Wednesday, August 20, 2008

MCKK’s Brand of Friendship

The last week has reminded me of the friendships that MCKK has given me; and educated me about the value of friendships in general. It is a somber reminder that while we move in time and space; certain things about this life remain generic across the time and space.

It started with a lunch with Bobo. It’s very funny that each time we sit down just the two of us, we can confide in the most private manner about the most confidential parts of our life (ha ha lepas ni semua orang nak korek and I can assure you it is not about our private parts – they function pretty well so far). I say “funny” because I almost never spoke to Bobo when we were in koleq; but somehow after koleq we trusted each other beyond our own comprehension. Looking back, the kind of conversation we have between the two of us reflects our own age – from preferences of sexual fantasies (when we were in early 20s) to more depressing tales of common people trying to get by suffocating life (lately).

Then a few days after that I received a call from Fadli, all the way from the UK to confirm a rumour. Yes, that is Fadli – the mother spinner of all rumours and the extra length he would go to spread rumours. At 5 am the next morning, another SMS from Fadli:

“From DF. Brita snsasi Hanifat dah jadi Puan Sri kahwin dgn TS Ismail late wife utz Fatimah. Balik dr Duta Riyadh. Nikah pagi ni m Mesjid”

“Hanifat mak aslam?”

“Who else? Epit mother in law laaaa. Df quite close to her gang Mengaji”

“U do know u wake me up at 5 am for this gossip kan?”

“Hahaha you so light sleeper meh? Oops sorry maaa”

“Yeah n d blackberry screams when a message comes in. Well it’s as if it changes si aslam la kan. Dah aku nk tdo balik”


I was quite amazed that at 5 am I could recall the names; given how long Aslam and I had not seen each other; or that we did not have any contact since 1996 (apart from a brief attempt in January 2006).

By the time we leave MCKK, all of us would have had our circle of friends. I, like all others, had my circle of friends – predominantly the 5 Sc 1 guys and a few others. I was also close to the others but since it was mostly the 5 Sc 1 guys who went direct to the UK after SPM together with me, I spent more time with them.

There were Fadli, Jita, Chamat, Fazurin, Allen, Madad, Pejal, Muta and a few others (like Aslam, Sharap, Epit, Mpro etc). Over the years the guys in the UK became so close and inseparable. In 1999, at a small café near Queens Mary and Westfield College in East London (after a talk by Nurul Izzah), we sat down to see how the future would have taken us to different directions. It’s been almost 10 years since and while certain things have not changed, all the other facets of our life and friendships took a different twist and turn which we did not predict at all back then.

Our main naïve preoccupation then was how marriage would have separated us over time. So we placed a bet of who would have married first – I can’t remember what was the overall bet but certainly it was wrong; because Jita was the first one to get married. Jita was always the one with a steady girlfriend 24/7 yet because of that, we thought that others (who were less playful ha ha) would have been the first to get married. The bet was on Fadli because he would have to satisfy his parents’ wishes to see their golden boy bersanding and being a golden boy, Fadli most probably would have obliged (ha ha).

But in the end, Jita was the first one to get married. Chamat and Fazurin embraced globalization (to an annoying level sometimes ha ha) and are now at the opposite corners of the world. Madad is always incommunicado except for his rare return to Malaysia once in 3 years. Allen made different choices that we did not factor in at all so that took him elsewhere. We have lost Aslam for as long as we can remember and we have given up on him after 2006 (I always wonder whether he would read this, because at least I have never forgotten what a sweet boy he was when he entered koleq in 1993. I wonder whether he ever remembers us the way we remember him).

So it was ironic that last weekend, Jita, Chamat and I decided to meet up over lunch and spent time together like the old days. Ironic because our prediction that marriage would have taken us apart; was the most false premise of our worries back then. Jita is happily married and is waiting for his first baby. Yet he still makes all the efforts to keep whatever is left of the friendships that we have had over the years – so marriage is certainly not a hindrance (but then again, I never discount the suspicion that Jita is actually married to a life-sized doll; hence why he never brings her around).

