Sleepless in Setiawangsa – 14

Tajul, Iesta, Rits, Leeya, Shahriman and I once roofed together – in the early nineties – at MRSM Kuala Terengganu. We were kids back then; we are still kids these days to a certain extent. We played pranks on each other, sang silly songs on top of our lungs, ate the same tasteless food at the dining hall and stood fidgeting during the assembly at Ibnu Sina Hall. Our only worry back then was the SPM which was looming near. Other than that, everything was nothing but a bliss.

Life interfered and we grew up. But last night Leeya made an exceptional effort (yet again!) to gather us all despite the impossibly busy schedules everyone has. Leeya – with the mildest disposition and perhaps the most soft spoken among us all – cooked up a storm at her kitchen to feed the rest of us together with our spouses and children. We gathered at Leeya’s house in the affluent neighborhood of Bandar Utama shortly after 8 pm.

Rits arrived first with her two boys and husband. If I could say something about Harita, fondly known as “Rits” among friends, it would be that she has a sense of wisdom which rivals that of Dalai Lama. She is philosophical, fair, sensible and of course, fearless. She speaks her mind without fear or favour; I am sure her husband Razman would be nodding with his approval right now. Rits places me right where I belong every time I pick up the phone to whine about silly things to her. Most of all, she keeps lecturing me to stop wasting hard-earned money on shallow stuffs like designer handbags, shoes or the technology. Between you and me, she gets on my nerve from time to time!

Iesta – the silently appointed Tok Penghulu without his consent – is probably the smartest than any of us put together. An A- List student who was a teachers’ pet all along. He can sing too – which explains why he left the financial world to join Media Prima in pursuit of his passion. Iesta has uncanny ability to lead and control big crowd even though I will never say the same to his face. Being a true Taurean by birth, Iesta can get emotional at times. But he has a gorgeous wife, Sue, who rolls her eyes behind his back every time Iesta gets into his element.

Ainul Shahriman blushes on everything he sights on. He is translucently fair for a man. Sorry my friend – but everyone agrees what? A mathematical wizard, Shahriman coached me add math in school. I am quite sure I would gloriously fail the subject without his help. Shahriman works at the illustrious Scomi Group Berhad. His spouse, Majmin, today left for Singapore for some serious shopping.

And Tajul Farhan, I am not quite sure how to begin describing Tajul. He was and still is a bear to our eyes. He is extremely huggable. His resonant laugh echoes our gatherings. He played rugby before; which is rightly so since his presence intimidates even the fiercest of the opponent. Tajul is a jovial and comical person since he was a boy – a trait of which he carries on until today.

But fate is a dangerous thing. Tajul was recently diagnosed with lymphoma leukemia. When I heard the news I burst out crying for a good fifteen minutes before I managed to calm myself down and called him. Soon thereafter, phone calls started flying among old friends. Everybody called Iesta to find out more about Tajul as I was told.

Last night was the first time I met Tajul since the disease dawned on him. But Tajul never moans let alone feels sorry for himself. Tajul had us in stitches as he walked us along his journey to fight the cancer. He made chemotherapy sounds like a trip to Ben & Jerry’s ice cream parlor. He painted his experience going through the MRI machine like watching a stand-up comic show. He made a complete fool out of his doctors and nurses. I repeatedly asked him “saket tak Jol?” to which he dismissed my inane questioning with a mere “taakkk lahhh…” The only indication that he suffers from cancer is his clean-shaven head. Other than that, Tajul exudes health and happiness.

He ate his food with gusto and he devoured his bowl of delicious banana royal pudding within minutes. We laughed like intoxicated cows right there at Leeya’s living room. But today Tajul is at SJMC undergoing his 5th chemotherapy treatment. As Jefree subtly reminded me on our way home, “kat luar jer dia macam tuh, dalam dia kita tak tahu”. My heart shattered into a milion pieces for Tajul.

I end this post with a prayer to God to heal Tajul forever from the grip of cancer. I hope you, my readers and friends, would do the same too. And I think I speak for everyone when I say, “We love you Bear-Bear.”

