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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Harun bin Mahmud



This is him. My father. My father whom I never quite knew as I lived with my grandfather and grandmother since I was one.

Although he was, like many old-school father, aloof and almost unapproachable, I always knew that he was watching me from afar.

I would ask for money to buy books from him and he would say he's got no money yet.

Deep down inside I detected sadness in his eyes when he said that. Because I knew he would give, if he had. Sure enough, when he had the money, he would ask me whether I still needed the book that I’d wanted before.

I will always remember the day I got my letter of admission to the University of Malaya. In his own way he was elated but he wouldn't jump for joy.

He came to me that evening, shirtless as usual and wearing a rolled up kain pelikat. He stood beside me and said, "Art, ayah heard you got to do law at UM." I said "yes". "You are not like your brothers, you know (referring to the fact that I didn't study hard like my brothers)," he said. He looked at me intently and asked, "would you pass?". I was surprised and after  a while I said, "I think I would."

There was this look of satisfaction in his eyes. And he said, "that's good."

That's him. He would watch over me from afar and kept his feelings inside. When he had doubts, he would ask. And when he gets the answer from me, he would take it at face value as he never judged me or any one of us, his kids.

He would then take a hundred dollar note and gave me. He said, "you would need a new pair of football boots in the uni. Go and buy them tomorrow. Use all 100 dollars. Buy a really really good pair," he said.

I was so surprised and was in fact speechless. I was a footballer. My grandma hated that. She did not like me playing football, perhaps because she was worried that I would hurt myself. I had to save my school money for four months to buy my first pair of football boots. And there he was, giving me 100 bucks to splash on a pair. One hundred dollars of his hard earned money. A whole month’s kitchen budget!

“Take it,” he said. “Ayah don’t have more to give.”

I took the money and thanked him. He said, "ayah only has that much. You go and buy a pair tomorrow. And good luck in your studies at the uni." He then walked away.

I bought a pair of Adidas Adi with that money in Alor Star the next day.

One evening, opening the door to my room at the residential college, there was a note on the floor. “Ayah in Uni Hospital, don’t worry, not bad,” it read. I rushed to the hospital on foot and there he was, sitting on the edge of the hospital bed. Seeing me he quickly declared, “I am ok, just a bit tired.”

As it turned out, he was tired because he had kidney problems. I visited him everyday, bringing food for him because according to him the hospital food was “langsung tak sedap, garam tak rasa apa pun tak rasa.”

One day he was describing to me that the nurse had inserted a hell of a long needle into his back and it was really painful. I think that was the biopsy which he had to undergo.

On the eve of his discharge from the hospital he told me he had two requests. “Tell your brother Idrus I want the fragrance which he uses and tell Dad (my eldest brother) I want to eat in a nice restaurant, if he’s free.”

The next night, me and all three of my elder brothers had a real nice dinner at the Chinese restaurant at Lake Club. My father was happy. He looked so alive. That was, I think, his very first trip to Kuala Lumpur! We then said good bye and the next day he left for home.

I still remember the day he died. He was there in a coma, lying in bed at the hospital. People were reading Yasin. I was sitting beside him crying. I was going to lose my father. A father I never quite took the trouble to know and to be close with.

An old man walked into the room, gave the salam. He asked who the head of the family was in the room. My brother said he was. The old man asked permission to read the Yasin. My brother said it was okay.

The old man sat at the end of the bed and cited Yasin by heart. He finished, gave the salam, and left.

My father passed away moments after that.

The father I never quite knew.


Anonymous said...

so touching...

kepten rotor said...

arrgh...sedih..mata aku basah

Anonymous said...

am sure lotta us can empathise.touching indeed

tee heng giap

nn said...


Anonymous said...

Fathers are strange creatures indeed, especially we were small and couldn't possible understand them. Still, we feel sad to see them go because deep down we have always loved them and would not have traded the world for them. I do think about my father a lot especially since he had gone and miss him so dearly even though back then I thought little of him

Ah Beng Crosby said...


Fi-sha said...

Dearesr Art

"It is not flesh and blood but the heart which makes us fathers and sons", says Johann Schiller.

Al-fatihah to Allahyarham Harun Mahmud.

Tiger said...

If I were heartless, I'd call you lucky.
Lucky in the sense that you had your parents longer than some people.
Including me.
Lost my mom at 12, and even then I went crazy for 6 years.
So I cannot imagine the loss and pain you felt for your father, nor will I pretend I understand how you felt.
May Allah bless your father's soul and may he rest in peace.

STEEST said...


Your father would be so very proud of you.

You honour his name.

No parent could ask for anything more.


Justin said...

Poignant! A nice tribute to your father! I hope my son would write about me like you did for your father.

Anonymous said...

Dear Art, this is indeed a very touching and candid recollection of ayah and his dying days. I remember clearly the dinner we had at Lake Club with Idrus and ayah was so happy to be entertained for dinner at such a prestigious club. Like you, I also never had the chance to know him intimately as I was also brought up by our grandparents and had to leave home at the age of 15 to live with a foster family in Alor Star in order to study in an english school. I also bought him a pair of Bata leather shoes from Metrojaya Bukit Bintang after he was discharged from hospital and i was so touched to see him admiring the shoes in my house the night before he went back to kampung. Little did i know that that would be his last trip to Kuala Lumpur. Ayah was a very good father to us and always very supportive and ever willing to support us with his very limited means. I always have very fond memories of him until today. Until today i always take a peep at his kain pelekat which i took from his wardrobe before i left for KL after his funeral. Let us all say Alfatihah to him and may Allah always bless his soul and may he always rest in peace.

-Abang Dad-

Anonymous said...

To all Dads out there - Happy Father's Day.

