The Story Of A Soldier’s Wife – The Ice Kacang Trick

Kuantan the second time around was pretty much the same one we left behind two years ago. It was just like continuing where we left off the last time we were there except that this time I was more willing to embrace the whole package that came with being an Air Force wife. Although my association with BAKAT started on a wrong footing, it gradually developed into an amicable relationship. It was not full of zest and fervour but it was enough to keep me out of trouble. Trouble this time took an entirely different dimension from the ones I was more familiar with. Husbands were not called up by the Base Commander or the OC squadron to answer for their wives’ repeated absence from BAKAT. It was more direct, more hands-on, more lethal.

The Base Commander’s wife was a petite, vivacious, elegant, pencil-slim, attractive and extremely pretty lady but she lacked the finesse and sophistication many First Ladies tried so hard to portray and project. She was her natural self, loud and outspoken, bold and blunt, rough and tough. She chose to be completely unpretentious and made no attempts to hide or curb her not-so-refined ways. Although many disapproved of her style of leadership and found it distasteful, I thought she was interestingly and refreshingly different. She had her own way of tackling problems without resorting to her husband’s assistance. Husbands were thus, spared the awkward session with the Base Commander for their wives’ passive indifference towards BAKAT.

Despite her nine-to-five job, she still had both the time and stamina to chase us tirelessly and relentlessly. There was no escaping her. She would drive round, horn blaring so irritatingly deafening leaving us with no choice but to scramble hastily out of hiding. The stubborn ones would take longer to emerge but there was no giving up on her part. She would step out of the car, dainty hands on slender hips and started bellowing out their names with such gusto that left us clutching our stomachs to suppress laughter. It got even more hilarious when slowly long, grumpy faces would peek out of the windows signalling defeat. When she finally got all of us rounded up, there was barely enough time to do anything but that did not deter her. We would just follow her in our cars. Sometimes she took us to the Air Movement for a bit of traditional dancing, some other times to the hangar for a bit of badminton, sometimes to the BAKAT house for a quick cooking lesson. But, what really won us over was the periodic trips to her house for her home made ice kacang. She was totally forgiven with the first scoop of the delectable dessert! It was also at her house that we got to see the other side of her, the human side.

Her efforts finally paid off when we fell into the pattern she painstakingly drilled and drummed into us. After a few weeks, she no longer had to run after us. Seriously, I think it was the ice kacang treat that did the trick.

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20 responses to “The Story Of A Soldier’s Wife – The Ice Kacang Trick

  1. Good Lord ! what’s an ‘RSM’ doing masquerating as a Base Commanders wife. But I do like your honest description of this ‘RSMs’ poise beauty and charm. Not many women that I have have met have described the beauty of another in such glowing terms. At best they will go ” she is very beautiful lah” any thing more would probably choke them.

    • Col Arunzab,
      She WAS the Base Commander’s wife. My writing may have been confusing. Despite her faults, she was an exquisite beauty. Just looking at her was enough to make us forgive and forget, with or without the ice kacang. 🙂

      • Col Arunzab,
        Didn’t read your comments properly the first time. Understood fully the second time reading it. I think she was more effective than the RSM. Anyone who could change me had to be better than an RSM.

  2. Salam Pn Siti Roffini,
    Beautifully written ! I was smiling and giggling throughout reading this entry. Whoever and wherever “she” is now, she is sure to be missed indeed; not only for her home-made ice kacang but she herself – “She did it her way!” and that is all that matters…The outgoing BAKAT teamwork ! ;-)….

    • nurEmyinda,
      Glad I was able to make you smile and giggle but at that time it was not funny for all of us. It was difficult to tune ourselves to her frequency but when we finally did, we realised she was good at heart.

      • Pn Siti Roffini,

        Yes, putting myself in your shoes, facing this “she”, sure it’s nothing to laugh at at that moment of time ya. No escapism for sure with the blaring deafening horn. Thus its not easy for you; with your time at school and the very many other commitments at your workplace + the exhaustive hectic days = teacher, wife and also a BAKAT member . Anyway, indeed, down memory lane, its all a lovely picturesque painted in each and everyones’ mind and heart….How time flies ya Puan…

  3. By our own admission (unless we are hippo-crates) we are all partial to a beautiful person. A beautiful women can get away with things ordinary people can’t. The Base commanders wife is a case in point. If she was a chummy 40-40-40 things at the Base would not have been quite the same. Beauty does indeed make a difference and that’s the fact of life.

  4. Back in the 70’s, we had the most understanding CO’s wife. She was from the Royal family but she is humble and lovable, not at all demanding. Most of us adored her and we loved to be with her in whatever she organized.
    I called her a few months ago (after almost 30 years) and she could recognized my voice immediately and we met up. It was a tearful reunion for us.

      • Grace, I really don’t know how to say this after all these years. A condolence would be inappropriate after so long. Really, really glad that you decided to come into my blog. If it is not probing too much, who was your late husband? My husband wrote quite a bit on the ’76 Nuri crash in his first book. He got in touch with several of the wives of the deceased but there were a few who could not be traced. I stopped writing for quite some time but now that you came into the picture, I am all excited to start again.

      • It all started last year when my 3rd daughter got connected with someone from Jitra who was a Nuri pilot. ( I wonder if that was your husband).
        He wrote about the incident of the nuri crash in 1976 and about my late husband Capt (u) Choo too.

      • What a coincidence! Yes, it was my husband who got in touch with your daughter, Zeena ( hope it’s spelt correctly). Forgive me but I really don’t remember whether we had met before. According to my husband, we were in the same apartment block in Kuantan before you moved to Kuching. I was still very new to life in the RMAF at that time. I am sure you are pretty familiar with all that I have written. May be we could meet up some day. My email address is fininor @yahoo.com

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