Sunday, February 17, 2008

Sukanterer 2008 and Yengko: Montage

And nothing beats pictures and videos to put through what words could not describe (a perfect excuse for not writing the next installations in the series!).

Thank you to Awie for a marvelous work!




Monday, February 11, 2008

Sukanterer and Yengko 2008: People

Sukanterer & Yengko 2008's group photo with all the teachers who received the inaugural Long Service Award

I was asked once by a junior; from a Class of 99 over a teh tarik at one of the mamak stalls – how did we manage to keep having events among ourselves when some batches tend to grow apart as they leave MCKK? Where did we get the money especially for endeavours like MightyDucks (those who know how much it costs to run a sports team in MCKK will appreciate the amount of dents MightyDucks had had on our pockets!)? Whether the AJK Batch still command the respect to organize batch events?

I did not know then whether my straight-forward answers enlightened him; or he took my answers for a joke.

My batch is made up of a group of under achievers (moi included), almost the anti-thesis of the kind of people we usually encountered from MCKK. We were neither too proud of being the products of MCKK, nor were we bitter of the fact that we were (and are) a speck of dust in the grand scheme of things; not much different from the people we meet from other schools or institutions despite our origin in this grand old duke of Malaysian education system. From our school days, we were careful not to be too forthcoming in wearing the MCKK brand name on our forehead until we feel we have earned the right. That explains why we are averse to any boastful slogans or quotations on MCKK on our T-shirts, car stickers or websites.

Yet we are extremely proud of the time we spent together in MCKK – the bond that we have among us as a group of people; the childhood that was coloured by the experiences growing up together; the people who have shaped our upbringing. MCKK, the teachers and Kuala Kangsar thus are family and home to us – rather an object of pride that we ride on.

This eventually leads to certain traits among us that make it so easy to hold a batch reunion or run programs:

1) Nobody wants responsibility among us as nobody assumes he is better than others. All events are usually run by a group of self-proclaimed committees – which more often than not are not necessarily the typical ‘important persons’ you recall from koleq. Even the very whole structure of AJK Batch (which presumably so pre-occupied our prefects back then in 1990!) crumbled in the early years of Form 3 and never to exist again – which goes to show that as a group of people, we have difficulty living with a formal structure of positions and power ha ha.

2) Because nobody wants responsibility, nobody questions the decisions made by the self-proclaimed committees (the likes of KARIPAP and all its predecessors). It is very well understood that since other people have taken pains to sacrifice their time and money to organize events – we either support by participating; or shut up in the event that we disagree because nobody forces you to participate in the first place. You can try to complain or make fuss – but so far the Male-ing List (under the leadership of the recently crowned Carey Award 2008 winner who is also a self-proclaimed AJK Keselamatan Blog) has not been very kind to this kind of act.

3) At the end of the day, it’s the same people over and over again who take charge for certain events in the batch. The weekly futsal convener used to be Ayien, before it was passed on to Idzam. The Winning-11 convener was either Syam or Chibiok. The weekly Auld Dawg’s game/training sessions (these are fitness and rugby training sessions for fat and not-so-fit people hence the name “Auld Dawg” for “Old Dog”!) are organized by Epit and Kadaque. The Islamic-related conveners (and they have a lot more Islamic credentials than the BRU chaps back in koleq ha ha) are Ezrin, Pyan or Ikram. Similarly you have a set of people who organize collection for zakat scholarship to college boys, a set of people who organizes golf games etc. And it’s always been the same group of people who organizes reunion functions.

4) After a while, this creates specialization; some sort of niche areas among us. On one hand you have a steady pool of people quite considerable in size, who have the experience handling a set of events according to their expertise – on the other hand you have the majority who acknowledge that these people know what they are doing and therefore will not question much their decisions (though I still get the threat to be thrown out of the batch and my no. dobi auctioned every once in a while). It’s meritocracy at its best – these groups plan their activities independently and once in a while they will throw the idea to the Male-ing List and it takes off from there.

