water his plants?" I said, "We all...". His funeral went smooth and simple, and there were no heavy rain. Alhamdullilah. At the back of my mind the memories of Pak Man still lingers and that is why I am writing this. He was and still special for us one family although we only knew each other. Sorry this was written in a sloppy english, I just felt like writing about him, and it came out spontaneously.
To Latifah (Intan) and family, your father, like I have mentioned to you that day, he was a super nice man, kind, generous and funny. He is like an uncle to us (y'know the THE favorite-uncle type), maybe to many of the neighbors here too. He will be deeply and dearly missed by us all. My condolence to you and family, may his soul be amongst the solihins. Amin. Al Fatihah.
P/s: during the tahlil ceremony, many turned up, more than 100 people cramped up the house and the single storey house compound. ...he went to IJN alone?...and only the doctor knew what happened? Walluhualam