Friday, October 30, 2009

Two Generations Removed....

Md Yasin bin Abdul Jani, 1896 - 1957

The man in the picture is my paternal granddad, Md Yasin bin Abdul Jani. This write up is meant for my siblings and their children, my cousins, second cousins, and others who may know of our families, and remember this man. My memory of my granddad is sketchy and information I have on the man is also sketchy. It is my hope and wish that this write up is corrected for anomalies and inaccuracies and records straightened up if possible by anyone with the correct information.

Migration of Indonesians to Malaysia (Malaya) and vice-versa, if any, started even before the times of that (warrior?) Parameswara in 1400s (based on the history lessons I attended in school) and the absence of any identity checks and records made it rather difficult to track or make traces of the migration. I guess this migration phenomena continued ever since although there is some form of identification efforts to differentiate the people from the two countries and others now.

Three young men, Abdul Jani, his elder brother Aspani, and another brother (name unknown), all still bachelors I think, migrated from Pekan Baru, Riau, Sumatra in the mid 1800s by a rowing boat to look for better pastures across the sea. After several days of travelling in the boat and braving the waves, guided by the positions of the sun in the day and the stars at night, and food rations running low, they landed in Tanjung Minyak Beku which is at the coast of Batu Pahat, Johor. How long they stayed there is not known. Perhaps due to difficulties in making a living In Batu Pahat the three brothers decided to move on. They then continued in their boat and followed the coast northwards landing in Kesang. They eventually parted ways there. Aspani, who was a skilled goldsmith, decided to venture South, landed in Singapore and worked as a goldsmith. Abdul Jani, decided to settle down in Parit Jawa and went into farming. The third brother continued migrating North. It was believed that he finally settled down in Lumut. I think he took the boat with him. Not much is known of the two brothers. I remember my dad once visited a relative in Singapore, a sailor, who was a descendant of Aspani. I was a small boy then and I do not remember what happened after that visit. (Singapore was then a bustling seaport and many young men in Singapore became sailors to see the world).

Abdul Jani set up home in Parit Jawa, got married and had three children, Md Yassin, Fatimah and Othman. I do not know much about the life of Abdul Jani, what he did, where he lived and who he married, but I do know that he maintained contacts with his other relatives in Sumatra. So also information that I have on Fatimah and Othman are rather sketchy. I remember some of their offsprings and that too are sketchy. Other family members could perhaps add on to the facts that I noted here.

Md Yasin joined the Police force and rose in ranks to be a Police Inspector until retirement. He set up home in Muar, marrying a woman, Damnah bt Said from his father’s village in Riau, Sumatra as his first wife. If I am not mistaken this was an arranged marriage. His job as a police officer (people called him Merinyu Md Yasin) had him posted to various towns in Johore. I know that he was posted to Muar,Tangkak, Pontian, Kota Tinggi, Keluang and other towns. His job had him dealing with the local public a lot. He was one of the few who owned a car. He was a friendly, good looking man, with good (maybe enviable at the time too) government position, respected and popular amongst the locals wherever he was posted, and especially so with the pretty ladies. His family remained in Muar whenever he was posted to other towns. He married several times, in the various towns that he was posted to. How many times grandpa married I am not too sure but I remember my dad said many times, more than the fingers of both hands! However he had children only from two of the wives, from my own grandma, Damnah, and another grandma Rafeah Ismail (we called her Tok Nyah). Tok Nyah hailed from Pontian, married grandpa after the death of Damnah, and lived with grandpa in Muar and later Johor Bahru.

I did not get to meet my own grandmother, Damnah, but I do remember my step-grandmother, Tok Nyah and got to meet, only once, two other step-grandmothers, one in Kota Tinggi and another in a seaside village in Johor Bahru. I do not remember their names and do not have any information of their lives. I know that they do not have any children with my grandpa, hence no unknown cousins anywhere!

