Tuesday, December 29, 2009

“Sepandai-Pandai Tupai Melompat, Akhirnya Kennnnnaaa Jugaaaa”

On 15th August 2009, the Malay College Old Teachers Association (MCTA) held its first ever hi-tea as a soft launch of its effort to bring the ex-teachers under one banner. Class of 94 donated RM5,000 for the event – RM3,000 to buy t-shirts as souvenir and another RM2,000 as a capital for MCTA to start its activities.

After spending 6 years coaching various teams and carrying out many activities in MCKK, we realise one thing – most of the efforts and resources were channelled to the students or the infrastructure. There is a big disconnect between the expectation, understanding and ownership of what MCKK is between the old boys, parents, students and the teachers.

As a result, usually each group works separately and more often than not they are at loggerheads, let alone trying to harness the synergy.

Many teachers will always see MCKK old boys as a bunch of stuck up, arrogant and bad influence on the boys, so many instances some teaches become self-righteous in trying their best to “curb” this bad influence of MCKK old boys on present boys. There are cases where their irritation is justified, especially in the manner that some old boys do not know how to behave appropriately when around the boys.

However in many other circumstances, most MCKK teachers can never conquer their inferiority complex when dealing with old boys. Suddenly it becomes a competition, so one way to hide the inferiority complex is to over exercise the authority over the boys in either painting a bad picture of old boys, or putting obstacles to reduce interaction with old boys. Many times, the definition of morality and appropriateness (e.g. in terms of dressing code) differ greatly – and instead of trying to understand that the world changes by the day, some teachers prefer to hold on to a set of pre-defined codes; which obviously does not match with how the general mass of old boys defines morality and appropriateness.

The results?

Instead of two parties understanding each other and working towards a common goal (knowing how each party has a strategic place and function to mould the boys), in many instances they compete against each other. Over the years it creates a sense of mistrust especially among the majority of the teachers, whom I also realised are super sensitive to any comments made by any outsiders (parents and especially old boys).

It was on this basis, that we encouraged a group of ex-teachers to form a grouping and if possible register a formal body. The understanding of what MCKK is and its place in the national education scene must be fully cascaded from one generation of teachers to another, so that the current teachers understand that they are custodian to an institution. On that basis alone, they have to be open to opinions and views about how things are run in the institution, because an institution belongs to the nation and everyone.

The big disconnect happens when the understanding and appreciation of why certain things have to be done in certain ways, or why MCKK has to be over and above the normal expectation, or why it is OK to be different, or why the teachers need to understand that their duty is to bring out the best of the students and for that they must form a partnership with other parties – have slowly eroded over the years.

MCKK of my years was governed through a leadership by persuasion. Of course, certain wardens and teachers took this by way of chasing us down the hall way with sticks or belt, but most of the teachers and seniors put reasons above rules. Even during fire drill or Common Room sessions, we had to endure long speeches and lecture while being punished physically, because it is the appreciation and understanding of idea that is more important, than inflicting punishment. Persuading a party in disagreement with you to be on your side of argument, is a beauty of a civilised grouping.

I was told in the 60s the practice was even grander – there was even mock parliament session to discuss issues. The debating heritage that MCKK boasts off so often does not stem from our traditional strong showing at debating tournaments, but 100 year of allowing free debate that most MCKK boys fancy themselves as good speakers. The highlight of KPKM or BRU AGM is when the EXCO has to face the students and explain their accountability (for example, on how the collection in surau has been spent for the year).

I wonder whether over the years MCKK still practises this notion of leadership by persuasion.

It was our hope that MCTA soars high and can gather as many ex-teachers as possible and begin having their annual Old Teachers Weekend, or when they come down during Old Boys Weekend in full force. They need to engage and connect with the new generation of teachers, so that they can impart why MCKK is special to them or what does it take to appreciate the essence of MCKK that is shared by old boys, teachers, the boys and the parents.

Old boys or parents can intervene so much – and when the intervention avoids one of the most important stakeholders i.e. teachers, it’s very difficult to effect change. The perception that the only value old boys bring to the table is as “a banker” to whom the school can run to to ask for donation; must change. It’s really embarrassing when on one hand old boys are generally regarded as a bad influence yet on the other hand you go after their money – it does not build trust or credibility.

In the future, the other stakeholders must engage the teachers including organising a sort of induction week for the new teachers for them to understand what MCKK is, before they start their duty. The support system, to be provided by ex-teachers, should be introduced so that the present teachers can relate to the experience of the ex-teachers, much like the present boys draw inspiration from the old boys. Only then we can have some hope that we’ll do justice to MCKK the institution.

Some of the video clips should bring back some memories and you’ll realise how much things have become so uptight over the years, comparing how these teachers recall their time with what you may see on the ground today.

FACTS
  1. About 80+ teachers agreed to come, but the actual turnout was only 40+
  2. Badut represented his dad, Datuk Rashdi Ramlan – an old boy and ex-HM who couldn’t make it on that day
  3. The oldest ex-teacher was Datuk Ghazali Hanafiah, ex-HM and ex-Perak Education Director who woke up early in the morning, wanted to take the train by himself to Ipoh (but his son decided to send him) and took the train back by himself to KL the next morning. He promised with 2 other teachers of his generation to come but the other 2 could not find their way. He was close to 80 years old I think.
  4. The function was supposed to be graced by Tan Sri Alimuddin, DG of Education and ex-HM as an avenue for ex-teachers to exchange ideas on how best to improve MCKK. Unfortunately TS Alimuddin couldn’t make it at the last minute.





"Sepandai2 Tupai Melompat Speech" by Mr Purushotanam"



PMR Result 2009

PMR result for 2009 was announced last week.

