Safiyah’s younger brother Shafie picked them up at the airport.
“Assalamualaikum, how are you kakak, how’s the journey?” greeted Shafie while taking the hand luggage from his kakak – sister and they exchanged hug.
“Wa’alaikumsalam, I’m good, alhamdulillah – all praise be to Him, the journey was good but I couldn’t really sleep, Husayn was crying along the journey, he has cold.”
“Oh sorry to hear that, no worries kakak, you surely will get proper rest at home.” Safiyah smiled.
“Look at you; this must be my little hero, Husayn. How are my hero?” Shafie smiled at him while bending at his waist and kissed Husayn on his forehead.
“Come salam - shake hand with your Pak Cik, my dear.” Asked Safiyah to Husayn. Husayn extended his hand and shake his uncle.
“Don’t forget to kiss your Pak Cik – uncle’s hand.” Said Yusuf and Husayn did as told.
The journey from Kuantan Sultan Ahmad Shah airport to Safiyah’s hometown, Chukai took forty-five minutes and Yusuf sat on the front sit next to Shafie. Both of them tried to start a conversation and avoid the awkwardness and break the silence. It was the first time they met each other. Last five years ago when both Safiyah and Shafie got married in
, none of Safiyah’s family managed to attend their wedding. New Zealand
“How’s mak? Is she much better?” Yusuf broke the silence by asking about his mother in-law.
“She’s much better alhamdulillah. She’s got prescription by the doctor and had to attend the chemotherapy every month” replied Shafie with a smile. Puan Maznah was diagnosed to have brain tumor last year, one month before her husband’s death.
“Alhamdulillah, that’s good, insyAllah we’ll look after her while we’re here.” Said Yusuf. Safiyah and Husayn were sleeping at the back.
“Look! These fellows have never loved their lives, rempit here and there and simply overtake people without signalling! I hope there’s a grave hole waiting for them in front there.” complained Shafie when there were three youngster rempit – speeding their bikes and almost hit his right sight mirror.
“O man! That’s very stunning though, but it’s dangerous, didn’t the police take any action on them?”
“They did actually, but there’s no way to stop these fellow from rempit!”
“That doesn’t sound good.” Replied Yusuf but he couldn’t find words to give more comments as he was afraid if his opinion would be an offence even in fact he had something to say- “Why do people here ride their bike on the highway? Bike could be dangerous for a long journey. And without helmet?” But he just kept those questions for himself.
There were many small villages scattered along the way of the journey. Yusuf enjoyed the view and at the same time tried to learn the Malaysian eastern culture. Tall coconut trees grew wildly everywhere by the road. There were cows, buffaloes and goats mowing the grass just by the roadside. There was one time Shafie pressed the emergency brake when there was a buffalo crossing the road. Husayn and Safiyah awoke from their nap and Husayn started to cry. As Safiyah expected, he would stop crying in any second when he first time seeing a big buffalo through the front mirror.
“Mommy, look at that, a big black lembu – cow”.
“Ha ha, no sayangku – my dear, it’s a kerbau – buffalo”
He was amazed seeing a herd of buffalo mowing the grass by the roadside and some of them were in the river.
“Whose buffaloes are those, Mommy? Why don’t they let the buffaloes in their farm?”
“Those buffaloes belong to the villagers here. And there are not many farms here, so they will just let their buffaloes mowing by the roadside”
“Poor anak kerbau - little calves! They would have no shelter to stay from hujan - rain”
Everybody laughed hearing to Husayn. His intelligence in reasoning and thinking. Husayn picked up some Malay words from his mother and Safiyah spoke Malay with him so he would not have much trouble when returning to“I don’t want you to mengumpat – backbiting me.” Yusuf once told a joke to her. He was keen to learn anything about Malay culture and he succeeded those. Except one thing, Yusuf couldn’t stand Malay hot and spicy food like Safiyah. Safiyah was indeed a lucky wife. Yusuf was every woman's dream husband - loving, soft-spoken, patient, pious, funny, helpful and name all the good qualities of a husband.
. Above all, Safiyah really hoped that would at least make her mother happy to learn her grandson could speak Malay even he was brought up in Kiwi’s culture and born to a Syrian father. Safiyah really wanted to prove her mak that Husayn was not different than any other Malay kids. Safiyah was lucky when Yusuf was also keen to learn some Malay from here. Malaysia