Down old school memory lane

I was back in my old school today. All week friends have been calling and messaging non stop. I was rather indecisive. After Friday prayers yesterday, I made a decision to go.

I woke up at quarter past six and later drove all the way to North Johor. Some juniors in my old school organized an “Old Students Day” and hosted a lunch at the old main hall.

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After grabbing a tall latte and a sugared donut from Starbucks, I rushed to the nearest tube station to pick the Alumni Secretary General up and we waddled our way, in the ever trusted ‘Enterprise’ down south. Of course, we chatted and talked nonsense, all the way (like our usual long distance trips!)

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We arrived just before eleven. We heard the Alumni Deputy President giving his off-the-cuff speech, representing Dato’ Mukhriz Mahathir, who was unfortunately double-booked. Dato’ Mukhriz was very disappointed to discover that he was double-booked for today and I knew he tried his best to wiggle out of it to be with us in Muo. Unfortunately, his commitments prevail.ed Lately, he has put a lot of effort back in developing the Alumni he led.

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I was amazed. The Dewan Dato’ Onn has been fully air-conditioned now!   Wow. That’s nice. I entered through the right front door, glanced through the hall top to bottom all the way to the back. I waddled all the way to back to see a table full of my contemporaries, waving for me to join them.

I still can’t believe it. I looked at it from all the way back to the front. It was nice and cosy. The AV was also fantastic. The reminiscence of the old past flashed before my eyes. I recalled how in September 1982 I sat for my SRP and November 1984 sat for my SPM, there in the same hall. It wasn’t as cosy then but that was the hall where I wrote all those lines to earn me 6As and a rather good school certificate.

There are so many changes. Apparently, the Government air-conditioned the Dewan Dato’ Onn when HRH Tunku Mahkota Johor made my old school one of his major stop in last year’s Kembara Mahkota Johor, which has grown very popular with the rakyat. MARA built our school sixth in the series, with limited budget and resources in the late seventies. This was part of the eradication of poverty through alleviation of the Malays education level program, prescribed under the New Economic Policy (NEP). The school was provided with bare minimum. When in opened its doors in August 1981, it had 13 science labs and three wooden dorms. By January 1982, the contractors completed 15 more classrooms and five more wooden dorms and April 1982, this multi purpose hall, the library and lecture theatre were used for the first time. Now that more resources are available, they built more classrooms and better dorms made from bricks and concrete.

The lunch was rather good. I had the pleasure to have lunch in the same table with my former teachers. Two of them are now principals in two different colleges. One retired as a Director of College of Higher Education. He thought me fourth form math and was also the Vice Principal then. Another went to teach in a university. The lady who fussed for me, ever since 1982 is now an Assistant Director of a MARA Department in Kuala Lumpur. We talked about a lot of issues. I am glad we had the opportunity to chin-wagged, over a meal. We are now friends.

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My corner is by the orange door. It was breezy and easy access.

I toured around the school. I went to my old classroom. It’s a form four class now. It used to be my Homeroom for three years. I had a feel at the corner where I used to sit. I recalled the day the late Musak Mantrak taught me and developed interests in politics, through the perspective of history. I remembered my first observation of a General Election. It was Dato’ Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad’s first mandate. Musak also asked us to watch this new-kid-on-the-block, Anwar Ibrahim. I remembered Musak said “This man was arrested because he demonstrated to the allegations that someone died in Baling due to starvation. Watch closely what he will do to the people of Baling now that he is in Government!”.

I did. I remembered what Musak said. Musak is no longer with us. So is Jami Mohamed, my former Scouts Master. Jami was an English master.

In retrospective, I now treasure every single values that our masters tried to inculcate in us. Now I understand why we were fussed with the pettiest rules and regulations. I had some of the best masters an aspiring nationalist hoped to be. Without doubt, I had masters who were nationalists themselves. I clearly recalled our late Chief Cook shouted at his people “I will not allow these kids, who will be our future, left hungry at our watch!”, every time we turned late for dinner after a good game on the fields. Pak Mustapha, a retired Royal Malay Regimental Sergeant Major would whip something up for us, immediately after Maghrib, before we went for prep classes. Boys will be boys, and according to him, at no cost, they should miss any meals!

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My Tun Dr. Ismail hostel was here. Its now gone! Note the arch and path to the entrance of the gone hostel.

The congregation later proceeded to the Surau for the ‘Career Talk’. I took this opportunity to tour the school further. I saw the site of my old dormitory. It has now disappeared. I also saw the old dining hall. It has now abandoned. Apparently the old dilapidated wooden dorms were torn down and newer ones built. I was almost teary eyed. I guess, everything has been left to memory now. Memory how I spent 3 years 4 months in this campus. There are no traces of my existence except for the memory. The memory, now I am left to treasure.

In no way, shall I betray the fondest of memories of my old school and friends. The science projects we experimented (outside of our syllabus). The camping trips we had. The games we played. The trophies we won. The agony of defeat. The friends we made. The brotherhood we bonded. The pledges we took. The scuffles we fought. The prizes we received (especially when one had to salute one’s dad for it!). The songs we gigged. The plays we staged. The dances we choreographed. The movies we shown. The debates we argued. The contests we competed. The ‘Homeroom Projects’ were undertook. The ‘Projek Anak Angkat’ in the Felda scheme for two weeks. The Gunung Ledang we scaled. The beaches we swam. The first newspapers we published. The first photos we shot and developed. The puppy love we ventured. The teenage hearts we broke!

We were a team. We had teams. Countless times we cheered for our teams. We had ‘Jalan Lasak’ when were were only fifteen. The ‘Jalan Lasak’ we walked (back from Pekan Nenas in Pontian all the way to Bakri in Muo, 160 km in four days and night – we slept on school grounds along the way) under the scorching sun at mid-day and heaviest torrential storm in the evenings. It was a test of our spirit. It was pure espirit de corp.

After all the re-living adolescence all over again, its time to come back to reality. We hugged and parted at half past five. It was so nice to have met old friends and old teachers.

One the way home, I tapau-ed some much talked about Mi Bandung Muo for my Sayang 🙂

Published in: on May 5, 2007 at 23:38  Comments (60)