Thoroughbred 72-76: The Promise and the Expectation

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When the intake of the First Formers in MCKK was stopped after the last intake in 1968, the general feeling among Malay Collegians, old and present, was that it spelled the end of that they knew and love. They feel that with the intake into the Malay College as a higher secondary school starting at Form Four, the College spirit would no longer be pure and the fight for College glory in non-academic fields would be neglected.

The feeling was that with the LCE results as the main criteria for selection into the Malay College, the students admitted in would be dominated by bookworms and the studious type. Gone would be the jocks and the macho men, as they perceived themselves to be. They feared that the traditions they helped create and protect would be lost from the annals of human history. They also feared that the Malay College would no longer be able to mass produce well-rounded personalities. There would only be excellent individuals who are not team players.

Thus, with the new intake of First Formers into MCKK on 3rd January 1972, they were burdened with the high expectations. Based on the results of the Penilaian Darjah 5, 120 young boys were chosen from all states (except Sabah and Sarawak) to be at the Preparatory School to set off the mission. Their mission in their chosen life there is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, tradition and some compassion, some humour, and some style.

The seniors and Old Boys placed their hopes for the return of the glory and the spirit feared diluted and lost with the last of the Form One intake in 1968. The group of pre-teens were to be the custodian of the College tradition. They were supposed to be equally comfortable in the classrooms and the playing fields. They were to be what a Collegian is expected to be and much more. All eyes were definitely on them. These young boys were the pioneers of a new era for the Malay College. They are supposedly the bearers of the College spirit into the future.

The editorials of the Kris Kangsar (a defunct periodical publication in MCKK) Vol. 7, No. 2, 1972 heralded their arrival with these words:

“….Doubtless, the taking in again of Collegians in Form One will take sometime for it to achieve lasting resurrection of the College spirit that we value so much. But it is important that we do not dream right away for far-flung achievements that used to be ours. Instead, we should set our hopes on more practical goals. First, we shall hope for a 100% LCE once achieved by the Form Three 1969. Next, we shall hope for the U-16 National Championship as achieved by the Form Four 1971. Then we shall hope for a brilliant repeat of the Form Five 1970 (98.80% passes 101 Grade 1’s out of 170 candidates). Then perhaps we can hope for the lasting supremacy of the College All-Blacks in the years to come….”

In another article in the same issue of the Kris Kangsar the expectation was repeated:

“…They will be the vital resurrection of the College morale and spirit that, and with their early residential training, they will be expected to provide a new, vigorous leadership to the coming generations of Collegians…”

After spending schooling terms at the Malay College, these young boys were able to impress their seniors of their potential. The whole college saw them truly as the ‘Chosen Few’ to regain past glories and set new standards for the future. The special message by the Kris Kangsar Editorial Board attests to this:

“….We also note that all of you really a bunch of boisterous, energetic juniors full of the real thing. The College Spirit. Keep it up, as you will be the future leaders of the College. By the time you guys become sub-seniors in Form Three 1974, you will already be the nucleus of our under-fifteen teams in games, sports, debates and other activities. So be sure that you be good ‘seniors’ to next year’s Form One, and the next years and the next years and next….”

However, as the flag bearer for the new era, they were reminded of yet another facet of the Malay College life, to remain down to earth and not lose their head in the clouds.

“…But as a Malay Collegians, you have certain responsibilities, and one of these is simply to contain some of the pride in yourself. One way to do is just to think and behave gentlemanly, and it is very important that all of you grow up to be gentlemen. Be very careful not to dispense of your simple and polite manners, and always respect your teachers, prefects, and also your seniors, and part and parcel of the College spirit is just to uphold her good name at all times. We are very certain that you have the spirit to observe this very, important duty…”

They were the THOROUGHBRED. They did not conjure up the the title themselves, nor did they thought of group label for themselves. The title was conferred on them by a non Old Boy Headmaster, Dato’ Nordin Nasir. A term of reference that has become a part of the College tradition.

A title befitting the group of students whose only experience of secondary schooling would be at the Malay College. A group of young boys whose shoulders rests the hopes of bringing back the glories of old. A group of young men who would be well-versed in the meaning of the Malay College spirit. I was one of those young boys.

The years passed rather quickly. We went through hell when we left the security of the Prep School. The torments in the Big School made us look forward to being ‘seniors’ and prove ourselves. We vowed to be good seniors and dispense with the bullying and ragging. We believe in taking others under our wings. We were mischievous, no doubt, but the mischief were non-destructive. Most of us spent 4 years in the Big School, going all the way to puberty and into youth.

When we got to Form Four, there were no intake for Form Four and our nucleus remained intact. By the time we reached Form Five, we were the ‘King’ having completed five arduous years. As a College generation, we had bonded more closely with ourselves and the other juniors ‘thoroughbreds’. The three early formative years without immediate seniors has kept us more to ourselves.

We sat for our LCE examinations and easily equalled the 100% pass rate by the Form Three of 1969. In 1976, we again kept up the tradition by maintaining the good run of 100% MCE passes. On the sports field we achieved memorable victories and suffered a few humiliating defeats. We supplied half of the players for the victorious Perak state champion U-18 Football and also the victorious 1975-1976 All-Blacks.

In the Piala Perdana Menteri (PPM) English Section Debate Finals, we supplied 2 out of 3 debaters of the victorious team. In other extra-curricular activities, we have shown where we should and where we could. After all we have been aware all along that we were not invincible.

It is now almost 40 years since that tearful day we bid farewell to life in the Malay College. Have we lived up to the expectations heaped upon us? Can we look at ourselves and honestly say that we have done what was expected of us? Did we leave a legacy befitting of being a pioneer?

I have never made an attempt to answer this here. Or maybe the answer would manifest itself the next time we meet a long-lost Thoroughbred at the local grocery or teh tarik stall. Or maybe the brotherhood or the HOPE has been lost without us realizing it.

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