Sorry, folks! I have to admit that I have not been diligent in updating my Cerita Chenta sequels. In fact, it is not too much to say that my Cerita Chenta had been left in a state of neglect for nearly a week, and if I were to wait for another few days before continuing with it, I'm afraid the momentum and the flow (from me, as well as for the readers) would be lost! So, I think it's high time for me to post a new entry, huh?!
So, anyway - the few months running to my final exams and also graduation, Ayah and I had a heart to heart talk on what exactly I wanted to do after graduating. At that point, Ayah still had 2 more years before he was to graduate, and we had agreed that he should work for at least 1 year before we were to settle down. So, all in all we were looking at at least another THREE years before we could finally tie the knot!
It was also agreed that after his graduation in 1993, if he were to work, he would be working and doing his housemanship in the UK, as that would be the best training ground for him.
So, we laid down all the possibilities of A to Z, and the bottom line was - I didn't think I could stand being so far away from him for so long!
I had a couple of options.
I could either just go back and serve Petronas. This would have meant that I would have to go back to Malaysia that Summer of 1991, do whatever I needed to do, and I would have had to wait for 3 YEARS before we could get married. And Ayah would be in the UK ALL THOSE THREE YEARS!(Errrr...I don't think I would consider THAT as an option?!!! Nak sakit jiwer ke aper???!!!)
OR another option was, I could apply for a scholarship extension to continue with my studies and pursue my Degree of an Utter Barrister in London, after which I would have to go back to Malaysia, but, we would only be apart for 2 years.
Hmmmmm....THREE years apart vs TWO years apart? NOT a difficult choice to make at all.
I have to admit, if it was not because of Ayah, I would not have even thought of doing my Bar Finals in London! I was never (and am NOT) an ambitious person, and sitting for my Bar Exams was never in my list of things-to-do in life.
But, as it was the ONLY option I had to buy time to spend at least another year in the UK, I went on to apply to do my Bar Finals at Ho*born College/Linco**'s I**, and syukur alhamdulillah I received an offer! And in London I stayed for a year, pursuing my Degree of an Utter Barrister (and Ayah was still in Newcastle upon Tyne the whole time).
In a way, I was just an accidental Bar student - hoping to gain more time in the UK only so that Ayah and I would not be too far apart too long. But, of course, I just couldn't ignore my responsibilities of being a Bar student, could I? I was accepted in, so, might as well JUST DO IT, right?
My one year in London was spent in Stroud Green in North London where I shared an apartment with S*l and Tu*ip. Both graduated from Leeds, and both were also admitted to Linco**'s I** and Ho*born College.
Now, applying and getting a place in Linco**'s I** was one thing. Going through the Professional Bar Course and Exams was another thing. It was SHEER HELL, I tell you! And I know there are a few of my readers here who had gone through the same hell as I did. NEVER AGAIN!!! Even if somebody were to pay me REALLY BIG MONEY to go through the Bar Course and Exams, I would happily decline. Thank you, but, NO thank you, sir!
I didn't mind the 24 Dinners that we had to go through (failing which, we would NOT be called to the Bar EVEN if we were to get 1st Class results for the Bar Finals Exams!). The Dinners were fun actually. All of us going in black and white attires, donning the robes, sitting in the glorious Grand Hall of Linco**'s I**, enjoying our bland vegetarian meals and orange juice, while the rest were having succulent roast beef and gravy, and 3-4 types of alcoholic drinks, one after another...(What my house mates and I would normally do was to makan kenyang-kenyang kat rumah dulu, before going to the Inn's dinner!)
Those 24 Dinners were part of the formal requirements of the Honourable Society. Every now and then we were allowed to bring guests along, and of course, Ayah became my regular "tag-along" for all my Guests Night Dinners. That was just an excuse to get Ayah to make a trip down to London from Newcastle every month actually. NOT that he minded! Hehehehe!
It was the Bar Final Course itself which I tak boleh tahan...Those months of going to classes and working on the endless assignments and studying for the exams were arguably the most stressful time of my life. With, and like all professional exams, it was just NOT the same as the normal and ordinary exams you would do at Uni or college. It was in a class of its own, and as I had got myself into it (as an accidental student some more!!), I sweat through it all and gave my best.
