I've always admire and been proud of my Tok Wan, whom I lived with for most of my early childhood. I admire the hardship he went through to get an education and I'm proud of the fact that he's a well respected politician though I'm not so sure if I still have enough respect for his party, albeit their recent win.

This is not Tok Wan.

This is the other side. This is Ayah Mat. My father's father. The policeman.

I've always had some identity crisis with my Kelantanese heritage, particularly because I don't really speak the language and unlike Kedah where I was born and bred, I've never lived in Kelantan. Some people don't even believe that my dad is a Kelantanese. Sometimes he himself won't say that he's from Kelantan.


I don't know much about Ayah since I've never met him. He passed away in 1987 after, I was told, drinking ayer nyior. I was born in 1988. Perhaps this is what my younger cousins felt about Tok Wan, being born after he went back. Knowing from stories and photos, reconstructing it in the mind like vivid memories that never was, imagining the man they were told about.

What I know about Ayah is that he is a traffic policeman in Kota Bharu. Back then polis trafik are only in Kota Bharu; the rest of the state haven't needed them yet at that time. This was the days when traffic lights were just a stick with a red, yellow and green sign attached to it that read, 'Stop, look, go'. Nik Munawwar told me about these signs so I believe Ayah might've seen them too.

There wasn't much traffic then so sometimes the traffic that he controlled was that of budak sekolah lintas jalan. If Lat's cartoon are historical recollection, then Ayah might've manned roadblocks to check bicycles for traffic violations.

Ma told me that some of these few photos of him on the job were taken by drivers who kena saman by him. They gave it to him as a present of some sorts. I guess back then it was something to kena saman since you can only get those in Kota Bharu. People in Gua Musang must've gazed in wonder when these folks go there and show the surat saman.

Fuyooo... pulis terapik.

When I was driving back to Kelantan for Chek's funeral with my Ayah Ngah along in the car, he told a story on how he himself wanted to be a policemen. The only problem is, Ayah wouldn't let him. So he didn't go for the recruitment interview in Kota Bharu because that's where Ayah is and instead went to another jajahan I can't remember where. There, when his turn arrived he was asked, 'Mu ni anak Korperal Muhammad, Kota Bharu?' Yes of course. 'Mu gi balik la Roslee, ayah mu dok beri mu jadi pulis'.

My Ayah Ngah is now a teacher.

This is one thing that kept me thinking, some sort of a mystic thing about him. Much like Hang Tuah or Hang Jebat's words. He didn't want his descendent to be a policeman.

As I'm thinking ahead on what I want to do after graduation, my mind sometimes come back to my two grandfathers, the civil servants. The parliamentarian and the policeman. The lawmaker and the enforcer. It makes me wonder, some 50 or 60 years from now. Would my descendent be wondering about me, being, say a video editor or a photographer?

This sort of questions makes me want to really want to work passionately in a field I passionately enjoy. It don't matter what your work is, so long as you give it all your best, you'll get the respect you deserve even when you don't want it.

I think that is one thing an always neat, always disciplined korperal in Kota Bharu whom I've never met taught me.

Onwards and steady, able and ready.
Korperal Muhammad bin Jaafar #4535. Standing, 4th from left.

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