Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A tribute to a friend...

[November 24, 2007] The news on TV that evening of the demise of Datuk Mohd Taha Ariffin jolted us. It was a shock to both my spouse and me. The first to hear the news is my spouse who was at the kitchen at that time. She call me and told me of the sad news. Because the news was just in a flash, we had to sought a confirmation. I then call a friend in Kuching to get some confirmation from the hospital and at the same time my spouse call the hospital. Both enquiries confirmed the passing away of an honorable man. He die of cancer. A remarkable friend that I had known from the first day I was posted to Sarawak, in 1986. Immediately I SMS a condolence to Datin Siti Zaharah. Our house was adjacent to each other, off the Rock Road in Kuching.

I wanted to write this on the same day but just could not do it until now. It was just too difficult to write and I have been procrastinating on it for months already. It is only today that I am able to put in words of how I felt of our friendship. Even that I could still felt the pang of sadness in my heart. Anyway I am doing it now. It was a real heart breaking news for both my spouse and me. He had been one of the closes friend that we had from Sarawak and even after he retired we kept in touch. As I relate before in this blog, he was indeed an honorable man to have as a friend. Simple yet so full of the aura of friendship. Every time he is in Kuala Lumpur we would meet just to exchange notes. Out of the blue even when he is in Perth, Australia where he has a home, he would call and we would just talk of whatever that comes to our minds.

On March 10, 2007 we invited the couple to dinner at our home in Ampang Jaya. As usual after dinner we sat to chat. My spouse and me took a few snaps of that occasion as in the images below. Sometime in late October 2007 he call us to join them for lunch at the Flamingo nearby. So we went and had lunch there and as usual chats on things of interest and he said that he is flying to Singapore for a checkup and that he might buy a house in Singapore so that it would be easy for him to stay while there. Since he was in a hurry to catch his flight, we ended the lunch with the usual greeting. See you again and take care. That was the last time I saw him until we heard on the TV of his demise.

His widow in Datin Siti Zaharah, a charming lady, now a retiree was once a very senior female figure in the Civil Service of the state government of Sarawak. The last SMS I got from her shows the pain she still had on the demise of her husband. Even as I write this I still could feel the pain of the lost but I felt that I had to do this posting, just in a way to immortalized him in cybersphere. A true friend indeed until the end. Friends, Death is definitive. Alfatihah and Amen.


Mr Bojangles said...

Pak Idrus,

So sorry to hear about the demise of your dear friend. I didn't know him personally, but I'm sure for you to have said such good things about him he must have been really someone worth knowing. We all have come across such people.

Anyway, as our Prophet (saw) said "those who have passed on have gone to meet whatever they sent before them." So be comforted that good will be met with good.

BTW, the pictures from your garden and your sojourns to the countryside, especially, create a sense of warmth here where last night the mercury dipped to 3F and, with winds howling at around 50mph, the wind chill was -17F.

This morning expecting a lot of downed trees and branches caused by the winds that howled almost all last night, I was pleasantly surprised to see no such damage on my drive out. Wonder how the trees, and utility poles, here can withstand such gale forces.

Take care and keep the very interesting blogs coming.

Pak Idrus said...

Mr.bojangles, thanks for the visit and the kind words on this posting as well as my other posting.

Datuk Taha is indeed a great friends. He was once the VP of the Malaysian Football Association as well as the Deputy State Secretary of Sarawak. One of a kind.

So you are living in the US now. The only country in the world that did not use the Metric system, still with the lb, Fahrenheit and the MPH. In Malaysia it is illegal to you the non Metric. The UN requested all countries to use the Metric system in the early seventies. Malaysia and the rest of the would follow that directive. I was in the committee to implement that project and we succeeded in a rather short time. I believe the present generation of Malaysian did not know what is Mile, lb, Fahrenheit.

As for the weather and when I was living in Boston in late nineties saw the thick snow there and when buying things it is in non-metric. i.e. in lb. When we visited Canada we found there everything are in Metric. The speed in KPH and the road signs in Kilometer. Till now the US has not change to Metric.