So my advice to the juniors – among the first thing you need to have among you; is to be done with ranks and over-obsession with positions. Do not look up to your prefects, or KPKM Excos, or AJK Batch in awe for whatever past greatness you recall them with from the koleq days – always remember that we are always equal regardless who we were in MCKK. However, there are some of us whom we have appointed to take charge so they must be consulted or lead where necessary, in the capacity that they are only the “first among the equals” – never above the rest. This way, each time we need to pool our resources together, there is less hesitancy because the request comes politely from a friend – not an instruction from people who presume leadership over us.

This formula – the “live and let live” arrangement – has worked so well among us since 1994 that there was hardly anytime since then that we were at great odds with each other. Even back in MCKK, we have our own specialization – when we needed to extort leniency from the school; they would send me as the “diplomat”/“politician” due to my ability to lie through my teeth and not flinched a bit (ha ha); if we needed to use physical strength to settle scores with other batches then Toy, Kadaque, Ayul, Zadin and Gang would assume the pivotal role and so on. Unfortunately we did not have anyone to assume the role of Grand Imam to be sent in for spiritual related matters; so we owe a big thank you to Kak Ramlah for leaving us alone in 1994; otherwise the BRU record would have been tainted even more.

(I digress) The bottom line is – learn to respect each other even though you disagree with some of your batchmates now; or be gentle with some others who look completely “que” or “bell” because one day they might rise above the rest.

Anyway, on behalf of KARIPAP, I therefore must thank the following people without whom Sukanterer Reunion wouldn’t have been as memorable as it was:

Class of 94
Everyone in Class of 94 who bought the idea whole-heartedly. Not even one person actually ridiculed the idea since it was first mooted; everyone was so supportive right from the start.

When we began with the Carey Award Race (the inter-house spamming competition that saw Googlegroup suspending our membership 4-5 times throughout the 15 months period); everyone participated and it made the whole experience so memorable. Despite the out-of-this-world rules put in place (e.g. Minggu Bahasa Melayu where everyone has to send e-mails in Malay; failure would cause house points to be deducted – or the crazy CAR point system with all its controversies); everyone was so sporting and adapted to the crazy rules.

It amazed me to see everyone – without any qualm – obeyed the rules during the Sukanterer; both for the games and the conduct in koleq that we have set (Note 1). That everyone – from the most alim like Ezrin, Pyan, Zaman etc. to the most yengko (he he will not name them) – put on the house t-shirt and ran in almost all the events. I was also laughing watching the video again – because not even a single person cut corners during any of the events and ran according to the lanes; whereas I half expected someone to breakaway from the rules and tried to play jokes by running across Padang Big School.

(It’s either most of them had to behave in front of their wives; or we all have grown up so much).
After the event, some of us went on to play football at Padang C and being the stickler for rules (as annoyingly as always), I specifically gave the instruction that they must clear the field by 615 pm because it was rude to continue to play when the boys would have left. Again, I half expected that they would nod in front of me but continued nevertheless until Maghrib (as you would normally see during Old Boys Weekend) – but at 615 pm, they all cleared the field! I was at the hockey field with the MightyDucks boys and someone SMS me to inform that they had cleared the field. The feeling of ecstasy at that time is difficult to describe; better than any amount of muscle spasm!

During the dinner and Long Service Award; everyone was so sporting in the appreciation shown for the teachers. I was unprepared to handle the dinner – it was the only event that we didn’t go into details (apart from the videos and montage) – so occasionally I had to make off the cuff remarks and prayed that it would be received well. For each of the teacher who was supposed to receive the Long Service Award, we designated a student with whom he/she would have had memorable encounters.

There were the usual ones – e.g. taekwondo president to give away the token to Cikgu Putri (she was the taekwondo advisor) – but there were also the not so usual because we ran out of ideas.

When it came to Cikgu Shamsuddin, we called upon anyone who had been slapped by him – and Syam nonchalantly came to the front to hug Cikgu Shamsuddin and gave away the token. Likewise as I was describing Miss Sherry and her tenure in koleq, without having to mention any names Mpro quickly stood up and came to the front, to the thunderous applause from the floor.