It was inevitable that the topic revolves a lot of reminiscence about friends and friendships – and what we plan to do for life. I realized at the end of it how I have lost most of the friendships I held so dearly from MCKK; either by our respective pursuits of worldly goals, or differences over decisions we made in life, or unexpected departure.

Allahyarham Ben and Shahrol passed away within a space of 4 months of each other not even a year ago. Shahrol never had the chance to say goodbye – while Ben, in spite of his perpetual good byes to me over 17 years, still did not prepare me for the actual good bye when his turn came. I never stop mourning for the two of them (and I don’t think I ever will). But there is always a silver lining – I treasure Dany (Class of 90) and Rizal (Cambridge Class of 99) a lot more these days and make a lot of efforts to be fair to their concerns of me over the years; having realized that we shared the common friendships with the late Ben.

The rest – we were separated by circumstances and choices; that in the end, last weekend – I only have two of the friendships I had built all these years from MCKK.

I wonder whether the circumstances and choices that have kept us apart for the last few years will have a bearing on the value of friendships in the future.

Over the last 5 years, I also have been learning general lessons about friendship. Ever since coming back from the UK, I spent more time learning about people and building friendships; especially with people from MCKK albeit from different generations.

I wouldn’t say that it was all sweet – it taught me a lot with an equal mix of frustration, heart breaks and occasionally (very occasionally) joy of an everlasting friendship.

I would generally put people we meet from MCKK in a few broad categories:

1) Keldai – these are people who see nothing of you but to be taken advantage of; mostly because of your own naïvette. We spent a lot of time investing in the young kids but the majority of them see us nothing more than old boys with big pockets to buy them free food and give them free ride. To this group of people, the old code of contractual obligation that the elders will teach and the young will learn in return for mutual respect and love – does not apply. The same disease cuts across the age – even at work, there are many of keldais around. They don’t mind spending time and hitch-hiking on you when it suits them but will not take any measure of advice or lessons of life – so if you genuinely think you were coaching them about life, ha ha (ala Nelson Muntz) you are being fooled by the keldais (and that doesn’t say much about your intelligence!)

2) Biawak commodore (to distinguish from the librarian – we call librarians as biawaks too) – people who are indifferent to anything. They don’t assign value to anything, they don’t respond to anything, they simply don’t care. Trying to change them is like trying to carry a huge biawak commodore on your back!

3) Panda – these are the true gems who understand the value of friendship; treasure the friendship and would have given as much as they take. They are the most loyal type of people you meet and value courtesy and reciprocity as much as you do. But because they are panda (and therefore nearly extinct), it is very difficult to come across them.

(add these to the original zoo in MCKK – beruk, babi, anjing, biawak, bunny @ arnab – waaaa it’s a big jungle!)

In the final analysis, the chances that you strike a dependable friendship also hinge on what value you attach to a friendship in the first place. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your point of view); having had the privilege of the friendships I came across from MCKK – I attach a very high value to friendships because those were the friendships I built during the formative years of my life. I would have taken a bullet for the people I consider as friends because they would have done the same way for me.

The drawback of this is you find it very difficult to make new friendships; as the majority of people in our society are either keldais or biawak commodores.

But then, even as it dawns on me how the number of people I call “friends” shrinks by the day – each one of them is worth more than a hundred keldais or BCs (biawak commodores).

And that’s the true trait of MCKK – it’s not the quantity that matters, it’s the quality.

We should not fear the uncertainty of moving on with life, because with the kind of quality friendships from MCKK we are blessed with; we should be fine.

FOOTNOTE:
This is not an advertisement for World Friendship Day.



25 comments:

  1. Anonymous8:29 PM

    HAH NONI NAK KAHWIN? DENGAN KD KE? AKHIRNYA

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous9:50 PM

    Oooooo someone broke your heart? Poor Noni....

    ReplyDelete
  3. Am touched and so romantic view point of friendship. Can we be friends too ;-) ?

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  4. Penghuni Tetap Overfloor (Bukan Setinggan)9:41 AM

    kalau mak aslam tu mak mentua epit, jadi nya dia tu kira mak kepada madu fadli?

    aslam jadi macam tu mesti ada kena mengena dengan fadli, rival sikit je dia akan kenakan.

