Thursday, January 10, 2008

Tales from the Sea: How Deep is Your Love

Rustam came from a small kampung in the East Coast of Malaysia and his success in getting the scholarship to further his studies in UK was a majestic achievement for the family. He was the calm and most pious among us and kept way from our normal night activities of clubbing and pubs hopping. Normally he will be the one reminding us about prayer and became the Imam. For the first few years in Liverpool and onboard ship he became a vegetarian to avoid the non halal food. I could not help wondering how he is going to cope with the seafaring life where most of the time he will be the only Muslim onboard. I guess his strong faith and inner strength will be the key assets to pull him through.

On his first trip to Far East, Rustam ship called at Cagayan De Oro, Mindanao. The ship was scheduled to stay three days in port loading canned pineapples. The people here were very poor but friendly and happy to see foreigners. After finishing his cargo watch Rustam was given a shore leave along with two other cadets to explore the Cagayan De Oro City. Shore leave has always been the highlight for any port call, its gave the crew the opportunity for sight seeing, shopping and unwinding their stress in whatever way they seemed fit. As Rustam and friends were exploring the city they met with a group of high school girls near the city park. As usual when youngsters met they smiled and giggles at each other and before long became friends. The girls became their tourist guide showing them the city and historic places. Rustam was particularly close with one of the girls named Maria, a beautiful and sweet girl. They parted before sunset and promised to meet again tomorrow afternoon after school. The few days in port gave Rustam and Maria the opportunity to know each other better. Maria was all tears when the ship finally left the port for Singapore while Rustam promised that he will never forget her.

Rustam wrote to Maria from every port and they became very close and attached with each other despite the distance and ocean that separated them apart. At times we shared his happiness when he received parcel from Maria with pages of perfumed letter and tapes of her voice for his ears only. She must be his first love and had become a very important part of his life. In fact after high school Maria wanted to start working to help her family instead of furthering her studies in college. She came from a poor family and could not afford the college fee but Rustam insisted that she pursue her studies and he will support her financially. Without fail every month he sent allotments to Maria to support her studies. This went on for about three years and Maria finally graduated. Their bond and love became stronger then ever and they agreed to get married after getting their family consent. Maria family had no problem to consent their marriage but Rustam family just could not accept it. As the eldest son of the family they expected him to marry a fellow Malay and Muslim. They just could not understand the bond that existed between Rustam and Maria. Being an obedient son Rustam did not want to go against his family and for that he suffered terribly.

He changed drastically from his previous self. He started drinking and enjoyed himself with nightlife that he formally avoided. He became a heavy drinker and this really broke our hearts to see one of our friends melted this way. The worst happened when he decided to marry an English girl named Jane. They got married in UK without informing his family. His marriage with Jane could not bring him back to the path of goodness because she was also a heavy drinker and happy go lucky type. His family was full of sorrow and sadness when they finally knew what has happened to him. They even regretted for not allowing him to marry Maria, but it was all too late. Rustam has two children out his marriage with Jane – Rustam Jr and Rose. He finally decided to work ashore in Malaysia and began to correct his mistakes and lifestyle. He tried very hard to change Jane to be a good wife and Muslim, but then she just could not blend herself with the new environment. His family after realizing their earlier mistakes made all effort to help Jane. However their marriage lasted only for a few years because Jane just could not changed her lifestyle to suit the Malaysian environment. Their differences became further apart and finally Rustam divorced Jane.

He started to pick up the pieces again. He began to give his full devotion to his children and work. By and by his life became more stable with the help from his parents and friends. They helped him to bring up his two children in a proper Muslim way and supported him to come back to his true self. It took a few years for him to finally settle down and married a Malay girl of his choice. They now have three beautiful children.

Like a ship on a voyage, Rustam life took a beating from a heavy storms, but thank God he survived and reached the save port.


drbubbles said...

