Thursday, December 20, 2007

Keluarga 69...A Mixed-up Family

When I wrote about my late grandfather in October last year, I only had my mother as the source of his history in the military service. And when she relates the story, it is based on what she knew or thought she knew. Lately, I found some of the 'facts' were slightly distorted. I could not blame emak for the distortion for what she related were what she and her family perceived at the point of time. Further, she could not have been more than 13 years of age, where reality is perceived as what is seen through the eyes, and not what it should be.

When my arwah uncle passed away less than a fortnight ago, curiousity got the better of my s-i-l and she made a google search for my arwah grandfather's records, and found 2 related sites at KIPSAS and Regimen 502. From these 2 sites, it seems my arwah grandfather did not serve with the British Military during the 2nd World War, but was part of the Volunteer Corps formed by the British Military.

When the Japanese over ran all defending forces in the peninsular on their way to Singapore, Lt Jetti Ahmad and his fellow officers decided to hide their uniforms and resume their village life. But the Japanese, in their pursuit of territory, were short of people and began ferreting the VC officers. Initially, they guiled several officers into submission,including a Captain Abu Bakar, who's son I had pleasure of meeting as he was staying in Subang Jaya. Captain Abu Bakar and several officers who thought the Japanese were sincere in their offer, surrendered, were never seen again; they were believed to have been killed by the Japanese Army in a fit of revenge for the resolute stand of the VC. Lt Jetti and a few other officers on the other hand, were later ferreted out and forced to serve the Japanese Army.

Now, at this juncture of history, there seem to be some blanks which could not be filled. All we do know now is that my arwah grandfather, along with several other officers, were awarded medals for bravery by the British Army at the end of the war. How these officers served the British during their capture remains a mystery. Perhaps one day, someone will come up with the proper records, insyAllah.

But one of the most interesting thing I found about my arwah grandfather, was that he was sought for marriage by a man who later became his brother-in-law. When you look back at the custom of the Malays then, this is considered a rarity. Still, the marriage lasted a lifetime and the couple had 9 children of which 4 died in childhood.

As the children grew older, they each got married and have children of their own. But it was when 2 of the sisters got married which had the family kind of mixed up. Without wanting to go into further details, my mother off course, married my father, who is actually a distant nephew to her. Then, my father's uncle married my mother's younger sister. Thus my father became the elder b-i-l to his uncle, while at the same time a husband to a distant aunt. Hmm...

Now, my mother's sister, Makcik Yam, has a son by the name of Azman, who is younger to me. As a mark of respect, he calls me abang. But is that proper? For if we were to accept family lineage according to the male of the family, then Azman should be my uncle. Yet, he's the son to my mother's younger sister. Another hmm...

Granted, to outsiders, this thing matters not. But to the younger generation of the family who only recently know about this, they do find it amusing as well as perplexing. Ismail, a nephew, has even remarked it as Keluarga 69, the P Ramlee film he loved to watch when he was small, but is actually a reality in his family.

But anyway, to all my blogging brothers and sisters, and anyone who reads this, here's wishing you a "Selamat Menyambut Aidil Adha". May we become better Muslims with each passing day, insyAllah.


Zawi said...

Very interesting and well written post.
Do further research on your family and draw out a nice chart to really know how one is realated to such a person will help the future generations of yours. It is good that the schools has taught our childrean to trace their lineage and how shocked I was when I found out that my own parents and uncles cant recall beyond their grandfathers.
Please allow me to add your site to my blogroll.
Selamat Hari Raya Idiladha.

Kerp (Ph.D) said...

pening aku.

here's anyway, wishing you salam AidlAdha bro!

cakapaje said...

Salam Pak Zawi,

Thank you. With regards to the family tree, Azman's father actually has. In fact, he was the one who found my mother's side of the family. Arwah Akasah - Azman's father - managed to trace his lineage right up to Sonan Giri, one of the 9 legendary figures of Wali Songo.