It was quite bad (if I have my way, I would call it a disaster). Only 62 out of 114 candidates scored straight As, giving a 54% straight As. Compared this with the first ranked SBP, SSP - 161 out of 172 candidates (94% straight As). Even if people were to argue that girls do much better academically nowadays, SDAR still came up better than TKC at 3rd spot, so even other boys schools are doing better than MCKK. In fact in Perak, STAR came up top, beating koleq.

MCKK's PMR result has been on a drastic slide since 2007 - 2007 (82%), 2008 (72%) and 2009 (54%).
The majority of MCKK old boys kept quiet and seem to be not interested at all with the developments. Some who offered their views prefer to brush it off, on the pretext that "straight As are not the be and end of education". Some commented that getting straight As cannot be equated with being smart; implying that MCKK old boys are smart although many of them didn't get straight As.

Some parents of the debaters called me so we chatted at length. Of course, the parents are a lot panicky than the old boys. One parent related her conversation with one of the teachers in finding out the root cause of the drop:

"Entahlah, kami dah mengajar yang terbaik tapi budak yang menjawab" - answered the teacher.

Getting straight As does not guarantee success in life. But in absence of anything else, a school can only be judged by its achievements in 3 areas - academic achievement, sport/co-curricular achievement and the percentage of students attaining good higher education opportunities post school. In all areas, MCKK had done badly lately relative to other schools.

Getting straights As involved the process to inculcate the right traits to be successful - ability to juggle and multi-task, maximising the limited time by doing things efficiently, the discipline to stay focus. In the past, MCKK bragged that its products are better because they could score equally or better than others, yet these boys excelled in many other areas. Because the environment teaches them to juggle and multi-task, they are used to doing things more efficiently, they prioritise and they study out of their own volition to succeed, without much prodding by the adults.

From my own experience, a lot of the skills that you acquire that put you ahead of other people in terms of maturity, you get by seeing the world, getting involved with different people. This you cannot do well without having the scholarship or opportunities to travel and being compelled to interact with different people. So getting straight As - if only to give them a fair chance to get scholarship - is part and parcel of the process to provide the opportunity for the boys so that they can realise their potentials.

And what is worse than building a wall and insulating ourselves from the progress of the world - when the others did better than us, instead of admitting failure, we turn the table around and tell the world that their success is not a success at all - when all this while we went to town and brand ourselves as a premier institutions with superior academic results?

Why it has come to this? Those who are privy to MCKK understand why.

Why nothing much has been done to address this? You have to ask the relevant people.

PMR 2007
PMR 2008

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

20 Years of Koleq

I know this is so overdue and my position has been threatened (through veiled or not so veiled threats) by the likes of Presidential Candidate Syed Khalid, for my slowness in getting things moving.

2010 marks 20th year of unexplainable romanticism with MCKK (17th year for some of us). Along the way we met friends, we made friends (sometimes we unmade the friendship), we cried, we laughed, we laughed, we laughed (and we laughed a lot more). Life as we know it today, wouldn’t have been what it is without a thing called MCKK; stuck at the back of our head, stamped on our forehead and worn on our sleeves every day.

To let 2010 passed by without a year-long celebration is considered very un-yengko-like.

So, the reunion mafia (I think we’ll call ourselves this for 2010, since I have a cat that can emulate Dr Claw now!) hereby announces the proposed one-year long celebration for our “Dua Dasawarsa (Didee)”:

AGM TO RE-ELECT AJK BATCH


Tentative date                                  : 23 January 2010
Venue                                              : Will be announced
Tarikh tutup penamaan calon            : 1 January 2009

Voting will be done by secret ballots. Tugas AJK Batch Didee adalah ceremonial and as a punching batch in case anything does not work out. The rest of the batch will adopt the philosophy of “free for all”, “live and let live”, “survival of the fittest” (ha ha kalah lah Ahmad & Mohd Shah macam ni hi hi) – so if there is a dulang of karipap on the table, anything goes sapa cepat dia dapat.

The update on the final nominees will be made separately.

The other details – theme, how much to pay, venue etc. will be informed later once the Reunion Mafias are reactivated (ha ha jangan nak lari, will use ST08 mailing list for the planning).

YENGKO’S BIGGEST LOSER
Since the last Sukantara 08, it is quite clear that the score was not settled. Mohd Shah cheated again through tarik tali (we should have banned that event! I thought having Abon would have made a difference but then Abon was in London la pulak..) so we’ll do it the other way around.

Each house is to nominate as many people as they want to represent the house, provided that the total weight of all participants exceeds 500 kg. We shall register the participants and officially weigh them on 23 January 2010 (please inform the Reunion Mafia if Aiwa is representing Ahmad because we have to arrange for a weighing exercise at a JPJ station). If anyone from any house thinks he is above 120 kg (because that’s the maximum scale that I have), please alert us so that we can make prior arrangements.

The weighing will be officially noted and verified by Dr Razak Rahman (Jaqman), our ex-history teacher (and ex-puffy man himself ha ha).

In the last weekend of each 2 months period until August (that means February, April and June), we will hold a bi-monthly weighing. Any house that registers the highest % reduction in group weight, will win the race for the month and earn 100 points for the house. Second, third and last place will earn 80, 60 and 40 points respectively.

The person with worst performance (either he shows the least % weight reduction if everyone is showing reduction, or he shows the highest % weight gain) will be eliminated from Yengko’s Biggest Loser and the house will be penalised 15 points. The person with best performance (well, the best weight reduction or the least weight gain, depending on situation) will earn extra 15 points for the house.