Those who had gone through the Bar Finals Exams as I had, would agree with me when I said that the Exams were one of the TOUGHEST exams on the face of the earth...
I remember studying for the subjects with tears falling down onto my notes. I still have those notes with me, with blotches on the pages as proof of my free-flowing tears smearing the pages! It was so damn hard, but, I knew I just had to do it whether I liked it or not. I remember not eating for days studying for the Bar Finals. I remember not going out for weeks preparing for the Bar Finals.
And I remember asking Ayah if he could just come down to London to be with me - untuk bagi semangat throughout the exam period. But, Ayah did the right thing, and said, "NO". He told me, "YOU have to do this YOURSELF, and I don't want to be there as I might distract you and be in your way. BUT, you can call me ANY time of the day and night, and I will be there for you..."
And throughout that ONE week of INTENSIVE exams, I lost count of how many times I called Ayah, day and night - crying like crazy every time, telling him that I was giving up, and that I just could not go on. And every single time Ayah would steer me back and gave his words of encouragement to just hang in there...
EVERY TIME I called him, I was a nervous wreck. And EVERY TIME, he would be saying the same things to boost my morale up. In fact, it would have been easier for him if he were to make a recording of his words of encouragement and just play it on for me to listen to whenever I called! I knew what he was going to say anyway, but, I just needed to hear his voice over the phone...
I tell you, it was a miracle that I did not go mad going through the Bar Finals Exams.
I sat for the Trinity Paper, and passed all subjects except for my General Paper II (which was basically Procedures on Land Law and Equity - not surprising as they happened to be my pet-hate subjects throughout Uni!!). I bersyukur to Allah swt as that would mean that I only had to resit for that ONE Paper. The system was such that IF you were to fail TWO papers, you would have to resit ALL SIX Papers!!! Mati hidup balik I takkan resit if that were to happen to me!
So, that Summer, Ayah offered his place in Newcastle for me to prepare for the Michaelmas Exams while he went back to Malaysia for his Summer Break. In a way, I was "house-sitting" for him. And when Ayah came back from the holidays, I remember him staying up with me going through the subject, or just accompanying me burning the midnight oil...And syukur alhamdulillah, I passed my GP II in that Michaelmas Exams, and that November 1992, I was called to the English Bar and admitted as a Member of the Honourable Society of Linco**'s I** finally...
And I have to say - if it was not for Ayah's words of encouragement and support, ESPECIALLY throughout the exam period, I would not have got through the Exams. And I know that Ayah and his semangat and encouragement had a lot to do with it...and I can't thank him enough...
With all the ceremonies over, I was left with no choice. Petronas had called me back (NOT that they had a job waiting for me back home in Malaysia anyway!), and I had run out of excuses and reasons to stay on...
And in December 1992, I remember taking the MAS flight from London Heathrow to Kuala Lumpur with Re*a - my MT friend who was also with me in Norwich, and who also spent an extra 1 year (but in Warwick, doing her Masters) ALSO to buy time to be in the UK as her boyfriend T**S (who is now her hubby) also had a couple of years still in the UK.
I remember Ayah and T**S sending us off at Heathrow, and I remember how both Reha and I menangis tak ingat dunia at the airport, and continued with the crying marathon all throughout the 13 hours journey to KL! We were crying, and every now and then we were laughing our hearts out because it was actually a pretty damn funny sight looking at each other's monyok face throughout the flight!
But, it sure wasn't funny when reality sank in.
Back in KL, I suddenly found myself totally lost without Ayah by my side. And the fact that Ayah was going to spend at least another two years in the UK before we would tie the knot, did not help at all...
Yes, of course I was happy that I was back in Malaysia with my Mommy and Abah and the rest of the family. But, somewhere along the line, I had realized that Ayah had also become a part of my family - a part of me. He was my semangat...and I didn't know if I could survive being without him in Malaysia for 2 years...
To be continued...