Grandma Damnah had seven children. Five of them died either at birth or when still very small. My dad was fourth and an uncle, Abdul Jalil, sixth. Abdul Jalil, after a skirmish with the Japanese soldiers during the Japanese occupation, died at their hands as a young man in his twenties. So my dad was the sole survivor (coincidentally in the middle) amongst his siblings from grandma Damnah. Grandma Damnah died when dad was about 5 years old. She was laid to rest in Pekan Baru, Riau. One of my paternal uncles managed to locate her grave when he visited Pekan Baru not too long ago. We made a promise that if we can get away from our busy schedules we would go together to Pekan Baru and he would show me where her grave was located but that did not happen. My uncle passed away suddenly before we could make that trip. I am still determined to locate my grandma’s grave and am looking for pointers and the Almighty’s pleasure towards locating it.

Grandma Rafeah or Tok Nyah had nine children, seven boys and two girls. These were the ‘paternal’ grandma, uncles and aunties that I know of and grew up with, while my dad was always considered as Tok Nyah’s eldest. All the children were born in Muar where Tok Ayah and Tok Nyah lived until they moved to Johore Bahru sometime in 1948. I remember the large wooden bungalow that has quite a large, open yard in the front and side of the house. I played in the house and in the front yard a lot, faintly remember the naughty pranks I played on my uncles, and had my grandpa or grandma’s protection whenever I get the wrath of uncles and aunties, heh heh. I was the eldest grandchild you see, and I got away with anything. Tok Ayah built a raised floor wooden bungalow in a village some 15 kilometers away from the Johor Bahru town centre. It was raised tall enough for cars to be parked underneath the house. It was a large house with several rooms upstairs and a fairly large kitchen with attached dining at ground level in the back portion of the house. The compound of the house was also large, much bigger than the former house in Muar. I spent a lot of time in this house and played with my uncles and aunties.

Tok Ayah came to our house in another part of Johor Bahru often. He usually came alone and by bus. He had to take two buses each time. I don’t remember him sleeping over but remember playing with him often, hide and seek, cowboy & red Indians, tops, kites and so on. He passed away late 1957 of a lung problem. He was quite sickly towards the end of his life and came to our house very infrequently. On the day he died, I remember sitting at one edge staring at his body and wondering why he was so still, did not get up and why people were coming and going to see him. I used to miss this man much after he was gone but had the uncles to contend with after that. Dad was busy with his work and also the political uprising at the time, hence less time for me allowing me to spend a lot of time with my uncles. However dad would catch up with me whenever he was free, going on outings, playing games in-door and outdoor. I have a lot of fond memories on this………..

This Picture Was At The Muar House Before Moving To JB. Standing Back from Left: Salleh, Mahmood standing in-front of Ibrahim (Awang), Tok Ayah, Md Shah (Idris), Mariam, Hamzah. Sitting Left: Fatimah (Sarah) with Baharudin (Musa) and Tok Nyah with Md Nor

MKI Ramblings Unlimited
Petaling Jaya

Saturday, October 24, 2009


A Beautiful Lady and Her First-born, Taken More Than 60 Years Ago! No Prize For Guessing Who They Are!

Third week of Syawal is usually a time when I go down to JB to catch up with family and friends. This time people are getting back to their routines after a week or two of running around in celebration and receiving visitors at home in between. That is how Eid Fitri is observed. One month of Syawal dedicated for seeking amends to one year of happenings in ones' life.

We had planned to leave PJ early Wednesday morning with a first stop at Brother Abid's house in Melaka for lunch. That plan was thrown a'skewed however with the passing away of a 74 years old maternal uncle (in-law) on Tuesday night. Ram and I were at Aunty's house that night until the wee hours. The funeral service started at about 10am Wednesday and over by about just after noon. So, lunch in brother Abid's became late high tea and with the usual courtesy Eid Fitri visits in Melaka we ended the evening and rested for the night in Abid's house. We had a long day Thursday and needed a good rest. We had to catch up on lost sleep too.

