Sleepless in Setiawangsa IX

The stars wink at me across the sky in Bukit Setiawangsa. The wind breezes softly lulling its residents to a deep slumber. The trees radiate fresh air adding soft sound to the still of the night. Tonight, the hill is just magnificent.

I love this balcony at night. Over the years, we have formed a profound companionship throughout my lonely nights. At this very same balcony, I wrote countless posts for this blog. It would be a sad day when we finally have to move out from this tiny apartment my family called home for the past four years. Ah, that needs a posting on its own – just for the balcony.

A friend of mine, Ati, died a week ago after battling cancer for years; she left behind a grieving husband and two girls to fend for themselves – forever. Ati and I went to college in the mid nineties to sit for our A-Levels. Though we were never the best of friends, I remember her beauty and comforting voice above others. Back then, Ati was quite a catch. 

I first learnt about Ati’s terminal illness through Nina – my flat mate in the UK. Late last year, when Nina flew back from London and hurried to KL from her hometown in Penang, I was a little perplexed with her haste. I got up at six that day to catch an hour with Nina at KL Sentral before she headed back to Penang. Nina told me about Ati’s ailment with tears threatening to burst the damp in her eyes. Nina said “Mish, this could be my last meeting with Ati.” Even to this moment, I could still feel the stumbling lump in my throat as I thought about Ati and her now-motherless children.

Nina and I bade each other goodbyes after the short meeting. Nina cried while giving me her signature-bear hug. She said “Mish, take care…pray for Ati, pray for us all.” Ah, Nina… My mind immediately played tricks on me; I was transported back to our varsity days in Sheffield. Nina and I shared many nights chattering away about boys and other intimate things at 84, Stafford Street. Nina’s bedroom ceiling has a window which overlooks the skyline. We will sit at the foot of her bed staring at the sky. I am sure, Nina can remember all these…

Late in the afternoon today, I had Noren badgering me about when was the last time I had a mammogram done? When was the last time I had my pap-smear done? She went ballistic after her 29-year-old friend been diagnosed with cancer. Noren adamantly insisted to talk about the law of probate & testament, insurance coverage and every pecuniary interest involved when someone dies. Friend, these issues are just plain harrowing!

Reality dawned on me in no time. I know these are the things one must not ignore. I got to put things in order – just in case. My languid conversation with Noren ended with me fearing about the possibilities of life, or rather, how fragile life is at times.

Sleep well dear Ati, till we meet again in eternity. I end this post with a phrase from the Quran which I copy from Zeaty Jane’ facebook: “Everyone is going to taste death, and We shall make a trial of you with evil and with good. And to Us you will be returned” [Al-Quran 21:35].

Goodnight Sleepless in Setiawangsa.


20 thoughts on “Sleepless in Setiawangsa IX

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  3. Mish,

    Have I ever met Ati? Was she your housemate at Pantai Hillpark? Nevertheless… al-Fatihah….

    Still remember Nina’s room at 84 Stafford when it was mine and Hurain’s. Still vividly remember how, on one bleak day, the crystallite snow flake on the window sill sparkled into millions of brilliant colours when the sky suddenly (and oddly, I must say…) broke up and let loose a rare ray of late November sunshine… And all the chill of dull British winter diminished during those brief spells of sunlight. The very feeling I felt at that moment, is the feeling I hope to at least feel when my time’s up.


  4. Mish,

    Have I ever met Ati? Was she your housemate at Pantai Hillpark? Nevertheless… al-Fatihah….

    Still remember Nina’s room at 84 Stafford when it was mine and Hurain’s. Still vividly remember how, on one bleak day, the crystallite snow flake on the window sill sparkled into millions of brilliant colours when the sky suddenly (and oddly, I must say…) broke up and let loose a rare ray of late November sunshine… And all the chill of dull British winter diminished during those brief spells of sunlight. The very feeling I felt at that moment, is the feeling I hope to at least feel when my time’s up.


    No lah Yus, this is Zaimirawati and you never met her. You met Aryati (my bridesmaid) and that one is still alive and kicking. Heh!

    Eh sedaplah u tulis. U should blog – I am serious.

  5. Call me a pervert I don’t care but I came across a breast exam vid the other day and was impressed by what was shown. The test was over after only 5 minutes! Sure, ignorance is bliss but for how long can one ignore it? just get it done and over with and clear your mind up.

    Al-Fatihah to arwah Ati.

