My uncle Razak is my dad’s cousin. We call him Cik Razak, because his father is my grandmother’s younger brother (if his father is my grandma’s ELDER brother, he’d be called Wak Razak).

I met him only on two occassions in my whole life.

He lives in Sabah with his family. When dad said we were going to visit his cousin when we were in Kota Kinabalu, I thought he might be one big super-friendly uncle who talks a lot.

I was wrong, and I should have known that.

One, he’s not big. Not at all.

I was truly amazed with him the moment he spoke.

He was friendly, yes, but in a calm and peaceful manner.

He is THE definition of “prim and proper”.

His hospitality was such a delight that you’d always remember his welcome to his home and his family. He was incredibly polite, he spoke very softly, with a smile always on his face.

When one talks to him he’d listen intently.

My first visit to Sabah was amazing just because he was a wonderful host.

* * *

I visited my granduncle many times after that, but never managed to meet Cik Razak. He’s either away in Sabah, or he was home but out somewhere with his children.

* * *

The second time I met him was not a happy occassion.

I was partly looking after his father (my beloved granduncle, Embah Pandi), because he was very ill. I told my dad, and his brother, that he should come home. Now, like, now.

I was worried, I was anxious, I was agitated. His whole family needed to come together. I knew what was happening, but I can’t be the one deciding what to do. I knew they all need each other but where were they?

They called him to come back.

And so he did.

I was nervous when I saw him coming. I knew he’s very kind, very gentle, and I hoped I was right in the sense that he would be a very rational person too. I explained to him what I know, from my experience as a palliative care doctor, also as a granddaughter who used to care for her own ill grandfather. More as a granddaughter, I think.

This time I wasn’t wrong.

I was right about him being kind, being gentle.

And I was very right about him being rational.

His presence made me calm.

His composure soothed my nerves.

His peaceful words just blew my anxiety away.

He’s back. That’s good enough for me.

That’s my uncle Razak. The calm, peaceful, prim and proper Cik Razak.

Oh, and have I told you, he’s 48 but looks 10 years younger?