It was all so memorable.

Even the attendance to the last event – Session 17 i.e. the 17th monthly gathering to discuss Islam and share concerns on Islam among us – bears testimony of the “live and let live” arrangement. As Ezrin, Pyan, Zaman and Ikram so wholeheartedly participated in all the other events; so did others in this one event which they organized. They were about 20 of us that morning, the highest attendance ever so far (and the longest session as well, if I can recall). 20 might not be a big number; but considering most people were awake until 3-4 am the night before; it was quite a challenge to wake up for Subuh berjemaah and to continue with a discussion session up to about 10 am.

For all of this – for the understanding among us that we should reciprocate each other’s accommodation of the differences that exist in between us; for accepting that some will have to take charge while the rest give the utmost cooperation because what matters is the job gets done – we should be glad for the time we have spent and grown up together. We should be thankful to MCKK for the experiences that had taught us the meaning of life thus far; for us to become who we are.

Wives and children
There were numerous times that we had to organize meetings, or gatherings that we had to take the husbands away from the wives and children. For the KARIPAP alone, we had more than 10 meetings altogether before the final event – some of the meetings were even hosted by the wives! The 3rd last meeting on 5 January was held at Epit & Aily’s place – and it turned out to be a mini-reunion and we did turn the house upside down.

There were times I wonder what the wives thought of me – because usually I was the source of the meetings (or the husbands conveniently used my name to get license to go out – “Nak gi meeting reunion ni….”); but most of the time the wives have been so supportive and sporting as well.

We have to apologise for all the time taken away from the family and thank you very much for being a part of the big family (the husbands will make it up to the wives later – either in the form of better performance behind closed doors; or bigger necklace this year or no more Winning-11 for 6 months!).

We have to thank the school’s administration for allowing us the opportunity to use Padang Big School for the event. We made a conscious decision not to use any other facilities because it would disrupt the routine – so we only utilized the field during the time the boys were out for an outing.

Thank you to all the teachers who joined us to receive the Long Service Award. Thank you to the boys who assisted us during the Sukanterer to jot down the points (I did try to manipulate them to give Leman more points but to no avail because Mttop was guarding all the time) and all other administrative stuff. Thank you to the hockey boys and debaters who joined for the dinner and shared the laughter (and went on to win most of the lucky draw prizes!).

Thank you to Mttop, Radin, Mpro, Kno and Chamat who contributed the prizes for lucky draw; in order to stay strictly within the cheap-skate budget of RM170 per person (that is the most cheap-skate reunion ever for a 2-day-1-night event; complete with dinner, 2 T-shirts, car stickers and other goodies).

Thank you to Suri who sponsored more than 300 packed Ribena drinks that by the time Sukanterer was over; all of us had more vitamin C than what we need for months!

Finally thank you to KARIPAP – especially given the tough time I was going through in the last few months that I did not have the opportunity to participate as closely as I normally would; yet each one of you knew just what to do and carried on that the events were almost flawless.

In no particular order:

Epit (and Aily) – for all the time covering for me and making sure all was in order. For the superb LCD that has not even been tagged for asset no. that illuminated the night with the montage and videos. For chasing everyone to attend and to pay; the most crucial job without which there would not have been any reunion in the first place.

Awie – for skiving 2 days of work just for Sukanterer (and get caught for it!). For being the first to mobilize, the first to remind and to put all the necessary infrastructure for us to shout at each other to make sure everything was moving. For the unforgettable “Awak Unite Tak?” reminder on the blog; reproduced here. For all the sleepless nights putting together the best part of the event i.e. the montage and the videos. For all the teh tarik, dinner, outing and Sukanterer events that you skipped and sacrificed in order to deliver us the montage and videos. For capturing the most candid moments that was ready to be showcased barely one hour after the events. For the most genuine and funny moments captured on the photos and videos. For all your artistic skills.

