A War or Battle Cry is a phrase or word shouted by people as they start to fight, intended to give them the strength and wish to fight harder.
The Bungwak Battle Cry is a recognisable rallying cry amongst the Malay College Boys (Old & Present). It is part of the repertoire of the cheering team as far back I could remember ever since I entered the Malay College Kuala Kangsar in 1972. Till today, it has transcended the many generations of MCKK Boys as it has been synonymous with victory and rallying cry. If even you hear someone cry out “Bungwak!” and don’t be surprise if you see a bunch of people bend down in unison to do the Bungwak Battle cry whilst clapping their hands and ending with a hearty “Wah!” and at times with a repeats of “Who are we? Can’t you see?” followed by the vigorous “Malay College!”, then a jump with a Clenched Fist upwards, followed by a “Yeah!”.
This seemingly rallying point of Bungwak has become an iconic phrase for decades for the MCOBs which binds them as being one is from MCKK. However, there has been that intriguing part of its origin and what does it really mean. Was it named after an Indonesian chap that everyone refers to as Bungwak? Was ‘Wek Wek’ a symbolic disgusting expression of the food they had at the Malay College? Who were the ones that first created it?
Having gone through new generations, words has transformed it – thus creating chaos, an identity crisis. Was ‘Bungkak’ meaning snob maybe, for these ‘bung kek kek’ (or bunch of KK Boys) as heard in their Bungwak Battle Cry, ‘bung wek wek’. I am sure the tune has changed tremendously compared to what their fierce predecessors originally intended. The cultural hereditary or heritage then begins to shape the lives of the occupants of the old alma mater. Where do one begin to tell the story of how the Battle Cry came be?
The urban legend answer lies in the memoirs of Old Boys who had painstaking collected and penned down their wonderful moments into their batch’s activities. I found the answer in the Golden 66 Coffee Table Book (the Commemorative Book of the Class of ‘66) on page 92, (launched on 20th January 2018) , entitled “The FFS U Wak U wekwek War Cry/Cheer” that goes as follows:
When we were in Form Five, we formally became members of the Fifth Form Society, electing our President – Yaacob Cha – and a committee and among other things, we had inter class games with the Sixth Form Society. Soccer was an important game for us as we had quite a number of our members in the School Team and we need to win the match to stamp our superiority. While preparing for the game, it was agreed that we develop a formal cheering team, with our own cheering songs. In the other matches played we did have our cheering teams, but our ‘songs’ were similar to others, and the volume (sound) of our cheering had to be stronger.
Rugby was THE game in MCKK even then and the New Zealand All Blacks were everybody’s favourite team, and their hakka was thus imitated. We had among us several rugby players and Joe Bake (Abu Bakar Awang Ngah) introduced the hakka idea for the rugby team. Khalid Hassan and Bahar Mansor took the initiative to ‘compose’ our version of the hakka, producing the FFS War Cry for our team to perform before the start of the game and the supporters to do it from the stands.
“U wak U wewek (Accompanied by clapping in tempo throughout the song)
Bung Kak Bung Kekek
Who are we? FFS! (Fifth Form Society)
Can’t you see!
Wahh!” (Followed by a jump)
This song was later adopted by the rugby team before they start their game and we used it when we cheered the school teams, especially rugby, of course. The “FFS” was replaced with “Malay College”. The Fifth Form Cheering Squad, having featured in school matches at home, went on its first outstation ‘assignment’ to cheer the school’s Soccer team in the match against Sekolah Tuanku Abdul Rahman (STAR) in Ipoh, but we lost 3-1.
Thus, the MCKK Bung Wak Cheer took shape and since then it has become the MCKK Official cheering ‘anthem’. The first two lines were random word-sounds created.
The Bung Wak Cheer was famously entrenched when the FFS Soccer Team beat the Sixth Form Society Team.
There you have it. Bungwak metamorphosed from U Wak U Wewek, it means nothing but random word-sounds and it was created by Khalid Hassan and Bahar Mansor from the Class of ‘66. It was inspired by Hakka War Cry of the New Zealand’s All-Blacks Rugby Team. Hope it clarifies a lot the legacy of the Bungwak Battle Cry. So, let’s do the ‘Bungwak’!