When Love was the only dose to survive …

These are the emails that I sent and received from my family before and after the viva of my PhD. I returned to Malaysia at the end of the four-year study leave and went back for my viva a couple of months later.I treasure these emails because they captured the moments when I badly needed help and my family was there for me..when love was the only dose to survive …..

—- Forwarded Message —-
To: sam@essex.ac.uk
Sent: Thursday, August 26, 1999 12:30:15 PM
Subject: viva

Hello Dr. Steel,

I’m wondering if you have set up a date for my viva. I’d prefer it to
be end of September or early Oct as I would need as much time as
possible to settle my family here.
I’m having trouble accessing my email from Essex Univ. So at the moment
please contact me through this email.
Thank you.

—- Forwarded Message —-
From: Steel S W D
Sent: Thursday, August 26, 1999 4:08:45 PM
Subject: Re: viva


Your thesis has been sent to the external examiner, but no
date is yet fixed for the viva. Are there any times that are
especially good or bad for you?

Sam Steel
—– Forwarded Message —-
From: Steel S W D
Sent: Wednesday, October 6, 1999 11:56:00 PM
Subject: Re: viva


Yes, we have a date fixed. It is the earliest date
at which the internal and external were both free all day.
It is 2.00 on Monday 1 November 1999.

You should get a letter shortly confirming that.

Could you confirm that is OK?

Sam Steel

—– Forwarded Message —-
Sent: Saturday, October 30, 1999 7:10:27 PM
Subject: Message from essex

ASM Sayang,

How to send messages:

send the message to salwanan@yahoo.com Abah will log
in here and read it.

Alhamd. Abah arrived here around 6.20pm. Nothing much
happenning during the journey. The usual things…2
dinners and a few hot waters. No hassle just boring
because used to the kecoh-kecoh with the kids and all.
Got on the bus to Colchester around 9pm and arrived at
12am. Bro Mohd pick me up and stayed there for the
night. In the morning, strange thing happened.Abah
woke up at the usual time (The time when Fajr almot
bye-bye) and after solat put the trousers on and went
out to buy the paper at phil and jane.That ‘s what I
have been doing before every saturday morning.
Everything is happening subconciously as if I have
come back home from a vacation. Abah just couldn’t
hold the tears, this place is not just any place. It
used to be our home. Abah walked down port lane,
passing by our house. The house is still empty and
gliberry keeps the red small gendang yang pecah tu kat
window. Abah stopped by Deby’s place and met James,
David and Paul. They have a little sister now called
chelsea. As Abah walked around to phil’s and back old
memories are coming back and I don’t think it is a
good thing because I’m leaving in a week.

Called Tajul and he told about his problem with the
supervisor. Usual stuff. then go to the university to
study at the library.That’s all for now.

Hugs and kisses from Abah to sayang,aqeelah, ifah, una
and maryam.


—– Forwarded Message —-
Sent: Sunday, October 31, 1999 2:46:30 PM
Subject: Re: Message from essex

dear darling,
i’ve just got back fr. work,solat & straight to the
computer(while feeding maryam)…good to hear fr.
you…wanted to write last nite but couldn’t
access…things are ok here(so far)…we arrived fr.kb
yesterday about 3.30 p.m…we stopped at sek sains &
walked home…after that i rang syikin ,then we went
to itm(as usual,punch in then out)…after that ustaz
came to fix the timer…i rang ifah&una…they seemed
to be ok insya allah…ummi cooked soup(what else!)for
aqeelah…and that’s it…today(sun)i went to work
with anita…finished my work…bersembang & came
back…that’s it.
it’s good kak long is here…at least ummi can eat &
solat…this morning i had to leave maryam crying in
the cot just to mandi b’coz kak long is still
enough report for the day…actually i’ve been waiting
for a call fr you…our phone still can’t be used to
make any international call yet…
pls call before your viva
we’re all praying for you…IA e/thing will be ok…IA
Allah will be with you…just concentrate to your
work…don’t bother your mind w/ anything else at the
moment…remember the du’a as well as the one that i
wrote in that notebook in the red bag…
all the best …hugs and kisses fr. all of us(mryam is
smiling on my lap now)
that’s all

lots and lots of love from
ummi and the girls

—– Forwarded Message —-
Sent: Sunday, October 31, 1999 3:09:02 PM
Subject: first telecom

asmk darling,
just in case you need to top up cr w/ 1st tel,customer
service no is: 0800 376 6666 for mrs hassan tapi min
cr is 25 pounds…so rasanya better abah beli prepaid
card kat newsagent…around 10 pounds pun dah
boleh…rasanya kat phil and janpun ada…maybe kat
univ pun ada…just ask…toksahlah beli yg
byk…nanti tak habis pakai…beli yg paling sikit
boleh beli…that’s alll.
i’ll keep on writing.


