Sunday, September 2, 2012

Father - A Tribute to Lt Kdr (B) Zainal Abidin Hashim

Today is Father's Day in Australia, or so I gathered from Chantelle's write-up. Her second theme for the month of September at fatmumslim is FATHER (2. Father: It’s Father’s Day in Australia. Take a photo of your dad. A Dad. A father figure. Etc.). Since my father has met his Creator on November 16, 2011, there will be no new photos of him. What I have are past photos that will always be looked at down memory lane. I decided to write a tribute for him instead based on what I remember of him. Once I am able to gather more info, I shall update my contents. 
For now, here is a tribute to the man we all loved, respect and admire. A man who brought us all up with a firm and strict discipline and sometimes with a no nonsense attitude. He is also a man full of love and bear no grudges against those who had taken advantage of him, walk all over him or being unfair to him. Revenge was never in his vocabulary even though we know how hurt he had been.
Dad was born on July 8, 1935 at Kesang, Melaka to Hashim bin Muharram and Aminah bte Mohd Baki. He was the seventh child of 14 brothers and sisters and lovingly addressed as Pak Andak by his nieces and nephews or Abang Enal by his cousins and younger siblings. He had a stepmother whom we never met but we did meet his only sister, Maznah, from that marriage.
Dad joined the Royal Malaysian Navy located at Woodlands, Singapore, when he was 16 as an Apperentice Welder, when RMN was then under the British command. Not sure how he managed to enrol himself in when the minimum intake age was 17. He worked his way up the ranks from Chief Petite Officer to Chief Officer - a rank he held on for years without much hope of moving up. Yet he was a patient man and his patience paid off when he was moved up one step at a time until he retired at age 45 as a Lieutenant Commander. His job was mobile. He used to be stationed at Mindeff, Jalan Gurney, Kuala Lumpur from 1967 to 1969, back to Woodlands again before he was stationed at Butterworth. Then he moved back to Woodlands  and when I was in Secondary 4, dad moved to Kuching, Sarawak. We did not follow him to Kuching, though. After 2 years in Kuching, he went back To Mindeff, before he was sent to Lumut Naval Base to help set up a training school there. In between he went to Portsmouth, England in 1964 to further his studies, in  1978 to Manadon for a degree in Engineering. He even had a short stint at Nirimba, Australia prior to joining the Naval Base in Lumut. He then returned to Mindeff when he opted for retirement. Below is his record (in his own handwriting) of his career achievements and courses he attended.
Other than snippets of information I gathered from him or mum in the course of his career, I don't really know anything else. I was young and never really asked much questions. Some things are private and confidential and he maintained that. He definitely was proud of his job and he was always connected to the KD Hang Tuah fighter ship. One thing I do know is that he never failed to deliver command, discipline and timeliness in all areas of his life and he even instilled that in all of his children.
Dad's favourite routine with all his grandchildren was to carry them, from first grandchild, Muhammad Azwan, right down to the youngest grandchild, Afza, round the house to introduce them to the crisp morning air, hear the birds chirping and to admire nature. He loved all his grandchildren to pieces, in fact, more than his own children. Around him, these grandchildren are untouchable.
I created this layout for dad because he kept missing Afza so much. He loved to look at this photo of them together.
Dad has many hobbies and all of them were related to DIY. He loves cars and one of  his first cars was a Mini Cooper. At least I still remember that car when we used to stay at Wadi Hana, Johor Bharu. For small repairs to his cars, he did them himself and that was how he developed the skill in repairing cars (an extension to his apperentice in repairing the naval ships). I remembered his other cars include Ford Anglia, Ford Cortina, Mazda and finally Ford Cortina 2000E. At least these were cars I remembered riding in.
Dad is a green finger. He loves to plant fruit trees like mango, guava and some other decorative plants. He loves maintaining them, too.
We are now very much into recycling and making so much propaganda out of it. Dad is a firm believer in upcycling. As the example below showed, this pretty but simple vase started its life as a Trumpet. When it was broken, the owner just threw it away but dad took it and with a bit of welding, turned it into a vase holding mum's handmade Hibiscus out of nylon strings.
The swings below were lovingly crafted by dad from a piece of plank and a block of wood, respectively. These swings had gone through many fights among the grandchildren, a place to relax in the evenings, and a place where much discussions took place.
Last but not least, dad loves Music. He played the guitar and when he was younger and he formed a small band, I think while in the Navy. Not much about this was known but then his children did play an instrument or two. Only we did not graduate from our Musical 'career'.
Dad loves reading and his favourite read is among others on Cars. Reading is one trait 100% adopted by all his children.
This is a photo of dad when he was 6-months old. He was on the lap of his Indonesian nanny, Sa'erah. The lovely lady on at the top of the stairs was dad's mom, Aminah and the young man is Bakar whom I always address as Pak Cik Bakar. The smiling gentleman is dad's father, Hashim and the little girl on his lap was dad's deceased sister, Zahara. If I am not mistaken, the girl in the center is dad's third sister, Zainun.

This is the most famous family photo and I think almost every family member has this photo in their collection. Dad , at 3 years of age, standing close to his father. The other gentleman, looking like a martyr, was dad's grandfather, Mohd Baki whom I lovingly call Aki. Not sure who the others in the photos are. Notice the car? During dad's time, to own a car is a sign of wealth. So, too, having stairs with those engraved tiles.
In summary, dad will always be remembered by his wife, Sity Khatijah, his children, grandchildren and his familes and friends. For as long as I live, I shall present Al-fatihah to him daily. Amen.


  1.'s a wonderful tribute...I'm proud to be Daddy's Girl {don't be jealous okay}...what you wrote all about him is so true and I know I have his traits in me: discipline {oh yes}, time {is vital}, recycle {definitely}, reading {#1}, DIY {for sure}...erm, it's that only thing that made me CRY - your layout! Poor thing Afza doesn't get to spend more time with him but I know she remembers her grandpa even for a short period of time. Well, when I miss Dad, I use two of his things he left: his eyelet plier and his prayer mats {one is almost torn apart prooves that he prayed and worship ALLAH all his life and the other he bought in Mecca to replace the old one}. There are times I wish Dad is still alive...there're still many more things I need to know, need to learn from him and want him to make for me...Abah {Dad} I miss calling you, miss your voice, miss your favorite saying 'anak Abah', miss your fried rice, miss gardening with you, miss your craftywork, miss you so much!!! Enough said...I'm in bucket of tears!

  2. I know Allah will give you great courage and strength, Lili. Be hopeful and you are so lucky to have known and loved by such dad. This layout and tribute is so beautiful and a treasure for all. HUGS!

  3. I loved reading this wonderful tribute to your father, Lili. It's beautiful.


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