OBW2019: A Weekend Like No Other

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The OBW2019 was a weekend like no other. A bunch of Old Boys converged to their Alma Mater, the Malay College Kuala Kangsar. It is a tradition that started in 1929 and 90 years later, the tradition lives on and gets better each year. It was a concept like from the movie of the “Wizard of Oz” with MCOBs taking the yellow brick road back to the Land of Oz. A homecoming movie that regales the pilgrimage of MCOBs converging at the tiny hamlet of Kuala Kangsar.

That in a sense enough stuff for a movie. They mostly came by trains, planes and automobiles. Cyclists pedal from Tanjung Malim to KK in their tight leotards. The Bikers Gang aptly named MCOBIKERS going to the same destination. Other individuals or group of bikers would join the convoy of the starting group along the way. The feeling I felt watching the movie unfold in front of you cannot be described accurately.

It may be the same feeling. But maybe more. Maybe deeper. Going back to Kualer. There were more than one convoy. More than one group arriving at different times. Groups come by planes, automobiles, by motorbikes, by bicycle…by walking, perhaps? A MCOB who is working in Bengaluru (also called Bangalore), India took a midnight plane from India, reaching KLIA on Saturday morning, took his Big Bike at his mother’s place and joined the MCOBIKERS for the Ride to Kuala Kangsar and will be going back to Bungalore this coming Monday.

An interesting sub-plot in itself, just to come home to meet friends and families. Meeting friends who are like family members. Meeting new friends. A brotherhood reunion. It was indeed a feeling of coming home. They came, they saw, they enjoyed.

As a debut Chairman of the OBW2019, I felt like a movie producer cum director to coordinate and organise the sequel movie “The Return of the MCOBs – The Last Stand”. It was a movie that covered a weekend of 2 1/2 days that started on Friday and ended on Sunday. The setting was MCKK and a few backdrop sets elsewhere. It involved numerous sub plot of games, a Bungwak Run, celebration homecomings of the X9’s, the MCOBIKERS Ride Home, the MCOB Cyclists Return, a Wad Penyayang visit, an OBW Dinner, a shooting production by NHK Japan about the visit to MCKK by the abdicating Emperor Hirohito, a MCOBA League Football Final, a Concert Show and a resounding Bungwak at the end.

It starred a cast of a thousand and a production crew of a few. There was the negotiations phase with the ‘Tuan Tanah Kedawang’ – the owner and users of that School. There were also some supporting stars that added glamour and excitement to the weekend. There is no better movie than The OBW2019: 90 years after.

The promotions of OBW2019 were great with write-ups, posters and a series of meme to arouse the MCOBs desire to come home. Something old, something new, something borrowed, it’s all about the old small town blues.

I put up a impromptu clarion message on the social media. “…Please spread the word for those batch members attending the current OBW2019 at MCKK, that on Sunday (14 April), we are re-enacting the photo of the first OBW of 1929. This photo would be the 90 years after, plan to be before the Rugby Game or during the halftime. Spread the word…”

Yes, the MCOBs came together on the morning of the 14 April in front of Big School, to be photographed together by many cameras and a drone above in the sky. It was a photo about brotherhood and the spirit of the Malay Collegians. A resounding Bungwak that followed said it all! 90 years on, we still came back. And like many movies, it had a happy ending. We are a happy lot with a feel good feeling.

The congregations was larger than usual – the largest by far. Some new adherents popped up for the weekend mass. The final official ticket sales was 818 (on line and on site), an all time record. However, together with the unofficial non registered participants, it could have touched 1,000. The merchandise was sold out with many asking for more. The Concert @ AudiTAR Rocks by the X9 was simply brilliant and mesmerising. The closing show by Kimal’s (C’09) upcoming Band Margasatwa was entertaining.

An appearance of an old former 79 year old music teacher: now a speech impaired heart attack survivor, Cikgu Razak Shafie brought a poignant moment to the Concert with a standing ovation to him. Cikgu Razak went back home happy. The ‘Ukhwah’ (brotherhood) was excellent. The Barometer of Happiness was off the scale. The reviews were good. The selfies and wefies were plenty and the social media was abuzz about the event. Everyone had a story to tell about their fabulous weekend. In the magical land of MCKK, growing old is inevitable but growing up is optional during the OBW.

Roll credits. I would like to thank the OBW2019 production team who made the event possible and making sure that it went in accordance to the script and the storyline. The WAG and sub-WAG meetings kept the production crew informed and actions ensured. A small budget movie that became a blockbuster. As OBW2019 Chairman, I humbly apologise for any shortcomings or an impairments not following the script.

This year’s OBW is extra special though the story line about different batches come together at a ‘homecoming’ event is the same. This year is in conjunction with the 90th year anniversary of MCOBA that sprouted from the first OBW in 1929. It’s an adaptation about 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. 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. Families reuniting and rejoicing. Maybe I’ll be back next year or maybe I won’t. Perhaps, I’ll be the Chairman OBW again to produce another sequel or maybe someone will take over, but the more important thing is that the tradition of OBW at MCKK and what it stands for lives on. Viva OBW! Bungwak to those who came back for you were all part of a tradition established in 1929 that shall always lives on!

Looking forward to OBW2020.

Fiat Sapienta Virtus. Khidmat Ku Berikan. … Keluar Membimbing Negara…. Balik Kampung, Ho! Ho! Ho! Hati Riang!

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