Wednesday, August 12, 2009


The "ERU" family was our most immediate neighbor in Kg Dalam Rhu, Tumpat where I grew up. The family was amongst 3 other Chinese families within our neighborhood. Abe Eru as we fondly called the head of this family operated a sundy-cum-coffee shop.

The couple had 5 children. We knew the children only by their Malay names. The eldest is a boy, goes by the name of Yusof. He converted and logically retained the name. The second child is a daughter. She goes by the name of Mek Jah (Khatijah). Next was Mek Nab (Zainab). She too converted and I believed retained her name. Fourth was a boy. He goes by the name "Leng". Later I discovered his name was Tiu Boon Ling. Back then, I thought it was a shortened name for Halim! The youngest was a girl. We knew her as Mek Yoh (Rokiah).

I used to play with Yusof as he was about 4 years my junior. My little brother and sisters would be closer to the other younger siblings who were about their ages.
When I left Tumpat in 1967, I would see less and less of them. But the Eru family remained family friends.

I balek kampong regularly even after making Selangor my home. It was on one such trip home that my late mother told me to help one of Abe Eru's sons. I was told that after the SPM result, Abe Eru's son left home to work as a welder in a shipyard in Singapore. His SPM result had strings of A's. With no contacts, he went off to Singapore.

We got him back. I brought him to KL, a first timer for a boy from Tumpat. I got him a job in the bank, stayed with me until he established friendship and rented a house. He is now a happily married bank personnel in a managerial position.

When my mother was in the hospital, I decided to contact the youngest daughter Mek Yoh to inform her mother Mek Eru. She is now 74. Her husband Abe Eru died 7 years ago.

They both came and stayed together with us in the hospital. I recalled telling her to go home as she was showing signs of fatigue. She refused and stayed on.

Some may say it was out of gratitude. I would say not. It was a genuine bond, established over the years that we were neighbors.

We had been 1 MALAYSIA long before


nadya.s said...

a very touchy post. good one en.Ramli.

Anonymous said...

I remember one Tiu Kin Ju she became my classmate in Kota Bharu , she came from your part of dale rhu, I dont know her malay name.
Anyway Tumpat is one malaysia for as long as I remember,small town but we have the hindu , buddhist ,chinesse and even sikh temple


Just back from Tumpat this morning go around padang mahkota snapping photos of all the trees i used to climb.

ARZ said...

Hi Nad,

Thanks for the compliment. Yes, it touches me too.

ARZ said...

Hi TJ,

If you are about 41 yrs old, Tiu Kin Ju could be Mek Yoh, the youngest of the siblings. She is a teacher in Meranti, Pasir Mas.

Funny, I never climbed those trees at Padang Mahkota though I used to spend evenings there with friends.

On my next trip back, I planned to explore the islands around Tumpat. My bro Rahimi has a speed boat.

AD9 said...

In Memory:

Tok MeK touches every heart that she met with her humbleness and kind heart.Though sometime strict with her children and grandchildren she bonded the family well.
Just really MISS her.

ARZ said...


We all missed her. As a good granddaughter, you must always pray for her and for your great grandfather (though U didnt know him).

Ordinary Superhero said...

Yes, one malaysia existed long time ago back in kampung like yours (and mine too!).