    Rival dlm study -> khafiz -> kiok
    Rival dlm percintaan -> aslam -> kiok

    Bahaya la fadli ni

    ReplyDelete
  5. hahaha *to penghuni's comments*

    heh noni, apsal mellow terlebih?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Ha ha ha

    1) Nope, aku x berniat nak kahwin, but thot maybe it's time I make a decent attempt at a relationship

    2) Yes and no, some people did break my heart over the years, nothing in particular

    3) Yes, anyone can be friends tp don't comment about my weight

    4) AKU SANGAT2 SETUJU DGN komen Penghuni pasal Fadli - nasib baik la kita bukan rival kan? Ntah2 aku dah lama masuk mental hospital!

    5) Ha ha yeah been having low points on all fronts now - at work, personal life, and I am beginning to feel it's no longer worth doing what we did with the kids. Looking back, I wonder whether we really changed them, or kita syok sendiri. It's a reflection and contemplation which we must do from time to time. (this is the politically correct answer, the real answer is: aku rasa me needs sex and sexually depressed - I just realised aku ada banyak purple/lilac ties!)

    * the fact that aku tulis komen panjang lebar mcm ni means aku betol2 dah weng kot....

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  7. woitt!!! sia2 aje aku jemput korang datang wedding aku nk prove tht wife aku bukan life-sized doll ahahaha

    & yeap, i still remember tht cold blustery day at d cafe near QMW like it was yesterday, padahal da more than 10 years have passed .. how time flies ... & i tried holding out 4 as long as i cud (10 yrs 2 b exact!!) tp mana la aku tau fadli is tougher than he looks ahahahaha

    takpe la, hopefully ko punye WIP will bear fruit soon & we can hear sum happy news from u instead :-)

    P/S: looks like it's a growing veritable jungle out there in koleq wif a big fruit garden in its midst :-P

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  8. raf,
    what do the present boys know about friendship. duduk pun asing2.

    recalling those koleq years would shed tear in my eyes.
    sigh, if i could turn back time.

    maybe there is 'light' for the future.

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  9. a-noni-mous6:54 PM

    me wanna be a panda, but they have low sex driver ler.
    can be a panda with high libido ka noni? GM one kot..

    ReplyDelete
  10. a-noni-mous7:05 PM

    aslam - epit?
    epit - fadli?
    rough - noni kapet?
    fadli - aslam?
    bobo - ayai? (keskeskes.. nak selit gak tuh!)

    x paham la.. complicated sangat salahsilah die.. kalah buku rujukan Sejarah Malaysia terbitan Preston.

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  11. ha ha a-noni;

    tak tahu lah pulak aku panda ada low sex drive. kau je tahu benda2 mcm ni.

    tp kira dah fit la kau nya real character - you do need viagra kalau nak maju. GM dah tak jalan dah...

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  12. Salahsilah yg betul:

    epit -> aslam
    aslam <- auzir
    auzir -> MirJ
    MirJ -> Ja
    Ja -> Aiwa
    Aiwa -> Bobo
    Bobo -> Bobo
    Bobo -> Ayai
    Ayai -> Ha ha ha ramai la kot
    Pun ramai -> Aslam
    Aslam <-> Rough
    Rough -> Ayai
    Ayai -> Bobo
    Bobo -> Rough
    Rough -> Mior
    Mior -> Hamzainie
    Hamzainie -> Mior
    Mior -> Aslam
    Aslam -> Epit
    Epit -> Fadli
    Fadli = KILL KILL KILL = Aslam

    Dicelah2 kegelapan dan kekusutan:

    Mpro -> Afza

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  13. Bukan dicelah lagi dah... didalam kegelapan dan kekusutan...

    Bravo... satu salasilah yang hebat...

    ReplyDelete
  14. SAYA TAKKAN BERSUMPAH UNTUK NAFIKAN SEMUA ITU!!!

