Raya becomes more and more mundane each year. As the years pass by so swiftly, so does the flow of money leaving your pocket each year ha ha.
Anyway I was going through all my files from MCKK years to throughout the uni years (it should not be a surprise that people of my character ended up as an auditor, since I was obsessed with filing and documents since school).
In my possession is perhaps one of the most extensive collections of correspondence related to koleq in our batch. I have close to 300 correspondences (in the form of letters, aerogrammes, postcards and cards) in between 1995 and 1997 (after 1997, e-mails dominated everything and the amount of snail mail was reduced to a trickle) after we left MCKK – exchanges with batchmates, juniors, seniors, teachers and HM.
The trend was almost consistent in all the correspondences – the greatest delight was derived from letters from the teachers, seniors and most of all your batchmates. While teachers and seniors may spend more time reminiscing their good time with you or how proud they are of you (or updating the latest happenings in Kuala), with your batchmates - the longing to be together, how much you missed each other, trying to make sense that you were separated and scattered – were inescapable as you go through all the letters.
It’s difficult to explain how strong the bond is between you and the next person in your batch and how much that they have become apart of you since you were 13 – but going through all those letters evoked such a strong sentiment that easily explains it all in ways that words cannot describe.
As for the juniors, the commonality was also apparent. In one letter a junior dictated 4 pages of letter (written by his Form 1 since he was a Prep School prefect at the time) boasting all his achievements and how much he had eclipsed whatever I was in koleq. He would compare one by one, item by item, what I was and what allegedly he had achieved, to drive his point.
In another letter, another junior spent more efforts to run you down and pointed out what allegedly you did wrong when you were his senior back in college. Generally letters from Class of 96 were vile and rude to say the least, that of Class of 98 were a lot more pleasant and innocent.
I concluded a long time ago that if you were to invest in a friendship that can survive the test of time and which you can depend on in your hours of need – invest in your batchmates and occasionally in your seniors; but never your juniors.
Anyway, it was also poignant to reflect how some of us have changed so much from those years. Some have become estranged whereas we used to exchange letters on regular basis, some are complete strangers now whereas their letters were always 8-9 pages long back then because there was always so much to tell; one has passed away whereas his last letter did not at all indicate the pain and suffering he was going through.
On the cheeky side, some used up 4-5 pages as muqaddimah to reminisce about his jambu (or make jambu innuendos), some religiously remind you not to forget them if one day you ever make it big in life etc.
Here are some excerpts from my treasury of letters, which one day would be raided and made public during 20-year reunion ha ha:
“Har...har...har... my sugarcane bamboo stick really fantastic and bombastic jambu buat apa sekarang nie. Tak tidur lagi ke... Rindu katala rindu...” – Arwah Kiwi
“Kehadapan atau kebelakang (joke ni. Gelak sikit) Sdr XXXX yang diterlupakan selalu. Semoga hang berada dlm. keadaan yang handsome selalu... uwek... wek... wek... Sorrylah termuntah sikit. Tak cukup makanan berkhasiat. Bila aku balik dari Sekolah Anderson, aku tengok ada surat untuk aku. Cop GLASGOW. Nak kata Fadli, tulisan elok sangat. Faham2 lah tulisan Fadli macam mana. Macam Stephen King tulis surat kat nenek dia.” – Mpro
“Tapi disebabkan aku ni merangkap President KOPHNMKMJDH (Kelab Orang Penggalak Homo Nak Menggalak Kegiatan Main Jambu Dan Homo). Cawangan Perak and akulah ibupejabat dia. Cawangan Kedah Epit, cawangan Pahang Sharap. Tapi depa tu ahli tak rasmi. Satu lagi cawangan wilayah – Dzafran. Boleh berhubung secara percuma. Aku kira supplier la. Tapi masalah aku la ni satu aje. Permintaan banyak tapi pengeluaran kurang. Cth: Epit & Dzafran memerlukan barang yg. sama -> Aslamme.” – Mpro
“Macam mana life kau kat sana? Happy ka? Aku kat sini terperap dah dekat 6 bulan doing nothing. Mula-mula aku ingat nak cari temporary job tapi tak jadi lak. Sekarang ni kalau kau jumpa aku sure kau tak kenal kot. Aku dah tembam dah, dah nak masuk 80 kg berat aku, nasib baik la sekarang tengah diet” – Amoeba
“XXXX, Allen, Fadli & Gheeta (bolehlah selit nama Gheeta gak even though I have yet to receive a letter written by him.. see how much I pity Gheeta for I know he doesn’t receive as much mail as I do)
On Sunday the 19th of Feb I received Fadli’s cheap aerogramme and as expected I received XXXX’s letter today which is the 21st of Feb. Today, the 21st of Feb is a day of abundant luck and fortitude. Today, I received, apart from XXXX’s letter unlike Fadli’s cheap aerogramme (I despise aerogramme), I also received a raya card from up North which is as you can guess kuala kangsar which would certainly mean a card from MCKK and which would certify the card to be coming from tut... tut.... (XXXX nya stail).