Example as follows:

Official starting weight in January 2010
Ahmad House – Aiwa (135 kg), Syam (95 kg), Chibiok (101 kg – berat telur), Badut (79 kg)
[TOTAL 410 kg]

Idris House – Pyan (98 kg), Gabai (87 kg), Mpro (96 kg), Monger (84 kg)
[TOTAL 365 kg]

Mohd Shah House – Idzam (99 kg he he), Fendy Taj (112 kg), Syed Asrul (101 kg), Bochap (133 kg – berat karipap dalam poket)
[TOTAL 445 kg]

Leman House – Epit (76 kg), Abon (81 kg),  Ezrin (76 kg), Capoe (78 kg)
[TOTAL 311 KG]

After 1.5 months of house training; weighed in end of February
Ahmad House – Aiwa (137 kg: +2%), Syam (92 kg: -3%), Chibiok (100 kg: -1%), Badut (77 kg: -2.5%)
[TOTAL 406 kg: -1%]

Idris House – Pyan (95 kg: -3%), Gabai (86 kg: -1%), Mpro (93 kg: -3%), Monger (80 kg: -5%)
[TOTAL 354 kg: -3%]

Mohd Shah House – Idzam (96 kg: -3%), Fendy Taj (109 kg: -3%), Syed Asrul (99 kg: -2%), Bochap (120 kg: -10%)
[TOTAL 424 kg: -5%]

Leman House – Epit (73 kg: -4%), Abon (79 kg: -2%),  Ezrin (73 kg: -4%), Capoe (75 kg: -4%)
[TOTAL 300 KG: -4%]

So the points for February will be:

HOUSE
% WEIGHT (LOSS)/GAIN
POINTS
Mohd Shah
-5 %
100
Leman
-4%
80
Idris
-3%
60
Ahmad
-1%
40

Best performer is Bocap, so Ahmad earns extra 15 points. Aiwa will be eliminated from the race and 15 points will be deducted from Ahmad.

So the final tally as at February is:

Mohd Shah – 115 points, Leman – 80 points, Idris – 60 points, Ahmad – 25 points.

This process will be repeated every 2 months and in the process, each house is supposed to plan your own training. You are at the liberty to appoint a trainer, so Idris may want to appoint Chamat (I say may because you may not want him killing you on the field).

You are free to decide in any way in choosing the participants representing your house, but if they are forced, they will not be committed and they will end up being eliminated each round. This will reduce your house points even more and eat up the points collected from other events. The objective is to select those who are committed to reduce weight, so this is a way of doing it together as a batch sebab kita UniteFect!!!!!

INTER-HOUSE BOWLING
We will do exactly the same as the last inter-house bowling – Mattop is volunteered to be the chief organiser so he’ll announce the details later (ha ha). The point system must be agreed so that the maximum points contributed by inter-house bowling is 50% of the maximum points collected by Yengko’s Biggest Loser (to honour the efforts of the people involved to lose weight and being made public laughing stock ha ha).

INTER-HOUSE FUTSAL
Ditto – presumably Idzam will organise he he. Date and details will be announced later.

INTER-HOUSE BATAK BUAH & BEACH VOLLEYBALL
To continue with our Pesta Buah2an that we introduced in 1994 and reignited last year (with one lorry worth of fruits), the annual Pesta Buah2an will be held at Ajaque’s family holiday villa in Port Dickson (ha ha lepas ni aku mintak permission with Ajaque). There will be a lorry worth of fruits, so there will be an inter-house fruit eating competition to see which house can finish the bundle of fruits allocated first. There will also be an inter-house beach volleyball (since we can organise a beach volleyball there too).

The combined maximum points from these 2 events will not exceed 30% of the points allocated for Yengko’s Biggest Loser (kalau tak bagi free points kat Mohd Shah la – Bocap, Gadap, Wong – cukuplah 1 minit to finish 1 bakul)

DIDEE REUNION IN PREP SCHOOL
Targeted for in August 2010, we will spend half a day bullying the Form 1 (Class of 2014, 20 years our juniors) in some events – e.g. tarik tali, football and rugby and the game “ARE YOU SMARTER THAN A FORM 3/5”.

ARE YOU SMARTER THAN A FORM 3/5
This will pit our chosen top 4 students against top 2 students each from Class of 2010 and Class of 2012. The questions will be selected randomly from the subjects of History, Mathematics, Agama Islam (that ruled me out!), Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Bahasa Melayu (good luck Fadli ha ha). Our role is to laugh at Fadli and gang struggling to answer these questions ha ha.

We will finish with a formal dinner at Prep School (with our families) and the F1s (eating together) AND a re-enactment of the final farewell concert i.e. Hairul singing “Beautiful Girl” and Che Mad singing “Explain It To My Heart”. All other voluntary performance – so long you do not do kung fu dancing ala 94, or charge the batch, or cause Kak Ramlah to come back – can be considered.

The Reunion Mafia will call for a meeting soon – but candidates for AJK Batch Didee will definitely be dragged in (ha ha).

Opinions and suggestions are welcome, though the final decision rests with the evil cat at home he he.

Saya yang membolot kuasa
AJK Sambutan 

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Season Greeting




I received a card from Kuala Kangsar today. Co-incidentally tonight we had planned to sit down over satay to celebrate KNO who is in town for a while, before flying back to Pakistan.

It was quite a full attendance - Badut & Red, Joe & Sue (and 2 boys running around ha ha), Idzam & Ayu, Chibix, KNO and Canoe. Epit was not around, Pak Tuan hinted he couldn't make it. Mpro - well, he would be around this weekend but we'll consider whether we need another gathering.

So, it was as if everything was timed perfectly - a reminder from Mr Thaman not to abandon him, at the time when our strength and energy has been completely sapped from us. We laughed about our exit strategy since quietly everyone understands we have to see this through for as long as Mr Thaman and Mr Bala are around - in fact Ayu made a joke that chances are by the time their son Afiq goes to MCKK one day, we might still be doing it.

We talked about the hockey team a bit; some planning here and there, but mostly it was all about catching up. It has been a while and I really felt bad that ever since I made some abrupt decisions in the past 9 months, to a certain extent it did have an impact on Mighty Ducks. Luckily we know each other so well that despite that, Mighty Ducks Cup was a big success.

We are planning for one whole stretch of friendly games, I hope the boys will have enough exposure to realise their potentials.