    No bro, I never thought of you as a pervert :-). Thanks

  6. Inna lillahi Wa inna ilaihi ro ji uun

    May she rest in peace.


    Dear Elviza, please go for the test. I lost two sisters to cancer – arwah kak Piah in 1995 and Eda in March last year. Both died at a relatively young age.

    Last week Jehan came home from work crying. A good friend of hers has been diagnosed with breast cancer. She discovered a lump in breast six months ago and did nothing about it. Finally she had it checked, had a biopsy done & was told by the doctor that she has cancer stage 3. She is a mother of two beautiful girls, aged nine and five. And she is ONLY 30. This week she is going to have a mastectomy. If only she had gone for a checkup earlier.

    This is my advice to all my sisters, you included, Elviza! Please go and have a regular mammogram test. The examination doesn’t take long. It will save a lot of heartache!

    Okay Kak Ton… I ve been drilled enough about this on the blog and also at MRT. Will do it in no time.

  7. Now you made me sleepless… Cancer. Death. Should take tok mummy seriously.

    Death is a sad thing. A loss to the living. But there were circumstances when I said, “shukur lah, penderitaan nya telah berakhir…” And I said it with lots of love and al fatihah.

    My sister Sofia,

    I just want to remind you all (hopefully in a subtle enough a way) to go do the test. I never felt the need before until all these happened. True, at least Ati wont be so sick anymore Up there…

  8. Takziah to ur fren Ati.

    It is sad to think of the innocent children she left behind. It’s a reminder to us all to not take things for granted. Got to go for the mammogram test ASAP!

    Lets go see Dr. G Amy! ASAP…

  9. I’m also waiting to hear what Dalilah will say about this. A few years back a dear friend mind, coincidentally sharing the same starry nite skies of Bukit Setiawangsa, also lost his wife leaving him to fend for their four beautiful children, two of them ‘masih meyusu badan’ –being twins of opposing sexes. A pair of opposite-sexed twins! The first two pregnancies were okay. Then when the twins came she complained of the pain while feeding them. Few months later we had dinner at a hotel. Six months after that she was gone –just like that!

    So it was less than six months from being diagnosed to leaving us forever. One day everything hunky-dory and next 180 days –boom!

    So do the check, regularly, please.

    The saddest part was while she lay dying at HUKM with her beauty and hair fast fading, she and my buddy made a conscious decision NOT to bring in the kids to hospital the last two months to see their mother. The idea was that they should learn to forget their mother. Imagine that Mish, how tearjerking can that be? Are my eyes misting? Yes. And I’m also sniffling. Now I got to go up the drillers console and put on my macho oilfield self. Bark at the crew.

    Al-fatihah to your friend, Mish.

    Dear Brother,

    Ah, I can see now that I have been upgraded from Elv to Mish. 🙂 Am very pleased.

    You told me earlier about this friend of yours who shares the same sky with me. Sad. Tragic. I ll do the necessary in no time.

  10. Salam Elviza & AlFatihah, semoga Allah mencucuri rahmat to Ati. & thanks for reminding us with the Quranic verse… the reality is, our life on this earth is so fleeting… as someone said, its just like a brief break of a traveller on a long journey…


    Amin amin. I know, we are all on a brief break from eternity. Thank you.

  11. Salam Elviza
    Al Fatihah to Allahyarham Ati. Inna lillahi Wa inna ilaihi ro ji uun.
    It was never easy when a friend passes on – especially those who are about our age. My best friend in college back in the early 80s passed away 7 years ago due to brain tumour. Until today, it still breaks my heart thinking about the 3 children he left behind. These things can always happen to us anytime…
    Take care

    W’salam Bapak,

    You dah sehat ker? Make sure ou finish the antibiotics and take them pills on time (macam TA lah pulak…). Thank you for remembering Ati with me.

  12. Innalillahi wainna ilaihi roji’un.

    Semoga Roh arwah ditempatkan bersama yang beriman…Amin. I’m with KakTon…please dear sister take the mammo…tak sakit pun, tak hassle pun…

    Tak payah la saya nak berpanjang lebar cerita about it. At least KakTon dah summarisekan…if the cancer is detected earlier, the chance for the survival is high too…

    Now ada subsidy lagi tu untuk buat mammo..but money is not the issue here, right?

    take care sis.

    InsyAllah… will do it in no time. Must call Dr.G asap.

  13. Elviza,
    No advice is better than from the very person who is suffering from it. Radengaloh is the symbol of courage and strength. Not just Elviza but every woman who is susceptible to it must be wary of it.
    AlFatehah to the late Ati. Allah loves her more.

