They have just left. And I mean my parents. As always, they left us with presents. Amongst some are words of wisdom. At least for me.
Bapak said it over piping hot roti canai this morning at Raju‘s. I told him about what I wrote here. He told me that by all means, go travel and globalise all that I want or need to, but never ever forget who I am and where I come from. And he said to always remember that by all means, learn/use any tool to embrace what the world is today, tapi jangan jadi orang lupa daratan. Jangan hina bahasa dan adat resam sendiri. Melayu mudah lupa, he said. Don’t be one of those who do forget who they are, after they have become what they aimed to be.
That’s my Mr Javaman.
Somehow I am really looking forward to our backpacking trip to Java in two months time, God willing. There are so many things I want to excavate of my heritage. About 20 years ago or more, my aunties and uncles were in the centre spread of Berita Harian. The headlines were big and bold. It said ‘ MENCARI ‘ROOTS’ DI TANAH JAWA’. The whole big article, which is still kept in our family’s archive is about the trip my aunties and uncles, then in their early 20s made to trace back their parent’s ( my paternal grandparents’ ) hometown in Semarang, Central Java. They visited the places where my late yayi grew up, where he used to stay and work, his families and relatives. Their culture and practices. Their language.
And they came back to share their story on it to a writer in Berita Harian back in my hometown.
Somehow, Bapak’s words before he left a while ago, is still ringing in my head now. Melayu mudah lupa. My trip, is hence necessary. If not imperative.