I personally have moved on - mentally and almost physically.

But we still have some honest souls in Kuala Kangsar whom we have to honour.

So God willing, Insya Allah - 2010 will be a good year for MCKK's hockey.

Thank you very much Mr Thaman - you may not be as appreciated, or celebrated, or acknowledged as Mr Liew or the Cagers or all other things (MCKK old boys have the tendency to only see what they can claim they have a hand in, those beyond their reach they have a skill to ignore ha ha) - but your devotion will count for something. I promise one day it will count for something.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I Hope You Dance

So I finally move on to a new job. Maybe job is not the best word to describe it, not even assignment. It’s a new phase actually.

A lot of our big decisions are usually influenced by considerations for other people. When you have a family to look for, you think about putting the food on the table first and foremost. When you are a father, your preoccupation is to give the best to your children.

My main preoccupations before I made the leap were mostly related to my family (parents, siblings and anak buah) and batch members (and yes, one loveable cat called Kristi). So much of our life has been intertwined that a decision by anyone of us (especially one who is as heavily involved with the batch as I had been) will have an impact (to a certain extent) on the majority of others.

Perhaps the following email; sent by a friend whom I spoke only less than 10 times in MCKK; illustrates some of the realisations:

Btw, aku lupa/lambat nak wish the customary good luck for your new job - aku xnak wish congratulations coz there aint anything to be congratulated for pun:-

1) you earn less (much less?) than what you got previously - so nak mintak ko support (financially) sini and sana for any 9094's activities pun rasa tokleh dah..

2) you wont have time - as much as previously - to hang out (or at least interact) with 9094 - come on la kan, paying attention to ***** or to a group of 32 y.o guys yang kejenya 24hrs dok buat jokes and asyik beremail (read: gossip) kejenya ngalahkan ahli mesyuarat tingkap - we know where your priority lies now (and we do understand)

3) you have to exercise censorship on your act, words etc well, almost everything la.. hahaha.. takkan **** nak keep mentioning "konek" in his every other sentences kan? Depan public/semi-public lak tuh.. And with that, we wont get the old (original?) **** anymore.. sanitized **** aint fun no more.. hahahaha

4) etc..

5) etc..

Whatever it is, I presume 9094 will always be on the losing side on this but we will always be behind you I guess.. just don't side track laa (and I really2 wanna wish a huge good luck on that!).

So good luck laa ****.. you yourself know best what you are doing..

I didn't reply to the email because I was very flattered, and thought that something like that should be immortalised here in the blog.

Ever since the last few months, I had less time to spend with the batch. I struggled to keep up with the emails – usually I’ll read the emails quickly before I sleep or while I am stuck in a traffic jam so my response is always one week late. And now with the new assignment, I am not sure how it will turn out.

Yet one of the biggest motivations to do what I did, was knowing that this is what is expected of me by the batch. Crazy as we were (and are), we have a unity of mind that is quite rare among a group of 100+ people whether or not we went to the same school. Since we were in school, we predicted each other’s path and this is the path that everyone had predicted for me for as long as I can remember.

Fortunately, the expectation is accompanied with a very strong support system that I can be more daring than other people in my shoes. When the question was first posed to me, I called Jita and he was in Australia. I did not tell him yet my decision, but he was as good as telling me to do what I was meant to do – so go with the flow.

So we come to this junction – I worried about whether I can update the blog as regularly (or if I can, whether I can still immortalise the fun of growing up together year after year, since I will not as much time to join); or whether I can hang out as regularly; or whether I can be as candid; or whether Mighty Ducks will slowly die away.

But then again, we join public service or public office because we want to change things, not to be changed by the system or the very thing we wanted to change. That reminder has been constantly on my mind and I want to be reminded of that regularly – that I am not meant to change. If I have enjoyed every bit of the last 20 years because of certain people who coloured my life; I should continue to enjoy their company (in fact, it is even more important now). If I have made time before to rush for a hockey game in Kuala Kangsar, I hope I still can make time to attend a batch reunion or annual sahur.

And I hope I won’t look back and realise it was a wishful thinking (ha ha).

In this spirit, we will go ahead with all the crazy plans for 2010. We shall have the new AJK Batch re-elected, we will see through the formal process of nomination, we shall continue with the inter-house Biggest Loser competition, we shall plan our 20th year with the same merriment we had done all these years. I may be a bit slow in my response nowadays, but we’ll make time.

In one of the most celebrated fantasy books of all time – the Wheel of Time series – as the key character moves towards the final battle, his strength was failing because he had become too bitter and too worn down by the war; that there was a group of wise ones around him who always reminded him what laughter and sadness used to mean. Because the moment we forget what is laughter and sadness, we dehumanise everything that we touch.

The 100+ brothers that we have become (and their subsequent families) are the testimony of what laughter and sadness is. Even if anyone of us is sucked away for whatever reason, try to stick through so that we can remember what laughter and sadness is.

FOOTNOTE 1

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder
You get your fill to eat
But always keep that hunger
May you never take one single breath for granted
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed

I hope you still feel small
When you stand by the ocean
Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens
Promise me you'll give faith a fighting chance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

I hope you dance
I hope you dance

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Living might mean taking chances
But they're worth taking
Lovin' might be a mistake
But it's worth making

Don't let some hell bent heart
Leave you bitter
When you come close to selling out
Reconsider
Give the heavens above
More than just a passing glance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

I hope you dance
I hope you dance

I hope you still feel small
When you stand by the ocean
Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens
Promise me you'll give faith a fighting chance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

I hope you dance
I hope you dance

As I was trying to make sense the irrational choice that I had made – the song went on and on in my head. We always dance, we were always taught to dance. We may choose the wrong side or fight the wrong battle, but we dance nevertheless. We are never by-standers.