Anonymous said...



halimah said...

art, u take after him...your look that is :)

semoga Allah mengampuninya dan melapangkan kuburnya, amin.

Anonymous said...

for a son to speak so well of his father is indeed the best present a father could ever hope for... amin

Anonymous said...

Dear Bang Art, a very touching plot of ayah and his dying days. Like you, I also never had the chance to know him intimately as he passed away when I was still young (7 years old.

For me, Ayah was a very good father to us and may us all take a very good care of HARUN's LEGACY...

I miss him so much. Thanks Bang Art for this special piece of honour.

Adinda Hanif

d'enricher said...

I am not for father's day, mother's day and all this days.

For me everyday should be the day we think and care for all our beloved one.

However, your sharing about your father really touch my heart. I am among the lucky one, coz my dad is still around, at 80+ and so is my mum.

Keep up you sharing and opinion. All the best.


Yang said...

brilliant piece. Sad but touching

Hopeful One said...

hey, dont always write like this. You make ppl shed tears. Who wouldnt with an article like this?
Am going to balik kampung to visit dad this weekend!

zah said...

Dear art,kalau ayah ada lg,tentu dia bangga dgn pencapaian anak2 yg dia sayangi.kita sempat jugak membesar bersamanya walaupun dlm waktu yg singkat,tapi adek bongsu kita hanif tk sempat menunjukkan prestasinya pd arwah dn zaman kecilnya dia hanya membesar dgn emak.jgn lupa berdoa dn sedekahkan ayat2 suci utknya selalu,dia tetap hidup dlm jiwa kita ank2nya.i really miss him so much. .Al fatihah.

Faezah azizanharun 21/6/11

m a d a m b a d r i said...

abg art..im fren to kak paizah or i called her..kak pai..thanx for prepared such a beautiful entry..make me feel miss my abah so much....so touch....

Lidia Suhaimi....

m a d a m b a d r i said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

art dll ,

arwah ayah tidak meninggalkan apa-apa harta kecuali wang pencen untuk mak yang mana kadang-kadang bang din dapat tumpang sikit...asetnya yang berharga adalah anak-anak yang hampir semua berjaya dalam hidup...sekarang cucu-cucunya pula telah mula menunjukkan kejayaan...ada pakar-pakar ekonomi,akauntan-akauntan,peguam-peguam dan entah apa lagi...

sesungguhnya kita semua berakar umbikan darinya dan emak...kita mesti bersungguh-sungguh memberi kefahaman tentang perkara ini kepada generasi kita yang akan datang...jangan ada yang tak faham..

seperkara yang bang din sentiasa ingat arwah ayah adalah seorang yang baik tidak pernah menjentik anak-anaknya...arwah sentiasa berpakaian kemas, bersepatu kemana sahaja walaupun dikampung dan jarang berselipar...semua anak-anaknya mewarisi sikap dan disiplin ini...

dalam pesawat ketika bang din mengiringinya balik kekampung dari hospital UM arwah diam sahaja...rupanya dalam pesawat ada DYMM Sultan Kedah...di airport ramai yang menunggu ketibaan DYMM Sultan disamping ramai juga anak mukim yang menunggu kepulangan ayah,secara spontan ayah berkata 'ramai jugak yang menunggu ayah, Tunku Harun'... itu adalah antara kenangan manis bang din dengan arwah diakhir-akhir hayatnya..

semoga allah swt ampun segala dosa ayah, mencucuri rahmat ke atas rohnya dan menempatkan roh ayah bersama-sama dengan kumpulan roh orang-orang yang beriman dan dikasihiNYA..amin-amin yarabalalamin..

Dari: Bang Din

Anonymous said...

Bergenang airmata ini membaca nukilan seorang anak yang kehilangan ayah. Aku juga begitu, sehingga kini masih menatapi pemergiannya walaupun dalam 'hati'. Bila difikir-fikirkan untuk ketemunya diakhir nanti, Allahuakbar lamanya lagi...!! BerAlfatihah lah kita muga roh Almarhum ayah-ayah kita dicucuri rahmat Illahi. Siapalah kita tanpa mereka...

Anonymous said...

Your father would be ashamed to have you as a son, who is ashamed of being malay and fighting for the good of malays.
This tribute is one sided, in the grave he laments and curses you azhar harun.

Sea MunnKey said...


Sorry to hear the loss of your father ... sad as it may seem but this is part of our human natural life cycle.

Your father at least was man enough to request a reunion with his sons even if for a brief moment. He really wanted to see his sons while he still has a chance.

My father isn't like that at all as we have never spoken for well over 22 odd years or more. Both my older brother and myself are not my father's "favourites" but only to my sister and my youngest brother (who is very much like him.

Although your dad wasn't there all the time (which is pretty common for Asians as far as I know) but at least he was there to try to make amends for his stance on "standing from afar".

art harun said...

Sea MunnKey,

Sorry to hear about your relationship with your dad. I hope it would improve in time.

You are right. That's how my brothers and me felt. That in fact he came to KL just to make sure we were alright. It was his last trip to see all of us and that dinner was his last with us.

Have a good day.

Anonymous said...

art i was just wondering, are you brothers with datuk idrus harun, the solicitor general?

very touching piece by the way

-muhd nizamuddin hamid, advocate and solicitor

art harun said...

En Nizam,

Yes, we are.

Sea MunnKey said...

Hey Art Harun,

One day we should meet up when I'm in K.L. ... I'll keep you posted via e-mail.

Anonymous said...

Although my late father was just the opposite of yours but losing ones father is like loing a art of you.

I promised my father that I would write a letter "soon". I wrote to him and posted on his blog a week after he passed away.

Al Fatihah to both or fathers.

Anonymous said...

You are bumi, off course you will pass.