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  • It was a balmy Sunday morning, February 3rd, when my Daddy departed for his next adventure. No, he did not leave us and become a scumbag daddy who abandoned his family, but rather, he passed away, passed on, in other words, died.

    People kept asking us if he was sick; would it have been better that he was known to suffer of something and had died because of it? The three days before he went on his journey, he did suffer of severe abdominal discomfort. We took him to the clinic. We took him to the hospital. He was given a clean bill of health (stomach pains notwithstanding) and we left with minimal medication and a referral letter.

    That Sunday morning he had breakfast with us. It was odd in that I actually helped in the making of breakfast since I'm usually slow in the morning. My sister and I made American style breakfast with hash browns and sausage and eggs over easy plated individually (some like their yolks harder than others) served with sweet milky tea. I didn't sit with him during breakfast, having been asked to bathe my nephew, whose overnight diaper was already quite ripe. Daddy sat near me while I had my breakfast and I thought he looked okay, if a little tired.

    Anyway, this is not a recount of his last moments with us, which he spent in my mother's arms. I'd rather not go over again how my heart felt like it had been wrenched from my chest when I realised that he was gone. I actually wanted to share a little of the mini biography requested by my neighbour to read as Daddy's eulogy at the recent residents' association meeting. My Daddy knew all of our neighbours (his blur daughter does not), and all of them had positive memories of him; a few even thought they still see him sweeping the fallen mango leaves in front of our house. The female half of the couple who went for mini pilgrimage to Mecca recently where they offered prayers on his behalf had thought that she saw him there, smiling.

    Anyway. Back to the mini biography, with some edits since this is for Cowbird.

    Haji Kulop Abdul Rahman bin Ahmat was born on the 19th of October 1938 in Perak to Mrs. Puteh Masiah binti Alang Mat Teha and Mr Ahmat bin Kulop Seberang. He was the youngest child, a welcome surprise late in the life of the couple (my grandma was 53 when he was born), but lost his father quite early in life. Although his childhood in pre-independence Malaya was coloured with economic hardships, he had always recounted his childhood as one filled with love and affection.

    Haji Kulop Abdul Rahman was no stranger to hard work; as witnessed by his fruitful efforts near the water catchment pond (many a neighbour and passers-by have enjoyed the ciku, jackfruits, bananas, sugarcane, tapioca, etc that he planted there). Even as a young child, he woke up early to help his mother at the paddy fields, and subsequently, tapping rubber in the wee hours of the morning before making his way to school. His formal schooling was erratic, thanks to the nomadic lifestyle dictated by the economic needs of the family during his early childhood. Nonetheless, Haji Kulop Abdul Rahman realised very early in life that education and qualification is the way out of the trap of poverty, and that drove him to cycle over 30 miles to Ipoh and back in order to obtain professional qualifications in bookkeeping and accounting.

    These qualifications opened the door for him to leave the kampong to Kuala Lumpur. It was in Kuala Lumpur that he met Hajah Sudariah binti Ginil, whom he pursued with great ardency and courtesy and later married in 1970. They first made their home in PJ Old Town before moving to Kelana Jaya; homes that were often filled with family members from both sides as they pursued their education or economic opportunities in Klang Valley (my Daddy was big on giving people opportunity to do better for themselves). Their marriage was blessed with two daughters, Suraya and Suzainur (that's me).

    Haji Kulop Abdul Rahman was a firm believer in giving back to society. As the Head of an UMNO branch in the 80’s and 90’s, Haji Kulop Abdul Rahman worked to ensure the welfare of the community serviced by the branch is met, regardless of race and religion. He was also a Rotarian who worked diligently in the various projects of which he was a part, both locally and abroad.

    Haji Kulop Abdul Rahman was a man of few words, humble by nature, blessed with a great deal of affection for his fellow mankind extending beyond his family and immediate society. He taught his daughters to always think of people with kindness and to avoid troubling other people unnecessarily. He was a loving husband, a gentle father who taught by example, a devoted grandfather, a kind brother, a supportive friend and a man of immense generosity of spirit.

    He was a man who made his corner of the world a little better before leaving for his next adventure. He will be missed.

    As a synopsis of a life filled with tremendous amount of love for others, this is a poor effort indeed. I plan to share more of my memories of him here, in a community of many who are so brave at sharing; I would like to borrow a little of your courage.

    If you wonder why I like to think that my Daddy had gone for his next adventure rather than just fading on, that's because as Muslims, we believe in the afterlife. We believe that death is just the beginning (to borrow a line from the film The Mummy) and once the soul discards the meat suit he/she inhabited for all of his/her life, a new journey begins. What's it look like, we don't know. None who have made the trip came back to tell us what it's like, regardless of what some charlatans would like us to believe.

    I would like to think that he is now with those he loved who has journeyed on, and they are catching up on each other's news, blissful and carefree. I would not want him to miss us as we miss him, because he was a man who felt very deeply; I would not want him to share our sorrow. I have had him for over thirty five years, but I think even another thirty five years would not be enough.

    Bye, Daddy. Vaya con Dios.
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