Saturday, 15 October 2011

Dato' Dr Haji Abdul Aziz bin Omar

My husband and I went to search for some old graves today, under the scorching sun. We went to search for Kubur Banggol or better known as Kubur Che Siti. Che Siti Wan Kembang was a princess in early Kelantan.

We asked a lot of people before we finally found the graves. We drove into Jalan Pos Ofis Lama by Muzium Perang Dunia Kedua in Kota Bharu. We passed by Padang Merdeka in Kota Bharu, which is bordered by old shophouses, Ridel Hotel Kota Bharu, vantage tower by Sungai Kelantan, Tambatan DiRaja, Jabatan Kastam DiRaja Malaysia and Muzium Perang Dunia Kedua and then turned into Jalan Pos Ofis Lama, passed Masjid Zainab/Zaiton?, and exit at a small roundabout. We proceeded to a grocery store to ask for directions.

We asked Irfan (serban) in front of the grocery store. He was very friendly and gave us 2 locations of Bongor which is the short for Padang Bogor. This was the wrong information we gave him. We did not know whether it was Bongor or Banggol. I quickly checked my notes which says Kubur Banggol and not Bongor. We asked him for directions to Kubur Banggol. He said to proceed straight to masjid (no mention of its name). 

Before we proceeded, we met Ariffin who stopped to ask us whether he could offer help. We told him we wanted to search for Kubur Banggol. He said there is Kubur Che Siti. We got confused as we have never heard of Kubur Che Siti nor did we know which "Che Siti" was meant. I thought it was Siti Nurhaliza and I panicked. We had to ask him again in case he heard us wrong or we heard him wrong. Affandi explained we wanted to see a particular person's grave and that is located at Kubur Banggol near PCB. he said Kubur Banggol is better known as Kubur Che Siti in the area and by the Kelantan populace. He gave us directions to a masjid further down the road. He said the graveyard is very long, more than a kilometre long and asked us to go to a coffee shop by the graveyard and ask there. We thanked him and left in the direction of the masjid. 

We arrived and parked our car outside the main entrance to the masjid Masjid Sultan Ismail Petra, Mukim Banggol. I remember praying in this masjid when we visited the area many years ago on the way to the beach and campsite. We had thought the graves were just behind the masjid. Ariffin caught up with us and pointed to a small lane by the masjid. He said it is better to take the car and drive to the graveyard. We were lucky to have Ariffin helping us. We went down the lane and turned right passed the school, Sekolah Rendah Kebangsaan Redang, and parked at a wooden wakaf by the graves. There were many graves within view. Little did we know that the graves we saw were just the tip of the iceberg - there were other graves behind them for miles (more than a kilometre) and they go right up to Kampung Uda in Pengkalan Chepa. This is the longest Muslim graveyard I have ever seen, miles and miles of Muslim graves.

We stopped at the coffeeshop to ask some elderly men who knew the deceased person whose grave we were looking for. Affandi introduced ourselves in Kota Bharu Kelantan dialect which sounded good. The men understood and decided to help us. Affandi grew up in the Kelantan royal court and he knew the correct language to use. At once they knew him even without telling who he was. It seems that the people here are very warm and friendly. They speak softly in a quiant Kota Bharu dialect which I think people outside Kelantan may have never heard. I enjoyed the conversation. I gave them 2 of my business card for keeps. The men were happy but I felt sad as my business card was typed with romanised letters. In Kelantan, the Jawi script is preferred and the lay people can read that. That I think it a weak point of the universities today and I am at fault too. Anyway, one of the elderly man called on the phone to the gravestone mason. He asked us to see him. The grave keeper had died and the gravestone mason was standing in.

Affandi was talking to Nasir, a staff of Pejabat Sultan Kelantan, at the coffeeshop when Raja Sulaiman @ Semail called (I think the Arabic name is Ismail and in Kelantanese it becomes Semail). Raja Sulaiman is the gravestone mason. Ariffin said we should go to see Raja Sulaiman immediately.

We left the coffeeshop and followed Ariffin down the dusty tiny road to Raja Sulaiman's gravestone shed. His 3 sons work with TV3 but help him with the gravestone masonry. Raja Sulaiman came out from his office to meet us. He looked like Megat Khas and I almost fainted! Raja Sulaiman asked us whom we were looking for and we explained to him. I showed him a portrait of Dato' Dr Haji Abdul Aziz and he jumped! He has met the doctor at his clinic! We were happy that Raja Sulaiman knew Dato' Dr Haji Abdul Aziz. I mentioned to him the wife's name and some of his sibs and son who have died and were buried in Kubur Banggol. He said he knew the man and his family and asked us to follow him to the family graves. Arffin and Nasir followed on Ariffin's bike. Raja Sulaiman went with us in our car. 

We drove a long distance before arriving at the family graves. We parked the car and I was overjoyed that at last we found the graves.

Dato' Dr Haji Abdul Aziz bin Omar has a family burial plot, about an acre long piece of sloping sandy burial land with chain-linked fence, a wakaf (shed), a coconut tree, and a well. There were 16 graves in this family plot. Only 6 of the 16 graves belonged to the family:

Haji Che Abdullah bin Omar (died 9 July 1982),
Dato' Hj Ab Aziz bin Omar (died 12 June 1985),
Che Abdul Rahim bin Omar (died 2 Dec 1986),
Hjh Siah bt Omar (died 3 Sept 1991),
Abdul Hamid bin Abdul Aziz (died 10 Sept 2004),
Hajjah Wan Sharehah binti Hj Ash'ari (died 23 Sept 2007)

Family graves of Dato' Dr Haji Abdul Aziz bin Omar (died 12 June 1985/ 23 Ramadhan 1405), Kubur Banggol @ Kubur Che Siti, Mukim Banggol, Kota Bharu, Kelantan. Taken with permission of Raja Sulaiman. I visited the graves with Affandi, Raja Sulaiman (tukang buat batu nisan & belindan kubur), Ariffin and Nasir on 15 Oct 2011, from 10.52am - 11.15am. It was a hot and sunny day.

There are about 5 'reject' or previously used old black belindan (enclosure) and batu nisan which are no longer in use near the wakaf and by the fence. There are others buried at this family plot. I don't know the others who are buried here.

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