Thursday was indeed a long day. We left Abid's house and headed for Muar and then to Batu Pahat, then to Pontian and finally JB arriving at almost midnight. We took the opportunity to visit friends and relatives in the various towns we passed through. The visits were ok but it was tough on our tummies with all the good food served upon us on these visits. Indeed my waistline has changed and weight on the upper scale now ha ha ha!

In Front Of My Sister's House with Brother-in-law and his grandchildren, a Brother, His wife, Nephews and Nieces

Ram & Her Niece

While in JB we spent a good part of the time with mum and also visited Ram's and my relatives, including my younger brother Kifli who was not well and housebound due to some problems with his leg. On these visits we saw some old photos of Ram's and my relatives, and some of mine too. I manage to retake these photos for my album, not as good as the original but suffice for my purpose.
Ram's Dad

We had to return to PJ by Saturday as we had several invitations for the weekend to attend to and these invitations involved eating and over eating..... phew!!! how do I get back my old waistline????? A tough one that..... We managed another visit on the way back to PJ, this time an aunty and family living in Senai, some 30km out of JB. More food..... my oh my.... glorious food.... Aunty even packed more food for us to take home in spite of having eaten in her house .....

Ramlah & Ramlah (Ram and My Auntie - same name)
With Aunty & Family

Ram's Eldest Brother

MKI Ramblings Unlimited,
Petaling Jaya

Thursday, October 15, 2009


I visited a relative, 74 years old, diagnosed with early stage Alzheimer and
doing strange things in the house like, keeping the house keys in the letter
box, shoes on pile of clothings in the wardrobe instead of the shoe rack and
other similar things. He remembers me and my wife though and recalled the fun
things we did together when we were young, etc.

I checked out the subject on the net, and there were many, just by searching
alzheimer, and voila! there were so much information. Interesting read. Check
out the difference between normal forgetfulness and alzheimer. Lifting your
glasses onto your forehead and later searching for it all over the house is not
yet alzheimer, going upstairs to look for something and forgetting what it was
you were looking for when there is normal and not alzheimer....

Alzheimer is when you keep the iron in the freezer as an example, or when you
go out and forget the way to return home. One neighbour drove his car to PJ
town, did his errands and forgot where he parked the car. After a long while he
took a cab to go home. He remembered Kampong Tunku but did not remember where
his house was. Cab driver had to ask several people in Kg Tunku when ultimately
one recognised him and sent him home. Phew.... that's scary...... His wife
passed away one day, and in the evening after the funeral his children held
prayers in the house, he was asking everybody why there were so many people in
the house....

Just sharing.......

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Chance Encounter Amongst Old Friends

43 years ago, 3 young men amongst many other young men, started work in a then newly established chemical manufacturing plant, a downstream hydrocarbon industry, in a then remote area of the Klang Valley. This remote area has now become a bustling industrial area with the signature congestions and traffic jams and so on so forth. The three got together very well, were close, and often do things together, mahjong, cards, outings etc. etc. that is quite personal to reveal heh heh. Time passed and one of them left to pursue a career in the airline industry which took him hopping the world over and not much time to spare for his two other friends. More time passed on and the second young man left to pursue his career in the oil and gas industry which took him to other locations far away from the Klang Valley. Meanwhile the three got married and started their families. The first two met once and somehow later managed to become immediate neighbours in their present homes. The third friend set up home not too far away. However, as close as they were they did not manage to get together.

One fine day, at the wedding of one of the children, the three met again and as far as I can remember subsequent meetings were at weddings of their other children. Phone numbers were exchanged each time they met, email addresses were exchanged, one or two emails and sms's were exchanged and that was about all. They have all retired now but still active in their daily lives in their own way. The two immediate neighbours too hardly got time for each other.
The Three Friends Who Rarely Get To Meet. I wonder how two of them manage to keep their hair black???