Pak Jafflam,

I wonder what happened to the lovely Maria?

p.s: Teringat lagu Epilog Cinta dari Bromley after reading this posting.

jaflam said...

Maria was all broken hearted and married a year after Rustam married Jane. Poor girl she was ready to convert to Muslim to marry Rustam.

Congrats on your successful book project for the orphanage.... you did it again DR.B!!!!

Akmal said...

Cpt. Jafflam,
A love story, this one eh? This one express concept of love, reentance and hijrah; all in one post. Love, should be unconditional; repentance, to back at one after mistakes was made ; and hijrah, to proceed and make improvements in life.
Keep well.

Mat Salo said...

Capt DJ! This is the one I'm dying to hear.. tales of a Seamen's life.

My...what a beautiful story, touching and one full of hope and redemption.

A very human story, the type that I hope to be able to write.

Well done Sir!

jaflam said...

I thought this story is worth sharing. Our life is full of love and love is blind??? Or when you madly in love you become blind! So when in love don't be mad......
Hopefully we don't have to go through some of Rustam rough patch.

jaflam said...

Happy that you like the story and I hope to continue many more Tales from the Sea in future.

Just finished watching a concert at RTM specially for Bapak SBY who is on official visit to KL. He enjoyed the show but Pak Lah looked a bit bored there.

ruby ahmad said...

Hello Jafflam,

Oh so sad! This is the problem with us. We are so judgemental.

We are so bothered about materialism! It is the kindness of the heart that counts. What religion, what race, what wealth, what..hmm..ya lah what whatever points to us being materialistic.

Many time I see lives wrecked due to this. I had a relative who could not marry her Chinese sweetheart as she's Malay. She suffered till now.

I think we must consider happiness of our child more than our own expectations. Sigh!

Zabs said...

Salam DJ,
Very sad indeed, that your friend have to endure life like that. My prayers for him, that he will be blessed with the second wife and children. InsyaAllah.
I have a friend who married, a Filipino, he met while attending a course in Australia. They are happily married now (more than 30 years already). They often go back to the Philippines to visit the wife's family. Gid bless them.
I have six children and I have no intention of making the decision for them, when the matters of the heart is concern. However, we will have some input in that decision, no doubt, to show our concern.
Thank DJ, for sharing. All the best. Take care.

U.Lee said...

Hi Jaflam, wow, what a story. I feel sad reading it. There are lots of such cases of parents, religion and other such reasons that causes such experiences.
Here's hoping Rustam has found the happiness he seeks in his new life with her.
I posted one such story of a girl who loved a man of another religion and wanted to marry him, the parents were totally against it and the father took out an ad in the papers announcing to one and all she no longer their daughter.
I knew the lady personally as I got her a job. She later contacted cancer and passed away.
Just as they covered her grave, her parents and relatives arrived, too late. I was there to see her parents throw themselves on her grave begging her forgiveness.
But she had already forgiven them, her last words in hospital.
Yes, life can be unpredictable, tough and rough, like ship on the ocean.
Jaf, ada senang pop over for coffee, just put out my continuation of Irene last night.
You have a nice weekend. Lee.

Zawi said...

D. Jaff,
This is what we have been waiting for. Definitley worth the wait and I guess there will be more to come. We will have this one listed on Stories From Blogs so that more people will know and share whatever lessons to be learnt from here.
Not only Rustam's family lose a potentially good daughter in law and add another member of the ummah, they lose a son who lose his direction in life. Luckily he managed to pick up his pieces but he definitely lost a great part of his life in the prime his time.

jaflam said...

I guess even in love we have to teach our child about the true value and traits of good love. They have to use their brain as much as their heart when evaluating and dealing in love.

Most parents want the best for their children but then maybe n some occasions their communication was too late or not effective.

If they have choices between good & rich and good & poor. I would advised them to go for good & rich person.

jaflam said...