FOOTNOTE 2

Long ago I shot my bow
Where it fell I didn’t know
Much later in a huge great oak
I picked it up still unbroke

I have a debt to pay, so let me get over and done with it.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Majlis Sambutan Doc Madad

AMARAN:
INI ADALAH SATU KEMPEN OLEH CALON AJK BATCH 2 DASAWARSA, TETAPI TIDAK MELANGGAR ETIKA PILIHANRAYA BATCH

Demi menjalankan tugas aku sebagai calon tunggal AJK Sambutan, saya dengan ini mengumumkan majlis sambutan Doc Madad (doktor terakhir batch) adalah spt berikut:

Masa : 830 malam selepas Isyak
Tempat: Gerai makan sebelah PETRONAS Ampang Jaya

Justification: Madad sengkek x leh belanja, central for everyone

Datanglah beramai2 dan undilah saya sbg AJK Sambutan. Sapa2 ada kompang dan bunga manggar, boleh lah bawa.

Bersama-sama ini disertakan peta yang dicap tapak kaki oleh Kristi.


ps: Dr Madad adalah doktor terakhir dari batch ini. Selepas hampir 10 tahun bekerja sebagai doktor di UK, dia buang tabiat and nak jadi management consultant pulak, so berhenti kerja dan pergi buat MBA. Maka makin jatuh hina dina lah Batch Yengko dalam bab-bab akademik ni, sebab tak de sorang pun doktor dalam batch ni!

pps: Ha ha Pyan called just nak confirm that ni betol2 nya, takut kena kincing lagi. Kesian Pyan, trauma. Tapi ni demi jawatan ni, tak tipu punya.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Dr Claw and The Evil Cat



Last weekend, Awie and Toje drove all the way from Kuala Terengganu to Kuala Lumpur on a day trip to see me.

Toje has had a change of circumstances and he was thinking of doing a different business from what he is operating now. Toje has been operating a satay restaurant in Kuala Terengganu for a few months and from those who have sampled his satay, he was given good thumbs up.

By co-incidence I also wanted to catch up with Jita and Chamat since we had not seen each other for a while due to the different schedules in different time zones (ha ha), so we met up at The Curve.

From the word “go”, Toje realized that he was not going to get much help from me for his new business proposal because I felt that it was a short term remedy.

We ended up pressuring him to pursue his satay business; with all ideas and pledged support (the operative word is “pledged”) for him to start operating in Klang Valley.

I am an avid fan of satay and I have big issues with the monopoly of satay business in the Klang Valley, so it’s in our best interest to have competition. More so, because I feel that Malays should stand up and prove that they too can do well in retail business and not only interested in the quick margin made from Ali Baba business.

Awie made a joke about the 3 of us (Jita, Chamat and myself) behaving like the Mafia godfathers pressuring and misleading a hapless small time businessman with many promises of help in the beginning only to rein in later on – worse still when it’s a godfather with an evil cat on his lap.

Apparently, throughout the journey back to Kuala Terengganu Awie and Toje cracked their head trying to find solutions to some operational constraints Toje felt would become a major hindrance to the venture.

People – reserve some money to throw into Satay Yengko. If it happens, anyone who eats elsewhere, or holds a gathering at a different venue, does so on the pain of being thrown out of the batch for good!

POSTSCRIPT

I had a coffee with a sweet and kind-hearted couple – Kak Sham and Abang Nik – whose son was from the Class of 08. They have been giving a lot of encouragements to us for the voluntary work we were doing in MCKK and eventually we become friends.

When asked about what is so special about MCKK – I told them that it is the support system we get from our batch. It’s not the name, not the connections, not the glamour, not the reputation – it’s the fact that I know I have a bunch of 100 people who will go a long way to assist me when I need help one day, within their limitations.

That’s the beauty of being a part of a group of people like this. It’s so easy to tap into each others’ brain and expertise and people are willing to help without expecting anything in return (or so they think he he).

To those who have just left MCKK – whether you are thoroughbred or not, stay close to your brothers although you do not feel belonged to the school as much as we felt back then. They are your best support system in the future – when you need to borrow money, when you need distraction from hitting a wall in your career, when you need inspiration, when you need professional advice for free, when you want to find business partners and most importantly – when you are in a desperate search for honest friends. Your batch never let you down.
For more stories about Awie & Toje, read here.

Harimau Mati Meninggalkan Belang, Manusia Mati Meninggalkan Nama

Sebulan lepas genaplah dua tahun Allahyarham Shahrol Nizam Yusof kembali ke rahmatullah.

Walaupun dari kelas yang berbeza, beliau (yang setahun lebih tua dari kami) sangatlah rapat dengan kami dari Class of 94, kadang-kadang nampak seolah-olah beliau lebih rapat dengan kami berbanding dengan batch sendiri.

Benarlah kata pepatah, harimau mati meninggalkan belang, manusia mati meninggalkan nama.

Arwah Shahrol merupakan seorang yang jujur, rajin, ikhlas dan sangat disayangi. Pemergian beliau ditangisi semua orang hingga ke hari ini, walaupun kami tidak mampu mengotakan banyak janji kami kepada beliau untuk memberi penghormatan yang kena pada tempatnya, setaraf dengan kemuliaan beliau sebagai seorang yang berbudi pekerti tinggi.

Empat bulan lalu apabila saya mengambil keputusan beralih angin dari majikan lama, seorang teman rapat beliau yang tidak pernah saya kenali menulis e-mail berikut:

"I started to hear your name from my best friend Arwah Shahrol Nizam. He kept on mentioning your name everytime we spoke about our political scenario. Even though, somehow he did a U-turn at the middle of the journey but I still keep a close contact with him. 5 days before Hari Raya we met up at a mamak stall and we keep on arguing about politics and why he decided to join ***********. I knew I hurt him that night when I said to him he’s not going to get far in politics.

