Sukisno aka Novi, a hajj pilgrim from Bojonegoro, East Java walked out from a rest room at the King Abdul Aziz Airport, Jeddah to perform hajj on Sunday night.
Sukisno, a beauty salon business person, admitted his transvestite status and planned to learn Islam totally after the hajj. (Antara/Prasetyo Utomo)
Source: The Jakarta Post - October 24, 2011
Before the scheduled date when I was to follow S back to her hometown in Lampung, Indonesia, she called to say she had to return home immediately.
Her father had passed away in Mecca.
So, her mother returned home at a much earlier date.
Neither her husband nor her children tagged along.
S had planned for me to meet her village teacher when her parents will be from their Haj last year.
The first time I met S, was at Masjid Raya not far from Batam Centre.
I was seeing my friend for the last time before she and her husband perform their Haj, in 2006.
S was sending off her father-in-law.
S was initially sceptical about Singaporeans.
Based on what she heard and read, Singaporeans are all about abc - abusive, being bossy, and cheaters.
What's more, her niece who had been working in Singapore for four years as a maid is yet to return home.
S believed the girl was abused, tortured, and her salary was never paid.
It was only after I brought S around, she was taken for an initial shock seeing Indonesian maids with latest handphones and fast texting fingers.
They gathered together, chatting their working hours away, while waiting for children at play.
We then went to hotspot City Plaza.
Many were dolled-up, many wore revealing clothing with jewellery.
S realised, these maids are not up to innocently nothing when many were accompanied by their male Bangladeshi friends.
After several trips to Singapore, and S get to know of married maids having relationship with not only foreign workers, but multiple Singaporean partners who support them, providing them cash, topping-up their phonecards, S realised her wrong perception of Singaporeans.
From then on, we became closer.
It was after two years of knowing S that she disclosed her father's predicament.
Her father had been the backbone of his family since he was able to carry loads.
The eldest in his family, responsibility was loaded on his both shoulders before he could understand the meaning of problem.
What's more problem solving.
Since her father became a man before he was even a boy, as a small built farmer, workloads he carried on his shoulder were usually more than any ordinary men able to handle.
Both S's parents were from the same village.
Her mother's parents married off their daughter (S's mother) to the man.
They knew their daughter will be in good hand, having a hardworking husband.
Too hardworking S's father was, until his body gave away.
He became a very old man in his 30s, and had lost all ability to work.
No energy left in his body.
He could not even sit down without being assisted, what's more to stand up.
Doctors just advised him to rest at home.
But as a farmer, there were 1001 things to be done.
They turned to traditional healer, who inserted susuk or charm needle, to support her father's body, for his health and mobility.
About 30 years on, the old man was advised to remove the foreign object before he reached the Holy Land.
On one hand, S knew it is religiously wrong to have susuk implanted in one's body.
But on the other, it is used for medicinal purpose, nothing to do for vanity.
I brought this matter to my eldest sister.
The susuk reminded her of a Singaporean female who had the object inserted into her knees, for health reason, after her long stay in hospital.
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The susuk was not removed when the father left for Haj to complete the last pillar of his faith.
He had worked too hard to make a decent living.
Now, before his death, this ultimate goal needs a scoring too.
He wanted to step the spiritual path, the spiritual journey to reach HIM.
The journey that had been taken by just mere physical creatures who are all owned by THE ONE beyond the material world.
He wanted to see the Ka'abah.
Ka'abah is very inviting.
The very inviting Baitullah invites all sincere guests.
Its OWNER Selects HIS guests.
The father wanted to be one of them.
Baitullah is gravititional.
It has Its own unique pulling force.
That ALLAH's Possession was always in his mind, forever appearing in front of his eyes.
The father wanted to perform tawaf.
He wanted to be part of the whirling scene, like the obedient orbiting planets, never straying away from the designated path, before The CREATOR call off the day.
The father wanted to be present during wukuf, the world's greatest spiritual assembly.
Never mind the susuk inside him.
He wanted to be truthful to himself.
He wanted to lay bare his heart and soul for HIM to see.
HE Who Creates, Knows what's inside HIS mere creation.
The old man brought with him plentiful requests...
After performing their Haj, few days before the scheduled flight home, S's mother was doing her last minute shopping for souvenirs when news reached her that her husband had passed away in his sujud position while praying.
A new chapter in one of GOD's creation had opened.
His journey continues...