Salam Zabs,
Personally I think Rustam & Maria would make a happy couple. Unfortunately his family did not realise "How Deep is Their Luv" and the impact of denying it. Thank God the ending look good for him and the family.

jaflam said...

Salam Zawi,
You are right, Rustam lost more then six years of his prime time and age. In life there is so much factor beyond our command, we have to keep striving for the best and prayed hard that we will not be tested on things beyond our strength.

The stories stretch over three decades of Rustam life journey, glad that you like it and felt it worth sharing with many others in the cyber space.

jaflam said...

Hello U Lee,
Thanks for dropping by. It’s true some family just went overboard on race and religion issue. Being from mixed parentage i knew that the challenge is bigger on mixed marriage,to the couples and their children. But it is also full of colorful life liberations. My family has no problems at all mixing with my Chinese Aunties, Uncles and Cousins. We respected each other remains family members despite our different religion beliefs. On most occasions people mistaken me as a Chinese because of my look but I told them, I am one of the true Malaysians hahaaaaaa.

FiSHY@iKe said...

Good day captain! Ah, there's no stories better than a love story! (apart from horror and action, :P) but the point is, this is what happening in the country ya? (or if I may, the whole world)Being judgmental is just bad. You may need to be judgmental at some point of life but not all the time. This kind of attitude can really makes some people suffer.(just like what happened to rustam and maria) May God bless both of them and you too captain.

p/s: sir, do you mind if I link my blog to yours?

jaflam said...

Hai Muiz,
Well Muiz, we can judge a person provided that we are fair and unemotional to him. Usually it’s kind of difficult to do that when we are party to the issue.

You are most welcome to link my blog to yours. Have a good and fun day.

Rita Ho said...

Hi Jaflam ... It was Zawi who first introduced me to your blog through a down-the-line tag on 3 Takeaways. I came by with the intention of saying hi and to read your tag but stumbled upon this story. It brought back some sad memories as I was in Maria's shoes a long time ago. It took me a long while to move on and find my present happy life but my Rustam who married on the rebound and to please his parents did not find happiness. I am sad because there will always be those what-if thought. We were young and I was not brave enough to face the battle when he was.

Anyway, I left your story feeling a bit lost and am now back to say thank you for starting a meaningful tag that allowed me to look at some things we take for granted in everyday life.

I look forward to reading more of your stores.

Rita Ho said...

Jafflam ... I want to add that I like your red heliconia. It is my second favourite flower after orchids. It is known as bird of paradise here in the US, very difficult to grow with 4 seasons but I am going to try this summer.


jaflam said...

Hai Rita,

Thanks for dropping by and happy that you find the takeaways useful.

I am glad that you find your happiness despite the early setback in your love. We must cherished our happiness and pray that the many Rustam around will eventually be given their lost love with suitable partners.

All the best to you and take care.

jaflam said...

Like you I just luv Heliconia and the Red Dragon is one of my favourite. I have more then 10 species of Heliconia around my house. Gardening provides the stress relief therapy for my wife and me.

elviza said...

Dear Jaff,

It was really great meeting you the other day in Bangsar. I felt reely awful for not being able to chat with you longer.

I got to pick Luke from his play school.

Now, this love story breaks my heart...

Never, undermine the strength of love and affection.

jaflam said...

Good to see you and understood that you have to rush for Luke. Looking at you, fitting work with Luke study activities remind me of my wife who rush out in between lectures/meetings to send and fetch our children from school & tuitions. Professionals and super women that what you all are.

For the love of our children all those hectic schedules work out fine for us.

zulfa said...

dear sir,
a very sad story indeed. i knew that most of the mariners may(or not) have experienced this kind of love.

i am keen to read your stories during the "romantic" days of sailing(not any more these days). ships with derricks, wooden deck,sea shanties and all. what we have now are just distant memories: fast port turnaround, tanker wharves out of nowhere,very short shore leave.

do read my blog and have a nice day.

zulfa ahmad