Wednesday, August 17, 2011

AlFatihah to Rukinem binti Daud, circa 1938-2011

I got a message today from my sister Maslina, that my auntie, Rukinem binti Daud had passed away this morning about 4am Malaysian Time. Today being the 17th day of Ramadan.

We have always known her by her nickname, Mbokde Nik. She is older than my mother, ie my mother's immediate elder sister. She was married to Pakcik Husin, and lives at Blok O Sawah Sempadan, Tanjong Karang. As far as I remember, She has always been kind woman to us and always soft spoken and full of patience. Unlike her siblings, she never bore any children, but she has 3 adopted children. The first is Din, (hmm I dont remember my cousin's name, someone remind me pls :)) who is one year older than me, 2nd is Zaharah and the 3rd is Saadiah. Din and Saadiah are blood relation to Auntie Rukinem. Din is a son from Pakcik Husin's brother, while Saadiah is a daughter from the late Auntie Sarengah and Uncle Affandi, which is her younger sister.

My earliest memory of Auntie Rukinem (I suppose this is from the far recesses of my memory..) was when I was about 6 years old. Pakcik Husin and Mbokde Nik had a kenduri kesyukuran at their place. They had just adopted a baby girl, and named her Zaharah. I remember the baby cried alot, and being fed bottled milk. That was the first time I had seen such thing as milk powder, baby formula. I remember Mbokde Nik was trying to feed the baby with a bottle, filled with milk. Yet the baby was still crying. At that time their house was a bit far from the road. It was a wooden house with zinc roof. There was a few coconut trees around the house.
Pakcik Husin was working for DID in those days, whereby his job was looking after those water gate that control the flow of water at Sawah Sempadan. His job was opening or closing the water gate. Hence the Malay word, kunci air. Apparently, while doing his duties in those days near Bund Canal area, he got a bit thirsty. There was no tap water anywhere in those days, but water from a well in tanah gambut land is not salty, so he went to one house, asking to get water from their well. There were young couple living at the house, estimated in the late teen, a small basic house, built on 6 poles. Pakcik Husin heard the husband and wife were arguing while a baby was heard crying. After getting the water from the well, Pakcik Husin asked them why they were fighting; apparently the husband doesnt want to be burdened with a baby. So Pakcik Husin offered to adopt the baby.

Forward a couple of years, there was another rewang and kenduri at Mokde Nik's place, they were building another house, this time closer to the road.

I remember visiting Mbokde Nik in her then new house a few times. They were among the first to own a television in the early 70's. One time we stayed overnight at her place to watch cerita melayu on a Friday night (malam Sabtu). Her neighbours also watch the cerita melayu at her place.
In those days, Pakcik Husin and Mbokde Nik were caring for Pakcik Husin elderly mother, who was senile.

Last time I saw Mbokde Nik was 2 years ago, in January 2009. She was healthy back then, and I remember my late grandmother Mariam. Oh my, she looked like my late grandmother.

Please recite Alfatihah for her.

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