Sunday, July 27, 2008

Thirty Five Years of Excellence

So my primary school is celebrating its 125th year anniversary this year and last night my secondary school celebrated its 35th anniversary at the KL Convention Centre.

MRSM Kota Bharu as it was known then, is the second MRSM to be constructed, I guess amidst the misgiving then that may be - just may be, that educating the bumiputra's children was not MARA's raison d'etre. But I guess the persistence of En Wahab Alwi bore fruits for the nation years later.

It was an unknown entity in the 70's. When my Std 6 teacher announced about an MRSM entrance test, not many were interested to go. By the time I joined, the first batch had just completed the LCE/SRP exam, and the country took notice since even the MCKK had to play second fiddle to MRSM KB. For the first time an unknown school that was only recently set-up had beaten the Eaton of the East. And one could not get more East than MRSM KB!

Of course when our batch - the 4th took the SRP exams, we were by far the best school in the country.

After all, which other school would get RTM declaring that more than 90 (out of 146) of its students were studying overseas by the time SPM results were announced?

And the rests, as the saying goes, are history!

I was a bit hesitant to attend, mainly because I thought I would be lost in the sea of ex-students attending. All in all, I calculated we would have 35 batches of students, with this blogger's batch to be #4.

And my apprehension was not without basis; for a good 10 mins, this writer stood in the hallway of the Convention Centre, alone and feeling very lonely. I was scanning the hallway furiously looking for familiar faces, but being my first reunion with all the batches being there, I can't seems to find a familiar face at all. I simply could not recognize anyone and I guess many didn't recognize me either.

As KB76ers - a term of endearment for our batch - started to trickle in, my anxiety turned to the better. With some help, we were able to put names to some of the faces. The night has turned around for me.

We had a parade of former principals and teachers in the beginning. We had quickie speeches from Zahari, the president of the KB chapter and of course Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir himself. The host for the night was Aidil of TV3; and of course we had a singer by the name of Dia Faidilla.

"Dia tu sapa?" I heard myself asking Zul, a classmate seated next to me. Dia!; the pun was intentional.

He gave me a blank look. Blur, like myself.

Aiyah, what do you expect? The organizer should have invited Khadijah Ibrahim ke, or as requested by Jamil, another former classmate, Julie Remie!

I don't think so bro, I think she was done with by 1977 when she got herself a husband, though no doubt she, or Rina Rahman (Datin now), as suggested by Shema (I thought you didn't know her, maam?) would be better for us the veterans and the teachers, rather than the sexily-dressed Dia "who-is-she?" Fadilla.

Why not Jay Jay for example? The ladies would appreciate him!

While I must admit I do enjoyed the company of my friends, and the fact that I met again with my F1 Math teacher Cikgu Ghani ("Hari ini kita akan belajar mengenai Persamaan Linar!") whom I had not met perhaps since 1979 or thereabout. There is one incident involving him with the boys in our class including this blogger then that ended with us having to pay him a visit at his office.

Of course, we got quite an earful from him, and luckily not the cane. It was our fault really, but like the Doel Sumbang song in the previous entry, the fault "tidak termasuk saya!"

Cikgu Wan Raimah is another teacher I have not met since the 70s. She taught us Sains Paduan in F1 and I guess she got quite a beating from some of us in class then with the topic of human reproduction was taught.

I know who you are bro, who was so much anticipating this topic so much and could not in fact for her to delve into it. But when the time come, he was a timid as a mouse.

Anyway, many of my favourite teachers were around. Cigu Wan Nasihah upon seeing me told me that she had seen my blog with her picture singing with the late Cikgu Wan Rosli. I told her I am not guilty. It must be Cikgu Nik Faridah who told her about this blog and apparently they and their current students at the nursing college in Kota Bharu had a good laugh seeing all those pictures.

Cikgu Dr Fatanah, my Geography teacher said of our batch "This is a unique batch" when we tried to salam with them from running both counter and clock-wise when everybody else did clockwise. Cikgu Wan Tik was there too, so was Cikgu Norbibi.
I ran out of battery to take pictures unfortunately. I managed to take a few. All in all, the main dishes were good. I like the Kuzi daging with gajus.

The desert is nothing to shout about. I know I have been cooking the sago that way since my matric days though I prefer to use evaporated milk.

Many from our batch who attended were from my classmates - Aya, Shema and Liza were always an attraction from the boys then and even now as admitted by Nor Art, and other classmate. Jamil, MatJepun, Zul and this blogger were the others. The other classes were represented by Ku "I will always be there" Hamid aka Atuk, Haris, Ramli, Zali, An, Sarina and Dr Maheran. Dahlan Zainuddin, eh bukan, Nasir came in later.

To be honest, if not for Pasteur 5 '80 - my class, we would not have been able to fill up the table. Thank you guys/gals, but if not for Aya organizing us, perhaps even this blogger would not have been there.

From my perspective, the program proper is very dull. They had celebrity couples - those of us who married each other. It went a tad too long for my liking. I thought the one who truly deserve their place in the sun is An and Liza, but somehow An told me that they asked too many questions and he didn't have the time to answer them.

Next time An, you don't have to answer it yourself. In your case, I am sure there are so many eye-witnesses around to vouch for the fact that you and Liza were a couple then, unlike many of the chosen ones that night on stage.
The singer was boring to me, the only highlight was the Dayangku Intan & Jay Jay's song, though it was the wrong song to be honest. They should have picked up the song about reunion.

Here are my takes in a nutshell:

  1. The program started nearly 45 mins late. If I were the boss, the organizer would have gotten an earful from me. But since we were there to see friends, it didn't matter in the end.
  2. No usherer for the VIP (the P is pengetua). Cikgu Wan Nasihah came, and after my chat, was wondering if she needs to register, and I didn't know either as I was not part of the committee.
  3. The thanking the teachers segment was a bit of a non-event. The presents given too are a bit funny (table lamp without any wrapping what-so-ever).
  4. The celebrity couples segments too long
  5. The singing was, ah well, forgetful.
  6. The event booklet was a second thought to be honest. There was not much in there, if at all.
Arif commented that the Cherish magazine I did five years ago for our batch reunion was much better with stories and pictures in there. (Well, I know he could be a bit biased for his dad, ehem!) And the fact we only charged RM50 per person as entrance fee and still be able to produce a colourful magazine filled to the brim with their pictures and stories as a sweet reminder of the reunion to bring home with them. I guess we were then working voluntarily and that we know we were there not to make money. It gave us great satisfaction to be able to do our parts.

This time around, with a fee of RM150, the doggie bag has nothing in there except for an ANSARA sticker and cheap promo. The reunion booklet is full of advert and no information. I guess I should not complain, as I had posted my company in the business directory of the ANSARA. With advert money, they could have done a better job.

Despite all of these shortcomings, I must say I have enjoyed it myself. Meeting with friends, some of whom I had not seen for over 20 years, teachers I have not met for more than 30 years; these are sweet memories of the night.

We had our photography session; since were the 4th batch, we didn't have to wait that long. It will be a long wait for the other batches; but I guess they are young enough to wait.

But one more thing that caught my attention, the event says 35th Anniversary of MRSM Kota Bharu, as it was known then to all of us, and not as MRSM Pengkalan Chepas. I am hoping that I would still be around for the 40th anniversary in five years' time.

Happy anniversary, my dear alma mater. Here's to another 35 years.


While I do sound like a critic, I must admit that in this case I am an armchair's critic. Thank you to the commitee members for their hardwork.

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