After Raya, he called me and said he wants to meet up but I couldn’t make it as I have a programs with my family. He was quite sad from his tone voice. Two days laters I received a phone calls from my friend that Shahrol has passed away. I was stunned……….

The reason I told you this story is because I want you to know that Petronas has lost 2 of the best staff within a short duration. I never talk to you as I never know you personally but after I read your letter, I know this is the guy that Arwah always mentioned about.

I hope whatever path you take after this is going to take you to a greater height and I will not be surprise if one day you will become a MP or Adun.

Take care my brother and please be strong in whatever you do in the future."

Al-Fatihah untuk beliau.

Saudaraku Allahyarham Shahrol, doa kami bersamamu sentiasa, janji kami untuk mengingati dan menjaga kebajikan warismu sentiasa diingati, Halalkanlah kelemahan dan kealpaan kami, Moga kemuliaanmu menjadi ikutan mereka yang pernah bertuah mengenalimu.

Kepada pelajar-pelajar Kolej Melayu generasi kini yang pernah mengenali beliau – contohilah budi pekerti Arwah Shahrol, akhlak beliau adalah cermin terbaik kejayaan MCKK mendidik anak-anak kampung.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

EGM Batch dan Pemilihan AJK Batch Baru

Bersempena dengan musim2 EGM ala MCA ni, demam EGM pun melarat la jugak ke dysfunctional batch ni.

Cerita pasal AJK Batch for this century ni dah lama dibawa, especially since lantikan Haji Botchap sebagai AJK Batch in charge of Keselamatan Internet, to monitor comments and activities on the blog. This is called unmoderated moderation; because he resorts to the most intense kind of blitzkrieg that unless you can put up with poos thrown to your face, most probably you will call it a day.

Ever since the effectiveness of Haji Botchap in policing the batch’s safety on the net, the idea for the election of new AJK Batch has gathered momentum.

Khalid took the first step a few weeks ago:


As always, instead of concentrating, the suggestion digressed:



Until Radin came back to make another suggestion:

Memandangkan tekanan yang semakin memuncak dan untuk mengelakkan krisis seperti di dalam MCA berlaku (kerana kami yengko dan mengamalkan semangat “Kami UniteFect!!!”), mewakili AJK Batch yang dilantik dalam tahun 1990 (dan 1991 bagi jawatan-jawatan lantikan dan seperti biasa aku self proclaim jadi spokesman) dengan ini mengumumkan meletakkan jawatan, bagi membolehkan satu EGM dipanggil untuk perlantikan baru. Ini kami rasakan wajar tanpa perlu memanggil pihak ketiga (contohnya prefect Prep School ke, warden ke, HM ke, Che Nah Che Ni ke) untuk menjadi referee (macam MCA).

Kami yang meletakkan jawatan adalah:

AJK BATCH 1990

Presiden : Sdr Ahmad Razally Abdul Rahim (aka Hj Toy – err Khalid jangan silap lagi, nanti no dobi kena lelong)

Timbalan Presiden: Sdr Amer Azraen Rosman (Si Botak Bongkok Tiga, dah hilang kat mana pun tak tahu, no dobi dalam list lelongan sbb miss gathering banyak sangat)

Setiausaha I: Sdr Mohd Rafizi Ramli (we don’t have to make comments for each person)

Setiausaha II: Sdr Zahadin Omar (kalau nak cari dowloaded videos, apa2 macam pun, cari lah dia)

Bendahari: Sdr Mohd Khafiz Amat Noh (dah lama resign, RIP dari koleq since 1993 lagi sebab kena racun ngan Fadli in order to eliminate competition nak jadi top student. Jahat la kau Fadli)

AJK: Sdr Fadhil Datuk Azman (taukeh helikopter dan kapal terbang)

AJK: Sdr Mohd Nadzrie Azhar (errr selain budak koop, kau pun AJK batch kan?)

AJK: Ha ha ha yang lain aku dah lupa. Hampeh betul

Kemudian dalam tahun 1991 masa F2, sebab semua nak expand faction masing2 dalam AJK Batch and berdasarkan prinsip “if you can’t change them, you bring them on board so that they become like you” (ala2 meneutralkan ahli2 PKR masuk UMNO la ni), perlantikan-perlantikan berikut telah dibuat untuk menguatkan lagi saf AJK Batch budak2 yengko, menjadikannya kabinet terbesar di MCKK mengalahkan kabinet Tun Lah lepas 2004 election:

AJK2 LLANTIKAN 1991

Sdr Khairul Nizam Mois (kan Kalai, kau AJK batch dulu kan?)

Sdr Faidzal Haslah Hassan (dengan ucapan terkenalnya “Berkat tu, nama saja Melayu….” he he)

Sdr Khairul Fitri Othman (aku rasa la, or maybe I mistaken him for budak Warta since Fitt budak Warta sekali)

Sdr Ahmad Fakharuddin (alamak Kadaq, apa nama ayahanda kau?)

Sdr Ahmad Nizam Jembari (yg ni jadi bouncer dan untuk kerja2 halimunan di waktu malam, senang dia nak mengendap)

Sdr Fazrul Hisyam Zakaria (aku rasa lah kan)

Sdr Hairul Nizam Ismail (yang ni aku sure kot)

For the record, aku tak ingat portfolio masing-masing although ONE or TWO of them adalah AJK Keselamatan (he he bouncer la kot). Fadli still merasakan begitu selamat duduk di Big School atas jasa2 AJK Keselematan ni, although it is not known whether diorang pernah tibai sapa2 dalam menjalankan kerja melindungi jambu2 batch (although whether Fadli perlu dilindungi in the first place, remains to be debated).

Oleh itu, untuk meraikan ulangtahun 20 tahun kita mengenali MCKK dan dicap sebagai batch yengko yang tidak perform dan agaklah bodoh dari segi pencapaian SPMnya, kita akan memulakan perayaan dua dasawarsa dengan mengadakan EGM.

