But that was just a dream for us government servants.
For over twenty five years we have been renting houses, each time a new house everytime I was given the transfer order.
We have moved so many times that our children can speak in so many Malay dialects - the Penang, Perak and of course our native Terengganu.
Many of their friends are always puzzled when they are told that they are from Terengganu. Diyana has always been thought as a Kuala Lumpur gal. Amalia surprised many when she spoke in fluent Penang dialect with her new found Penang friends at the recent sports training.
All these whiles I always thought that I would build our house later. Well my mother has given us all a piece of land for that purpose.
Actually I have even asked an architect to come up with a plan of my dream house. It looked grand. But when I asked quotation from contractors, the building cost was way too high for my budget. And so I just shelved the plan and there went my RM3,000 that I paid the architect.
I said let us forget about the house for the moment. So every school holidays or Eid we all had to fight for a room in my parents' house. Most of the time we lost. Why? Because we always arrived last between the nine of us.
This and coupled with the sad news of friends passing away one by one brought me to my senses. We just have got to find us our own house!
So, one fine afternoon just after 2000's Eid, I drove the entire family around Chukai looking for a decent house.
After failing to find what we were looking around Chukai town, we then moved inwards towards Binjai. We drove into Taman Samudera Timur, a residential area comprising of bungalows, semi-detached and terrace houses.
In one corner there was this vacant double-storey bungalow with a 'House for Sale' sign hanging at the rustic gate. I immediately stopped my car and we all of us came down to have a look.
I called Mrs. Tan, the caretaker, to open the house. She came within minutes after I called - she was just next door.
The second she opened the main door and we made our way into the house, we fell in love with it - love at first sight!
The house felt spacious - I hate houses that make you feel cramped in.
The monsoon wind blowing through the windows (oh, this house had so many windows) cooled the house.
Going up the stairs (I just loved the stair-case) I found that the rooms were very spacious. The master bedroom was bigger than living halls of all the houses that I had rented so far.
Satisfied with what I saw, I then told Mrs Tan that I was going to buy the house.
"Give me a month to find the down payment money." I reassured her.
"Ok. I'll keep the house for you then."
My children, they all were flabbergasted.
"Are you serious, Aboh?" asked Diyana.
"Of course I'm serious. You know me. I'll get what I want. This house is what I really want!"
With that one thing lead to another and sooner than expected the house was finally ours.
We called her SYAKIRIN'S COTTAGE (TERATAK SYAKIRIN) in memory of our late son, KHAIRUL SYAKIRIN.
Now, the house is full of lives and no more unoccupied as previously. The chest-high Imperata cylindrica has been replaced with beautiful cow--grass and adorned with beautiful flowers and herbs.
It is now the focal point of family meetings and get-together.
It is laways my hope that the house will strengthen our family ties.