Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Repaying my brother's good deeds.

My eldest brother, Upi Langi, a retired Sarawak Police Constable.
Those who have read my book will know about him. One night, sometime in the early 50s, before the main Kuching - Sri Aman trunk road reached our long house, he and two other young men quietly left and abandoned our long house in the middle of night to look for greener pastures in the big towns. Their absence were quickly discovered the next day. For the next few weeks the long house was seemingly dead. The loss of the 3 young men were a big loss to the community. Nothing was heard of them for the next few years - until one of them wrote and sent us a letter. We were overjoyed to hear that two of them had became policemen with the Sarawak Constabulary. One of them was my brother Upi. The third young man? Nothing was ever heard of him. Was he still alive? No one knew. It was the best news ever. The long house was happy again. Then in 1954, my brother came home for a three-months leave. He brought along a young wife and a baby named John Jackson. He looked a changed man. He was like a "tuan besar!" The three months went by very fast and he had to return to Kapit. Seeing father's poor condition and his inability to feed his 6 children, after mother's death, he offered to take along our youngest brother Linggir. However, being the youngest, he was father's favourite child and refused to allow brother Upi to take him along to Kapit. My father offered me instead. As I was my eldest sister's favourite brother (she took care of me when mother died), my brother Upi had to make certain my sister Impo was not at home when he departed the long house. So, I began my long journey into the wide, big and open world. I would never be the same person - ever again. That was the beginning of my journey - a journey of "no return". Even after my retirement, I'm now in a land far away from home. Do I longed for my long house and folks? I do. But fate had taken me to where I am and I'm hapless. I leave my fate in God's hands. Brother Upi took care of my schooling in Kapit, then Lutong near Miri, then in a fishing town of Bintulu. In 1962, I had to leave him to continue my secondary schooling, as a boarder, in Tanjong Lobang School in Miri. The rest of my story was history. I had always dreamed of repaying him for what he had done to me. But alas! I have my own family to take care of and couldn't spare much more to offer him. Even that were far and few. I couldn't forget his words when he called me "kacang lupakan kulit!" (a nut forgetting its skin). I kept that cutting words in my heart and hoped one day I could do much more for him. I helped him in anyway I could - sent him some money whenever I have some to spare. I was hoping to bring him to see the old places where he had been working but his frail condition now does not allow it and his eyesight and hearing are also failing him. He is 84 years old now. A week ago he sent me a text message asking me to buy him a hearing aid as he has totally lost his hearing. I bought one and sent it by our Pos Laju, our National Courier. I hope he will find it effective on him. God bless him. An Update I called him on 4 August 2010 to inquire whether he has received the hearing aid I had couriered to him a few days ago. He has received the item and he now can hear well. What a relief and I am happy for him. But he is complaining the battery is going very fast.

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