Two days ago, a Sunday, one of the two immediate neighbours held an open house in celebration of Eidl-Fitri. Invited guests started streaming in but the immediate neighbour could not attend his neighbour's open house immediately as he was held back at home by streams of visitors for the Eidl-Fitri as well. He managed to get away in between visitors quite a little while later after all and popped over to the neighbour's house. Most of the invited guests have left by then. And by timely coincidence the third friend arrived with his wife just then. Very timely indeed and a nostalgic meeting too. When will they meet again......? Only time will tell...
The Immediate Neighbour And The Third Friend

MKI Ramblings Unlimited
Petaling Jaya

Monday, October 05, 2009

Keeping Family Tradition Alive

It was the third day of Eidul-Fitri, traditionally a day when all 10 of my siblings and their family members gather together to renew family ties and commitments under the family grouping of WTCC . This was the 27th annual gathering and four generations, starting from Mum, were involved. Mum, the 'le pedron', the Patron of WTCC must be the happiest person in the family that day. It was a day that started off with some family members invading the hotel swimming pool very early in the morning, then breakfast, then a meeting of elders (AGM)to review and renew WTCC activities, look at its finances and attend to other normal business of an AGM, while the younger ones, went through their own activities including drawings and paintings, games galore for the little ones, the tiny tots of the family; all these were followed by buffet lunch in the hotel restaurant and the day culminated with a gala night held in the main ballroom. The gala night was not the end though as the younger ones gathered for a game of futsal the next day.

Everyone was dressed in the WTCC red and black T's for the 'day' activities and on that day one can see this red and black T-shirts everywhere in the hotel. The whole day activities were planned and executed by a team led by my sister, the second sibling, and assisted by another brother, the eighth sibling, and the COO of WTCC, and his committee members.

A serious session started off at 9.00am in the meeting room where the elders, with Mum overseeing, sat in an Annual General Meeting of WTCC, chaired by yours sincerely being the chairman 'by default'. (Mum, at 87, apparently was only interested in the finances of WTCC as she was on copies of the balance sheets, P&L and other finance data the whole meeting period!!) This was the 27th annual meeting. The meeting started off very well, the finances and investments reviewed and were in order, activities for the year reviewed and for the coming year charted, other initiatives were proposed to enhance WTCC's position in terms of member opportunities and benefits for which a working group was assigned to take an in-depth look at the proposals and their implementation if deemed viable, a SWOT analysis. There are more work to be done but it will be worth the effort. The AGM ended at about 12.30pm and all gathered in the restaurant for the buffet lunch. The kids and bigger children were already there having their lunch. As we entered the restaurant we could see, almost half of the restaurant, all in red already started enjoying their lunch.

After lunch the younger members of WTCC then prepared the hall for the Gala night, putting up the backdrop, pictures, children drawings and other preparatory activities with the help of the hotel staff. By 5.00pm everything was ready. Ram and I was invited to have a once through lookover in the hall and I obliged with a thumbs up for a preparatory job well done. It has to be, after 27 years it has become a routine now, especially so when the members in the preparatory team were led by a few members who are professionals and already familiar with event management at their respective places of work.

The Gala Night started at about 7.30 pm with the arrival of family members and children. We had our uncles and aunties and a few cousins as invited guests. Mum made an entry into the hall at about 7.45pm with four school-going martial arts exponents performing a welcome. This was followed by a photography session and by 8.05pm the gala show began starting with the tiny-tots, 4 to 10 years old, performing a traditional folklore dance. They had been practising for about a month and it was fun watching them perform. (Watch it on youtube: Also watch Dinner was after two short speeches by the Chairman, organising committee and by me as WTCC Chairman. There were several performances by talented family members during dinner. Then there were study and special achievements awards to family members given out by Mum as Patron of WTCC, raffles and draws, an auction to generate funds for WTCC, quiz and other fun activities drawn up by the organising committee. The night ended at close to midnight with everyone leaving the hall with something in their hands and a memory to last for at least another year. I think everybody had fun that night. It will be a great challenge for the organising committee next year whoever they will be........
Mum's arrival pushed by Chairman organising committee
WTCC Group photograph
Warisan TCC Chairman giving a speech

MKI Ramblings Unlimited
Petaling Jaya