Thursday, 9 January 2014

Abdul Rashid bin Mohd Yusope

Bapak tried to tell his life story towards the end of his life but did not have the time to write his autobiography. He asked that I write and he gave me a lot of information about his life.

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Full name: Haji Abdul Rashid bin Haji Mohd Yusope (HARMY)
Call name: His mother called him A-sid or A-shid. His siblings called him Abang Rashid. His peers called him Rashid.

Story from Bapak

Date of birth: 28 November 1931
Place of birth: 1092 Imbi Road, Kuala Lumpur
Date of death: 8 March 2009
Place of death: 462-I Minden Heights, Jalan 7, Penang (rumah arwah Mak)
Age at death: 77 years

Grandfather: Haji Mohd Sharif bin Ismail (keturunan Nakhoda Nan Intan)
Call name: Bapak referred to him as Tok Hj Md Sharif.
Grandmother: Fatmah bt Sheikh Mohamad
Call name: Bapak referred to her as Padma (putih macam Cina)

Haji Mohd Yusope is the only son and the eldest of 5 sibs.
Haji Mohd Yusope (Walid, Tok Walid; eldest child) had 4 younger sisters:
Mahani (Nenek Ani)
Amnah (Nenek Amnah)
Alijah (Nenek Jah)
Asiah (Nenek Yah)

Father: Haji Mohd Yusope bin Haji Mohd Sharif
Call name: Bapak called his father Walid. I addressed him as Tok Walid.
Mother: Aishah bt Mohd Amin
Call name: Bapak called his mother Inche. I called her Nenek Inche.

1. Ainon (lahir Ahad, 10 pagi, 6/2/1921)
2. Idris (meninggal)
3. Zaina (lahir Khamis, 12 malam, 3/4/1924)
4. Ramlah (lahir Sabtu, 5 pagi, 29/9/1925)
5. Shamsu'ain (meninggal)
6. Sara (lahir Khamis, 6 petang, 3/5/1928)
7. Abu Bakar (lahir Khamis, 7:28 malam, 19/3/1930
8. Abdul Rashid (lahir Sabtu, 3:20 petang, 28/11/1931) ... this is Bapak
9. Rahmah (lahir Rabu, 7:30 pagi, 15/11/1933) ... this is Jame'ah or Mak Nya
10. Safura (lahir Selasa, 8:27 malam, 21/5/1935)
11. Jaafar (lahir Ahad, 11:05 pagi, 28/8/1936)
12. Inchek Beda (lahir Khamis 1:55 petang, 25/10/1938) ... this is Mak Bedah
13. Baharudin (lahir Jumaat, 6 pagi, 14/6/1940) ... this is Pak Din
14. Inchek Sekmah (lahir Khamis, 12:20 pagi, 13/11/1941)
15. Saleh (lahir Khamis, 6:30 petang, 12/2/45)



As a young boy, Bapak was a cake seller. He sold Malay cakes by the seaside in Banda Hilir. He had to sell cakes to earn a living to pay for his family's food and needs.

In Malacca: Bapak would jump off the Tan Koon Ching bridge and dive. He drank coconut water nearby. He caught fish from the paddy fields - belutpujuhkeli and haruan. He was jaguh kampung, i.e., he loved to fight (suka kelahi). He fought with a Chinese boy and broke the boy's arm and called him, "Cina capik" as the boy became physically handicapped. His father (Walid) had to go and settle the case with the Chinese boy's father. They became good friends.



Bapak attended many schools. In Kuala Lumpur, he attended primary schools in Kg Baru (Malay), Imbi (Malay), Pasar Road (English), and Pudu (Indian). For secondary education, he attended the VI (Special Malay Class) at Bukit Petaling in KL and then went to ACS (Malacca) before entering MCKK in Kuala Kangsar. For tertiary education, he first attended the King Edward VII Medical College in Singapore. He then went for teacher training at Kirkby in England.

