Monday, 26 March 2012

Malacca History (3)

This post is about my Malacca relatives and Coco.

The photos come from everywhere. There is a collection of photos I inherited from 1937 onward from my paternal grandfather who worked as an entomologist (pakar ulat) before the Serdang agricultural school was born and UPM began. I also inherited a lot of photos from my late father - his photos are from 1940s onward. Some photos are from my late mother. I haven't sorted out the photos by State, event or date as I don't know what the events were since 1937 but I can make out a few. It seems to me, a lot of the photos were about Malay life and some of the early organisations and striving for Independence. Some of the text on the rear of the paper prints are written in English and others in Malay Jawi (some were left blank but have #). The Jawi script is difficult to read as my father had compressed and stylised his Jawi writing beyond what I can read - it will take time to enlarge and decipher the Jawi script correctly before I can make out what the events were and where/when things took place. I checked the communication between my father and his father (Walid) and they had communicated in English, and even included jokes! All the written communication were written in pencil on thick brown paper and looked as good as original. I haven't tried scanning them yet because the contrast between the pencil marks and the dark brown bkgr is tricky to tackle. Some of the brown paper have postage stamps affixed - they could have been envelopes (DIY). I will blog about them in my other family blog.

My father is standing in back row, 4th left (between the 2 little boys in front of him).
With his kampung friends (kompang group?) and brothers at his sister's wedding in Semabok. The sister married to a schoolteacher, who became Imam of Masjid Semabok. circa 1948/49
Same as above. My father is kneeling 1st left.

Boy scouts at Padang Kubu, Banda Hilir, Melaka; 1947. This photo was taken 10 years before Tunku Abdul Rahman declared Merdeka in Malacca and before the first Merdeka Parade was held in Malacca at Padang Kubu (in front of A Famosa). My father is standing at 2nd left (short boy). The boys could be his schoolfriends - ACS Malacca.
This is my father, Abdul Rashid Mohd Yusope (as he had signed on the first line).
The second line reads Troop Leader 8th Senior. This is ACS Scouts and he was in 8th Grade and was the Scouts Troop Leader. Undated; circa 1947. After school he was a cake seller by the sea, Straits of Malacca, at Banda Hilir padang. The only trait he shared with his sister Zainah and also Coco, is their mathematicsal skills - he wrote the mathematics syllabus and textbooks for Malaysia. Tun Mahathir asked him to be Malaysia's Ambassador to Germany for our engineering boys who were to be sent there - he refused because there would be nobody to take care of his mother. He loved his mother dearly. I will blog about his mother some other time at my family blog. Zainah is deceased. She was the most intelligent Malay woman I have ever met in my life - she could do 3rd root of any large number anytime! I was amazed! She only attended Grade 1 and quit school. She had a string of languages which I don't know where she learnt them.
My father is seated. He is as Scouts Troop Leader 8th Senior, ACS Malacca
circa 1947. He led the troop and most of the boys were Chinese. They liked him as he was intelligent especially when it came to mathematics. I will upload some pages of his mathematics exercise book at my family blog. I have never attended tuition in my entire life. My father taught me mathematics and when I went to first year university and took maths classes, my own American professors were amazed and asked me where I had learnt mathematics - I told them I learned math from my father. I taught some of the same skills to my children at age 3 onward - and they managed well in school without any math tuition. My first job offer was by the Math Dept when I was in 2nd year! By the time I graduated, they already alerted the entire UC system in California.

Yusuf bin Buntal, schoolteacher and Imam of Masjid Semabok, with his first son Mu'in. Photographed at  his home in Semabok, Malacca.  Sunday 10 September 1950. Later, Haji Yusuf became my father's mentor after my father's Walid died. 
Yusuf bin Buntal photographed at home in Semabok, Malacca before leaving for Makkah (pilgrimage for first Hajj). Thursday 10 June 1954

As above. Villagers visited Yusuf bin Buntal at home before he left for Makkah.
This is a family photo. There are probably 4 families in this photo. The names are on the right.
At extreme left is Haji Noordin bin Ismail. He is my father's granduncle. Standing next to Haji Noordin is Haji Yusuf bin Buntal, schoolteacher and Imam of Masjid Semabok. At extreme right is Walid (Haji Mohd Yusope bin Haji Mohd Sharif). Standing next to Walid is Abas bin Abdul Rahman, Walid's son-in-law who married Walid's eldest daughter Ainon.
This is Abas bin Haji Abdul Rahman, as in the photo above.
If you study the facial features carefully, you will see that the same features occur in another man, Tan Sri Abdul Majid bin Ismail @ Coco. I only found this photo this year. It was in my father's pendrive and album all the time.


