I was born in 1964, which means that I started school in 1971, at which time my youngest older brother is well into his teenage years, my eldest sister is 30 years old.
I was almost like an only child, spoiled silly by my mother and sisters, frowned upon by my father and brothers as an annoyance. I have no fond memories of brotherly love, like wrestling each other or playing a game together, which makes me rather apprehensive of how my two sons relate to each other. They are 5 years apart, but I was often afraid that Afiq will treat Aiman as a nuisance and leave him out of whatever he was doing. That, happened for a while, but I found out that Afiq blamed Aiman for not being able to play his PS2...(long story).
I straightened that out, and ever since, he and Aiman are so close, it warms my heart... and saddens me that I never had such close relationship with my own brothers, largely due to our age difference, and that by the time I was approching my teenage years, all my three brothers have flown away from our nest. So, I end up spending most of my time next door, at Pak Uteh Hashim's house, whose children are nearer my age group.
Not that I blame my brothers. I was such an annoyance..... A whiny kid, a cry baby who ran to mother when he couldn't get his way or if my brother/s played a little rough on me. I know that today, if I ever come across a child like that I'll really like to give him a good spanking.
Even later in my life, as I imposed onto the lives of my sisters, Kak Esah, then Kak Sarah, then Kak Esah again during my college years, while there is a closeness between me and my sisters, there was a marked distance between me and my brothers. And more often than not, I have the impression that my brothers are closer to their repective wives' families than they are with us. (And I am just as guilty of this myself, having lived my entire married life in my in-law's house).
It seems like, there is a bubble of space between me and my brothers. Was this created by my childhood behaviour? So much so that, in the subconscious of my brothers, I am still, and will always be, that annoying little brat? Or is this just the way we (the men folk of our clan) were brought up? To be manly is to shake hands and that's it. Any display of emotions beyond that is just not...macho.
I like to think it's the latter. Our father is one macho guy, as far as my memory serves. The emotion that he would willingly show is anger. There is no doubt of his love for his children, but he's the old school type of dad... if you know what I mean.
But, this does not mean that there is a lack of love between the men folk of the Hj jaafar clan. Far from it. Perhaps, just a lack of expression. That is all... And, honestly, I don't think I am ready to start hugging and kissing my brothers from now on.
But, I would like to say to Abang Mail, Abang Enal and Abang Fuad... I love all of you!! (Said in a deep manly voice with a clenched fist beating my chest).