—– Forwarded Message —-
Sent: Monday, November 1, 1999 12:49:01 AM
Subject: miss you darling

asmkm dear,
after getting a phone call fr you i’ve been waiting for reconnection…tak
apalah…actually the phone rang just after i disconnected the internet…that’s why
i asked you whether that’s the 1st try or not …so maybe if you had been trying to
call tak dpt…anyway after balik kerja ummi terus buka e-mail & terus reply your
msg…then dpt your call…lps tu tunggu tapi tak ada ummipun ‘jenera’ dgn
maryam…sambil dia ‘minum ptg’…lagipun ummi agak penat,maklumlah ‘bayar dam’
lagi…besok IA bayar satu lagi…
now it’s 12.21a.m…ummi masih belum tidur(yalah tadi kan dah jenera)laagipun
darling2 berdua tu dah beradu bolehlah buat kerja sikit…kemas2 barang,buka
komp,dll. I think that’ll be the routine…balik kerja ummi akan check e-mail sekali
dan malam ummi akan check sekali lagi…so abah rajin2lah baca(& of course balas)
so macamana prep… ummi & anak2 berdoa dari jauh dgn sepenuh hati semoga abah will
do well…we really pray that there’ll be no correction…IA Allah will be with
you…pray to Him….after all those years i really want to be by your side at this
time…to give my strong support as usual…oh how i wish…..so pls
darling,whatever it is we want to be the 1st persons to know the result…i’m
praying for you day & night(I’ve been praying & will keep on praying…)
baca doa byk2…before masuk baca doa…compose yourself well…present yourself
well…be prepared & tawakkal to Allah…i believe you’ll do well…i trust
kak long has been asking so many questions about you…i printed the letter that you
wrote for her to read…and she enjoyed reading it….
that’s all for now…maryam dah jaga…got to go darling
we miss you soooooooo much

love,hugs and kisses from ummi and the girls

—– Forwarded Message —-
Sent: Tuesday, November 2, 1999 6:58:43 AM
Subject: waiting

asmkm darling,
it’s now early in the morning…around 6 am…maryam
woke up early,so i have to be awake as well…lagipun
need to get ready to go to work.
i’ve been waiting for the news from you till late last
night…didn’t realize what time did i go to
bed…anyway i hope e/thing went on fine.

that’s all for now dear,hope to hear fr you soon IA

hugs and kisses from
ummi and the princesses

—– Forwarded Message —-
Sent: Tuesday, November 2, 1999 8:54:12 PM
Subject: going back after all


The viva was the hard one. The internal went on very
hard on me.I didn’t expect that from him. I thought he
will be the nice guy. The external on the other hand
was very very nice. The verdict was … pass with
revision.Alhamd I have passed. But this is the worst
kind of pass ;have no choice but to accept it. The
revision should take no longer than a year.

After thinking about the whole thing, I think I’m
going back after all. I could do the revision in
Dungun and communicate with Jeff thru email and post.
Abah just couldn’t live like this. I miss you all the
time. Just couldn’t live without you. Its true and
Abah just couldn’t take it anymore. I will leave on
Sunday InsyaAllah if everything goes well. Even if I
need to stay longer it wouldn’t be more than a week or
two. But right now I’m not changing the original plan.


love you all

—– Forwarded Message —-
Sent: Wednesday, November 3, 1999 12:15:06 AM
Subject: from Aqeelah

asm abah,
we have read your e mail.Don,t panic abah everybody in
Dungun is OK.Ummi is OK Aqeelah OK and Maryam.Don,t
let your boss get angry with you abah and after your
finish work you can come back to Dungun.Everybody
hear want you to be a DOCTOR and we all love you.We
are going back to Kelantan with ustaz Mad.And Ummi
cryed a litlle bit.