Abas when he was older. Pak Abas with some young relatives. My father is the boy behind his sister Sekmah. The boy squatting could be my father's younger brother Baharuddin Mohd Yusope, later Private Secretary to Tun Hussein Onn. Circa 1947-1950s



When I interviewed Coco for the first time on 11 May 2007 at his office in Jalan Damai in KL, it was the first time I met him but the features of Abas were so strikingly similar in Coco. When Coco asked me where I originated, I told him I was born in Malacca but my parents were from KL. When Coco probed further and asked me where I lived in Malacca, I said Banda Hilir, behind the mosque. Then, Coco probed even further and asked me if I knew others in Ujong Pasir. I said I didn't know but that I knew some relatives who lived in Umbai from my childhood. At that point Coco asked me whom I knew in Umbai and I told him I knew Pak Cik Abas (above), his wife Mak Ainon and the kids/my cousins (Kak Besar/Hawa, Kak Mariam, Abang Mohamad, Abang Abdul Rahman, Kak Zaleha, and Adik Musa). Then Coco asked who else I knew in Umbai. I said to him there is a big Malay house beside Pak Abas where Nenek Mun lived. Coco asked me about Nenek Mun. I said Nenek Mun lived with some assistance and her relatives lived in PJ-KL, and that my dad had great respect for Nenek Mun. At that point Coco said "then we are related!" You can imagine the shock I had on my face! Even my husband who was recording the interview stopped in shock! I did not know how to proceed as the man I was interviewing was my own granduncle! It took me awhile to come to terms with that shocking news. With tears in my eyes (and Coco's too), I proceeded with some trepidation for about another hour. Coco was much more relaxed after we found out we were related. 



I have met many of Coco's sisters and relatives but I never knew they were all related to him! I then informed my father of this new find. And to my surprise my father said there is no such name as Tan Sri Abdul Majid but there is Doktor Abdul Majid. Now I was so confused! But I had confirmed with Coco at his interview whether he was the only Dr Abdul Majid bin Ismail and also the only Tan Sri Abdul Majid bin Ismail. So I couldn't be wrong. My father then asked me for Coco's # which I gave him. When my father tried calling Coco's office, he said the lady who answered the phone said Coco was busy, and replied the same for further calls. As a result my father never had a chance to speak to his own uncle. My father died in 2009.


Coco had written in his book and I also mentioned in TEMD, that 'a friend had come to look for him while he was attending the King Edward VII College of Medicine'. I believe that 'friend' was my father. My father had narrated to me that when he was offered a place at the KE VII to do medicine (which he did but just for a brief 9 months), he first went to look for his uncle Abdul Majid. He did not elaborate what happened. But in Coco's account and in TEMD, Coco mentioned the 'friend had asked for Abdul Majid' whilst he was nicknamed Coco and nobody knew his real name, for which Coco's friends told my father that there was no one by the name of Abdul Majid. But in the end my father met Coco as they knew each other and were related. My father attended KE VII briefly for 9 months in first year medicine in 1951 before he went to UK.
Coco's book 'An Old Man Remembers' (2006) has a lot more on our common ascendants. You can read his book and find out. I don't know whether he sells that book but you can go to his office and ask for one.

More on Coco in New Sunday Times 2006
More on Coco and daughter Ellina's family in Yayasan Tun Abdul Hamid
More on Coco at VI
More on Coco at Arkib Negara Malaysia
More on Coco in Malaysian Orthopedic Association (MOA)

Coco and I thought about whether we can possibly write a book together on our common ascendants and therefore provide a new breath to Malacca History. If that is possible then you will see how Princess Hang Li Poh comes into the family tree and the Malacca History. Coco knows it all too well.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Huhu...i was amazed...keep reading until now..5am...i stay in semabok but currently in kl...and i think i heard my late nenek mention about imam haji yusof and your previous mention name..che bedah; che sekmah; abas.....next week im going back to semabok...and i was so excited to show ur photo to my uncle..one of kampung boy in pictures look similar like him...

Prof Faridah said...

Dear Anonymous,

It is really strange what the Internet can do for us. Did you know that Imam Haji Yusof is also well-known among the Malays who now reside in Western Australia? That is how famous he is today. He was Imam and as Imam he was Kadhi for the Malay couples who wanted to marry. He lights up the hearts of many Malays, both in Malaccca and Western Australia. Is that good news for you?

Anonymous said...

Wow...famousnye imam haji yusof ni...but it make sense prof...sbb byk pemuda kampung yg jd kelasi kapal dan menetap kat sane...even from my great grandmother (zainab bidan) side ade adik yg menetap kat sane...anyway prof...sukela entry prof ni...sgt clean, berbakat umpama penulis tersohor...a very multi-tasking person...