Sekarang nie lagu Cranberries sedang berkumandang. By the way korang dah dengar ke soundtrack Melrose Place. Kalau belum aku cadangkan beli dan dengar dan anda pasti sukainya. Aku jamin manusia macam Allen dan Fadli dan Gheeta apatah lagi tak tahu pun soundtrack ni ade tak ape aku tak salahkan korang. Kalau dah ‘bell’ apa nak buat kan. Berdoa aje lah agar Tuhan mentak’bell’kan korang."- Chamat
“So kau dapat address aku drp Amer ye. Itu bermakna si setan Amer tak balas surat aku even dia dapat surat aku. Memang hantu le dia.” – Syed Moto
“Aisey.. kantoi gak la nak tulis kat kau ni, macam masa aku nak start borak dengan kau after “those few months” dulu. If you don’t like to talk about this, do say so. Then I can ask for forgiveness. But I think I’m still recuperating from everything that’s happened. I’ve asked Fadli about this and he said that you’ve put it aside. Hope so. Really miss the days before “it” started.
Hah, masa kau cuti hari tu pun, tak sempat nak lepak lama2 together. Aku tau kau bengang sebab aku eager nak balik awal masa Speech Day hari tu, and I really felt guilty on the bus on the way home you know.
Kau tau dak sekarang ni pukul berapa (masa aku tengah tulis ni le, bukannya masa kau dok baca surat ni!)? Well, it’s almost 3 am! Sebenarnya, esok Sabtu, takde kelas. Aku pun dah terlelap tadi, sebab penat main badminton at night. Tapi entah tetiba tersedar balik pukul 2-something, and I can’t seem to fall back to sleep. So, aku gi caleng kejap tadi... aku cong je! Takkan percaya kot. Aku yg still suci ni nak caleng? Bukannya aku takde bana, tapi I haven’t put it to full use yet!
Anyway, masa aku still dok confused lepas tersedar tadi, I suddenly remember that this letter is still terbeng'Khairul Nizam Mois' (terbeng'kalai' la tu hik! hik!) in my writing pad..” – Aslam
“Happy Birthday to you! So how did you spend your birthday? 18, is big enough to do a lot of things. So, what is your birthday wishes? Sorry that I didn’t get to send you a birthday card.
Here I got a piece of news to tell you i.e. I got my transfer. The moment when I know about it, I feel happy. But when time flies I start to feel sad, I am going to leave a place that I had spent eight years; everything is so familiar; the path that I used to walk from the staff room to Chemistry Lab, to form four and form five block. It is just feeling. I don’t think I will come back after I left; I just want to keep everything at the best moment when I leave. In fact last year I had already hoped to leave MC because last year was my best year in MC having all of you with me. I really enjoyed myself when teaching your batch. But now I understand why I couldn’t get my transfer last year, I think this is because the God want me to stay back for another year so that I can see some of your batch boys again when they come back to get the results, and also to share the happy moment with you all during the Speech Day. After I leave MC, I don’t know whether I still got the chance to see you all” – Miss Liew (Chemistry teacher)
“Sekarang ini jentera kolej telah berubah corak. Daripada sistem caring, berunding kepada sistem ketegasan. Form Five 1994 still the best. Saya amat berbangga mempunyai pelajar seperti **************,***********,******* dan yang lain-lain yang sekurang-kurangnya memberi penawar kepada guru. Saya sentiasa mendoakan saudara-saudara maju jaya.
Bila ada kesempatan balik ke Malaysia, sila ke kolej. Kalau saya sudah tidak ada lagi di kolej pun, kolej tentu gembira menerima kunjungan saudara dan rakan-rakan” – Datuk Haji Hassan Hashim (ex-HM)
“Aku ada 1 benda nak bagi tau. Aku la ni, best friend Pok Pek. Apakan daya, itu la saja yang ada. Tapi la ni, dia dah jadi baik. Tak macam dulu. Hoi, Sharap ada tulih surat kat hang dak? Betui ka dia main Malaysia (rugby)?
Aku nak ungkit satu benda. Hang ingat tak poster Jodie Foster aku, yang hang pinjam buat modal caleng dulu. Mesti ingat punya. So, hang dah hilangkan poster tu, so kena ganti balik la. So, kalau ada poster lawa-lawa tu, pos la kat aku” – Epit
PS: To continue with a tradition, there was a raya reunion in Cherating with Sharap and Byn (Class of 2001). Zadin could not make it. Rewind balik tape last year. Maybe that’s the reason Zadin “could not” make it ha ha