Thursday, September 6, 2012

Epilog Cinta dari Leederville – Part I


This entry was written and posted on Sept 12, 2007 at the now defunct Yahoo 360 blog, and I thought it is about time to re-live my time at Leederville just for the record.
Epilog Cinta dari Leederville – Part I
If Sohaimi Mior Hassan has Bromley, then my Bromley is Leederville. Leederville may not be as famous as Bromley (courtesy of the massive hit by SMH of course), but it sure brings many pleasant memories to many of us. I am sure Cikgu Nik Faridah would agree too as I think she had spent time in Leederville too; may be nearly a decade earlier.
While I spent 4 years in Clayton - the Melbourne suburb where Monash is located and sure I remember it fondly too, especially when my memory of Leederville is fast fading, but Leederville will always remain special in my heart for the simple reason that it was my first introduction to Australia and the West.
17 Feb 1981 - Leaving for Perth from Subang. From left - ChePah, WAmizah, Nazela,
Fadhil, Piee, Zai, Ime,Man Ahmad & this writer.
Dunno what Judane in short is doing in the middle of the pic.
I still remember the wee hour of the morning when a bunch of us landed at Perth airport. We saw a notice on the wall that says meat is not allowed, so one person from MRSM Seremban quickly took out his serunding and started eating them there and then; fearful that it will be confiscated and hence wasted. I don’t recall his name anymore, sorry brother.
Upon clearing immigration and custom, Zai and I were grouped as housemates at an apartment in Wembley. May be we decided there and then to be housemates, I don’t remember anymore. It was a natural choice for us.
It was a reasonably cold morning, untypical in February; we were shivering trying to figure out how to switch on the water heater – it was a gas heater, so one would need to ignite the pilot burner first. We didn’t know how.
But the smell of the cool Perth air will remain etched in my mind. It was a smell like never before. It was also so fresh, so crisp. The first night I was in a strange land – from a third world country I suddenly found myself in a first world where everything is so well organized, modern, clean and civilised.
Leederville Technical College was the school chosen for us to undergo our matriculation in order to prepare ourselves for university life. It is located in Leederville, obviously, a suburb of Perth. It is quite near city center, after all Perth is just a small city. May be a 10-15 min bus ride and we would be there.

Welcome to LTC. The writer in front of the school compound, and the boys and gals of Leederville - the class of '81. Except for KB76ers, I would have difficulty remembering all the names. After all, I only spent a year with them as I left Leederville and Perth for Clayton and Melbourne to begin my uni life at Monash. Most stayed on in Perth I guess. I dont see the KB76 ladies in this pic. I think they didnt attend this Raya function with our BM teacher.
What do I remember about Leederville Tech College? For one, one of the subjects taught was Bahasa Melayu; so in some way we Malaysian had an unfair advantage, the principal reminded us, jokingly. Well, not really, we would probably have preferred more mathematical subjects to be honest. Anytime, all the time.

I remember one Malay student from Christmas Island. He didn’t speak too much Malay. Many of his terminology were that of old Malays. He still called awek, mambang, as in PRamlee’s movie. We were then calling them makwe. Awek was not in our vocab then.
There was this old lady, who loved to chat with us Malaysian students. Everytime we passed by her house, she would be there 'waiting' for us. She would call us “love”. How are you today, love? Bye bye love. Every other sentence from her would have the word love. Initially I felt quite strange to be addressed in that manner, but quickly got into the culture. But only with the Aussies. I would not dare trying it with the Malaysian gals; for sure I would get a 'jelingan' tajam (and not jelingan manja), if not a telling off. Hahaha...
Friendly people, those Aussies.
(And we think we are the friendliest people on the face of the earth? Try and walk around your neighbourhood and count how many greeting from neighbour or strangers you would get.)
There was a Malay guy from Negeri Sembilan who had been in Australia for over 20 year living nearby. He married an aborigine lady. If you saw him, you would not know he was Malay. He and his kids look like the Australian aborigines. And no, he has no desire to return to NS anymore.
I remember Cambridge Court apartment block where many of us used to live. Zai and I on the 4th floor, and I guess that there were at least 2 other boy’s apartments and two gal's units there. We could just walk to school; probably it took us about 10 mins or so.
Zai and I infront of the Cambridge Court apartment where I nearly missed
burning down this whole building!

I remember life at Cambridge Court well. Zai and I experimented a lot on cooking. Coming from boarding school, we didn't have too much chance to learn basic culinary skills. Cooking curry for one was a disaster. For some reasons we could not get it right, and we were wondering what was wrong with the gravy. Didn't look and taste like normal curry. Until someone told us that we could use milk in lieu of coconut milk. "Coconut milk?" Zai and I looked at each other. "Oh yeah we know that," I told him, " but no kick!" It was basically a white lie. We didn't even realize we need coconut milk to be honest! No wonder it looks too watery. How we could have missed that important ingredient is anybody's guess. The next dinner at last our curry would taste and looked like curry.
But that was nothing like what I were to experience next.
One day I decided to come back for lunch at my apartment. Upon arrival at the elevator lobby, I can smell something burning. But I didnt think twice to take the elevator. Upon reaching level 4, the corridor was already full of smoke. So whose apartment was on fire? I thought. Not batting an eye lid, I opened up my apartment, and what greeted me was beyond comprehension. 

It was pitch black with (black) smoke. I could barely see my own hands.

What's going on? Then it dawned upon me then that I had forgotten to switch off my stove when I decided to cook the rice in the morning. I had cooked rice for 4 straight hours on max heat! Luckily I knew the apartment well (it was small enough). I rushed to the kitchen in total blindness, opened the sliding door to the fullest, and switched on the exhaust fan. I had to get rid of the smoke quickly.
The periuk and the nasik were totally charred, beyond recognition. I am sure forensic science would not have been able to identify the carbonized remains!
It took quite sometime for the air to clear. By then I was in tears – the smoke was so thick that it hurt my eyes. Fortunately only after the air had cleared, the landlady arrived at my apartment and asked me about the lingering smoke.
A file picture of me cooking in my Cambridge Court
kitchen. It is a small one bedroom apartment,
and the kitchen is small, but adequate
I told her I was cooking. She bought it with some reservation, I guess, seeing only thin (left-over) smokes, she can't do much and left. Boy, that was close! For sure I would have been kicked out if she found out.
Never again would I cook rice in the morning for my lunch. From then onwards, it was just fish and chips for me! (I am sure Zai, Pie, and Ime would remember the shop that sold chips lembek depan LTC.) Yummy...Fish n chips are my fav and in KL, the KLCC food court offer the best fish and chips in Malaysia.
PS No wonder lah kat US banyak yang kawin cepat.

So where is the cinta in this Epilog Cinta dari Leederville? I heard you ask.
Don’t tell me you missed them, my friends. Tuh yang citer "awek and mambang", yang the (old) ladies calling you "love" tu haper?
What do you expect? YOu think I am Sohaimi Mior Hassan? 
BTW, thanks for reading. (At least I got you reading.)
Wednesday September 12, 2007 - 07:46am (SGT) Edit | Delete | Permanent Link | 0 Comments

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