KNO – for the task that nobody wanted to do i.e. treasurer to keep track of all out-flows and in-flows of money (when there’s more out-flows than in-flows and you are expected to top up the difference ha ha). For the “cyber cafĂ© bergerak” to enable continuous update of the blog; that photos were uploaded almost instantaneously. For the flawless execution of the night; together with Awie, Ska, Idzam and Mttop.

Mttop – for single-handedly managing all the sporting events; from the Bowling Inter-house to the actual Sukanterer events. For keeping the points all this while (and being honest at that; given that Idris was relegated from the first position to third!). For the time taken from the family given the new-born babies and all. For the practicality and efficient management of the Sukanterer events that all were completed in the timeframe planned.

Radin – for the designs that we are proud to wear (no posh sloganeering, no annoying exaltation of MCKK greatness) in the cheapest budget we can think of (as to what happens to the t-shirt after this is a different matter); for patiently collecting orders and accommodating everyone’s request; for the sacrifice to skip Sukanterer events just to make sure that all polo t-shirts would be delivered before the dinner; so that everyone can wear for the photo-shoot with the teachers.

Mpro – for the pain to participate in KARIPAP despite being in Malacca. For saving our ass with the accommodation; otherwise all of us would have been booted out of the batch lock stock and barrel. For the gracefulness in accepting Idris’ defeat (he he). For the reminiscence of dormitories life and not-so-superb accommodation that just matched the value we paid for J

Idzam – for the superb prizes for Long Service Award, Carey Award and Sukanterer House Championship (superb in the sense they didn’t look too bad given the cheap budget allocated!) despite so many last minute changes; mostly on my part. For managing the hall as Stage Manager that all was well coordinated. For the hall decoration and arrangement that so far nobody complained (at least not right to our face). For all the time taken off the family and wasted on commuting to attend Sukanterer meetings.

La’ba – for doing the tough job and most crucial job of chasing everyone to attend and extort payments from them. For the failure to recall everyone in 5 Sc 2 that we had to locate Koleq Mag 94 for the full listing. For working with Epit to make sure the attendance was not abysmal despite so many constraints.

Ska and boyfriend ha ha (Zamri) – for the sound system and saving a few hundred ringgit from our already tight budget; that nobody would have expected the sound system that night was a “sambung sambung” sound system connected to different people’s systems and equipments. For carefully looking after the audio, video and lighting for the night to make sure the dinner and Long Service Award was nearly flawless.

Badut and Red, Hairul, Pejal, Sharap, Syed Asrul and many many others – for all the help extended before the events, during the preparation of the hall, during Sukanterer, during the dinner and after the dinner.

If people ask me why we keep having reunion gathering every 15 months or so; especially when we see each other all the time from the many activities held on weekly or monthly basis – because reunion gathering brings us together in the traditional “kenduri” spirit of our people. Because reunion gathering brings out the best out of each one of us; when each brings something to the table so that the function goes well. In the process we laugh, we catch up on the lost time, we renew friendships and we get to know the new family members.

It’s truly like the kenduri in the kampung of the old days – and it reminds us that we are one big family.

It will not be long before KARIPAP(Daging) announces another date for a reunion ha ha ha. Until then, thank you very much for being a part of each other.

At registration, each was given the t-shirts, car sticker AND this poster:
It’s a set of rules that must be adhered to during the reunion:

Ahmad – No smoking
Idris – No swearing
Leman – No littering
Md Shah – Jangan main jambu

For more superb photos that capture all the best moments; please visit KNO's and Madd's. More will come from Reef, Wong and many others. KNO's short snippets can be viewed here.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Sukanterer and Yengko 2008: Background

Nobody can pinpoint precisely when the first time the idea was mooted. Actually nobody could be bothered to go through the thousands of e-mails in our Googlegroup to trace to the first mention of a replay of Sukantara.

But there have always been quarrels (ala ala quarrel manja2 ni, bukan style settle kat squash court sampai koyak baju macam Rifdi punya…) or cat calling among us about the results of Sports Day/Sukantara 1994 because some were controversial; some were unexpected.

