A Tale To Tell & Remember

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Saturday, 23 December 2006

School used to be good (part 2) – from third world to second and a half

By: Ahmad Syah Ejaz Hj Ismail

We were very much eager of moving out from Kajang to Kuala Lumpur. My good friends from Sekolah Kebangsaan Sri Wangi (SKSW) even send me off goodbye at the gate of the school which I can to a great extent picture the situation in my head now. I had a good time at SKSW as a prefect and the darling student of the teacher specially English and Bahasa Melayu.

The picture which I put on the article School Used to Be Good –part 1, it was Cikgu Norma and Puan Jamilah which I’m very much closed of during my school year at SKSW. Cikgu Norma taught me Bahasa Melayu and Puan Jamilah taught me Pendidikan Islam which both I got A in my UPSR. I owe much to both of them.

After we moved out from Gua Musang, I enrolled in Sekolah Kebangsaan Kajang (SKK) - photo as above- for the rest of the standard six year. It was the last two months to finish up my standard six year before I entered secondary school. SKK was very much different from SKSW where I came from. Different environment, different people and certainly different Bahasa Melayu language (dialect) they spoke here especially with mix races.

I was put into the best class at standard six in SKK. The teachers were wonderful (they were move merited compared to SKSW) and it is understandable because they were more in open society especially with the outside world. Our first house when we first moved to Kajang, was located at Taman Restu. My father at that time was working as Penolong Pegawai Penguatkuasa N27 at KPDNHEP, Putra Place. My mother was with her new job as the Health Educational Officer at Pejabat Kesihatan Kajang. It was due to my mother new job which she got as above mention, why we moved out of Gua Musang.

My mother used to work as a clerk for Lembaga Kemajuan Kelantan Selatan (KESEDAR) before we moved to Kajang. Even though she had a degree background, but due to economic recession in 1987 (the year she graduated from USM) it was very hard for her to get a job substantiate on her degree background. She worked as a Clerk instead for KESEDAR.

My mother new office during that time (1995) was located beside the Sg. Jeluh river behind the current Plaza Metro Kajang. It was miserable office for a government staff managing the health of the Kajang residents. I went to school by bus daily. I still remember it was bas SUBU (that what was written at the front of the bus windshield). It was totally a different environment to me and I was feeling like I’m in some sort of a Malay drama because at Gua Musang, we never ride in a school bus (though we only saw school bus either in Malay drama in RTM (TV1, TV2) or TV3 during TV commercial time.

The school bus services cost my mother about RM 25 each and there was me and my younger sister, Fatimah who was also schooling at Sekolah Kebangsaan Kajang in the year of 1995. A point of fact, SKK at first was reluctant to accept us because they consider themselves as the first class and number one primary school in Kajang, and we were that time came from a place called Gua Musang. Which is understandable a place popular as the bastion of the Communist terrorist and made known by the movie full of ghost and vampires (the movie called Pontianak Gua Musang).

I do understand why they felt such place is totally alien to them. They look down upon people like me origin from where I came from. And at that time my educated mind start to think maturely; when why is school want to segregated student when school is the number one place where if we want to inculcate excellence and no discrimination, arpatheid and all that jazz? Then I start to think back I’m not in the first world yet, perhaps second and a half is much more correct.

We usually woke up much more early compare when we lived in Gua Musang. You have to catch the bus to school or else they will leave you behind. We woke up at 5.30 in the morning and waited for the big bus in front of our house to come and pick us up at 6.15 am. There were two trips, either you catch one of them or you go to school by the green bus (Fong Hup Omnibus) and will cost you about 50 cents to Kajang. SUBU picked up student from all over Kajang (Taman Restu, Sri Jelok, Asa Jaya and Taman Zamrud). Students in the bus usually called me “budak baru”. “Hey! Budak baru, you supposed to change bus when we reach certain point”. I still remember that line in the gloomy morning when I forgot to change bus when I supposed to.

During my time there at SKK, there were several primary school in Kajang. They were SKK itself, Sek. Keb. Semenyih, Sek Keb Sg Kantan, Sek. Keb. Jalan Bukit and Sek Rendah Jenis Kebangsaan (Cina) Yu Hua. Among them all the most discipline one is the SRJK(C) Yu Hua. Their school amenities was wonderful. They even got the big hall for morning roll call and basketball court. Same goes when I was at Gua Musang, with the SMJK(C) Chung Hwa. Their school facilities including the pick up point for the school bus provided for the student was so organized and smart.

I usually arrived at SKK at 7.15 am in the morning almost at the exact time the gate closed. Over here (at SKK) we have Computer labs although at that time student have to share 1 computer per 2 students. Better than never though I never knew what computer is when I was at SKSW.

Headmaster of the school put me into the best class in SKK though it doesn’t matter because I took my UPSR test at SKWS before I went to SKK. Only the result haven’t came out yet. My class was 6 Jujur or 6J, located at the tallest block in SKK and at the right edge of the building (as photo taken above). I have difficulty in interacting with the students because I never spoke proper Malay before except in story telling contest and debate contest representing SKSW. People would laugh at me when I speak proper Bahasa Malaysia with Kelantanese dialect.