The weather in Kl is unusual as well, yesterday at Kampng Pandan some thirty house had it roofs rip off. It global warming I think.

Sure I shall continue to blog and am enjoying doing it. Have a nice any do come and visit again. Take care.

Pak Idrus said...

mr.bojangles, correction: The last para should read ' Sure I shall continue to blog and am enjoying it. Have a nice day and do come and visit again. Take care'.

Hi&Lo said...

Pak Idrus,

Am very touched by your loss of your dear friend.

Cos you value friendship so deeply, you deserve great friendships.

God bless you as you bless many who are privileged to know you in person.

Pak Idrus said...

hi&lo, thanks for the visit and the kind words on this posting.

Indeed I treasured my friendship. They soon became sort of a relative and the bond became stronger and stronger day by day. So when the time is up, one just leave, for death is definitive. But memories stays as fresh as the morning dew.

Thanks again for been so nice. Have a nice day and take care.

Rita Ho said...

Hi Pak Idrus ... That is a lovely tribute for a special friend and unique person. I believe that people come and go in our lives, some stay for a while, others a bit longer and we just have to make the most of our time with them. I am glad you did that with Datuk Taha and now have great memories of those times.

So, you were involved in pushing us Malaysians to the metric system. You guys did a good job because I quickly let go of the imperial system. I had to pick it up again when I moved here but it wasn't bad - like driving, it never went away! I sort of stay ahead on both since I balik kampung almost every year.

Yes, keep entertaining and enlightening us with your blog entries, Pak Idrus. My husband also enjoys reading your blog and told me that he would like to meet up with you on our next trip back. :)

Pak Idrus said...

rita, thanks for the visit and the kind words on this posting, as well as sharing your thoughts on the Metric system.

As I have stated in my blog 'strangers are friends that you have yet to meet' Like you and David I consider as friends already although we just met only in cybersphere. It would be great meeting you both when you are next in KL.

On friendship, once the friendship is bonded, we should treat each other with respect and treasured that friendships.

As for the Metric system Malaysian adapt to changes fast indeed and in no time people became accustom to the Metric system and that made things easy for the government. I wonder when the US is going to change to Metric.

I enjoy blogging and happy the you and David enjoy reading it. It kept my mental faculty healthy as well. Have a nice day.

Rita Ho said...

Pak Idrus ... The US is slowly inching towards the Metric System. Most if not all packaged items are required to display weight and dietary info in both measurements. It will be a long while before the system is adopted though since the right time (when the rest of the world pushed for it) has passed. It is now easier to convert rather than standardize.

Enjoy your weekend, Pak Idrus!

Pak Idrus said...

rita, thanks for the return visit and sharing your thoughts on America and the Metric system. As long as they use both system, they simply cannot change. The must made a point to change before such and such date. They are already ways behind.

Have a nice day and Enjoy the weekend. BTW. Give the birds a chancelah!!!.

Anonymous said...

Pak Idrus,

To introduce myself, my name is Azlan Aris Fadzillah Hj Mohd Taha.. and i was surfing through the internet just reading on blogs and i found yours regarding my father.. i am so glad at least there are people out there who has the time to remember the man i call "bapak" and a mentor.. a shame i never met you with him when i was in kl, but i hope we could go to flamingo and have a coffee together. Just seeing the pictures u posted brings tears to my eyes.. he looks soo healthy but even in sickness he never showed any pain.. Allhamdulillah, i was there with him throughout eveything, and i am thankful he has a friend like you.. thank you for your kind words and may you and your family be blessed always by Allah S.W.T.. Amin...

"When You Do Something Always Do IT To The End" - DTA

Azlan Taha (

Pak Idrus said...

azlan, thanks for the visit and the kind words on my posting regarding your dad.

I am happy that you found the blog. Your late dad is a great man to know and I am glad that I am his friend. And I treasured that friendship. It is the same with your mom. I did SMS her a few time to ask how is she doing and the reply has been she is still trying to cope with the situation. Just like you and the family we do missed this Man.

Have a nice day and take care.