Among the most popular ones:

Md Shah vs Idris

Md Shah was the top seed to become the Champion House in 1994. Mostly because the big guns of sports (e.g. Zahadin) were from Md Shah. Mostly because these people were (and ARE) the most kiasu in our batch when it comes to winning – all they care was winning. And they had won in 1992 and 1993 – with the bulk of the strength partly coming from Class of 94.

In 1994, they elected Tungkid as the house captain – a new born person, one who had demonstrated he could deliver when he put his mind to it, judging from the transformation he went through to become a model student in Form 5 (what he was before that is a different matter altogether ha ha). Plus, there was the Pavi factor. They lived in seclusion among themselves, they schemed and plotted better than most of us in Big School (a habit which they carried on until this very day, but that will be elaborated later).

On the other side of the fence was Idris, the underdog which – out of their mind – elected a fat-bellied with jumbo-edition rear side (ha ha) as the captain. Mpro was the most non-athletic of all the house captains of 94 (ha ha) and in him was finally the chance that Leman would not occupy the bottom position (again). And one should only look at the kind of Form 5 from Idris house to know that even if Leman would not beat them to avoid the last spot; Idris definitely could not win the house championship.

But we did not take into account the junior factor – Idris not only has one of the highest concentration of jambus, they also have many athletic juniors who by far were superior than the juniors from other houses! And the house championship of 94 was allegedly decided by the junior’s contribution – not among the seniors (as to what happened to Leman and Ahmad; is a different story altogether).

There must have been a sense of being robbed. Eventually this spawned into many other speculations – that Idris played dirty tricks (e.g. Mattop pushed a competitor from Md Shah during one of the events etc.) to win the house championship.

It would not be long before someone demanded for a rematch.

Leman vs Ahmad

While Idris and Md Shah were locked for the top spot, Leman and Ahmad scrambled not to be in the last position. Leman would have had some dignity to be in the final spot having occupied that position eternally ever since we knew MCKK, but it was a fall from the grace for Ahmad, having won the championship in 1990 (or was it 1991?).

Composition wise, both houses were equally strong. We in Leman had the most no. of footballers, Ahmad had an equal number for ruggers. We boasted formidable array of jambus (ha ha you may ask now what has it got anything to do with sports, but we shall show you how it makes or breaks the final tally); they also have their respectable line ups.

We had a not so formidable house captain (ha ha; his most famous policy was each one has to contribute at least 5 points for Sukantara otherwise we have to pay RM5 – to which a lot of us the Form 5; moi included; sprang up instantaneously and bought our freedom from Sukantara 1994 there and then) – they had a gorilla who attempted to hide under a bed to escape a fitness training for a captain!

It was so neck and neck – and it remained like that till the very day of the Sports Day.

Leman had an edge over Ahmad; leading by a small margin – only to lose at the end because Ahmad won the march pass by putting a jambu as a poster boy heading their contingent. That’s cheating – if we were to be beaten, it should be by athletic events; not by the march pass.

We lost by a one point lead – and I have felt a deep sense of guilt all along. If only I tried for one of the events in 94 (not that it would have much prospect); I could have been a game changing act (ha ha).

So with all the drama and requests for rematch (e.g. the high jump final between Bobo, Kandaq and Joe among others; especially now that all three can pass for 4 months pregnancy mug shot!); it wasn’t long before what started out as a joke – gained momentum to become a crazy idea that people actually bought (I shouldn’t make too much out of this; because it is nothing crazy for a bunch of crazy under achievers who are the only second MCKK batch ever to fail to obtain 100% passes in SPM – to go for crazy ideas!).

After months of joking around, the official announcement was made on 14 October 2006; about 10 months after the previous Back To School Reunion (December 2005). At that time February 2008 seemed too far ahead – but close open close open (for pejam celik pejam celik); the rest of 2006 and 2007 was filled with Sukanterer events especially the Carey Award Race that by the time we were one month away from the actual event, we had not secured any of the venues yet.

The only motivation that saved the day was the fear that we (or to be more precise, “I”) would be thrown out of the batch and my No Dobi auctioned to the public ha ha. But that’s another story.

