Saturday, October 6, 2007

Puasa doloe doloe - Ramadhan '79 @ MRSM KB

I don't remember all the details. Thirty years had since passed - so much water had flown under the bridge, so to speak. At that time, our time is perhaps 30 mins earlier than they are now, so I presume waktu imsak is at around 5 pm. If I am not mistaken, at around 3 pm, thedewan makan folks would come to the hostel to wake us up.

With a bell!

"Sahur, sahur," they would call out aloud, of course while ringing the bell. Kleng kleng, kleng kleng. "Bising ler," many would be cursing back, especially those sleeping near the windows facing the corridor, "oghe nok tido pun tak sene."

Obviously many of would be just too lazy to go to the dewan makan. You cannot just jump out of bed and head to the hall. At the very least, you would have to wash you face and comb your hair properly. If you have proper etiquette, you would be brushing your teeth first. With your hair in a mess, I would not go. The gals would be even worse. At 3 am, you would want to still look 'come'. It's not so bad on the boys - many would be stone-faced, irrespective of their appearance, I guess.

But what can you do? Many a times, there would not be water running down the tap. You want to wash your face dengan tayammum?

The dishes at the dewan makan was nothing to shout about, obviously. Nasik kawah, after all, what do you expect? Hence, many of us were not too bothered to have sahur. Funnily,lauk gulai kawah is now back in popularity. I guess many of us, having reached the pinnacle of our lives, are longing for the good old days, which unfortunately included the bad foods.

We have short memories, so we were told by none other than our former PM himself.

But the kawah at the kitchen is bigger than those at the restaurant and of course did not use woods anymore.

In order to ensure many would come and eat the lousy food they cook, the dewan makanfolks would come up with a new marketing strategy. They were quite good actually; I am sure many would have passed their MBA, if they were to take classes. They would go to the gals' dorms, with the bells in their hands - kleng kleng, kleng kleng.

"Sahur, sahur," the makcik dewan makan would shout, "ayam goreng, aye goreng." They were announcing to the gals that the dish that morning would be fried chicken.

Upon hearing that, the gals would leap out of their beds. It was not every day we would able to have fried chicken. The dewan makan folks would rotate the menu obviously, and unlike today, sea food, especially fish, would normally be the order of the day. Ayam goreng would be for special days. Ikan jeket besi would be typical.

Many would not be edible, at least not to our taste.

But fried chicken is fried chicken, even though the dewan makan's version is no KFC. Hence it was easy to please kids who have no recollection of the taste of KFC then. And that morning, we were going to get fried chicken, and for that, it was worth going for sahur.

So we would all wake up, while the gals would put talcum on their face, and some makeups - to make themselves presentable, and with a glint in their eyes, headed to dewan makan, everybody with a mug in their hands.

Ayam goreng, aku nak makan ayam goreng - that would be in their minds as they walked passed each other like zombies. They may walk like zombies, but at 3 am, many would make pretty zombies, ;-) if you know what I mean.

Alas, we would all be disappointed. We were all tricked by the marketing gimmick of the dewan makan folks. Instead of ayam goreng, it would just be ikan Uji Rashid or ikan jeket besi. Obviously I was a fan of her, but definitely not a fan of the fish version. But since you are there already - you had taken the effort to wake up and do the needful to be at the dewan makan, you had no choice but to eat them.


I think the dewan makan folks have their own KPIs then. And their KPI would be to get us to finish those lousy foods.

But that's not my story. I would not have remembered such detail. That came from Shema, circa 2003 that I still remember. I thought it was funny. In fact it was funnier in words, and in first person, than in cold, static written words, as they were written here. Pity them nonetheless, tricked by the dewan makan folks. I don't think that was an issue for me. Syed Aboo would be waking us up reasonably late - no chance for a lengthy sleep and most likely, we would leave it quite late too. Like 4.30 am or something, so that we would not go back to sleep.

That's not it, as far as her story goes. According to her, those too lazy to wake up and go todewan makan, would - before they go to sleep - immerse/soak their instant noodle in hot water, so that at sahur time, they would be able to just eat it without having to wait.

And then would hit the bed again.

Like a sleeping beauty. Amboi.

Some would even just eat crackers for sahur, by soaking them in the maggie mee. I have no idea about this. I guess the gals' recipe did not make it to the boys dorm. Yalah, there was no hp or sms then. They would do anything to lengthen their sleeping hours.

Janji puasa.

But the best of times would be during the breaking of fast. We were allowed to go out to buy food and kuih to supplement our buka foods. Most likely we would head to the warung near the PPH (pasukan polis hutan) Pengkalan Chepa in front of our school. We are obviously talking about Kelantan here and Kelantan is known for her sweet tidbits, not unlike the Kelantan gals of course.