However, I am not directly related as it fell onto my father's mother side and not his father. And some efforts on my father's father side failed to trace our lineage. Takpalah, kita dapat bau pun jadilah ye :)

cakapaje said...

Salam Kerp,

Yo bro, I'm still waiting for the tag, hehe :)

Kata Tak Nak said...

Who knows maybe P Ramlee got the idea for his Keluarga 69 from this story? This can be kind of confusing.
I have a cousin who keeps calling me uncle. He grew up with my nephew together. They are of the same age. Since the nephew had been calling me Uncle Ajit from young, he too did the same.

cakapaje said...

Salam Cikgu,

It does seem out online time is roughly about the same...that's kind of nice.

Nasib baik your cousin call uncle, kalau our nephew calls you abang, kan confuse jugak nanti :)

tokasid said...

Salam Shah:

Its nice that your discovered the family secrets but the keluarga 69 stuff sure makes one dizzy thinking about it. Just imagine during kenduris when everyone gathers at night and to call one by his/her 'pangkat' will be bunt of a joke for your family and Azman's.

I never thought Keluarga 69 ever existed in real life. But you just proved otherwise.

I believe if we are to trace our genealogy lineage we need to talk to many elders and cannot just rely on our mother or father only.

All this while I thought that my Tokwan( Bapak's dad)was from Patani.That was what I had been hearing all these years.
Few months ago, I went back to Taiping to see Mak.There I found a file which contained about the Mendelings( prepared by Persatuan Mendeling Perak)left by a neighbour.
i brought up about the subject of lineage to Mak. And she told me, her father in-law was from Bagan Datk in Perak.Now, thats the Jawa area I told Mak. Mak acknowledge that I asked whether I remembered bapak took me and 2 other brothers to Bagan Datok in 1984? I said yes, I remembered but I didn't know whose house we went to(the kenduri). Mak said, thats her FIL's family. So Mak said, for all you know you and your siblings could be half Javanese.
Wow!! Thats was something new to me and I wonder is that the reason why I liked tempe or soto or Gudang Garam or Indonesian music?Waduh!Waduh!

I too need to investigate this matter.

TQ for sharing with us Shah.

cakapaje said...

Wa'alaikumusalam warahmatullah,

Doc, I should thank you. You relating your family tree and the probability of being half-javanese, that strikes closer to home. Part of my father's clan moved north, first to Tanjung Karang, and then later several families to Bagan Datuk. Honestly, I've only met those from Tg Karang. Keberangkalian bapak Doktor, kita juga empunyai pertalian famili ya.

Kerp (Ph.D) said...

ok bro, tag done!

i tried reading this post again but still, as monsterball said, 'kelapa pusin!'.

PrincessJournals said...

CA, selamat hari raya. i dah pening baca cerita keluarga 69 u tu. hehe.

Zabs said...

Salam Shah,
Very interesting find. I might do the same to find out about my arwah father side family tree. Tapi tak tahu nak mula tang mana?

cakapaje said...

Kerp bro,

Haha! Anyway, regarding the spelunking, I thought you were hinting on something else :)

cakapaje said...

Salam Princess, also? Hmm...remind me not to write about it anymore :)

cakapaje said...

Wa'alaikumusalam Pak Zabs,

Kalau kita sendiri nak mulakan memang susah. Tapi satu klue, mugkin boleh mula lakarkan dari keluarga terdekat dahulu dan kemudian berkembang dari situ. Masalahnya, ramai ahli keluarga yang tahu menahu mengenai salahsilah kita sudah berumur dan ada juga yang sudah tiada. Saya perhatikan arwah Pak Uteh Akasah mengambil masa yang lama untuk merangkaikan semua yang terdaya.

Mior Azhar said...

My wife's eldest sister is married to my uncle. Nowadays I have to call my pak cik, er, abang. And he's like very happy already

cakapaje said...

Salam Pak Mior,

Aha! So our families are in the same boat! lol! I bet there are several more cases of such matter out there, cuma mungkin ramai tak tahu. But thanks :)