The above is just a dramatization of remotely connected events to justify to our spouses, girlfriends, boyfriends, little friends and pet friends why we need to waste one year of our time on this Sukanterer reunion.

Or why we need to drag them to become cameramen/-women for all the events that culminated in the last weekend's events.

Or why the KARIPAP meetings were always held at night and dragged into the wee hours, closed with a karaoke session.

Or why we have to abandon them to the side line each time we meet our batchmates and left the kids to them to care.

Or why we refuse to do things we thought embarrassing but had no qualm to join the Earth shattering stampede last weekend in Kuala Kangsar – which upon further scrutiny on the video; was the most horrid big belly movements I have seen in years.

Reunion Sukanterer & Yengko 2008: Reunion Blues

Reunion went smoothly – the smoothest we have ever had, with the most laughter, the least shouting, by far the best reunion.

Despite the tight schedule, tight budget and hectic hour-by-hour running from one place to another to make sure all would be OK – everyone in the KARIPAP (KomitilantikAnsendiRIPAndai-Pandaije – in tribute to the now abolished snack ration at Dining Hall that is sorely missed by Bochap, Gadap, Wong and Gang) couldn’t stop smiling when the night was over that everything went so well.

By comparison, this is the least tightly managed reunion (as everyone was so busy and had to cross our fingers so to speak and pray each would deliver our part); yet it was also the best run because everyone did deliver and knew just what to do (after all we keep having reunion every 15 months!)

Most people began to leave slowly after the last event (Session 17 i.e. usrah for the 17th month).

Judging from the relative quietness of the batch net, most people must have taken an emergency or sick leave (or any other excuse they can conjure up) to rest – given the amount of “luka-luka dalam” [Note 1] all of us suffered from the events of Sukanterer. The latest check indicates that at least La’aba had exercised this facility – the PTDs apparently went in nevertheless but so far evidently has wasted taxpayers’ money looking at the volume of e-mails sent on Sukanterer (“bini aku tak nak urut aku”, “aku sakit badan”, “bini aku cakap budak tu tak jambu”, “perut Aiwa gemuk giler” etc.)

KNO is uploading the photos even as we speak – and there are numerous others being uploaded at the same time. I will follow the cue and update the blog section by section – even if all of us are still in post reunion blues and have no plan to do any work whatsoever; at least we try to be more discreet than the PTDs and post after office hours.

There will be six postings altogether – Background, Behind The Scene, People, Event, Moments and Montage. For the time being, please visit KNO's artwork [blog and photo album].

This series of posting will be long – so have some mercy on me (oiiii penat jadi KARIPAP tak habis lagi ni) and please be patient.

Note 1
"Luka-luka dalam" refers to the type of internal injury or bleeding suffered by Ji Fatt, the hero in the Alam Perwira comic books that were so popular in 1994.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Sukanterer 2008 and Yengko

So a series of activities and madness that span more than a year finally will culminate into one event tomorrow.

Registration begins around 1 pm at the dormitories (Safari Resort's dormitories that is). After much deliberation and considering that most people are coming solo (at this age any excuse to ditch the wife and the kids is considered God sent), it is really wasting to book better resorts in Ipoh or Bukit Merah as originally planned.

Sukanterer events will commence at 3 pm tomorrow at Padang Big School, followed by a dinner and the inaugural MCKK's Long Service Award to honour the teachers who had served the school more than 15 years at Dewan Merdeka Kuala Kangsar.

The Committee met on Wednesday night in Bangi to go through the checklist - so far everything should be ready and all of us are leaving this morning (I am already behind schedule as the video that I owe to the Committee is facing too much 'technical problems').

We are expecting circa 80 people (60+ batch members; the lowest in all the reunions we have had so far as many of the usual suspects are either overseas or have to cancel last minute for last minute assignments - the rest are spouse or friends they bring back).

The climax is the award ceremony for Carey Award 2008 (for the top spammer in the batch). The inter-house spamming competition has been running since June 2006 until January 2008 - accumulating a total of crica 80,000 e-mails. There were times our Googlegroup was suspended by Google because of too much traffic.

