“As’kum. Flight confirmed fri 11pg. Barang dipindahkan pg tues. Mlm ni last night in kk, utk seketika. Anand n famili mohon restu n kmaafn.”
I got to know that Mr Anand and Cikgu Yatie were leaving for a greener pasture outside MCKK ground back in June 04 while we were in Kangar. We should pay a tribute to the red tapes and bureaucracy that it took the Ministry more than seven months to effect the arrangement. The more delayed their leaving for Ireland is, the better for koleq.
Mr Anand and Cikgu Yatie joined the staff of MCKK in 1990, one week after we enrolled. I still remember the assembly when both of them were introduced to the school quite vividly (Cikgu Yatie was in a red baju kurung) – there was an air of excitement that finally another old boy was joining the teaching staff, Koja being the only other old boy at that time (apart from Datuk Rashdi the HM). To put it mildly, the excitement was fuelled further by the fact that Cikgu Yatie was quite stunning literally (she still looks stunning even now), a princess in mid 20s in the middle of pre-pubescent kids (although quite a few paid more attention to Jack ’92 than her ha ha ha).
I had had the privilege to get to know both of them better through the one common thing we treasure most – the debating teams. By 1992 when Tan Kok Keong left for STAR, Mr Anand and Cikgu Yatie took over the English team. They only let go the team half a decade later, completing a marathon of looking after the team year after year. Around the same time, I had my first “cap” as a college debater, so in a way we both started as novice in the field. It was a common sight in the 90s to see Mr Anand and Cikgu Yatie and Faiz every night at the canteen with the English debaters preparing for Dato’ Wira and PPM.
During the debating years from 1992 to 1994, there were a lot of joyous moments, but even more tears that we shared together as one whole big team. After 1992, the fortune of koleq’s English team was getting worse, not due to the lack of good debaters or arguments, but because of pure prejudice and unfairness. There were times that they took away the victory which was clearly ours, since the opponent could not even put one simple sentence without an obvious grammatical error. Or the opponent would have to rely on a script written in marker pen on a piece of manila card – still they, not us, were announced the winner.
It was painful, but sometimes we comforted ourselves that there always was a silver lining each time we ended up with a moot result. It was the kind of experience that partly made Fazurin, Chamat and the rest of the gang who they are today – intelligent, resilient, confident and will not stop until they win an argument (although that could get to my nerve sometimes ha ha). Throughout the twilight years for the English team in mid-90s (koleq only regained its footing in 1996), Mr Anand and Cikgu Yatie were like a rock, stoic and unwavering in the support they provided to all of us.
There was also the time in Mat Jiwa, Sungai Petani when a group of girls, who were fresh from a defeat at our hands, threw a souvenir we just exchanged shortly before that to my face and cursed the most un-lady like insult in front every one. Or when we came back to our prep room only to find out people had vandalised the whole black board with insults. We were quite tempted to retaliate occasionally, but Mr Anand and Cikgu Yatie were always around to remind us that budak koleq should always behave like a true gentleman.
There were many other common grounds. Mr Anand was the football coach for the batch’s under-18 team. It was nothing to boast about but they did win a few small trophies after a few years of not winning anything, including winning the PPM North Zone (yes, in that particular year they experimented with football, only to revert to basketball a few years after). I had Mr Anand for English and 1119 for 2 years in Form 4 and Form 5, while others had Cikgu Yatie for the same.
By the time we were about to leave MCKK for good, Mr Anand was actually on a long study leave in Singapore. So he was not around during our last days in college. But he did fax a very nice message to all of us which we received in time for our graduation day:
“To the Class of 94 – You have been so much joy. A teacher couldn’t have asked for more”....
(it’s actually longer than that, but I cannot remember the full fax, although it was published in our Koleq Mag. But the Koleq Mag was so hideous that I vowed never to open it)
Now they are leaving MCKK for good, it’s like the end of an era. Two familiar faces no longer around when you make occasional visits to Kuala Kangsar. Less two people/friend to visit when you happen to be in town.
That’s what I told an office mate whose son just enrolled at MCKK recently. If you want him to get straight As, MCKK is no longer the best place to be.
If you want him to learn the meaning of laughter, tears, if you want him to get burnt and learn from his mistakes, let him live his life there undisturbed. He may not get the straight As, but he will definitely earn the respect of his peers and make friendships that last forever.
For that’s the reason why MCKK is special – you go there to make friends and to learn to live, and when you find friends and mentors like Mr Anand and Cikgu Yatie, you know the meaning of mutual respect, dedication and kind-heartedness. Those virtues are hard to come by nowadays, but you find them on daily basis in MCKK.
To Mr Anand, Cikgu Yatie, Faiz and Fahmi – enjoy Ireland! Our path will cross again one day, Insya Allah.
Mr Anand and the 1993 teams in the prep room playing Declare (this was way before the more complicated games like Chutaiti etc. were invented). We put on the all-black for the night as a mark of respect to our English debaters. They crashed out of the tournament early that day.