I had planned to write this earlier but somehow forgotten about it till today. So, I thought perhaps its wiser for me to do it now before I forget again. After all, I did miss the previous occasion recently, and will not be able to log in for this particular day until late at night.
During one of my working trips to Jakarta, the local business manager had offered to assist me around. As we were newly acquainted, we tried to find a common ground. And what other things could be more in common for the people of this world but food. As we were talking I asked about some of the colourful looking stalls we passed by, particularly what food they serve. The guy, Budi by the name, did not look enthused at all to my questions. Perhaps, I thought, he felt I might not like them. I soon drop the matter but after thinking out loud that some of the food at the stalls might be very tasty. The statement was not totally sincere, but I just wanted to make him feel easier.
That evening, around 7, he called my room and asked me to dress up for a meal outside. Trying to be a gracious guest, I accepted the invitation. Now, when I stepped out of my room, I had no idea at all where the destination would be, but guessed it would be one of those fastfood outlets. But to my astonishment, he drove into a small road, and parked right beside a food stall. At that moment, I remembered my earlier statement in the day, and my mind went like "oh, oh! Me and my big mouth!"
But since the host was being gracious to satisfy my curiousity, the guest should never say no. Thus, there I was enjoying the food ordered by Budi. Apart from being afraid of the drinking water served (hot lemon!), the food was actually good, and the stall is just like any stall one would find in Malaysia. After we've had the food, Budi drove me around for a while before dropping me off for the night. Before he drove off, he said he'll be coming at 9am the next morning to fetch me.
Next morning, I was ready and waiting for Budi at the predetermined time. Waiting...and waiting. At 9.25 or so, he gave me a call on the telephone to apologise for not being able to make it - he was suffering from diarrhea! Huh? I thought I was the foreigner! I later took a cab to his office - his officemates and I were had a good laugh on Budi, and a joke I cracked from a statement by Gusdur, the President then.
In a statement that was widely circulated in Malaysia then, the Indonesian President said "Ya, saya mahu menjadi kawan kepada semua bapak bapak di Malaysia", or something close to that.
My mind being my mind, suddenly shot back "Wah! Kalau begitu kata Pak Gusdur, saya kena berangkat pulang sekarang juga!"
"Menapa Pak?" asked one of the guys there.
"Ya...Pak Gusdur mahu berkawan dengan semua bapak bapak di Malaysia, tapi dengan saya tidak boleh!"
"Apa, bapak tidak suka sama Pak Gusdur?" asked one guy in a face that was showing his seriousness.
"Bukan...saya belum bernikah, lalu belum jadi bapak lagi!". My instantaneous reply was received by a roar of laughter, breaking the almost serious mood I had set in myself....much to my relief, off course.
Now, at this present moment, I sit here in front of my PC, writing this to wish all my friends out there, alphabetic wise: Accia's husband Pak Azlan, Cikgu, Dato' Jeff, Doc TA, Pak Kassim, Pak Idrus, Pak MB, Pak Mat Salo, Pak Mior, Pak Shah, Pak Zabs, Pak Zawi, Pak Nora, Pak shirzad, Ustaz Maszlee and many more...do enjoy the song. And off course, several anons who dropped by with a comment or 2.
Happy Father's Day to all of you, and to all fathers in the world! And to you too, bro Zul, if you are reading this and that you are a family man.