Do you feel sick watching that familiar striped red tie being worn by a certain group of people on Wednesdays or catching a glimpse of that familiar crest above Renong headquarters while driving along Jalan Syed Putra? I was at a TKC Old Girls dinner a couple of years back accompanying my better half and I actually found myself at a mini MCOBA gathering.
The emcee even went on to say, in praise of the TKCians’ achievements, “TKC girls are no longer just MCKK wives but are also doctors and lawyers ЕЕ”. The few STARians who were there sure felt like throwing up (this will be confirmed by Sheikh Yahya, a 60s STARian who was there). MCKK boys have been our favourite enemies in school but are they still are?
But let’s be honest, the Malay College in Kuala Kangsar is somewhat of a necessary evil. Just imagine life in STAR without them. Would Min Nyamuk have looked forward to bashing KE VII students rather than MCKK boys at rugger matches? Apart from not having any common struggles with the KE boys apart from winning at rugby, he would probably have gotten seriously pulverised in the process. Sometimes I feel that they are our raison d’être. Most of our competitive spirit had been centred around them.
Try to remember, was it more satisfying beating Sekolah Seri Puteri in the 1984 PPM English Debate Finals and becoming champs for the third consecutive time or beating MCKK twice in a row in 1982 and 1983? In sports, especially soccer, the motivation for winning the Ipoh championships was probably to get a chance to meet MCKK at Perak inter-district championship level, not to bask in the glory of becoming the Ipoh champs. Who cares that we lost in the finals of 1985 inter-district football match as long as we thrashed MCKK three weeks earlier (to the joy of Kuala Kangsar folks).
In the field of girl-getting, these guys also look like they have the upper-hand. For one thing, TKC girls always have this incomprehensible preference for MCKK boys and vice-versa. Well, we are smarter since we do not confine ourselves to this irrational behaviour of fishing from just one pond. There is also empirical evidence to show that girls who dump their MCKK boyfriends upgrade to STAR boyfriends (Rahman and I can give you a more detailed account of this). There were cases of a couple of girls who broke off with their STARian boyfriends and having no chance of progressing further had to upgrade to the only higher ranking species left – a STARian class monitor and a STAR headboy.
Ironically, these guys from MCKK, or “Budak Koleq” as they call themselves, suddenly become pillars of comfort in a sea of strange faces when we ventured out into the real world. Who else could relate to the peculiar sense of inter-batch rivalry and “senior-junior patronage” (please be liberal in interpreting this!) except MCKK boys? With whom else could we exchange war stories of rugger and other matches gone by? Who else would regard 3rd class KTM train journeys as a “liberating experience”? The guys from SDAR and SAS may have been our “blood brothers”, but apart from being from all-boys schools with similar senior-junior patronage customs and having no pretentious title of “College” conferred upon our schools, the similarities end there.
I have personally seen many a STAR-MCKK friendship develop from rib-picking to strong bonding. The Alan-Miang, Atan-Caine (pronounced Cha-ain) and Mat Kalut-Gonjeng (formerly Mat Kalut-Mat Puk) alliances that we see blossoming are no more than a reflection of how similar we are. Rozhan and Ma’e, would you rather have other people than Feisal and Amran as housemates when you were in London? This is also where I wish to thank Gagak for his tolerance of me when we were in Mill Hill. Coming from any other background, we would probably have killed each other.
Sometimes we are also thrust into the company of MCKK guys unwittingly. I could only respond with a “Hmmmm.”, when I was told by my wife (who was then my girlfriend) that her brother was a budak Koleq (a prominent one too, I soon found out). And as if my sister couldn’t marry anybody else, she had to marry one of those guys too: a “non-thoroughbred” which is not too bad, I suppose. But surely, having an MCKK sibling must have been awkward at times.
Lul must have been annoyed by the fact that his relatives saw his brother Kamal as the bright star of the family having gone to a “better” school (my hypothesis only). But in the end, STARian intellect prevailed when Lul gained admission into Cambridge University. This would prove to geneticists that environment, not genes maketh the man.
But let’s not deny that the MCOBA spirit looms larger than that of STAROBA. It has been rumoured that some people went for a Renong scholarship interview and were discreetly informed that “if you are not from MCKK, you might as well go home”. Can we see our old boys network bending over backwards like that? How many times have you been to our Old Boys Weekend? Most MCKK old boys would have no qualms about leaving their newborn children to participate in the revelry of their Old Boys Weekend. I personally have visited MCKK during their Old Boys Weekend -don’t ask me why- and was duly impressed with the large turnout (I even had the occasion to have dinner in their dining hall – the food was as lousy as ours.
I was asked by one fellow how I manage to pass off as one of them – to which I replied “I just acted like a dickhead”. There is even a chap who is a walking encyclopedia of MCKK facts and figures who abandoned a promising career to work full time for the MCOBA office. This guy, upon mentioning any name under the sun could cite how the person is connected to MCKK e.g. “he is so and so’s father who is in Form 2 in MCKK at the moment”. Although this is hilarious to me, it sadly reveals our lack of school spirit.
My question is now, do you feel that it was a waste not going to MCKK? I for one, if I have a son, would prefer him to go to STAR even if offered MCKK. And it’s not just because that would set a record of sorts having three generations in a row attending STAR. I couldn’t really list the benefits of being a STARian but I feel that it would be unfair to my son if I had the STAR experience and he didn’t – I think you know what I mean.
At the end of the day, the benefits of having attended MCKK boils down to two things (as perceived by most MCKK minds): getting a TKC wife and a supportive MCOBA network. The former I have achieved just by using my natural charms and the latter I have access through my good friend Caine (who practices a somewhat Freemasonic type of MCOBA networking by adorning among other things, a watch with an MCKK crest clock face and driving a Beetle with the number plate MC 5999).
Am I proposing that we end all hostilities and turn pally-wally in all situations? If STAR rugger players start hugging MCKK players at the end of their matches, I would personally recommend to the principal that they be expelled! In fact, a past client of mine deprived himself of a discount from his legal fees by wearing his beloved striped red tie in my office. Maybe all I’m saying is that there may be a good buddy underneath that high-hat shell. If there are any budak Koleq reading this, I’ve got only one question: when Queen Elizabeth came a-visiting did Her Majesty ever get to use the Royal RM1m toilet?