We are just a phone call away – as always.

[Picture above is of Tajul at a football field stolen from our MRSM friend, Cik Jee, without her permission].


32 thoughts on “Sleepless in Setiawangsa – 14

  1. Dear EM,
    Sure Joi marah punya u tulis nih!haha…
    I thought we had agreed on a non-disclosure agreement…but at least it clears a lot of things for our friends.. and Ley can stop his pranks about Tajul too!
    But as you can see he’s very nonchalant about it, and that gives me great comfort…

    Dear Iesta,

    Eh, ko janganlah takutkan aku! Ko & Rits sama jer! Yes yes yes, I could use the excuse to stop Ley from his hideous pranks. Poor Bazman. I think you helped tremendously in giving us all great comfort about Tajul too. Thanks a million. Next get together – at your new house. Ngeh! Ngeh! Ngeh!

    Can we have western menu this time? Thanks.

  2. Hey Michelle,

    Finally ventured to your blog. It’s nice to read about the bygone years of mrsm kt. altho i’m not much of a critic as i’m no pro at this, but you have talent, the mood of your blogs dah cukup to keep us staring at the laptop..

    will read more definitely… maybe you can write my stories as i hv always dreamed of it. but takler best sgt.. it is just some very painful journeys that i had to go thru and wish i could pen them down (as you do, so beautifully)….

    oh yeah, cute little bud you’ve got there.. bberapa umur?

    Dear Aida, (tertinggal title Puan Doktor ker nihhh… 🙂

    Thanks for taking the trouble to leave a comment here. I ll be sure to print everything for Tajul so that he knows we are all here for him. Hopefully, it lessen his pain a bit.

    You have a story to tell too? Sure I ll be delighted to hear it.

    That’s my son Luqman. He is 2 years old.

  3. You are blessed to have a close circle of friends that goes as far back as high school. My eyes were brimming with tears when I read about Tajul’s tenacity of spirit in fighting cancer. May Allah heal and protect your jovial friend.

    Dear Theta,

    Thank you so much for showing your support to my friend Tajul. Yeah, his tenacity (what a precise choice of word!) is most exemplary. I think he doesn’t want us all to feel sad or sorry for him. You should see him dear, the fact that he has cancer doesn’t seem to affect his disposition the slightest. We are all so proud of him. And I hope Allah listen to our prayer and heal Tajul forever. Amin amin amin…

  4. Elviza, One of the most important part of living is friendships, I meant true friends. True friends would be there always, come what goes. So do treasure your friends. Have a nice day and take care.

    Dear Pak Idrus,

    Thanks for the support Pak. Of all the things that I am blessed with, I am so blessed with tonnes of friends. Some go away in pursuit of happines, some just stay and grow old with me. For that, I am forever grateful. Have a nice day Pak…

  5. tajul farhan got cancer? omigod! he was in BB with me main bola sama2 dulu! can u pass me his number in FB pls?

    He s okay Adrie, seriously, there is no imminent cause for concern right now. But please facebook me or sms me so that I can give you his number.

  6. I know him! How do I get his number plz? May be I shd get yours first. How to? I almost shed tears reading this..

    Hello Rugby Lover,

    Did we go to school together? Anyway, my email is Please email me so that I can know who you are and tell Tajul about it. Thanks for everything.

  7. Elviza,
    Ican understand the feeling after having one family member diagnosed with the Ca. Imagine the relief we felt after it was taken out and more or less cured of it.
    Hopefully Allah will take care of Tajul as he took care of my daughter Azura. My prayers for Tajul.


    We pray for Allah to cure Tajul just like he did Azura. Amin…

  8. Tajol was my classmate (Form 4A) at first when later he changed to kelas sejarah.. He might not be able to remember me, but I do remember him, the BBB boy..

    I understand the feeling of having a family member fighting cancer.. I lost my younger sister to colon cancer back in 2006. She didn’t make it althought she undergone 5/6 chemos. Allah lebih sayangkan dia..

