I ONCE knew a man who gave us wings,
Throughout his life he taught us many things,
An extraordinary man, no, not a stranger,
This man was my beloved grandfather.
Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahman was his name,
A hardworking man who played a few games,
Born in Kelantan in 1933,
A quiet kampung boy who enjoyed climbing trees.
Married Wan Zakiah, four children they had,
Each grew up strong through happy and sad,
Aziah, Azlan, Anita, Adina are their names,
The loves of his life, their happiness was always his aim.
Wanted to study pharmacy but fate came along,
Offered the chance of a lifetime so he grabbed on,
Along with three friends they packed their bags,
Left Kelantan for studies and never looked back.
There was never a time he wouldn’t mention the Constitution,
Law was his passion, didn’t need persuasion,
Attended Lincoln’s Inn and lived in London,
Four years went on without seeing his children.
1969 was a dark time for Malaya,
Riots ensued and made life much harder,
He wanted to help restore law and order,
To protect our Malaysian sisters and brothers.
One day, Tun Abdul Razak called him for something,
“Abdul Aziz, I need you to work on one thing.”
Thus our national carrier was born, built from scratch,
Malaysian Airlines and my grandfather were a perfect match.
Malaysia Airlines was his blood, sweat and tears,
A huge responsibility, he overcame so many fears,
I remember him telling me that he read and read and read,
So, when they question his work he’d always be prepared.
That quiet kampung boy also went to Harvard,
Hard work and knowledge was his main power,
Through challenges, he stood strong and resilient,
Looking back, he really was brilliant.
I remember the day you told me the best story ever,
It was about the day you called Margaret Thatcher,
My jaw dropped, goosebumps all over,
I cannot believe you did that, my grandpa so power!
Papa, your legacy is still soaring,
Flying high in the sky, journeys still adjourning,
You always had faith in it, even when it was bad,
Maybe one day it will be good again like the days you had.
You took the road less travelled to avoid corruption,
You were so strong, solid integrity without disruption,
In exchange, you got to live with a clear conscience,
You retired with so much grace, respect and confidence.
You had many shirts and yet you loved wearing only three,
Your favourite jacket? Now it’s ours to keep,
The colour red seemed to be your favourite,
You never went overboard, didn’t like to be extravagant.
We made fun of you when you fell asleep on the sofa,
“Pa, don’t sleep here go upstairs and nap la.”
Head tilted back, still holding your glasses and newspaper,
You were stubborn so we just said “Fine, see you later.”
Sometimes I wonder if you ever get tired,
A man like you, with much ambition and desire,
Meetings after meetings, one after the other,
Listening attentively, trying to help others.
Never again will we hear you say “Hello”,
All we have are memories, your stories and photos,
Never again we will see you eat, walk or pray,
We will never be the same but that’s okay.
As you took your last breath,
We were all right beside you,
You were not alone, Pa, don’t worry,
We never left you.
As the end drew nearer and nearer,
Umi arrived and kissed your face and ear,
Your breath grew gradually slower, it was time to go,
We stood all around you, drowned in irreversible sorrow.
The day we said goodbye, your friends came to see you,
They loved you so much, regardless to which God they pray to,
They bowed their heads and put their hands together,
Bidding you adieu, family and friends all together.
Our last day with you was a bright sunny Thursday,
People filled up the mosque, it felt like a Friday,
The overspilling crowd paying their respects to you,
Your rezeki Pa, we felt so happy and grateful for you.
After you left, I asked my son: “Where did Tok Pa go?”
Rauf said: “He’s in the ambulance mummy, yes or no?”
I nodded, with tears streaming down my face,
Knowing you were already in a much better place.
You did good, Pa. You did more than enough,
We all know you did your best for the good and tough,
But the time has come, the time for you to rest,
Its okay Pa, it really is for the best.
We love you, we love you, we love you so much,
We cherished every kiss, every hug and every touch,
Don’t worry Pa, I know it’s hard not to bother,
But we promise to take care of each other.
We long for the day we get to see you again,
For now we will remain strong even though in pain,
In between today, tomorrow and the hereafter,
We’ll see you in our dreams okay, hope it will last forever.
(The poem is penned by the grand-daughter of the late former Malaysia Airlines chief executive officer and managing director, Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahman)
LIYANA KHAIRUL AZMAN
Damansara Heights, Kuala Lumpur