Sunday, September 09, 2007

Penang Road.

I don't feel guilty anymore. Why should I? I've never seen pakcik Syed putting on kain pelikat or songkok to pray. I've never seen aunt Su's telekong. I don't see no prayer mat in the house. I don't see a single copy of Qur'an and I don't hear the Azan anymore to make me feel scared for walking up and down Penang Road at 7.30 in the evening the way I would feel if I were in Dungun this time of the day, listening to the sweet call of the Azan from Bilal Rashid's voice. The only time I was out of the house around this time in Dungun was when Aunt and I had to look for Tapong, our goat that hadn't come in with the rest of her charge. I asked Aunt whether Grandma would be mad that we were out of the house during Maghrib but Aunt says that's okay because she can't pray and we have got to find Tapong who could be in trouble like getting its head locked inside a Dumex tin can.
I'm walking up and down Penang Street not thinking of the Azan that is playing inside my head. I can't hear it anymore. All I hear is music blasting from the speakers placed outside a music shop. I go in to feel the cool air-cond that goes right into your nose. We don't have air-cond in Dungun. But this is Penang, kiddo. A city where you can't hear the Azan anytime of the day because heaven knows where a Masjid is. All I see is neon light that goes round and round which they've got at Pasar Chowrasta, and the sweet smell of apples, oranges and nutmeg. You don't pray in a place like this. You don't have to because you won't know when to pray since you won't hear no Azan coming in and I know for sure Bilal Rashid's voice won't reach you here in Penang when you are so far away from Tanah Lot, Dungun, Terengganu.
And I don't have to recite one Surah a day either because Grandma isn't here to check on my Tajwid. She won't rap my finger if I don't complete a full Harakat of Mat Asli, or my Kholkolah, or Tashdid. I don't have to pray. I don't have to recite the Qur'an. In fact I can forget about praying and the Qur'an all together because no one prays or recites the Qur'an on Penang Road. No one seems to mind that this is Maghrib and that the devils are out to get you if you are not in the house praying or reciting your Surah.
I'm beginning to like Penang very much. I don't hear Grandma's reciting the Qur'an, or Aunt reading a Surah in her angelic voice in between Maghrib and Isya' prayer. I miss putting on my head on Aunt's lap while she reads the Qur'an in her heavenly voice that can lull me to sleep. Sometimes I hear Grandma correcting Aunt on an Ayat that Aunt doesn't read good. I'd ask Grandma, why is it wrong to read it that way. And Grandma would say, Haven't you learnt anything? I've taught you everything but you still forget. And then I'd laugh and say, I'm just joking, Grandma. And Aunt would laugh and rub my hair hard and say, Clever boy but very naughty. And I'll sleep with the sound of the Qur'an in my ear until the next day.
Penang Road is a busy street that I can't hear the Qur'an in my ears. I'm lonely and sad but I'm a tough kid. Tough kid don't cry even though he misses Grandma and Aunt. Tough kids don't cry. They just take it in like real men.


Blogger Kata Tak Nak said...

You still don't hear the Azan in Penang Road and there are still many who are lulled by the music of the city in Penang Road.

11:21 AM  
Blogger Zabs said...

Salam Bergen,
I still can't figure out why we don't hear the Azan in Penang Road, when the Mosque is just in front of one of the hotel along Penang Road? The loudspeaker is not switch on ke?

3:06 PM  
Blogger tokasid said...


This entry proved one thing:
If our elders/guardians don't give a hoot about our religious upbringing, can one blamed one self for our wrong doing in our teenage lives?

Alhamdulillah for you back in Dungun, Grandma and Aunt had instilled some basic religious to you.

I had seen and still seeing parents/guardians neglecting religious education to their children. After several years, when their sons become mat rempits or daughters become bohsia they'll complaint to me: "Anak saya ni tak tahu lah apa nak jadi...sembahyang tak reti. Bang maghrib saja terus naik motor keluar dgn kawan2 balik sampai 2-3 pagi..."

Penag like KL, if you are left alone....anything can happen.

11:54 PM  
Anonymous E said...

to compare penang to dungun is... errr... can we? but then again, bergen was only referring to penang road (not penang street), which i think is fairer to compare it to jalan bukit bintang (muahahaha). there's a small mosque at the junction of penang road/macalister road, opposite the old Cravon-A restaurant. try to be there around the 'calling' time.

but then again, you were not talking about the present time, were you berg?

we're simply a human, without good foundation of iman, letak la kat mana pun... anything can happen ;-)

11:08 AM  
Blogger bergen said...

Kata Tak Nak: It's the city, cikgu. I guess Azan and the city don't go too well.

Zabs: I really don't have the answer, Zabs.

Tokasid: Maghrib is a big thing growing up in Dungun for me. The fear of being outside this time of the day is real - even now. Grandma and Aunt instilled this in me early in life. And if you refer to Hadiths on this matter you know that Grandma and Aunt knew what was going on.

E: I was used to hearing the Azan since our house in Dungun is about a hundred yards from the Mosque. My Grandfather was the Imam there but he died before I was born. As a child I heard the Azan 5 times a day, without fail. It had an effect on you that I could be on a deck off the coast in Oslo but I could still hear it during the prayer time.

Thank you for coming, friends.

11:35 AM  
Blogger Fauziah Ismail said...

Salam Bergen
My late father was like your Grandma. We have to be home before Mahgrib to perform the prayers with him as the Imam.
Now that we are working and away from the family home (and he died quite sometime ago), we make sure that we are at a surau or a mosque during Mahgrib if we cannot make it back on time.

11:52 AM  
Blogger bergen said...

Fauziah Ismail: Your Dad is a good man, ma'am.

12:03 PM  
Anonymous elviza said...

This post transports me to my eventful childhood.

If I may, Bergen...

Mama beat the crap out of me when she discovered that I ponteng my class ngaji which was conducted by her uncle = my granduncle. I was just a kid, I was naive to believe that Tok Nik won't utter a word about it to Mama.

Throughout the week I went cathcing guppies by the small river near my ancestor's grave with friends.

When Mama found out about it, well, you know what happened!

Ah! saketnya masih ku rasa. Serik sunggoh!Tak mboh doh ponteng ngaji sapa mati!

p/s: My heart goes to you dear friend, its hard being a tough kid. I just know so....

6:04 PM  
Blogger bergen said...

Elviza: Catching guppies? LOL. Somehow that's not all that hard to imagine. LOL.

6:27 PM  
Blogger Serenity said...

Now some quarters r trying to quash free flowing of azan at the rite timimg 5 times a day as they say it's a public nuisance. I hope we dont give in to such pressure & preserve azan as a reminder.

11:39 AM  

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