—– Forwarded Message —-
Sent: Wednesday, November 3, 1999 1:35:52 AM
Subject: solat istikharah

asmkm dear,
how’s everything going on?i’ve just read your msg but not quite sure…have you got
the report fr the examiners…is it a major correction you have to do or what…
i’ve told aqeelah that you rang earlier saying that you’re coming back in dec and
surprisingly she’s very u/standing…we’re very lucky to have her as our daughter…

yes it’s true that i was in tears…while i was putting maryam to bed she was
writing that letter and when i came out i couldn’t hide my red eyes(and she’s very
concern)…actually i was thinking of you…i really pity you…after all those hard
work you deserve to get a good report and pass wothout anything major to be
done…we’ve gone all out ,sacrificing everything…and now isn’t it over yet…
i don’t actually know the real sit’n but if you really have to stay there a bit
longer go ahead…don’t worry about us…IA i can manage…believe me…after all
those long hard years i’m used to it now…and i think the girls are like that as
well…we just want you to be done…if you think by staying there you can finish
your work,then stay…if you don’t want to stay b’coz of us,think again…again i’ll
say don’t worry about us….if you can manage to get things done before christmas
break,then stay…if you think the progress will be very slow if you’re working in
m’sia,then stay….whatever your decision is please solat istikharah…jgn buat
decision terburu2…belajarlah dari previous exp’nces…minta petunjuk dari
Allah…hanya Dia yg maha tahu apa yg terbaik utk kita…ummi & anak2 akan sentiasa
berdoa utk abah…your success is our success…tiada apa yg lebih bernilai yg akan
abah bawa balik selain drp kejayaan itu…itulah yg kami tunggu
selama ini…you have to consider jugak,kat m’sia ni byk faktor2 luar lagi yg akan
‘mengganggu’ fikiran…you have to be very berdisiplin…kena janjilah tu…
now regarding the flight…if you’re coming back as the original plan you have to
reconfirm your flifgt at least 72 hrs before dep.(3 days)…i don’t have virgin’s
no. but mas adalah i.e 0171 341 2020…if they can’t do it ask for virgin’s no. fr.
them. daan satu lagi ialah flight fr klia-kb…ummi boleh confirmkan…kalu boleh
abah bagi booking/resv’n no(ada dlm itinerary dok sekali dgn tiket tu)…daan kalau
abah jadi balik kena cakap juga sbb ummi nak minta cuti monday tu…if not mungkin
kena dtg dgn ustaz juga sunday,so tak perlu cuti monday…
again i’m telling you,don’t worry about us…as long as ada org jaga maryam tak
apa…sek. pun cuma ada 2 minggu aje lagi..lps ni cuti…kalau the big girls tu tak
nak balik kgpun sue dah kata dia nak dtg…as for me,i can go with anita,everyday
pun tak apa dia kata…pagi2 dia mesti pergi hantar anak gi nursey,t/hari mesti kena
balik ambil anak sek dan ptg dia akan pergi semula & balik 4.30 utk ambil yg kat
nursey tu…
for your info…sek cuti 18/11,puasa start early dec,raya 9or 10 Jan and schools
reopen 13 Jan.
setakat nilah dulu celoteh kali ini…hope to hear again fr. you soon.
we miss you and we love you very much,
ummi and the princesses

—– Forwarded Message —-
Sent: Wednesday, November 3, 1999 5:00:56 PM
Subject: flight

asmkm darling,
hope you’re in the best of everything…alhmd we’re all ok here…don’t worry too
much about us…the 3 of us are ok fine in dungun…and the other 2 in wb pun
alhmd…ummi ring them everyday…don’t worry…they’re fine and happy there…i’m
worried about you…always pray that e/thing will be ok IA He will be with
us…doalah byk2 semoga Allah tak bebankan kita dgn bebanan yg tak saggup kita
pikul…dan sekiranya kita diuji semoga kita bersabar menahannya…bagi ummi semua
yg Allah buat ada hikmhnya…ummi akan terus bersabar dan terus berdoa…
i’ve just made the resv’n to kb…IA kalau plan tak berubah abah akan tiba di klia
on mon 8/11 at 6.25 pm…so the next flight to kb is at 10.30 arriving at
11.20…flight no mh1426 confirm.
kak long is doing very well at school…semua markah dah tahu except maths…she did
surprisingly well in jawi dpt 100%,98 for Eng.(dia patut dpt 100 tu)…not too bad
in bm &agama i.e 80+. ..maybe today dpt tahu no.berapa…tak sabar ummi nak
besok kami balik in the morning…ustaz kata around 9(pukul 1 pagi waktu england) by
tommorrow afternoon IA kami di wb.
ok dulu…kalau ada apa2 ummi will write again…keep on checking…kalau boleh
before balik tu check e-mail sekali lagi…mana tahu kot2 ada last minute msg…at
the moment ummi akan ambil cuti hanya utk monday 8/11…by tues dah kena masuk
kerja…boleh ke macam tu?kalau tak boleh pls let ummi know so that i can take one
more day…
ok darling…itu dulu.
i love you so much
ummi and maryam

—– Forwarded Message —-
Sent: Wednesday, November 3, 1999 9:59:34 PM
Subject: one more from aqeelah

