Takku lupakan jasa-jasa mu,
Oh The Malay College ku..”
What‘s the word for it? Camaraderie? Brotherhood? Something like that? Or something deeper. Something not many others can understand but something we know without thinking about it. We grew up together and never really grew apart. As the years past and we grow to know what’s really important, our bonds grow stronger and deeper.
What is it that I don’t have to introduce myself for you to immediately be my close buddy? It does not matter what age you are, how much older you are than me, and how much older I am than you, we’re instant pals. It does not matter who you are, how long your titles are, how high up in the world you are, your heart melts the minute I touched on a few code words, code jokes and code memories. The instant you wear the TIE, the Samping and the lanyard, you are one of us, family and brothers for life “selagi ada peredaran matahari, bulan dan bintang” (as long as the sun, moon and stars traverse the heavens).
It’s not as if we came from the same kampung or village, your accent is far different from mine, your taste in food and things may be wildly different from mine, but we sense a camaraderie that can only be felt by lifelong friends of the same pride, passion and tradition.
Yes, tears swelled in my eyes when the young boys sang those spirit raising songs to lift their team in the rugby game against the outside teams. I could feel the nation building nerves and stuff being built into their souls as they sang those songs. I saw me in them like it was only yesterday, and I remember the feeling when the class football jerseys were distributed in class in readiness for the inter-class match in the afternoon. I was awed in wonder at Padang C as I watched the school football team practised on the adjoining Big Field. That powerful shirt of black, white, red and yellow injected so much pride in the youthful boy that I was then, it was an indescribable feeling.
Yes it was indeed a path down memory lane. We had less facilities then, and we don’t have that nice eminent school shirts to wear just as supporters. As the family usually drive past Prep School at other occasions, my sons will say here we go again Ayah will tell them where he will be living if he joins Ayah’s school. Alas, both of them did not make to Ayah’s school. But the biggest surprise was their mother. From a staunchly reluctant admirer of the school, Zue thoroughly enjoyed herself at the Old Boys gathering and concerts and seems to have made amends with her previous stance.
She did not know I was that breed when she married me. I was curious why she disliked the people from that school so much before this. She said when she was at work, they were haughty, have that ‘sombong’ look and kept themselves, aloof and apart, walk with a certain swagger and did not join the lesser mortals at work. Aaah! was all I could say in apology for my younger tribesmen. Those reading this, please take note you are being watched.
The MCKK I knew might be different from what others knew. It is constantly changing but the essence of nostalgia is still there. Of course when I saw the new school Auditorium I could only remember the old TAR hall and industrial Arts laboratories! Aah I recall it’s official opening by the Old Boy PM, Tun Abdul Razak during his last visit to his Alma Mater in 1974. I also remember supervising the demolition and destruction of the TAR Hall and the industrial Arts labs to make way for the New AudiTAR in 2011.
I used to watch brittly black and white World Cup TV matches and the Muhammad Ali’s boxing bouts on the stepped terraced of the Hall. The only school school with a university styled lecture hall. Also a place as a smoking den as I can recall.
The familiar buildings are still there although peppered by newer ones. But the eternal tree of life, the Big Tree is still there witness to many I’m sure who walked underneath her hallowed shadow. I somehow associate that tree with the annual cross country race where my soul mission in life then was to score the lower points for my house. I could only dream what it’s like to be in the first ten, running not being my forte. Short-cut was my speciality.
I also recall the injustice of being asked to take the early shower during the Prep school inter-house rugby trials; my squeaky clean white shirt being the ultimate give-away. I probably broke some world record on the longest game a player ever went through without ever touching the rugby ball! Heck I was playing ever positions everywhere. I wasn’t supposed to join scrums was I?! Finally, I did not get to play rugby for the house though, and still recall how one XXXL Prep School prefect who was then the 2nd row of the MCKK All Blacks, Tawail Mat Som cheated by not wearing a shirt and rubbing his entire body with “minyak kuda” or horse ointment just to evade being tackled. Now who on earth can tackle him, and in retrospect who on earth would want to?! And why did this giant of man punish young gawky 11 years olds with his hard tackle? Yuck!
I still recall the taste of the fried chicken with chillies on top; even the fried mackerel, cencaru and kembong was at that young age, nice. We learnt the natural partner for bubur kacang was cream crackers. And that some boys called soy sauce toyu. And the definition of heaven then, is of course, ice cream at the high table.
Yes MCKK you still tugs our hearts, and thank you for the Old Boys Weekend for allowing us to pretend we are back home once again.
The Malay College Boys, or Budak Koleq; love them or hate, they are always there and everywhere. All for one and one for all in the Malay College Spirit.