    Yes, it is to everyone of us. Thanks Pak…

  14. Inna lillahi wainna ilaihi raaji’un.
    Allahummaghfirlahu warhamhu

    Sesungguhnya kami kepunyaan Allah dan kami kembali pula kepada Allah dan kami pasti kembali kepada Tuhan kami. Ya Allah! Catatlah mayat ini pada sisi Engkau dalam golongan orang-orang yang baik, dan jadikanlah catatannya dalam golongan yang terpuji / tinggi.

    al-fatihah buat ati…


    Terima kaseh. Kalau saya dah tak der nanti, you doakan I macam nih jugak lah ya? 🙂

  15. Salam sis :
    Innalillahi wa inna ilahi roji’un. My takziah to Ati’s family.

    Most of us are aware the the incidence of cancer is on they rise.
    For ladies, make sureyou have a yearly Pap smear.
    And do examine you breast regularly( well not everyday lah kan) Ask you doctor or surgeon how to do it. Like Kerp said, its available in video clip on the net to give you a rough idea of how to do it. If you find something abnormal or you suspect something is not right, go see your family/company doctor or a surgeon. They will decide if you need for a mammogram or breast ultrasound.

    Pap smear: many shy away pap smear due to embarassment.Please don’t feel that way. There are many female GPs around and many female gynaecologist around. Go, see them and do a pap smear. Pap smear is a very good screening for cervical cancer.

    And if anyone have medical insurance, make a yearly medical check-up with a full workout(blood test and ECG). This is for screening and early detection of any problems. If you don’t have insurance, you might have to fork out a moderate sum but its gonna be worth the money.

    W’salam Bro,

    Yes, we hear you doc! Thank you…

  16. Salam.
    I feel the urge to write something here…
    I knew Kak Atie (Kak Zai, as I call her) since sekolah menengah – 1990, to be exact. She was my senior, and my kakak angkat’s (Kak Allyn) best friend. They were classmates and they share the same birthdate.

    Masa dpt masuk KMB, I was happy to see Kak Zai’s cheerful, familiar face. When Kak Allyn was about to fly to Australia, Kak Zai insisted on giving me a lift to the airport, to see her off.

    I remember masa nak pegi British Edu Fair kat PWTC…Yat, Siti n I walked dari kolej to the main road, to catch the bus. Kak Zai drove past, noticed us and reversed her car (Yat kata mcm kereta control 🙂 and again, insisted to give us a lift into KL walaupun masa tu kereta dia dah ‘sarat’ dgn Kak Irma, Kak Nina n Kak Ajil. He..he..

    After leaving KMB, I met Kak Zai a couple of times briefly kat UK, and once about 4-5 yrs ago, in Shah Alam. Masa tu she was still healthy.

    Over the years, Kak Allyn and Kak Irma have been updating me with Kak Zai’s condition, but I didn’t get to visit her till about 1 and 1/2 wks before she passed away.
    Sedih sgt tgk keadaan dia masa tu. But on my second visit later in the week, she seemed to have improved, walaupun dia mengadu lenguh2 badan. Her daughters were there. Cute little girls. That was the last time I saw her. Four days later, she passed away.

    Kak Allyn was at the hospital on that day. She was clearly affected, as she was taken ill immediately after.
    According to Kak Allyn, Kak Zai was improving. She could sit up, could play with her children, dah boleh pegi bilik air sendiri, dah boleh makan soto (before this she could hardly take any solids due to mouth sores). And suddenly, she’s gone.

    Allah lebih sayangkannya. Everything is already written UP there. And yes, she’s no longer suffering. She’s in a much better place right now.
    Kak Zai, we miss you…

    (sori eh, Michelle, tulis panjang2 kat sini 😛

  17. ASM,

    Is it arwah Zaimirawati Binti Dato’ Ramli? Her age around 33 yrs old? I am looking for my ex-schoolmate at the moment. I’m from BBGS. Can anyone let me know about this. Thanks.

    Dear Zuraini,

    W’salam, I am afraid we are talking about the same Ati. But if you need to no know more please email me at

  18. salams. mate, hidup ini mesti mati itu pasti. innallilah…mudah2an dicucuri rahmat & ditemptkn antara hamba2 yg beriman.

    bila agaknya kita bleh jumpa erk? ko still kt setiawangsa ke mate…roger2 nanti k. 🙂

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