(3) Munirah: “It’s a joy to have best friends.”

Munirah:  “It’s a joy to have best friends.”

By Shaik Kadir


Suhaila (left) and Munirah with their babies. (Photo taken in January 2014: Shaik Kadir)


The all-time boxing great Muhammad Ali once said: “Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain. It’s not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.”

Suhaila Ghaffar and Munirah SK found it hard to explain friendship too but they have been experiencing and enjoying friendship since schooldays. They were close friends since 1990 when they were in Secondary One at Tanjong Katong Girls’ School.

Their friendship grew larger as they grew into adulthood. They went to junior college together, and then graduated with a Bachelor’s degree and Diploma in Education and went on to teach in secondary school. When they were at home, the telephone connected them.

When they started working, they loved going out together to celebrate each other’s birthdays, for shopping, movies, snacks and tours to further bond them away from home.

Actually, they have another close friend right from schooldays, Sheba Beve.

All the three friends are married but Sheba is staying in the US with her toddler son and husband who has been posted there for work in Idaho. She too has a Bachelor’s degree and worked in a bank before going to the States. That made Suhaila and Munirah bond further but the other friend, though physically afar, is only “whatsapp” and “facebook” away.

Suhaila’ s and Munirah’s friendship gave birth in November last year. Munirah gave birth to a boy, and two days later it was Suhaila’s turn, also a boy.

Both babies’ names start with “A”. Munirah’s son is Adam and Suhaila’s son is Arshad and they look alike too, even now, though Arshad is chubbier and taller.

Being close friends from childhood to motherhood has many advantages.

“We confide in each other for emotional support right from the time when we were in secondary school,” said Suhaila. “We went to the school canteen together and we had fun together, usually chatting with our other friends.”

Munirah agreed and added, “A close friend is different from mere friends. Friends you may have many but the number of close friends you may have is limited. My other close friends are Sze Mei, Dianah, Karen, Wan Ee and Shu Jiun who all became close friends back from my university days.

“With close friends, you are supportive of each other during all the ups and downs of life. A close friend will be there for you whenever you need her, during good or bad times, to encourage and motivate you and give you solace and advice.  It’s a joy to have best friends.”

Suhaila, in trying to define a close friend, says: “A close friend is positive in her action and attitude towards one another. With a close friend, when you call her, she will be there. She will make you happy, and, if you need help, or feel down, she will be there with you to help and support you in whatever way as possible, or listen to you with close attention.”

During pregnancy, Suhaila and Munirah met often to discuss motherhood matters, and matters related to the preparation of the new addition.

“We talked about personal pregnancy problems,” said Munirah. “We even bought lots of baby things together.”

Suhaila beamed and joked: “What’s more, we even wanted to give birth on the same day but perhaps the little ones inside us heard us and didn’t want to share the same birth dates. Arshad came two days later.”

They laughed. “Well, that means, they can visit each other for their respective birthday celebrations,” Munirah rejoined.

Would the children be close friends like their mothers have been?

“I hope our children would get along very well and be best friends like us,” Suhaila said positively, holding her friend’s hand.

Munirah nodded, and Suhaila, upon a quick afterthought, opined: “By the way, boys being boys may not be so sentimental and attached to each other. You see, even though, say, two boys might be good friends, they might not be so close as girls do. We girls may hold hands sometimes when we walk or talk but they would not.”

Munirah agreed joyfully and added: “But we hope, they would be good friends. It’s great to extend our close friendship to our second generation.”

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