We affectionately call him 'Cakelar' - after my late grandfather failed attempt to pronounce & refer him as 'the Chancellor' for his job in UM long before I can regain my childhood memories.
He has known my parents even before I was born, perhaps even before my mum & dad were married to each other since his kampung located just in the same district as ours.
He also went to further his study in Indonesia as my parents were to the extent his late parents requested my father to bring along some budu for their son. However my father secretly refused since 'secupak' budu was no small volume & might cause international security issue...
Since then, Indonesia has a special place in his heart.
Back in Malaysia, he lectured in Academy for Islamic Studies (API), UM. Even in distance our family still maintain the close relationship (my family's in KB), his house in Sg Buloh is our shelter whenever we have things to do in KL.
He motivated me to study in UM, perhaps the best U (usually...) in Malaysia. Now I'm doing my Masters in Engineering, also in UM.
He helped me went through the bureaucratic SKR during my 1st registration for Foundation (Asasi).
Then without hesitation I invited him for a lecture during a spiritual event at 11th Residential College - my 1st co-curricular campus activity.
Upon graduation he invited me to become his Research Assistant with a salary of RM950 permonth, unofficially he was my 1st employer.
For 4 decades, we maintained our close family relationship.
Last week, on 17th Aug - the Independence Day of Indonesia, his favourite foreign country - he passed away due to heart problem, unexpectedly.
My family was only aware a day later - much to our upset & I was in UM that day.
While my parents were still upset for not able to attend his funeral, I took it positively: Perhaps God didn't want us to be sad watching his lifeless body since for years we knew him, not a single moment he didn't burst with laughter & made us laugh together...
Thank you & al-Fatihah to Almarhum 'Cakelar' - Professor Dr. Abdul Halim bin Mat Diah for the wonderful moments. May Allah place you with His selected servants by His side. Amin.
P/S: All pictures courtesy of his family members & http://niesnoraliena.blogspot.com/2009/08/belasungkawa-prof-dr-abdul-halim-bin.html