Pudu Indian School: To go to school, Bapak needed to cross the railway track and pass by the rubber trees. He had to bring a penknife for protection in case of attacks by Chinese thugs.

VI: VI had a swimming pool. SMCI (Std 1-3) was for selected Malay students. His SMCI friend was Ibrahim. Then WWII occurred. He continued SMCII after the war (Std 4-9).

Early education
  1. Sekolah Kampong Baru - Std 1 (1938), Std 2 (1939)
  2. Imbi Road Malay School - 1940
  3. Pasar Road School (English) - 1941 ... WWII (1941-1945) - no schooling
  4. Pudu Indian School
  5. Victoria Institution (VI) - Special Malay Class I (SMCI); WWII; SMCII - Std 4-9
Higher education
  1. Anglo-Chinese School (ACS), Malacca
  2. Malay College Kuala Kangsar (MCKK) 1950 for 9 months
  3. King Edward VII (KE VII), College of Medicine, Singapore - 1950-1951; 1st year Medicine; left after 1st year to enter into teaching 
  4. Malayan Teachers' Training College at Kirkby (Kirkby College), near Liverpool, England - Dec 1951-Sept 1953
Malayan Emergency 1948-1960.

Bapak joined MCKK briefly for 9 months before enrolling into the King Edward VII Medical College in Singapore. Bapak only did 1 year Medicine at KE VII before he quit to enter teaching. He said the medical course was too long and his family needed him to earn money for them. He was the only one earning money for his family. He had to quit and took up teaching instead as the training was only for 2 years. He went to Kirkby College for his teaching course.

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Many people assisted him financially - Haji Jelani bin Kupah, Nya Klang (Tok Zainal's wife), Ismail Yamani (Penang jeweller at Masjid Kapitan Kling; Siti Hajar was his 2nd wife) gave him money ($100) for going to Kirkby College. 

His trip to England was quite interesting. As they were poor, his mother made him a jacket from a woollen blanket. He sailed for 3 weeks on the steamship Pacific & Oriental PNO Chusan, from Singapore to Penang and beyond via the Suez Canal to England. He arrived at Gilvary Harbour on 1 January 1952 and took a train to Liverpool. He started the first term late. He was at Kirkby College for 2 years (1952-1953). His father (Walid) communicated with him all the while, whilst he was overseas. They wrote to each other in English and cracked a lot of jokes. Walid had sent him postcards for exhibits. After completion of his studies, he sailed back to Malaya in September 1953 and returned home to Malacca.

He said he was a 'nobody' before. Only after he returned from overseas did his relatives respect Bapak.

All in all, Bapak spoke and understood many languages - Malay, English, Chinese, Indian, Arabic and Japanese. In the 1970s-1980s, he learned about computers in Chinese from a Chinese company based near the airport at Bayan Lepas. All his computer lessons were in Chinese.

Bapak's father died in January 1954. Bapak was devastated when his father died. His best friend was gone forever.

Government Service
  1. Senior Teacher at Jasin English Primary School 1953-1957; Merdeka
  2. Malacca High School - ~1 month
  3. Assistant Organiser Malay Schools - 1 year
  4. Simultaneous Interpreter in Parliament 1958-1959 - Malay-English
  5. Lecturer at Day Training College, Alor Setar, Kedah (1964-1967) 
  6. Lecturer at Gaya College, Jesselton, Sabah (1967-1969)
  7. Lecturer at Maktab Perguruan Kota Bharu, Pengkalan Chepa, Kelantan (1969-1971)
  8. Lecturer at Maktab Perempuan Melayu Melaka, Durian Daun (1972-1975)
  9. Study Leave -  Leeds University 1975-1976
  10. Lecturer at Maktab Perguruan Pulau Pinang (1976-1986)

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Upon his return from Kirky, Bapak worked at Jasin English Primary School. The place is "atas sedikit pada Selandar & Tangkak". It was noted as a black area. People were scared when passing through this area. Bapak taught at Jasin English Primary School for 4 years (1953-1957). He met Mak while teaching here.