Unlike at the pasar ramadhan in KL, all you can get there is murtabak, murtabak and moremurtabak. Or otherwise it would be ayam percik, as if that there were no other foods and dishes. The murtabak would be paper thin, thinner than your 60g photostat paper. If it is as thick as the The Star newspaper, it would not be as bad, at least it would be worth it to buy and eat them as it would be filling, even if it were tasteless.

But in Kelantan, you would get all fancy foods - foods you would not get in KL. Jala Mas is a favourite of mine. I simply could not find it here in KL. Taik itek, akok, laksam etc etc. Of course some of these can be found in Pasar ramadhan, but they paled in comparison with the real thing in Kelantan (or Terengganu).

Akok has to be made from telur itek, so I was told.

The warungs of PPH Pengkalan Chepa would have better foods than you would ever find in the pasar ramadhan of KL, anywhere, or combined.

But the breaking of fast may pose a problem to some. During the non-fasting months, you can probably have your dinner from 6-8 pm or even later, and as it was staggered, theDewan Makan can accommodate all of us. But to do that within a space of 30 mins, it surely cannot seat 600 or more hungry students at the same time. As such, they decided that breaking of fast will be done according to class. When your turn to eat at the Dewan, all of us would be there with our own tray and mug, complete with all the rice, dishes and dates, waiting for the call for prayer.

Like these Pasteur 4 (1979 boys) waiting for someone to shout "dah masuk dah" and the hive of activities would begun. More of chaos, rather than gluttony, I guess.
All the other boys were looking at the direction of the camera but this blogger was concentrating on the foods on his tray. I can see dates, watermelon, veggie, eggs and may be a fish dish in the tray.

We were allocated 2 tables and as the boys outnumbered the gals by 4 (14 to 10 for a total of 24 students), sometimes someone may have to share the second table with the gals.

One can see Zai, Azli, the blogger, Budi, but I am not sure the far end person on the right. On the left I can see Abu, Jamil and Toi on the furthest end. I am not sure who was on this end of the pic, unfortunately the photographer took the picture vertically, when it should have been landscape. But he surely has lot of dates.
The Pasteur 4 gals - Minee, Jaghah, Sally, June and Liza. The others were hidden; they must have been shy gals. Not! At least 6 more of them in this picture, but it is not their fault; it is their photographer's. I wonder who was the gal on the left - just a portion of the hair can be seen. Sally should know I think. All them of them are in this pic, if you count the tray.

Hehe funny mugs; I am sure nowadays they would want to be seen with those anymore!

Arif told me that during his time at MRSM, he would be breaking his fast at the dewan with his homeroom mates. It sounds so boring to me, if at least I was not as familiar with my homeroom mates as I would be with my classmates. But time has changed I guess, he told me, that it was great that way.

A friend of mine - not mentioned above, told me of this story a couple of years ago. One day during Ramadhan that year, he went to buy a favourite sweets of his - Nekbat (I can't find this in Cheras). It is bigger than the marble you used to play with and it would be soaked in sugary solution.

Coming back from the PPH and getting ready for buka puasa, I guess since he was a bit late and the boys' table was full, he would have to sit with the gals, so it became a mixed table. To many, it would be a dream comes true to be able to sit with the gals, for one chances are they would share some of their cookies with you.

Of course the best part would be the cuci mata part! ;-)

In the tray would be the mouth's candy, and left, right and in front of you - the eyes' candies!

But that proofed to be a bane for him, for he had to sit with some he had been admiring (from afar) and she was quite a popular gal in class and in school, and I guess he knew he was not in her league. Not only he had to sit at the same table, but she was directly in front of her.

Lidah kelu, tak boleh berbicara.

Tak tentu arah dibuat nya. Nak makan pun tak selesa. You were trying your best to be cool and impress the other party, or at least not make a fool of oneself in front of her. Penangan cinta zaman sekolah.

So in the end, he did not touch his Nekbat and I guess he would remember this incident for the rest of his life. He was looking forward to enjoy his Nekbat, and in the end, he did not get to taste it at all as he was too embarrassed at the dining table.

Bro, should have given away the Nekbat to me then!

I guess this was the year that we had to rotate eating at the Dewan and at the dorm. She seems to be able to remember them all, this informer of mine, for I seems to have forgotten the huicy details.

She said, "Which year yang the boys and gals kena rotate buka puasa buka puasa kat dewan makan and dorm. Seingat I all the time macam tu kan, boring sungguh kalau kena angkut kuih2 tu buka kat dorm."

My brain is telling me that it is reaching an overloading situation. Beep, beep, does not compute. Memory overflow. I am shutting down...

Sorry Ma'am, I don't remember no more. I only seems to remember eating next to the gals tables. If there were no gals in the dewan, it would not be that much fun, and would not be a filling dinner. Your story on having to dine at the dorm would have blanked out from my memory ;-) It would not just be not fun having to carry the foods back to the dorms to have meals with the boys; in fact, it would be boring as we cannot 'cuci mata' while 'cuci mulut!"

Originally posted Oct 6, 2007 at 0725 hours at 360 blog.

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