Raja Chulan Raja Ahmad Tajuddin remembers his dear Ayah Din, or Allahyarham Raja Dato’ Sharifuddin Raja Razman. who passed away in January of this year, with this latest musing – a fitting written tribute of the man that was well-loved by many.
I can describe Allahyarham Ayah Din as a prolific source of humour amongst family and friends, even from his younger days. He would sit for hours in his study, his fingers pecking away at the worn keys of his faithful antique typewriter whilst blowing sweet smelling puffs of smoke from his Sherlock Holmes pipe. More often than not he would pick on his own brothers and sisters, his nephews and nieces notwithstanding. Imagine the surprise of an unsuspecting brother receiving a letter from a lady purportedly madly in love with him. It was known that some would also receive letters claiming unpaid debts of thousands of ringgit. And a nephew receiving a reprimand from his headmaster for playing truant. That was his trademark as a practical prankster, all for the sake of familial bond.
Whenever the Razmans would get together for a kenduri tahlil, Allahyarham Ayah Din would come up with yarns that he would have spun unbeknownst to his siblings. “Pak Syed! Teman dengor Cik Timah tu dah giler ke mike, betoi ke?” he would exclaim to his younger brother, Raja Harun Al Rashid (aka King Richard), who would immediately blush until it dawned on him that he had been had. Forcing a smile, King Richard would realise, “Isssh, mike ler yang hantor sorat tu!” Allahyarham Ayah Din’s sheepish confession over the prank would be met by the trademark Razman family retort, “YEEEET!”
Allahyarham’s love for antiquities was incomparable, from a first edition Parker pen to a Humber Special, to name a few. He was also a collector of old motor cycles – a Honda Cub 50, a Triumph, the huge Norton, the bulky Harley Davidson and the stylish Velocette, which he gave to me when I was a bachelor. It was my second bike after my first Honda Cub 50, which was my ride in my varsity days. How I loved that water-cooled Velocette, commuting from Ipoh Green Town to Sekolah Aminuddin Baki in Chemor where I taught. And it was with this Velocette that I had my first fall from a bike while negotiating a sharp bend at Bukit Mantin in Negeri Sembilan!
It was Allahyarham Ayah Din who encouraged me to become a Police Volunteer Reserve (PVR) officer, for he was one too, and a dedicated one to boot. As a kid, I used to playfully blew on his police whistle and played with his police issue torchlight. And I somehow admired his handlebar moustache which did not escape his attention. There was a day when I woke up to find a moustache crayoned on my face!
Allahyarham was quite handy with a camera too. He snapped away when I was handcuffed lying down in front of his sports car, much to the consternation of my beloved grandfather Ku Nick! To him, I was ‘Don Juan’ and until his bedridden days he would still call me that. He must have wanted me to carry the tradition of carrying a nickname just like his brothers – Roger (my late dad), Jumbo (Ayah Atan) and Richard!
We miss Allahyarham’s unique personality, a man full of humour and love. It was just his way of showing care and love for all. His sense of humour was such that he was deemed the ‘court jester’ to Almarhum Sultan Idris Shah II and he remained the favourite of Almarhum until Tuanku’s demise. Tears would well in my eyes whenever I visit his house on Caravelle Road after his passing, especially when I see the items that remind me of him – the old telephone, the antique gramophone and typewriter.
May Allah bless Ayah Din’s soul with His grace and blessing.