PETALING JAYA, April 16 — Most individuals would make a trip to the graveyard to pay respects to their dearly departed.
But for one Singaporean courier driver, the love for ancient Malay warriors and nobility keeps taking him back to cemeteries just for the sake of cleaning the old tombs, according to Malay portal mStar.
Omar Jamail, 55, self-funds the unconventional activity of cleaning the graves of past dignitaries such as sultans or kings, princes, royal palaces and Malay female warriors recorded in chronicles or historical books.
Among the historic tombs Omar often visits with his wife, Jamaliah Majid, 55, and their three children include Tun Teja’s tomb at Kampung Pengkalan Samak, Merlimau, Melaka.
Tun Teja was the consort of the eighth Sultan of Melaka Sultan Mahmud Shah, who escaped the invasion of the Portuguese in 1511, according to the Malay Annals.
She was said to have died on the way to Muar, Johor before being buried at Kampung Pengkalan Samak.
The charitable Singaporean family want to ensure the history of the old tombs is preserved.
Bringing along with them tools such as brooms and dustpans, Omar and his family take at least half an hour to clean up a mausoleum’s surroundings.
“Anywhere that has an old tomb, I will be there. If not the Malays themselves who care for and clean the graves, who will?” he told mStar while cleaning Tun Teja’s tomb.
“Even though we’ve never met them and only know their tales through history books but their efforts to uphold religion, race and our homeland should be appreciated.”
Besides Tun Teja, Omar and his family often visit the mausoleums belonging to Hang Tuah, Sultan Hussein and Sultan Ali in Melaka.
The grandfather of four grandchildren has been cleaning tombs since 2011, even venturing as far as Langkawi to tidy up Mahsuri’s mausoleum and a well left behind by Hang Tuah believed to be in Grisek, Thailand.
His regular presence at old tombs has even caused some locals to believe Omar is of noble lineage.
Asked whether he experienced paranormal experiences while spring-cleaning tombs, Omar said nothing unusual has happened, despite popular belief.