Abah have you seen the other letter i sent. Have you made up your mind abah ? Did
you know cikgu saya said i got nomber six with Rabbani. Are you going to give me a
present .Izzah got nomber twenty four with Wan Muhammad Hanis.
—– Forwarded Message —-
From: salwana hassan
To: salwanan@yahoo.com
Sent: Wednesday, November 3, 1999 10:09:12 PM
Subject: addresses

asmkm dear,
baru2 ni there were a few letters to be posted,they put them in the
envelopes but w/out the add…so now i’m giving you the add…keep them
until you need them…sbb lps ni bila balik kg maybe i can’t write as
often as i’m doing right now…
kaneesha : 172 old heath rd, co2 8aq
melissa : 214 old heath rd, co2 8au
itu aje rasanya.

till then,

lots and lots of love from,
ummi,aqeelah & maaryaam
—– Forwarded Message —-
From: Salwana Nordin
To: salwana hassan
Sent: Wednesday, November 3, 1999 11:10:12 PM
Subject: Re: one more from aqeelah

— salwana hassan wrote:
> asmkm
> Abah have you seen the other letter i sent. Have
> you made up your mind
> abah ? Did you know cikgu saya said i got nomber six
> with Rabbani. Are
> you going to give me a present .Izzah got nomber
> twenty four with Wan
> Muhammad Hanis.

ASM love,

yes I have read the other letter. but i miss you sooo
much that I have to go back and see you. That’s great
…. you got number six. brilliant. what do you want
for your present ? something from england. Tell Izzah
to try harder, she should get better results next
time. What about hamizah? Ok have a nice journey to
wakaf bharu. Baba will be home by sunday IA.love to
ummi ,ifah,una and maryam.


From: salwana hassan
To: Salwanan@yahoo.com
Sent: Thursday, November 4, 1999 8:53:16 AM
Subject: balik kg

asmkm love,
it’s quite early in the morning,everybody’s ready incl
aqeelah…actually we’re waiting for ustaz…yesterday he told me that
we’ll be leaving early…so dia suruh pergi ITM dgn dia…i’ll bring
aqeelah along & he’ll bring his children as well…dia tgh sibuk lagi lo
ni…masih menyiapkan thesis(i don’t know what thesis)so tonight nak gi
kl lagi tu…minta extend for another week…tak siap binding lagi.
so how are you love?are you really sure that you’re coming back this
weekend…whatever the decision is i hope it’s the best option…if
you’re coming back pls reconfirm your flight…ummi will be happy with
whatever the best for us…if i have to sacrifice, i will…i will do
anything for you and the girls lillah…
nanti bila sampai wb tengoklah…if i have the chance i’ll write
that’s all…take care
with love from ummi and the princesses

—– Forwarded Message —-
From: salwana hassan
To: salwanan@yahoo.com
Sent: Thursday, November 4, 1999 8:54:57 AM
Subject: with love to abah

Asm abah ,
I got your message.I want anything from England except barbies.And one
more thing,please promise that you won’t marah me .Next time I
will try to get number ONE

—– Forwarded Message —-
From: Salwana Nordin
To: salwanan@yahoo.com
Sent: Thursday, November 4, 1999 9:09:58 AM
Subject: pesanan

abah ummi nak suruh beli coklat kit-kat (or sth like
that tapi store brand)ke and also penguin,coklat
lainpun tak apa juga…lps tu beli juga biskut
digestive…don’t forget the polish for the leather
ASM love,

Baba has bought a lot of choc from tesco, sainsbury
and town. I think it’s more than enough. Choc ni
fattening you know, so sikit2 cukup.

love from Abah

—– Forwarded Message —-
From: Salwana Nordin
To: salwanan@yahoo.com
Sent: Thursday, November 4, 1999 11:18:53 PM
Subject: best to balik ….

ASM love,

I think it’s best for all that Abah goes home. Not
only that I cannot afford it here ,it is also not
necessary. I will try to finish it back home,
InsyaALlah I can do it. Being here alone is an
unbearable burden for Abah. I know now why Aqeelah has
never seen me cry, because I have no reason to. But
now I couldn’t read the emails without tears. sebab tu
jarang balas …. malu kat orang kiri kanan dalam lab
ni. Today is okay sebab orang tak ramai. can hide
behind the monitor. may ALlah help us all.


