Saturday, August 27, 2016

Zainal Abidin Jaafar: Beating His Own Path

If there is one in my family who have truly lived, it would be my brother Zainal. I must, regretfully, admit, that, as an elder brother, he has always been an elusive man of mystery for me. Being the youngest, by the time I was born, Abang Enal, was already in form 2. When I started school in 1971, he was already in Melaka studying at the Vocational Institute of MARA. I have vague memories of visiting him with my parents.

Then, he was off to Japan, I don't know for how long, and then, he came back home with a beautiful Japanese girl in tow. I remember, she had picked the name Suzana as her Muslim/Malay name after she converted, and they got married. We all lived together with my late sister Aishah and her husband Abang Haris, and their two sons, Zulkifli (Zul) and Sallehuddin (Hud). The one memory I have of my Japanese sister in law, was; Abang Haris once bought one of those racing track toys with tiny motorcycle riders going around in a figure of eight, then up a conveyor belt, then down again around the track. The instructions to assemble the toy was in Japanese, and we (Zul, Hud and myself) asked Suzana to read the instruction, but since her grasp of English was still in its infancy (much less her Malay), it was quite stressful to understand her explanations. Thinking back, if you were an observer looking at three kids sitting around a pile of toy parts listening open mouthed to a Japanese woman explaining how to put it together, it must have been a hilarious sight.

The marriage did not last....

But, with his wits and charm, it wasn't long before Abang Enal wooed another beautiful girl, but wisely ensuring she is a local girl.

This, in my mind, is the perfect match. Kak Maya, the energetic, robust, straight to the point kind of girl, is perfect for the soft spoken, laid back Abang Enal. They had four children, and to the annoyance of Abah and Mak gave them weird names.... Nina Eza Maria, Ezwan Razak, Assalamia and Al Haq....

The ups and downs of their lives, would have made the bestseller's list. God only knows the hardship they had gone through, which makes them what they are today. The children grew up fine, married to wonderful spouses, their business started to pick up..... Unfortunately, there are those who cannot stand to see others happy.

Abang Enal is now in a much better place now. He is resting now... He had lived this life walking his own path. He never asked for approval not did he expected any. He seems content, having all that he loves, and loving all that he has.

I don't think I have ever heard him complain or see him sad, right to the last days of his life, he was ever jovial, with a permanent smile on his face.

I am envious of him, both in life and in death. There can be no other reward for him, in the afterlife, than heaven.

The blessings of Allah upon him.... Alfatihah.