HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ZUHAYR ADIB MAHER(3) AND ZIYYAD ADIB MAHER.(1)
DEAR ZUHAYR AND ZIYYAD,YOUR GRANDMA, GRANDPA & UNCLE MUNIR WERE HAVING GREAT TIME WITH YOU AND YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER ON 10/6/2015.AS USUAL,I AM THE PHOTOGRAPHER.
ZUHAYR AND HIS KINDERGARTEN FRIENDS.I HOPE TO CELEBRATE YOUR 10TH BIRTHDAY IF I AM STILL AROUND.BY THAT TIME I WILL BE 70 YEARS OLD.IF I AM NOT AROUND,PLEASE READ THIS LETTER I WROTE TO UNCLE MUNIR WHEN WE CELEBRATED HIS 11TH BIRTHDAY.
Dear my son Munir,
Last night,I was talking to your mother about what birthday present to give to you when you will be 11 years old next week on June 27th;2000. You mother told me that you don't want any presents, just a "nasi buryani " treat at Restoran Insaf at Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman is good enough for you. Thanks for your understanding to save money,for your dad's business is just about to pull out of the last recession.I thought of buying a book but decide not to since you have not finish reading the one I just bought a month ago.To me,you are still a baby boy but I did not realise that you have grown up-so fast.You did not ask for any toys just like when you were six years old. That reminds me a week before when I wanted to hold your hand as we stepped onto the escalator at KLCC ,when you refused me to hold your hand. Subsconsciously,I thought you still need me to hold you and I still wanted to protect you from falling down. I was wrong; for you are now a big boy-soon to be 11 years old;you donot need me anymore to cross the KL roads and to hold you when we are on the escalator.May be in one year's time,you will be leaving me and your mother -just like your eldest brother who was selected to go to a boarding school. How your mom and me wish you will never grow up and be our youngest son forever, age ten all the time.But you know and I know,your mom and me could not either stop you from growing up and leaving us or stop the time.
The best birthday that I could recollect was when you were four years old. Of course,we had another birthday party when you were eight,but not as good as when you were four.On that occassion,I invited about fifty people to come to A&W restaurant at PJ to give you a real birthday bash.For your info, I never had a birthday party when I was small.Your grandparents never gave me a birthday present or holding any birthday party. It was not in our culture those days. I remember you got more toys than you could play and our guests had more food than they could eat. And I became a child like you dancing to the music.I did remember we played the musical chairs.And also seeing your smiling face buried in the birtday cake after you blew the candles.What a great sight!I love every minutes of it. Honestly,your mom and me enjoyed the party as much as you did. It was the best birthday party that we had ever had! And now I know,I will never have any more bithday parties like that;for you are now a growing up young man and not a child anymore( as you told me some months ago). May be ,we will host another grand one when you are twelve to mark the end of your childhood;and also to give me another chance to be a birthday daddy.
A few days ago you came home with along face;I think about a foot long if I can measure correctly.I saw the sad face with some tears;and I know you must have quarrelled with someone or you lost a game. By the way, I am quite good at this thing for I can read you like a book. Since there was a guest at home at that time, I did not ask you why. Through the corner of my eyes,I saw you sulking away on the sofa. I know something was wrong. When our guest left the house,I went up to your room and we had a chat. You were sad because you were not selected to represent your class in the coming soccer tournament at your school. I know you practised so hard,but others are better than you. I was very glad you feel that way;you have strong feeling about something you really want and you got every right to get angry. I am also happy that early in life you already faced disappointment and learnt the lesson that you will not get everything what you want. That is the reality in life. Honestly,I am happy for you. What made feel scared is because I pampered you too much. You always get everything what you want from me.Even your mother disagreed when I bought too many toys that you sometimes do not even asked for them. May be it was me buying the toys for myself (the child in me) and disguised that as for you-the toys that I didnot get when I was small because my parent could not afford them. Whatever the reasons were, I love watching you playing with the toys.Now, all those toys are in the cupboard .You are growing up:-(Sometimes,I went to the padang watching you playing bicycle and football with your friends.I thought of joining you on the padang,but I decided to be just an observer.
There are a lot of differences between our childhoods. I grew up in late 50's and early 60's and you in the 90's. I took my first flight on BOAC to London when I was 20 years old to further my studies to UK;and yours was when you were two years old from KL to Jakarta. You have visited Indonesia, Australia, Singapore,England, Europe,Japan and US when your age was less than ten and me only in my late 30's and early 40's. You were using my cellular phone calling your friend to fix a football game when you were ten years old and the first time I used a phone when I was 20 years old. Our games are totally different. At your age,I was catching fighting fish in the padi fields and play 'senapang buloh' and you were fighting aliens in your video game called Half Life.My entertainment was watching 'dikir barat' and film shows by Information Department once or twice a year when it comes to my kampung.In your case,you are listening to music from compact discs and watching films on videos and CDs as and when you feel like it. Now,you are online sending emails to your friends and I only saw the first computer in my life during my second year at the University of Sheffield,England. in September,1974. In short,we had a totally different childhood,so much so that I am worried whether you could cope with such exposure.
Like it or not Munir,this is your world. The new world is undergoing rapid change-sometimes it is very unstable and disruptive. As I like to quote: Change is constant,the only constant.This statement is a paradox by itself. You will notice a lot of them in your future life. We have to live with it and manage it as best as we could. As a father,it is my duty to instil the right 'aqidah' and to inculcate good moral values in you. I hope you will accept me as your guide ,something like reading the road signs that you may not understand on your journey. As a person Munir,you have undergone a lot of change. Now,your head is as tall as my shoulders and you are already asking me about the birds and the bees.
Thank God- so far,both of us can manage ourselves and each other quite well.Let's keep that way......all the way.