Bapak first worked as a Senior Teacher. Bapak related many interesting happenings whilst at the school. Bapak had to settle the scandal of his headmaster who had an affair with a Chinese girl. There was a Chinese man who threatened Bapak if the HM got demoted for the scandal. The Chinese man said he had a gang (that could beat up Bapak if reported the HM). Another case involved rasuahBapak was PIBG Vice-President. A man had supplied goods for $50 but had signed $100 for supplies including other things. There was the case of unpaid scouts uniforms where someone said Jasin School had not paid for the uniforms. Bapak reported the case to the State Education Minister who in turn reported the case to the Resident Commissioner, Mr Hammot.

Bapak then worked at Malacca High School together with (Tan Sri Dr) Yahya Ibrahim and Abas Rashid.

Bapak then worked as Assistant Organiser of Malay Schools for 1 year. He had to settle an adultery case whilst on the job. He was President of Malay Student Union - when? A deputy for orang putih gave him $300 and asked him why he did not belanjaBapak said to me that he was saving it to get married to Mak.

Bapak next worked as a Simultaneous Interpreter for the Malaysian Parliament. He was the first to do so. He was an interpreter for the Federal Legislative Council in Parliament. "Mr Speaker" bawah Tun Haji Abdul Malek bin Yusuf (Bapak called him a coward). Tun Malek was from Negeri Sembilan and became the Governor of Malacca before Tun Ghafar Baba (who only studied till Std 6).

The Straits Times 31 August 1963

At the first meeting, Bapak did simultaneous interpretation and was warmly received - they clapped for him. They said Bapak need not go to UK for training as he could already speak, write and interpret English. Tun Malek invited Bapak but he had to dress properly and follow protocol. Bapak then told Tun Malek: "Not to invite him again and called him a cheat!" It was about Tun Malek cheating on the rules about who qualified for overseas training. Bapak was angry with Tun Malek for cheating Bapak. Bapak said when he first entered Parliament, he walked straight into Tun Malek's trap. Bapak said Tun Malek was a cheat (memang dia penipu).

There was a Rubber Study Conference from London - it asked Bapak: "What did you do  in Parliament?" At the time Tun Dr Ismail was Minister of Finance. Bapak told Tun Dr Ismail the problems he faced. Tun Dr Ismail told him to be patient, to do things for our country and asked Bapak to stay on. There was written on his file, "Secondment in view to be made permanent". Parliament had 2 houses.

It was difficult for Bapak to leave his job at the Parliament. Bapak had worked 1 year and was tagged "indispensable" and they refused to let him go. Another guy, Yunus Osman (from Johore) had formerly worked as Assistant Organiser Malay School and worked in the Parliament - he left on Day 3!

Bapak had very much wanted to leave Parliament and live in Malacca as it was cheaper for him to live in Malacca compared to KL. Bapak said if he continued to live in KL, he would be a bankrupt. Bapak gave an example: Rent - Melaka $15 vs. KL $30. Other privileges: $150-$180. He would live comfortably in Malacca. It was very difficult when Parliament refused to let Bapak go to work elsewhere.

Haji Jelani bin Kupah (Ami Jelani) asked Bapak: "Jawapan kepada siapa? Officer Melayu tak tau English; harapkan orang Putih translate/tolong."

One day, the first Mufti Melaka Haji Khalil bin Haji Husin passed away in June 1960. Haji Khalil was a family friend of Bapak's grandfather - Hj Mohd Sharif. They went to Makkah together in 1897.

Bapak returned to Malacca and never returned to Parliament. On his papers, Parliament wrote: "Gross insubordination". "View with action to dismissal from service". It made Bapak very happy indeed, for he never wanted to return to Parliament. Bapak left Parliament for good. Bapak had no job - he was jobless.

