He left us last year, at April 10th. I would say in peace, but peace is only a matter of technical condition. It’s true that he left in his sleep, but nobody really knows what was inside his mind. The only regret that I felt afterward is that I haven’t done anything for him yet. And yet he had gone.
Akong is the eldest in his family, at least in my three generations family. First born from his 6 siblings. Had 7 child himself, and 12 grandchildren. In his life, he choose to live at the merriest way he could. He seldom dwell in problems, choose to ignore it when it came. He wasn’t ignorant, of course. I remember those times, when something was on his mind, he always lost a little of his appetite for few days, and bounced back merrily after that.
I wish I could life that way. Ama is the exact opposite of him. She dwell in her problem like fish live in the water. I couldn’t count how many times I heard the incessant whining from Ama and the angry retort from Akong, in order to answer her, in all those times he live with us. Well, opposite attract.
I guess I kinda missed him after he move out from our house. I miss him so damn much right now.
Akong maybe is the luckiest guy I know in all my life. Since he was born, not once in his life, he experienced what other people called disaster. He had problems, alright, but not something so physically, mentally, financially harsh. In return, he choose to live without any negative mind. He never devoted himself to any religion, yet he always try to never did wrong in his life. He never hurt anyone in his life, at least intentionally. He did anything by himself, as long as he could. He never complained. He help his friend abundantly. He was a good person.
Don’t take it wrong, he wasn’t anything like a holy grandpapa. He was stubborn alright. He like to told us to do this or that. He like to told any people about how to do anything. He did mistakes in his life, but in the end, it doesn’t really matter.
He will always be a memorable person. He love to eat, any good to great food, as long as it wasn’t hot. Fried duck with uduk, A&W, and hainam was his favorite food around our home, but basically, he love almost all food except westernese and Japanese. I remember how much he love the bacang that my father made each year. He could take a sabbatical week from rice, and survive only by eating those bacang.
He smoke too much, for a too long time, yet when we told him to stop, he just laugh. I don’t remembered seeing him drunk, but he always gambled. He love to bet in soccer. He watch England, Spain, and Italian league beside the world cup. He could stay awake all night just to watch it all. He love to drink a big cup of tea with milk, just like the tarik, in the morning. He love to drink fresh milk. Or milo. Or ovaltine. He was the one who change the name of udang mayonnaise into udang mayora in our family. If we let him, he’ll do the dishes, the clothes, changing our lamp bulb, harvesting our fruit in the tree, even bathing our dogs. As if we could make him stop, he was stubborn, remember?
Akong was a remarkable person. He had one sharp mind. he could speak Indonesian, Tiochiu (and Hokkian), Khek, Mandarin, Canton, English, a very small porsion of Dutch and Japan (he hated Japan so much, btw), and I don’t know how many more. He could remember any country and its capital city right away. He was philatelist. He love to travel, although he love China most.
Remembering living with him makes me remember many things. Like how I need to cook three kind of food when he was eating. Like how he always sat in front of the television every night. Like the smell of his favorite deodorant, the mighty tabac that could make us sneeze for five minutes after he used it.
Like how quiet it was in our home every night right now.
It’s been (almost) a year since he was gone. Not once in our life, we forgot about him. We could stay in our diner table at night, laughing while reminiscing any story about him.
Thank you for every memory, Akong. We really miss you. But we know, you are happy up there.
Until we meet again someday…