THERE was a time when happenings took place without our knowledge. For one simple reason we were not there or we failed to know about it. Yet looking back many stories do creep by helping to enlighten our sights and mind to yesteryear.
A case in point, how often do we see an elder man in our neighborhood and give a thought of what he was before or do we care to learn anything about him. He is in his octogenarian phase, yet agile and active in the community, never missing his morning walk and prayer time at the village mosque. Pak Hj Zakaria is one. He goes on his personal phase, accepting that people know him as a quiet family man contributing to the community's needs when necessary, happy with a home of his own and the simple comforts of life. Yet he has a wonderful story to tell, an inspiring youthful lifetime. There were times when we learn of our young men enlisting in the army and serving the country during the emergencies and caught in ambushes and booby traps etc. Pak Zakaria went further back. He served in the British army and had recollections of living in barracks at Singapore and even Hong Kong. The exposure must have put him for what he is today. Yet many would have thought theirs would have been the best of time having lived in Britain, Australia, United States of America, New Zealand or any other parts of the world as students; theirs the worldly experience. Whereas here this senior man has served in the British army, specifically in the British Air Force, learned what has to be learned and regimented in all things wise. He left his home while a youth and way back before Merdeka was the crying call. Upon leaving the army he became a forester, acquiring more skills and knowledge and this time of timber and its resources being much wiser about our Malaysian jungle and its secrets.
Pak Zakaria's story or episode or others like him make us realize that our adventures in life are no comparison to those like him who came earlier than us; theirs saw hardship and tribulations. They may not have the opportunity to acquire higher education as opportunities were not there but they acquired wider and worldly knowledge.
The photos accompanying show in term of experience that it outweighs yours and mine of our youthful days. Yes search around your kampong and you will discover similar stories or personalities. Scout around, find them and write or tell the world. Sadly at times even their own children know nothing of their rich past.