Aku sekali lagi melantik diri sendiri sebagai SPR Yengko (dengan jaminan kertas undian dan pengiraan undi tidak akan melibatkan random no generator Excel yang digunapakai semasa cabutan lucky draw in the 2005 reunion) dan membuka pencalonan-pencalonan bagi jawatan-jawatan seperti berikut (mereka yang disenaraikan adalah calon2 yang telah pun menawarkan diri atau merasuah aku untuk dicalonkan):

AJK BATCH 2 DASAWARSA

Ketua Umum: Encik Syed Khalid AlJuned dari Pulau Pinang (sebab tu dia bersungguh2 suggest EGM ni)

Mursyidul Am: Syeikh Wan Ezrin

AJK Information: Encik Syed Khalid AlJuned (yang ni pun dia melantik diri sendiri aku rasa dalam email hari tu)

AJK Keselamatan Internet: Haji Shahrol Shaari (menang tanpa bertanding ala2 “saya mencadangkan Sdr Shahrol” -> “Saya mencadangkan cadangan ditutup” -> “Saya menyokong cadangan cadangan ditutup” -> “Cadangan ditutup”)

AJK Hubungan Betik: Pasangan En Hafiznizam Hashim/En Fadli Riza Ramli dan dicabar oleh regu En Didee Ezral/En Azrai Abdullah Azizi (mesti berpasangan satu batch)

AJK Romantika & Kenangan Jambu: En Mohd Nadzrie Azhar (cadangan masih belum ditutup)

AJK Tatabahasa: En Mohd Hazly Abdulah (ada pencabar ke ni?)

AJK KONEK: En Mohd Gadaffi Hussein

AJK Piawaian Joke: En Radin Mazlan Radin Baharudin

AJK Keselamatan: En Syed Mohd Jamalullail Syed Mahdhar Bilfagih, En Mohd Nooraizi Mohd Nor, En Idzam Noor Shahidan (hi hi hi yang ni de facto berdasarkan size berat badan)

AJK Kelab Penyokong Yengko 94: Puan Redhalina, Puan Aily dan Puan Ayu (errr mintak permission husband dulu nooo….)

AJK Internet: Tengku Ahmad Ismawi Tengku Ismail (de facto kot)

AJK Publisiti Yengko: Encik Khairul Nizam Omar (atas kapasiti sebagai blogger celebriti)

JAWATAN-JAWATAN EX-OFFICIO

Top jambu: En Hailzam Anuar Shahrom

Top penjambu: En Mohd Masrul Nazir

Top ex-jambu: En Mohd Sazali Said


Jawatan-jawatan lain yang ingin dipertandingkan juga bolehlah diajukan kepada SPR Yengko untuk dipertimbangkan.

Tarikh EGM dan pengundian akan diumumkan dalam bulan Disember, walau bagaimana pun hanya beberapa orang sahaja yang benar-benar diluar negara dibenarkan menjadi pengundi pos (Sdr KNO di Pakistan, Sdr Mior di Australia, Sdr Chamat di Beijing, Sdr Fazurin di Washington, Sdr Che Mad Gorilla di Michigan, Sdr Madad di England. Sdr Wong, kalau setakat memanjat gunung di mana2 tidak layak menjadi pengundi pos).

Selamat mengundi!

“Mari lah mari, kita mengundi…. (aku dah lupa lirik)”

Fadli, mana diary kau?

Since Fadli has been enticing the batch with the disclosure of his diary pages (and blackmailing people along the way) for the last few years but never put the money where his mouth is – let me do the honour.

Let me give a sneak preview of the first page of 1994’s diary that I used to keep.

Ha ha I tried to pass the first page and nearly fainted at the stupidity of my adolescence. Did not pass the first page ha ha.

Anyway apart from all the stupid things I wrote there, I also burned a mattress that night. Ha ha.

So Fadli – where is your diary, otherwise kita start lelongan.

E53 starts with 20 sen (harga permulaan bersamaan harga cempedak goreng Uncle David)….. and Epit tak dibenarkan bidding.

PS:

1) Diary aku tiap2 hari ada doa and hadis sebab aku dulu Presiden BRU. Kena maintain status (until they found out what I got for Agama in SPM)

2) Diary ni ala2 blog la dulu, tapi kau sendiri tulis (ni untuk budak2 sekarang yang tak tahu diary ni apa). Best sebab tak macam blog, korunk bleh ktuk orunk gler2, cer pe pn x pe sbb orunk x leh bce.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Final Parting

I finally say goodbye to the MCKK debating team – 3 years later than the original plan. The whole coaching was accidental anyway – I never planned to be spending as much time as I had with a bunch of kids. I never thought I could stand kids that long; knowing how stern and feared I was with my own nephew and nieces.


I don’t know whether events that had taken place for the last two years were writings on the wall that I should move on; or because I wanted to move on so much I interpreted any events as signs that I should move on. Either way it was not important – I came to the point that I did not enjoy doing it anymore.


I left short of one month before hitting six years. Six years of coaching a debating contingent comprising of 30+ students each year, without being paid or ever receiving any form of personal or official appreciation from the school, is very long indeed. It is not so much of the personal toll that it had taken (financially and time wise); nor was it ever about appreciation – I came to realize that I would never be able to achieve what I set out to do.


And I cannot dwell on the reasons of why we did what we did, without revisiting the conversations we had among the coaches from the 90s generation in late 2003.


The late Adlan Benan Omar – the towering figure who almost single-handedly built the discipline and loyalty among the debaters that we boast nowadays – was against the idea from the very beginning. He knew me enough to know that one day I would be let down by the whole enterprise, knowing how single-minded I can be about a passion I pursue and knowing how the rest of the world would never want to keep up with me. Until his untimely passing away in 2008; he kept reminding me that he did what he did as far as MCKK’s debating team was concerned; out of loyalty to a na├»ve junior whom he had loved as a brother till the end.


