Rahmah Nik, the only daughter of Nik bin Besah and Yang Chik. granddaughter of storyteller Bebunga from Endau. An avid reader, Syair Ken Tambuhan, Hikayat Tajul Muluk and Hikayat Abdullah enthralled her. It was the 1930s, life was charmed yet turbulent with her policeman father travelling around the country. He was honoured for saving Dato Hussein's life during the war.
Cikgu Rahmah Nik, young teacher in her teens. She taught school children during the day and adult literacy classes at night in Pekan, Pahang. At a school fair, a visiting teacher - Jaafar Awang Pekan bought a blue muffler she knitted from her. Little did she know, Jaafar fell in love with the hazel eyed vivacious teacher in kebaya there and then.
Puan Rahmah Nik, married at eighteen years of age. This was not an easy endeavour as Jaafar was engaged to another in Chenor. The break up caused a minor family riot which took years to settle. But both Jaafar and Rahmah were very much in love and remained so for the rest of their lives. Remembering the war, she spoke of tapioca days and thread made of pineapple leaves, saving matches to last the day. Hiding neighbours in the kitchen, masquerading as maids. Sisters masquerading as boys. Later they were involved in the National Teacher's Union, fighting for a better life, then for the country. There were conferences and rallies to attend. She gave up jewellery and time for the cause.
Good neighbour, quick witted
Passionate about Malaya
Tok Rahmah Nik, grandmother at age 41 when first granddaughter was born far away in Australia. Together with Tok Jaafar, they were pioneers, he as headmaster and she was a teacher at the first Felda school in Lurah Bilut. Life was hard at the Rumah Kongsi - she negotiated with the Orang Asli for supplies as they loved to barter for batik, and other household stuff.
Knew hardship first hand
She kept the family together
Mak Chu Rahmah Haji Nik, back in Chenor was mother of ten, and Wanita UMNO leader. The household doubled up with nieces and nephews coming to stay. It was not luxurious but everyone had enough to eat and most importantly, the discipline to study hard. Everyone of the children and adopted children earned a place in residential schools.
Generous as she knew how
Problems to be solved - now
Tok Rahmah Haji Nik took in her eldest grandchild, yours truly who needed to be schooled in AlQuran and religion. At age 10, I could not read the Al-Quran nor understood the need to pray. Grandfather, Grandma and Tok Lebai took charge and I finished reading Quran the year after. Long after I left Chenor, I was told how Tok Lebai Ismail praised my ease and determination to read the Al Quran until his dying days. He passed away when I was overseas in Canada.
My grandma cooked breakfast for the poor students in school and entered craft fairs. She held Tupperware and Arcopal parties for the ladies. At night, she would faithfully prepare her notes for lessons the next day and she wrote in the most meticulous and beautiful handwriting I have known.
We watched Peyton Place on Tuesdays and Thursdays, P Ramlee on Friday nights. School holidays started with Tok Jaafar going to the train-station in Mentakab to fetch my aunties and uncles who returned for the holidays from MCKK, STF, SDAR, SEMSAS, STAR and more. She took me to do my IC. When I was to be sent to boarding school, Sekolah Seri Puteri, Tok Jaafar and Tok Rahmah drove me to Kuala Lumpur. We stayed at Hotel Asia.
Showered me with attention
Told me stories - Ken Tambuhan
To think through problems
Hajah Rahmah Haji Nik went to Mekah after Tok Jaafar recovered from a prolonged illness which left him bones and skin. Whenever he was ill, that old blue muffler faithfully kept him warm. He recovered and they went for pilgrimage the year after. This started a passion for travelling in Tok Rahmah. After Tok Jaafar passed on, Tok Rahmah travelled to Jordan, Turkey and Egypt. She bought a little camera and used it with sheer delight.
Late starter traveller
Stories from abroad
Hajah Rahmah Yang Chik, passed away after being cared for by my mother in Taman Melawati. She was in pain, we told her stories and she wanted to hear Ken Tambuhan for the last time. As always, the Classic Nasional on the radio was by her side. She had always wanted her final resting place to be in Pekan where her father and husband were laid to rest. So we gathered as family in Pekan, the sky was overcast, there was the gentlest of drizzle.
Is no longer with me
Her last quiet breathe
She left gently
A lifetime of purpose.
You will find more reflections on Grandma here.
If I could turn back the clock
Il y a 11 mois