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  15. sebagai presiden BRU terdajal abad ini, aku dengan ini melantik diri sendiri sebagai imam untuk menyaksikan apa2 upacara sumpah-sumpah berkaitan salahsilah dan salahubungan spt di atas.

    pengakuan boleh ditulis di dalam rumi, pastikan ada ex-warta kpkm crew.

    tp kalau nak tuduh fadli buat aslam and khafiz jadi mcm tu, sila bawak 4 orang saksi kalau tak jadi qazaf.

    awal2 lagi, sumpah epit memang tak leh pakai. dia sumpah nak beli keter aku, lepas tu pi beli keter lain.

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  16. Anonymous12:00 AM

    verdict: noni falls in panda category

    ReplyDelete
  17. erasmus7:58 AM

    This post may sound harsh, you may delete after reading dear cik noni...


    What The **c* happened to you? Despite your all too apparent bigheadedness, you now seemed not bigheaded enough to know what you are to many people; this latest post is very unbecoming of you. Here is an analogy. What do you think the holy prefects of prep school think of you back then. After all the sacrifices they must have been initially mighty disappointed of the kids' ungratefulness back then, even the devilish ones made sacrifices too. But they accepted ther reality. KIDS will be KIDS. and kids nowadays are even more KIDS. they KNOW sooner or later all the lessons will be imparted and the kids will thank them. Look at some people now, they are dying to meet them again or even relive that time again, even the torture. But they are proud of you now, and they know you are thankful to them. You are a rock, you should not even reveal this feeling of yours even if you are a human. I think this one particular feeling is what some felt back then, ' that the seniors are to pressuring for the kids to be grateful'. Indeed, those amount of money are rather not easy to forget. Still.. you are the rock here, man.

    ReplyDelete
  18. ha ha erasmus thanks.

    (your comment will give ammunition to my batchmates to make fun of me for many many months - aku dah boleh agak dah "you are the rock here, man" being quoted each time aku try bagi opinion).

    my prep school prefects didn't think much of me actually. so that hypothesis is out of the window ha ha.

    i think my comments are more towards those who have left koleq, not the boys who are still in mckk.

    while we make allowance for their age, i think we also have to be firm about the values we are teaching them. they should know where they go wrong, what they did right etc.

    anyway, the posting is not meant to be taken seriously, as is any posting made here (if you can notice ha ha). but if you feel that it was out of my character, i apologise and perhaps i should stick to just being a panda ha ha(i take offence that anonymous implied that i have low sex drive!)

    but the posting is made so that the few people who do come here can reflect - that we attach higher value to friendship and there's a contractual obligation sesama manusia ni. it is not about being appreciated, it is about honouring what we set out to do in the first place.

    alamak - nanti nak berbuka; mari kita ramai2 ke toilet prep school cari oreo (lepas tu kena torture ramai2 masa fire drill).

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  19. Anonymous6:51 PM

    YOU ARE THE ROCK HERE, MAN!

    Kata2 perangsang terbaru selepas "TAPI NONI KAN STRONG"

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  20. a-noni-mous9:34 PM

    noni..

    candidate untuk pasangan mengawan for you:-
    http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=63898739

    awek glaswegian tuh bai!

    ReplyDelete
  21. a-noni-mous9:39 PM

    "TAPI NONI KAN STRONG"

    Ini mcm battle cry for movie "Only the Strong" aje..

    (ingat lagi budak2 lari tengok kadaque tunjuk skill capoeira die kat East Wing lepas usha movie nie kat Rex KK)

    ReplyDelete
  22. ha ha movie ni yg brazilian martial art tu ke? yg C rated movie gler tu?

    aku pi keluar town haram ngan fadli, jaqman and aslam rasanya, selamba je jalan across big school depan ridzwaniah sbb jaqman ikut skali. kalau kena caught, jaqman pun kena DC kot? x pe la aku pass awek glaswegian, kalau yg rekomen tu kau (altho aku tahu taste kau n aku SEBIJIK)

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  23. chamat11:43 PM

    aku panda ke?
    annoying dia kata aku, siot sangat

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  24. you cannot be a panda.

    i know the level of your sex drive.

    he he

    ReplyDelete