But as the time pass through I get along and managed to blend in well. The student would call me by the name “awang kelate”. But even though they would laugh at me due to my difference sound of language, I managed to find good friends among them which lasted forever. Among them was Thariq (he was a little big girly and he too just transfered from other Perak to Kajang). We sit side by side in 6 Jujur. Other was Midhat Khazen, Faizal Jamadon, Azfaruddin, John Lee, Rajvinder Singh and others which I can’t remember the name.

We didn’t play the game of war of course, but we do share quite a few hobby and interest including power rangers. I would play soccer with my classmate and I do play good games during my time at SKK consider the place where I came from Gua Musang. We played soccer 24/7 at Taman Wangi, Gua Musang because we don’t have any choices. But as the time pass through, I begin to lost touch in soccer due to my future environment which I will tell you later.

The best part of my SKK memoirs was when there was a Chinese girl had a crush on me. Her named I think was Catherine Xiong and she was very tall. She took a photo of me while we were studying at SKK. When she sent me the photo (via greeting card) she wrote her phone number and her name at the back of it. I still kept the photo till today (as photo above) though I never heard of her ever since except rumors and stories once about how she was doing now. She was a very nice girl and loving too. She called me sometimes at home because I do give her my home phone number. Handphone that time was at the inception of a creation. But I was so naïve and immature. I never return any calls or any cards. Love was so very much alien to me. Kind to think of it, I wish her a long life happiness and thanks for the scant experience which she gave me. It did last a life time.

My first encounter with English language was when I made friends with Aaron Tan. He lived at Taman Sri Jelok. We took the same bus to school. Whenever we were together we always used English to interact with each other. Aaron Tan is a Portuguese boy with a Chinese bloodline. I never heard of him after I left SKK, but once I heard that he had turned into a rough boy when I was at form 5 at KHS. But I never saw him since.

Life at SKK was surely different. We would made home very late at night. And then reach the good news from SKSW that I got 4A’s in my UPSR. All of my classmate in 6 Jujur at Kajang (I think 30 student’s) of them got 4A’s except 1 boys and 1 girl. One of the unfortunate was Azfaruddin. He cried all day long. Come to think of it, it was very different from where I came from. At SKSW, for the whole school only 4 student’s got 4A’s. One of them was me. For the whole Gua Musang only 5 student got 4A’s. Having four of them at SKSW made you the best school in Gua Musang. Compared to SKK where one whole class got 4A’s and the second class about twenty students got 4A’s doesn’t really ensure you the best school in the district of Hulu Langat. 3A’s in Gua Musang was very much appreciated and be celebrated with a sacrifice of a cow but at Kajang, 3A’s being received with tears and disgraced.

I thought with my excellent result in UPSR I do manage to get myself into MRSM or one of the nation boarding school. Considering where I took my UPSR (at SKSW, Gua Musang), I thought MARA would make a place for me. But I learned the hard way that I was not offered any place either at government boarding school or at any MRSM even though I do took the MARA test for MRSM.

And so I enrolled in Kajang High School (KHS) -photo above-. I was very much disappointed with that. I waited for months to be offered a place into one of the public boarding school, but the letter never came. I ask for Yayasan Selangor, but Yayasan Selangor is a place for “Selangorian” only and it had to be both of your parents and you, yourself are born in Selangor. And so there was me at KHS being put into the class of 1C (again ring me of my memoir when I was at standard 1 at SKGM also the class name was 1C).

At KHS (as photo above), I still remember there was a very good discipline teacher named Cikgu Lee. He was a very good teacher but of course being a good discipline teacher, with the reputation as a lion in a school such as KHS, the student would definitely hate you. There are even times when the students tried to flat his motorcycle tire. At KHS I do continue making good friends with Rajvinder Singh, Faizal Jamadon, Midhat Khazen, Ayie, and Bangla (we call him by that name because he looks like a Bangladeshi with sharp nose, curly hair, wide eyes, smart combed hair and a bit blackened skin. I never know his real name).

When I was at form 1, our school period was in the afternoon. Every Friday, me myself, Ayie, and Bangla would find ourselves together walking to Masjid Jame Kajang for Friday prayers (as photo above). We’ve very close at the beginning of the school year and to a surprise I begin to enjoy myself schooling at KHS with mix races although at the first place I seems to dislike it.

And then reach the news that I was offered a place at MRSM Muadzam Shah, Pahang. The offer came quite late after my uncle named Mokhtar persuade Dato’ Mustapha Mohamad (at that time he was the Minister in-charge of MARA) to put me into one of the MRSM. It is understandable because Dato’ Pa (the name we called the man) was relying on my uncle influence for a vote because he was a major in the army stationed at Kem Desa Pahlawan.

My offer form was straight addressed to the Minister instead to my house. It stated that I was put into the second intake student for MRSM Muadzam Shah. I face such a predicament because I was really enjoying myself at KHS. But the truth is that I had to left my close and good friends at KHS for a better educational opportunity at MRSM. My parents was very proud of course and me myself was very anxious and eager to explore new things at MRSM Muadzam Shah (never heard such name before in my life). On my first day of being a MARESMA student then I begin to realize how the proverbs of “indah nama dari rupa” was really true.

To be continue…


Anonymous said...

thanks for remembering us and the good old times. good luck in your life and take care. Rajvinder Singh

Tun Teddy said...

you too bru... thanks for being a good friend.

Faces of Tun Teddy

Faces of Tun Teddy