—– Forwarded Message —-
From: Salwana Nordin
To: salwana hassan
Sent: Thursday, November 4, 1999 11:22:20 PM
Subject: Re: with love to abah

— salwana hassan wrote:
> Asm abah ,
> I got your message.I want anything from England
> except barbies.And one
> more thing,please promise that you won’t marah me
> .Next time I
> will try to get number ONE

ASM love,

don’t worry you are already number ONE to me. and
you’ll always be number ONE. be good and help ummi


—– Forwarded Message —-
From: “Abu-Bakar, Nordin”
To: “salwanan@yahoo.com”
Sent: Friday, November 5, 1999 2:19:10 AM
Subject: FW: thanks

—– Forwarded Message —-
From: Salwana Nordin
To: salwanan@yahoo.com
Sent: Saturday, November 6, 1999 1:50:42 PM
Subject: from wakaf bharu

askm love…
how are you dear…evrybody here is fine…it’s 1
o’clock (a/noon)…maryam & una are sleeping…kaklong
pergi kedai nenek & ifah is watching TV…ummi dtg
kedai kat wisma ni sorang aje…miss abah sgt ni sbb
tu ummi call tadi…nak cakap tulah…cukuplah beli
coklat…brg2 yg tinggal kat rumah abu naif tu byk sgt
ke…kalau boleh bawalah balik semua…kalau tak boleh
nak buat macamana…hari tu kan byk bawak beg…cdng
nak isi brg2 tu…apa yg abah shopping byk sgt
ni?…pandai2lah berbelanja…don’t spend too
much…bill yg br.mohd bayarkan tu abah dah settle
ke?clear all the bills and hutang 1st,then you can
spend …tupun don.t finish all the $…dan ummi hope
abah tak byk sgt ‘menenyeh’…tadi tu ummi cakap ttg
‘fairy godmother’ yg abah beli for kaya’s b/day…hari
tu ada sb tanya(I can’t remember whether it’s una or
ifah) b’coz i can remember you promise to buy for her
b/day…that’s why kalau ada chance ummi suruh
beli…kalau tak dpt tak apalah
btw nak tanya abah byk duit ke tu…kalau duit ada byk
ummi teringin nak pakai jam accurist…yg style macam
abah i.e with rotating bezel…kalau kat argos tu
around 30 quids …dulu berhajat nak pakai bila abah
dah jadi ‘dr’…that’s why ummi tanya ada byk duit ke
tidak…kalau kena tenyeh tak payahlah… kita beli
bila ada duit nanti sbb now nipun bukannya desperate
nak jam …yg ada lo ni pun masih boleh
pakai…mungkin boleh beri masa 10th anniversary
duit budak2 byk lagi ke?ummi dok fikir kalau abah
still nak climbing frame tu abah order jugak dgn
argos(mmg kena orderpun) tapi bagi alamat tajul,so brg
tu will be delivered to him…nanti boleh dia ship
sekali dgn brg dia(macam imran buat tu)…tupun kalau
abah fikir patutlah…kalau tak tu tak
payah…tajulpun dah dekat nak balik kan?
whatver you do,bereskann dulu urusan2 abah…benda2
lain ni sampingnan aje…kalau jumpa ‘kawan2’ ummi
kirim salam byk2lah…nailah,auntie,fadhilah & the
others…and don’t forget if you go to mahfuzh’s
,kirim salam dari ummi and anak2 to his wife and
itu ajelah dulu for this time
satu lagi…surat2 yg abah bawa tu dah pos ke…surat
for kaneesha,melissa,carol,mrs webb,cellnet & mana2
lagi(ummipun tak ingat)…dan change of address to
ok ya darling…see you on monday…
we miss you soooo much…una dah start tanya ‘where’s
Abah…i miss him….’

till then….
love from ummi and princesses aqeelah,ifah,una &

ASM love,

It’s really good to hear from you. I miss you so much.
Jumpa budak nigeria (halijah?) dia kirim salam ke
ummi. nailah tak sempat jumpa, cuma uncle siddique dan
osman saja masa sembhyng jummaat. they all send salaam
to ummi and aqeelah,ifah and una. sempat drop by
kaya’s house. say hello and bagi coklat.they were very
happy and surprise to see me. everybody is missing
aqeelah and ifah. tentang duit tu insyALlah adalh
sikit dari refund tu (625 pounds) .cuma check belum
clear lagi jadi kena tenyeh lah dulu kemudian bayar
kedian. baba masukkan dalam account barclays. jam ummi
and fairy godmother tu insyALlah akan baba usahakan.
Baba rasa climbing frame tu biarlah dulu, a bit too
expensive I think. Duit budak2 tu biar dok kat situ,
insyaALlah we can save it for better use in the

that’s all. i’ll be leaving colchester tonite (sat
night).so i don’t think i’d be able to read any more
emails.bye for now.

love and kisses for ummi and the girls.


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