Since Bapak had lost his job and Mak was the only one working, Mak said she couldn't send me to kindergarten as she had no money to pay for my schooling. I remained at home throughout my childhood.

Bapak had an Indian friend in Jasin. He was Selvaraju Chenayah. Bapak returned to Jasin. S. Chenayah gave him a form to fill. It was for a job application for a lecturer's post. Only 2 people applied but only Bapak got the job. Bapak said he felt sad for the other guy who did not get the job (also his friend) but Bapak needed a job badly. Bapak said: "Kesian dia." Bapak then became a lecturer at the Teachers' Training College in Alor Setar. It was in Alor Setar that Bapak and Mak got to know (Tun) Dr Mahathir and his wife, (Tun) Dr Siti Hasmah - they were doctors in Alor Star, Kedah. Their clinics are still extant.

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Date of marriage: 25 December 1955
Place of marriage: Kuala Lumpur
Type of marriage: Nikah gantung
Bersanding: 262-T, Banda Hilir, Malacca

Father-in-law: Dr Che Lah bin Md Joonos
Mother-in-law: Mariah @ Chong Nyet Lin
Wife: Jumabee Tulip bt Che Lah
Date of birth: 4 November 1931
Place of birth: Tanglin Hospital, Kuala Lumpur

Bapak described how he married my Mak. He said he was orang tengah for the to-be groom. However, his future father-in-law had misunderstood and thought Bapak was the to-be groom. The actual groom was another man, a friend, for whom Bapak was orang tengah.

In the end, Bapak had to marry Mak, even though he was just orang tengah. He had no money for his marriage as he did not expect to get married to Mak and was only orang tengah for his friend.

Bapak got married to Mak. They were both 24 years old. The akad nikah ceremony was done at the Maxwell Road house in KL. The bersanding ceremony was delayed since he had to gather money to pay for his wedding. The bersanding ceremony was later held at 262-T rumah Banda Hilir, adjacent to Masjid Banda Hilir (Malay Mosque at Banda Hilir).

Mak said there was a pelesit that visited her on her bersanding day as she prepared herself for the bersanding ceremony.

Bapak said he did not like the fuss, buzz and glam at the bersanding ceremony and tore down the curtains and decorations, which were prepared by his mother, aunts and sisters.

I still think that marriage is takdir Allah SWT and nobody can go against it.

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1. Mohd Sharif (1956)
2. Sharifah (1957)
3. Faridah (1958) .... this is me
4. Rabi'ah (1959)
5. Muhd Farid (1961)
6. Muhd Amin (1962)
7. Aminah (1970)

I asked Mak why she had all the children close together? She said that was the easier way and the children's clothes can just be handed down from one child to the other, which saved money.

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Bapak had wanted to retire early at 50, to go into business. He wanted to do the earphone business. His junior (Aziz Merican) was allowed to do Petronas gas, but Bapak was not allowed to retire early.

Bapak and Mak went on a tour of Europe for a month in 1980 before they retired in 1986. This vacation was sanctioned under the Rahman Report. I joined them in London for 9 days in October 1980.

Bapak retired at age 55 years. Bapak and Mak came to visit me in Perth, Western Australia after they retired.

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Though Bapak and Mak were head strong enemies at Kirkby College, they were both intelligent and persevered throughout their lives as a married couple.

Bapak was very quiet after Mak died. He kept to himself and looked at her photos on his computer in the living-room. He could not continue to live in her absence, his best friend who understood his childhood poverty and the politics of his work right from day 1.

Bapak's health began to deteriorate fast. In the fasting month of 2008 (year before he died), Bapak fell ill from very little food intake and the compulsory fasting. He wanted to fast even though he was not in good health. His health deteriorated further and I counselled my brother Amin to take him to hospital. Amin drove him to Hospital Pusrawi in KL. Bapak was not cooperative at the bedside and the young nurses gave him a hard time trying to locate his collapsed vein to install an IV drip. He created such a scene and wanted to go home.

