I spent the weekend at the OBW 2016, the time of the year when former students of the Malay College Kuala Kangsar descend to their Alma Mater to partake in games with the present boys and to relish their days when they were there staying at the ancient and hallowed places. This time honoured tradition was started in March 1929 when the about 150 old boys converged to their old school in whatever contraptions to play games with the olds and started what is now known as the Malay College Old Boys Association or MCOBA.
This year’s OBW is another one of those weekends when different batches come together at a ‘homecoming’ event which starts on Friday and ends on Sunday of a weekend in the year. It’s the thrill of coming back to the hunting grounds, going back to the haunting places of the memories, eating at their favourite food joints in Kuala Kangsar, reuniting with friends or just to be there of different batches, age groups and personalities. There are events like games with the present boys, career talks, giving back to school, concert performance and fireworks display. This year about 500 MC old boys registered for the event.
The batch of ‘86 donated a refurbished conditioning gym from the old storehouse at back of the Big School. The class of 1966 contributed a generous sum of endowment money to empower the communication skills of students through seminars, coaching and competition to increase the command of language to set them towards a brave new world. The Sixers (batches of ’66, ‘76, ‘86, ‘96, ‘06) put a combined effort in performing oldies a grand concert performance in the spanking new AudiTAR. The old boys had a communal dinner with the present boys and teachers and the Old Boys whacked the present in most of the games.
It was also a weekend of sale of merchandise at exorbitant prices but at the end of the day, the merchandises were sold out. That’s the price of pride, a pride of wearing anything with that quad colour crest of the school. It was also a weekend of late nights where the old boys of each batches having their extended ‘teh tarik’ sessions at the favourite haunts in KK and even it neighbouring towns. The business community in Kuala Kangsar has a brisk uptrend in sales. The Paus in Yut Loy were sold out, the food in Lembah were sought after the laksa Kuale and chendol Kuale were relished and even the new lobster joint in Sungai Siput were visited. Hotels, motels and homestays were fully occupied that weekend.
I think this has been my 30th year of going back to MCKK for OBW since I left school and I feel the majority of the attendees of the OBW are getting younger. I suppose that is the trend of the OBW where the number of batchmates attending OBW is indirectly & inversely proportional to the number of years you left MCKK. There were about 12 from my batch that attended this year’s OBW while the newer batches of Old Boys came in droves.
I came to OBW 2016 together with an old boy, Uncle Monty from the Class of 1952 who is even older than my father. We stayed in the same room in a homestay in Bukit Chandan and we went back to Kuala Lumpur together. I suppose that’s the beauty of the camaraderie that MC old boys possess in that irrespective of age or batch, we can still mingle and relate to each other and that build the solidarity amongst the old boys of MCKK.
It was a tiring weekend, a memorable weekend and an exhilarating weekend to boot. A weekend when men became boys again. Maybe I’ll be back next year or maybe I won’t but the important thing is that the tradition of OBW in MCKK and what it stands for lives on. Viva OBW! Bungwak to those who came for you were all part of a tradition that shall always lives on!