    My prayers and doa to him.. Semoga Allah sembuhkan Tajol.. Aminnnnnn

    Hi Nieza,

    I remember you! How have you been? Thank you for your support to Tajul. I ll tell him about it. Where are attached to now? Hope all is well at your end. Take care

  9. Elviza,

    I havent met you in person but I always read you. This posting brought tears to my eyes. Even though I am not a muslim, I am saying a prayer to your friend just as the same.

    May God bless you in whatever you do for you have a heart of gold. Cheer up and be there for your friend.

    A reader,

    Thank you so much… God bless you…

  10. Saya doakan agar Tajul sahabat anda diberkati and dilindungi Allah s.w.t.

    Semoga Tuhan juga melindungi puan sekeluarga. Sleepless in Setiawangsa sentiasa menghiburkan saya. So this is the least I could do for you.


    Terima kaseh banyak banyak… semoga Allah membalas jasa baik anda terhadap saya dan rakan2.

  11. I was one of your teacher in Mara KT. I didnt teach any of you but I remember Tengku Ista. Which one is this Tajul?

    Anyway, I am happy to learn that you all are still good friends until now. That is really rare.

    I am praying for Tajul. Semoga dia cepat sembuh.

    Alamak Cikgu!!!! He he he… Salam CheGu (cikgu yang mana satu nihhh??),

    Tajul tuh yang baik dengan Iesta, Ley, Bazman from my batch. Block Sejarah JKL. Ingat ker? Yep we are all still good friends by default 🙂

    We are all praying for Tajul…

  12. Michelle,
    My heart felt when reading this…Tajul Farhan…an unforgettable person. Both of our families used to lived in KK once.Then we met again back in MRSM…and to our surprise my old IC no. is just 1 digit next to his…anyhow Tajul…will always pray for your recovery…and Michelle…keep up this beautiful effort of yours…


    Peciter… ye lah sian Tajul kan? Dah lah dia bear2! Alamak teringat zaman2 dulu kat MRSM kan…

  13. Salm Mish…
    my heart bleeds with sorrow reading this entry…but we never know the reason… Tajul, your friend from the way you told us all, is a strong person and God selects him because He knows Tajul can brace this and hopefully will pull through…

    You are really a friend indeed… I’m blessed to have known you and many of your friends may say ‘ditto’ to my remark too.

    I pray Allah gives strength to Tajul and hopefully He cures him…insya’Allah. Amin.


    Terharu I baca comment nih (chewah!). Sorry didnt get to spend so much time with u yesterday. I hope Tajul has all the strength that u had before and still have now…

  14. Babe..

    Ingat lu citer pasal ‘terperchik ke muka’.. suspen jek. Ko dah kena marah ngan Joi lum sbb tulih pasal dia nih? I think he will tersengih2 menyedari dirinya masih glamer.. selebet lu Joi! Guys, Joi seems not affected at all and is still the very same joker (gua gelak sampai masuk bwh meja). Imagine him the same and nothing less. Just pray hard for his health.


    Citer terperchik tuh memang klasik Tajul & Iesta lahhhhh…. sekang aku tengan gelak lagi nih!

  15. Salam sis Elv:

    MasyaALLAH! A very well bonded group you have here throuhg thick and thin through tsunami and earthquakes!

    I totally agree with what Pak Idrus said. True friendship is priceless and it doesn’t matter if its a day old or 20 years old bond. Having friends who are lebih melekat melekit from gam gajah just shows that all is not lost in this world.

    As for Tajul,my du’a is for him too. Lymphoma can be agressive but if treatment is initiated early the prognosis is good but he will need regular follow ups to detect relapses. But with an attitude so positively I just know Tajul is doing find.What jeff said is true,we don’t really know what he is feeling inside but he is positive towards life.That is important.

    (Remember last year you wrote about your lady friend who had the big C?How is she doing?)

    Dear TA,

    I think I was talking about arwah Ati. She died recently leaving behind a husband and 2 kids. Al Fathehah. And our doa is extended to Tajul now. He is a strong as one can be. Thank you so much brother for supporting me all this while

  16. Salam Mrs EM

    My prayer to your friend Tajul on his fight with his illness.