Amin brought him home to Penang. At home, without an IV drip and with so little food intake, Bapak's health deteriorated even further. He was bedridden and was looked after by his daughter Sharifah (Pah). Occasionally, his granddaughter Adibah came to assist to look after him while Pah went to work at CAP at Jalan Masjid Negeri.

I also came to feed him once when I came to USM Penang for an IT meeting. I received an SMS from Pah that Bapak was nazak and I immediately left the meeting to come to meet him at home in Minden Heights. He was still alive and I fed him very slowly. His eyes were shut tight and he couldn't open them as they were painful. I guessed he didn't have enough fluid in his body that his eyes ran dry and his eyelids stuck to his eyeballs, so he couldn't open his eyes to see me. I don't think he even knew I fed him but I did.

Then I went home to Kelantan. But as soon as I was home and getting into bed, Pah SMS-ed again and said Bapak had passed away. We immediately packed our bags and returned to Penang, in the cold of the night, in very thick fog on the East-West Highway. We risked our lives driving in zero visibility, trying to make it home to Penang, to see Bapak, in time before they washed, kafan, and buried him.

When we arrived bout 6 am. Bapak was draped and laid on several mattresses in a quiet part of the dark living-room. It was very sad looking at Bapak in that manner. I dared myself to go near Bapak and lifted the muslin cloth to see his face for the last time. It was really heartbreaking to see Bapak lying still and not breathing or talking to me. It was the last time I met Bapak before they took him to wash and kafan him and finally took him to his grave. This was the first mayat I ever observed close up.

I did not follow the van jenazahBapak died in his sleep at about 6 am on 8 March 2009 and is buried on 9 March 2009 at Masjid Jamek Sungai Glugor, some distance from our house in Minden Heights Jalan 7.

It was very sad for I had lost both my parents. So now I am yatim piatu like many others and yet I have to continue to live 'happily'. Good-bye, Bapak! I love you! I will always love you, Bapak! I will join you when I am dead too. Wait for me. Thank you for all that you have done for me.

Bapak died a poor man. He had some savings and the month's pension and nothing else. He had no house to his name nor did he own any worldly property, except his broken down old car, a 1965 grey Opel Rekod, which nobody wanted. Bapak did not regret being poor because he earned an honest living and tried to help his siblings and their children, all on his small salary as a pensyarah maktab (college lecturer). Bapak retired as a lecturer from Maktab Perguruan Pulau Pinang (MPPP) near RECSAM.

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This information is from Bapak's birth certificate which he gave me long time ago, maybe in 1988 or earlier.

(Health 16)      FEDERATED MALAY STATES       No. 63676

Extract from Register of Births in the State of SELANGOR.

Register No. and page: 55959 - 518827

Name as shown in the register: Abdul Rashid

Sex: Male

Father's Name: Mohamed Yusop

Father's Occupation: Malay Agricultural Assistant

Father's Nationality: Malay

Mother's Maiden name: Aisha

Mother's Nationality: Malay

When born: 28th November, 1931

Where born: 1092, Imbi Road, Kuala Lumpur

Name, address and description of informant: Mohamed Yusop

Date of registration: 30th November, 1931

Certified to be a true Extract from the Register of births in the State of SELANGOR.

Fee S1.
(writing is invisible)                                                  (Signed?) EB Wolfe
7 Aug 1940                                                        Registrar of Births and Deaths.

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What did Bapak look like when he was young? He looked Indian most of his childhood in KL and Malacca. He looked Chinese in early mid-life when we lived in Sabah. He looked like James Bond in later mid-life when he lived alone in England. He looked Arab when we lived in Penang till he died. He looked Arab when he died.

Aged 17 in 1948

Bapak aged 47 in 1978.
Abdul Rashid @ Bapak (1931-2009)
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