REBAS X

You won’t miss what you have until it is taken away from you- so they say. I found the truth in that this week. Last few weeks have very hectic as I was drawn into the preparation of sending my eldest for her further studies oversea. Now that she was gone suddenly I realised I have lost someone who would listen to my rantings and ravings about education, life, football, government, bad road signs, music and everything else under the sun. I can discussed with her about anything and she would listen patiently (or pretending to be listening with her iPod on) and occasionally she punctuates with her take on things. Topmost, of course I am worried about her being away in a foreign land without actually knowing where she would be staying. Her accommodation is still not confirmed. No thanks to her sponsor for being tardy in confirming her status as their scholar. But I have big faith in her ability and steely determination, a positive trait definitely not inherited from me, must be from her mum. I am also banking my faith on the famous amiability, civility and helpfulness of the university authority to help her – much due the stories I heard from friends and also from personal experience studying in foreign land many moons ago. I have not heard from her actually, since she smilingly zoomed past the immigration counters at KLIA last Friday – very unlike my tearful separation from the family, trudging down the open tarmac to the waiting staircase of MAS at the old Subang airport 30 years ago, except for an SMS from HongKong and a brief phone call from Montreal. Umm… that trait definitely she inherited from me. In my travelling days, I would more often than not late in making any contact with the family. Much to the chagrin of the wife. She often chided me for not calling home often enough. I assumed too much complained the wife, I thought I always make an effort to call, albeit a tad later than it should be. I assumed everything is OK. I assumed everything is in order and there is no necessity to make quick contact. I only call immediately if there is a problem. So much so that if there is a call, my wife would be worried and if I received a call from her I would be worried. It is all twisted logic. But those days, hand phone and SMS was not even in the drawing board yet. To make a call would entail either queuing up at the public phone (getting one that works was by itself a big problem, not to mention finding enough coins) or going through the hotel operator to make the connection (provided you have paid the RM30 deposit with the hotel). By the time you reach the booth, the were already ten people ahead of you, all treating the public phone as their own. By the time your turn came, the coin box was full, even a hefty thump or kung Fu kick won’t do. You wait after the night session meeting was over and by the time you got thru’ people at home already asleep. Mind you in those days, cheap calls only available after 7pm. If you call via the hotel operator, be prepared to pay through your nose. But I am sure my daughter did try to call as often as possible, maybe her I Talk card is not working, maybe the public phone system in Canada is still expensive, maybe her hand phone roaming system has gone haywire. Somehow, somewhere I still hope she did not really inherit my tardy habit of communicating (or uncommunicating rather) with the family. Boy, I missed her and I wish her well. I hope and pray she already found a place to stay so that she can settle down quickly. I know she would call – some day. Hopefully not only when there is a problem. Now I know how my wife and father must have felt those days. Allah surely knows how to teach me take my own medicine.

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