YB Senator

Been weeks since dad has been well and very much living in our conversations.

I think it started when Mum stumbled upon uncle Herald, a very good friend of my late dad during his "tougher" times. Ever since then, mum and brother have been sharing all the good times growing up, relating with me with the ones I remember. That seafood restaurant we never fail to visit before every movie. Brother's immense love for Tamiya because while dad spends an hour to get a massage next to the Tamiya shop, brother would drool over its new circuits. Dad's insistence in spending the weekend with us watching action-packed movies too long and too complicated for us to actually understand but it didn't matter because dad was there (although snoring loudly), letting us eat junk and pizzas just because he could treat us. He's really good at it too, my brother, always has the most animated, most visual descriptions when telling these moments I partially recall. And so honest while he's at it.

I remember watching a movie with dad it was so packed, and we sat at the first seat far left, with our heads tilted to the left throughout the entire 3 hours. We'd come out with headaches and backaches, but it didn't matter, dad was there. 

My dad left us in a tragic car accident on July 11, 1997 on the way to Kota Kinabalu from Keningau while driving his memorable yellow 4WD. It was a Saturday night and he left us for the weekend to visit his family and friends in Tenom, a practice we've gotten accustomed to by then that he's a "YB". We had some leftovers and puddings, and the night was only to get better, movie and being all by ourselves!

I never really knew "who" my dad was, except the "funny man" and the "politician" that he was. Funny man because as we got older, and he got busier, and the lesser time with him, he would always amuse and entertain us with all sorts of jokes and antiques - often times, mum was the subject. Whatever they were, they were always so funny. The politician because of all the remnants of a "YB Senator Jinuin Jimin" namecards, placards, photos of the events he graced and the signages he left around the house. Honestly, now that I think about, I remember so little about my mum when I was a kid, I mean compared to my boisterous dad last time, it felt like she was just... bland..

Until she was put to the spotlight she so deserved. 

After graduating from his fully-sponsored degree in Economics in the University of Canberra Australia, he came back to Sabah doing odd jobs, for long years, until he found his love in my mum and politics. He tried all that he could, including contested as an independent candidate, which garnered a really sorry 5 vote. And then he moved on to lots of other things, business and ventures some of which mum couldn't even bear to bring up when asked.

It wasn't easy. 

Mum vividly described how the little house that they built physically grew from a one living room, with two rattan sofas with one old Nissan (God bless this car) to 2 living rooms, few televisions, 5-6 rooms and 4 cars under one giant porch.

Your dad was a visionary. 

Mum would always say that. He had lots of ideas to move Kota Kinabalu, or Sabah ahead, maybe too fast for some people. Back then, the natives couldn't relate to an economist who was an overseas graduate, who talked about the sky is the limit, untapped business possibilities or the idea of always learning, the natives loved a "hands on" person who would always "be there" for them in needy and partying times. And Dad was that, except he was also more. 

Sometimes, I wished I had known more of the person my brother so amazingly described. You know where I learned to eat dried salty prawns just like that? Daddy lah. He was in the market waiting for mummy to buy some stuff and he took a handful of those and eat them just like that. Like keropok bah. 

It was such a bad habit, but when your dad does it, you do it too. 

Over all those years, mum came out of the rough raising three difficult personalities to become the diamond that she is now. She was the deserving heroine in this story, as she had let my dad take centre stage in most times as he compensated for all those times he worked too hard. She had let my brother, my little sister and myself adored the short-lived glamorous life we were living and let us put our only dad on a pedestal. Of course, things changed and....

Life goes on. 

Mum passed down on us many inspirational and beautiful notes throughout our life, but the one lesson she truly embodied and personified from all the words she has given away, was: 'Life goes on'. Where change is necessary, new life is too, and in any detours of any journey, or no matter how uncomfortable life gets, it simply must go on.

Thanks mum and dad, you two were destined to produce three of us nerds, and I think you two were more compatible than you could possibly ever thought you were.

You raised us, somehow, together.

In loving memory of my dad, YB Senator Jinuin Jimin with his youngest daughter, my sister, Jessy. 

Jacqueline Rowena @ Jacqkie.


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