The last posting was nearly a month ago. It's not that we have not got anything going on; it's just that some of us have been really busy.
Fadli is around, back for a weekend escapade from Taiwan. He's stationed in Taiwan for the next few months. He messaged me early this week to go out for a dinner; but we still cannot find a match in our schedule. If I were to see him before he flies back; that means I may have to cancel one trip.
Car pooled with Sharap to go back to our respective hometowns; went to his house after nearly 13 years. I remember the occasion of my last visit well - it was 2 weeks after our SPM, 2 weeks before I was due to leave for Scotland and one week before we had to finalise Koleq Mag. I couldn't bring myself to go back alone so I dragged Sharap. His family's Toyota Corona (I think) had an air-cond breakdown at that time that I had to become a manual wiper lest Sharap hit something on the way to the bus station.
Much has changed since then. Sharap's late father; who in his life was an embodiment of properness, politeness and discipline (of which the same can be said about Sharap) passed away one year ago; so last night the whole family had a tahlil. His mother looked very haggard when I dropped by today; quite different from the time I last saw her almost 13 years ago.
Both Sharap's parents are of the same age group with mine. Sometimes we forget that many people closest to us are on borrowed time. I struggle with the realisation that any one of my parents can collapse anytime and pass away while I am busy flying here and there; chasing to fulfill people's expectation of ourselves (which will never be fulfilled) while we neglect those closest to us.
Fazurin has gone missing too. He has not updated his blog, has not replied to e-mails or there's no sign of life from Washington. Maybe I'll drop by at his parents' and enquire what has happened to him - but then again from his Tanggang reputation; I doubt his parents know any better (for the record, he was a cause for much concern to his parents back in koleq that they called koleq to find out what had happened with him; since he did not call for a very long time).
Fazurin would have been proud to see the junior debating coaches successfully conducted the last debate workshop (I guess a taboo nowadays since the brouhaha in January). On one hand I was glad that finally in them we can say good bye to the whole thing; that we can pass the batons and attend to other matters that we have neglected all this while. On the other hand the sinking feeling that koleq will never win any major tournament again saddens me; the fact that these boys; despite what they have achieved in their personal life will never achieve the one thing they work so hard for; is a struggle in itself to come to terms with.
But on our part; on my part - I have achieved what I set out to do in 2003. Almost 4 years in the planning and making; I can now take comfort that this time around I leave the teams in a much better shape, in safer hands - not the unceremonious way we left in the 1994-1996 period. I think the boys now understand what it means to be an MCKK debater; the pride and standard that we have to uphold and they will return to do their time; just as we did during our turn.
During CNY, Smash and his family came to visit me and my parents. We had lengthy talk as always but what was most striking was when he pointed out that Ben had lost so much weight due to his illness; something I did not realise all this while. Somehow it was like an awakening that while we chase all the intangibles in the world; we miss the changes happening with the people most important to us.
I hope Ben would have been proud too with the junior coaches and the boys; that this time around we will not be called from our retirement because they will hold the standard flying for us. Ben delivered a speech on the coaches' behalf that night - typical of his speech full of humour; catch-phrases and inspiration; yet it too could not hide the melancholy.
The melancholy of age.
I giggled at his speech; yet I am sure both of us have forgotten the journeys we went through since I was bedazzled into becoming a debater; into his team way back in 1990. I try not to be dramatic; but all of us have not just grown up - we have aged so much. With age and the burden of truth revealed to us as each day passes by; our own innocence disappears into thin air.
We still talk occasionally on the phone; but it's full of rants and rambling of frustration. It's never the same compared to those years when everything was almost always about adventure; almost about taking the might of the world; almost about changing for the better. Almost always about new ideas.
It is because of this, that spending time with the junior coaches and the kids provided us the privilege which we rarely are accorded to nowadays - to see the innocence; the energy and the foolishness of young age. Of age not yet poisoned with the burden of reality.
I always ask myself that perhaps the time has come for us to say good bye lest we poison their innocence and foolhardiness with our own melancholy; now that the junior coaches are ready.
There are other things happening this weekend too.
MCOBA Futsal is finally taking off; Idzam (as usual the self-appointed AJK Batch Futsal) apparently had assembled 2 teams and one tea boy (Fadli; dia kempunan nak jadi PBSM lari masuk padang dulu, la ni jadi tea boy cukup la, kononnya to use his experience as a Form 6th tea boy masa kat Scotland dulu). I would have loved to be around and would have been the loudest, but I have a program to run elsewhere during the same weekend.
Mighty Ducks is almost a reality with the launching expected in 2 weeks' time. The Duckies (as they call themselves nowadays) have quite regular meeting nowadays and if they maintain the same discipline they displayed as a team in koleq back then, I have no doubt there'll be something good out of it.
For now I can turn my phone off and have a standard reply message that "Pegi mampus kau aku dah update blog" for all those who bug me about the blog.
"Den Doh Buet Kototopan" is Fazurin's trademark each year after we completed one workshop. He would swear, he would repeat the oath ("kototopan") over and over again in the car on the way back to KL that he would never do it again in the future - because of the toll it takes on us. Only to come back 2 months down the line to kick-start the PPM preparation.