    I know the pain of chemotherapy from my uncle who’s fighting kidney cancer rite now. Loss of hair is one of the side effect.

    My new friend,

    Thank you for praying for Tajul. God will bless your kindness.

  17. tajol’s cheerful nature could well be the key in getting rid of the pain he suffers now and who knows insyaAllah, his wonderful spirit might be the tool in pulling him through.

    Little Bro,

    Thank you so much for supporting even though you havent met Tajul.

  18. Hi Maam,

    Been reading you for quite sometimes and leaving comments with many nicks 🙂

    I just hope that your friend will feel better, insyaallah. Take care

    Dear Manynicks 🙂

    Thank you thank you… god bless your kindness

  19. Elv,life has many things in store for us. Each of you must stay together for Tajul Farhan. Your effort in writing this is also not ordinary. I hope angels keep you n year frens save n sound. Amen

    Dear Noname,

    Thank you so much for being supportive. I am sure it will help Tajul ease his pain. Thank you once again.

  20. Sis Elviza,

    What an enduring friendship, you all are. Spt aur dengan tebing.

    Once in Nuraina Samad’s blog, she posted a picture of her family gathering. There was a Chinese painting hanging on the wall of Pak Samad’s dining room of a bamboo tree with peony flowers.

    This is my favourite Chinese painting cos it stands for loyalty and friendship thru thick and thin. From what I understand the bamboo and peony flowers are symbiotic during winter. The harsh winter brings out the best of the bloom while the bamboo is symbolic of strength in adversity.

    Pls convey my sincerest regards to Tajul. Now that life has thrown him a curve ball, keep your eyes on the ball and play hard. The tougher your opponents, the better and exciting the game gets.

    Am not familiar with rugby. But your supporters cheer you each time you shrug off and outwit your opposing players. Despite the tackle, you manage to score a perfect touchdown.

    The crowd rises to their feet and echo your name, “Tajul, Tajul.” Despite the fatigue and bruises, may you find the second wind to run with the ball to another fantastic score.

    Your fight is not alone. Count me in as one of your ardent fans in spirit.

    May God grant you grace and strength to triumph for His glory. Amen.

  21. After several messages from you, here I am finally, leaving my comment for my dear Tajul.

    It’s a heartbreaking news when i first got the news about Tajul from you. But i know that he is strong enough to fight just like how i used to know him 28 years back. Mak aii, lama giler tuh. We were in the same pre-school.
    A funny, cheeky boy…not forgotten suka menyakat and i think he is still the same person now. Still the bear-bear in our heart!

    To tajul…be strong, be positive. My prayer is with you for your speedy recovery. InsyaAllah.

  22. Salam,

    To Michele, thank you for the wonderful post, you’ve touched my heart, really. .Untuk Tajul, I share your courage and strength. Though, you might not know me, but I guessed the memory we’ve shared back in KT has bring us closer – we shared the same circle of friends, that I know really cares and love you. We all do. My prayers will always be with you. Amen.
    “Milikilah sifat sabar. Sifat sabar itu ada dua. Sabar yang pertama lebih afdhal dari sabar yang kedua iaitu sabar dalam meninggalkan larangan Allah SWT dan sabar dalam menghadapi musibah. Ketahuilah bahawa sabar itu sangkutan iman (orang yang bersabar akan mendapat iman) kerana kebajikan yang paling utama adalah taqwa dan taqwa hanya dapat dicapai dengan sabar – SAYIDINA UMAR AL KHATTAB )”

  23. Michele,

    Since I got your first message, I’ve been coming to this site every day and reread your post and tak jemu2. But till now… still tak tau nak tulis apa utk Tajul to make him feel better… He is lucky to have a friend like you.