KNO and I will update regularly from KK from this afternoon onwards.


The worst thing about funeral blues is moving on. I initially thought of quitting the blog altogether and spend some time contemplating and coming to terms with the loss. Everything around me reminds me of Ben (and Shahrol) - even compiling the video (to reminisce all the activities we carried out together with the teachers for the boys i.e. MightyDucks, debate and scholarship/career), Ben and Shahrol were all over the place.

But Ben also once wrote to me when I was 14 (he later bought me Crowded House's CD for the same song in 1996):

"... You are still so young to travel so far
Old enough to know who you are
Wise enough to carry the scars
Without any blame, there's no one to blame.."

The best way to honour him is to honour his values and everything he holds dear by keeping them alive - in the kids, in the new talents we discover - not to mop around. By making sure that the young people we spend time to groom remember who, what and why Ben is one in a million - and inspire them the way Ben has inspired us.

I also chose to see the positive side of things I cannot change, reminded by a friend's email (it was sent at 1607 on the same day Ben passed away - though at the time he did not know yet):

"Ooooi XXXXX

Hello bro

As u might know, I am just reconnected to the internet yesterday after a week of duduk2 bodo aje.. (bodoh piang punya lahabau pi curik cable telepon dkt rumah aku..). got the chance to visit our batch (or is it yours) [Reminder 1] blog last nite and read about benan (actually knew about him earlier) - the dude sitting next to my tiny cubicle was from 8690 and he told me about it...

So just wanna drop by and give a moral support or something (if u can call it that laa).. i really don't know how close you are to him, but I presume it shud be close enuff for it to hit u pretty hard..

I'm not very good with words (u can ask XXX about that) and nothing that I can say wud by any consolation to u..

Just hang in there bro and pray a lot... remember not all of us are blessed with a circle of friends that as truthful and meaningful as yours.. [Reminder 2] so u shud feel lucky and cherish those memories with them (and memories... [CENSORED] rite?..)

Anyway good job with what u have done for budak2 koleq.. truly admire that.. really sorry I got nothing to contribute.. and about hugging those boys, good work! It's ur 1st step into paedophilia world ha ha ha

Ps: hahahahah.. tak tau apsal leh tulis camnie (surely it is nowhere as feylong as aiwa's mail to fadli kan) just a few simple words from a friend to me recently - "things we value most are often obvious only after we have lost them" - have some weird effect on me. So take care bro, and have nice life!

(any public posting of this mail will mean berpatah arang berkerat rotan will come into immediate effect)*"

I read the email at Ben's place with Ben already being covered and all - it hit me then and now:

This is the batch blog although I am the one who mostly write things that take place between us. We have this sentimental plan to grow old together and be as close knit as this until the end. The batch website and blog has run continuously without fail since 1996 and we plan to compile selected events and recollections into a book for our 20-year reunion in 2014. So I should not turn this blog into my private space for private mourning (which should remain private) nor should I abandon the blog because it is an amanah from friends. What I plan to write and my recollections of Ben will have to be elsewhere.

Knowing Ben and being close to him was in itself a privilege that I should cherish. I used to be very frustrated when I told people about Ben and I didn't get the same fascination about him as how I have been fascinated about Ben all my life - which after a while made me realise that it was my privilege, not their ignorance. It is also a blessing that I am also always surrounded by the most loyal friends - which ironically also related to what Ben once wrote to me:

"People either love you so much they would die for you, or hate you so much they would kill you. There's no in between".

I choose to remember Ben's greatness and most importantly his kindness to me throughout his short life. It is the kindness part that kills me softly and slowly, knowing that I didn't have the chance to make it up to him.

Anyway Ben, you take care.

* and to The Friend, there's nothing to be ashamed for the kindness we show people although it might become a butt of everyone's joke in the next reunion. Although I cannot guarantee that will not happen, I can guarantee I will remember your kindness and thoughtfulness at the time I needed it most.