    Tajul… all I can say is sentiasa bertawakkal dengan Allah, yakin and redha. Ini dugaan for you dan orang yang sentiasa beriman akan mendapat keredhaan Nya dan naik darjat di sisi Nya.

    p/s: datanglah rumah.. then my boys boleh main dgn uncle bear 🙂

  24. Chelle,

    Salam to Tajul and doakan dia cepat sembuh. Understand why he would not be picking up his phone or reply sms…mmm tak nak kawan2 risau kot and ….like ur hubby statement… “kat luar jer dia macam tuh, dalam dia kita tak tahu”…

    Is he still at SJMC? I’m just around that area everyday as picking up my kids at my mum hse kat sunway…wondering if i cud pay him a visit before the delivery date. InsyaAllah i’ll undergo c-section in the 1st week of July.

    Notes to Tajul:

    A lot’s have been said by all of our friends and all other caring people in Chelle blog. Same like others i pray Allah gives strength to u and hopefully He cures u…insya’Allah. Amin.

    mmm…is there anywhere i cud drop a visit??? (itupun if u don’t mind) :p

    p/s : chelle…thanks for sharing..


  25. as it is a default, whenever we read about someone being struck by a potentially terminal disease the heart would feel for the person despite having nothing to do with him/her prior to this.

    perhaps, it is HIS way of reminding us that we are indeed brothers and sisters in this world.

    my prayers are with your friend Tajul and others who are in the same situation.

  26. Dear Michele,

    Thanks for the post. I am touched.. deep woman, deeeppp.. may Allah gives strength and courage to our beloved huggable pal; Tajul. I called and sms-ed him once, he sounds cheerful as usual- but we don’t really know / experience what he’s facing, do we..?

    Tajul- if you’re reading this: HANGIN’ TOUGH BRO!

    To Mich, keep up the good work..

  27. tajul,
    stay strong.. our pray for your recovery..

    “translucently fair”?.. don’t think so after 6yrs on offshore..

  28. Sis Elviza,

    In my earlier posting, re: keep your eyes on the ball. The ball refers to our personal faith in God.

    When we are tested to the limits, faith takes over. We feel empty and helpless. But God in His mercy can and willing.

  29. Hi and Askm Michelle,

    Last week, aku pegi rumah joi. Teringin sgt dia nak tgk apa yg ko tulis dlm blog. Aku pinjamkan laptop aku kat joi. Kita orang baca blog ko and others comment. Dengan senyuman comel ” Bangga betul aku dgn Michelle … “. Hehehe.

    InsyaAllah, Joi sihat. Kita doakan bersama. Middle of july, dia dah start kerja. To joi: Lepas ni, before any match euro, world cup ke kita buat “akad”, baru halal.

    Bila MRSM nak buat gathering. Boleh aku buat “multimedia show” for FREE lagi.

  30. Salam Mich..

    sekali sekala aku jenguk sini..n so shocked for this news..Tajul, even tho not in the same class wif me, we were in a team during ‘election’ at mrsmkt..alaaa…jadi SPA la..apa lagi..
    we last met during Aida’s wedding (aidz/chini).
    is it 15yrs back?!
    Mich, send by best regards and wish to him..pls let me know his phone no. via email k..
    eh, aku pun ada hal nak tanya kau mich..nanti aku email kau personally..

  31. Chell & Friends,
    Lama sunggoh aku tak ‘join’ the group….. aku mmg busy giler…… hari ni tetiba aku teringat sms ko htr…… isk!!! sikit jer ko tulis pun dah teringat balik those beautiful journey @ MRSMKT…. Pepahal….. ko memang pandai mengayat….. bertuah laki ko… (by d way…. actually aku dah terrrrr ‘lupa’ nama dia….hehe)

    Aku tak lah close sgt ngan Tajul, but aku tahu dia masih kenal aku…… minah yg buat2 innocent nih….. may b tak bnyk aku bleh bagi at the moment…. but aku slalu do’a kesejahteraan kengkawan MRSM dunia akhirat….. Bagi tajul tahu…”Joi!…. aku kenal ko as a very strong person… ko boleh….. The future not ours to see…. so, pantang menyerah!…. get well soon!”

    Rits n Leeya….. pekabo la ni?

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