The other brother who also had passed away in the midst of the enterprise – Allahyarham Shahrol Nizam Yusoff – kept reminding me throughout that I must be prepared mentally and emotionally to be let down by the boys and the school. He too knew me enough to see what may yet pass in the future.


Unfortunately (or fortunately); as if pathologically consistent with my behaviours all these years; I listened to counsel only to satisfy the need for a counsel. By the time I asked for opinions, usually I have made up my mind and very rarely people can convince me to change my mind. The enterprise would go on and the other senior debaters reluctantly trudged along out of loyalty to a friend.


So began a 6-year long enterprise – I was joined by arwah Ben and Dany (Class of 90), Rizal Zin (SAS Class of 92), arwah Shahrol (Class of 93), Fazurin and Chamat (Class of 94) and Sani (Class of 95). We were also aided by the non-debaters – Canoe (Class of 93) and Allen (Class of 94).


Once in a while Faiz and Penyu (Class of 91) and Kechoque (Class of 93) would come and join us. We also include Izrin (Class of 2000) and his generation’s debaters in the loop with the hope of passing the baton to them by 2006 – though that did not materialize.


In the course of 6 years since late 2003, we had never failed to follow the team to any single tournament; conducted countless training and workshops; sent hundreds of letters and postcards to the debaters individually and as a team; and even more countless SMS throughout the year. Each year we saw the new debaters take the place as the senior ones left the school to join the coaching bench.


Initially it was about restoring MCKK’s place as the giant of this country’s debating world. To a certain extent we did exactly that – although we never passed the semi-final curse for PPM (but looking at the quality of the teams that had been going to the final or winning PPM; it’s not too much of a disappointment because if we were to go to the final, it would have been about upgrading the standard of the PPM final; not to be put in the same league as the rest). MCKK went to the final for 5 consecutive years to the UIA National Inter-school Championship; the biggest debating tournament in the country. In 2004, both the BM and English went to the final. From 2004 until 2008, our debaters dominated the top best speakers list and won the overall and final best speaker title for 2006 to 2008. In 2007 when we won the championship – the team won a knock out 9 – 0 majority throughout; a feat not yet achieved by any teams (schools or universities) in the country before or since.


Our English debaters also did well in the domain alien to us i.e. competition against the non-Malays. We were the standard bearer of Malay boys in non-Malays dominated championship like HELP University Debating Championship, going to the semi-final in 2006. In 2004, 2005 and 2006 our debaters were the sole Malay speakers (or sole Malay male speaker in 2006) qualifying for the national level championship of the oratory competition organized by The Star and ESUM (English Speaking Union of Malaysia) for college and school students.


Outside the debating arena, our boys also contributed greatly to MCKK. The high echelons of KPKM and Prefects Board in 2004 to 2008 were dominated by debaters. We produced one head boy, one KPKM President, 4 KPKM Deputy Presidents and countless KPKM Excos. 2 debaters were also the recipients of Carey Award/Bolkiah Award – the highest award for MCKK students. Out of 3 SBP Full Colours recipients from MCKK in the period of 2004 to 2009; 2 were debaters. One debater was also crowned Scholar of The Year, another one was the recipient of Kijang Emas special scholarship by Bank Negara Malaysia (only around four such scholarships awarded each year to the country’s top SPM achievers; only 2 MCKK boys had been awarded in between 2004 and 2009).


All this is outstanding given the fact that each batch only has two to four debaters on average – showing how much they have dominated the school’s life in the past 6 years.


In terms of accolades, Ben and Shahrol should be smiling in the grave that they had helped to restore MCKK debaters to the place we once occupied in the 90s in the debating arena and the school’s life.


So which part of the objectives that we did not achieve?


When we started out, it was always about the boys. We sacked coaches when he could not put the boys’ interest before everything else. We crawled in front of the school administrators, no matter how rude or inconsiderate they could be sometimes; so that we could guarantee our presence among the boys. We put up with the inefficiencies and bureaucracy; and the school’s taking advantage of our volunteerism from time to time – so that we could make sure the boys would continue to benefit from our presence.


It has always been about making men out of boys; to make sure that future generations of MCKK boys can live up to our values and expectation. These are the values we learnt from the school and the values we strived to inculcate among the boys from their first day – that of leadership, industriousness, resourcefulness, sacrifice, courtesy and selflessness. From the first day they were told of our expectation – it would never matter whether they win debating tournaments or not so long they live up to our values.


While we had successes here and there, along the way cracks began to show everywhere. The problem with such an enterprise is the long gestation period between sowing the seed (so to speak); and seeing the final tree that it grows to become.


Many times we had pre-empted them with all the pitfalls they would face once they leave the school that would distract them from keeping their promises. We held their hands longer than necessary. We shouldered the burden from the teachers more than any other coaches that we have come across had done and eventually the teachers began to let outsource the responsibilities more and more to us.


In retrospect, that could be one of the many Achilles Heels of the whole enterprise. It was based on the premise that the boys and the adults around them understand and appreciate the values we espoused as much as we do; so that nobody takes advantage of anyone. Gullible as always, I actually thought that when we give tools and guidance to anyone, they would rise up to occasion to honour the trust given to them.


Sometimes it happens, many times it did not.


Over the years, the quality began to deteriorate and the differences of opinion with the other adults around them grew louder; that I began to wonder whether whatever values we tried so hard to inculcate were being undone by the environment they lived in.


At the same time, I see the commitment among the very people we invested so much to take over the enterprise when the time comes began to waiver. They fell into the same traps that we had forewarned them so many times before – either they were obsessed with the life after college; or their priorities changed.


Most of all, the present debaters began to live further and further away from the values we expect of them. We struggled with the senior debaters throughout 2009 and the final straw was when the very captain that we spent so much time coaching and mentoring; abandoned the team in the face of defeat in exchange for personal moments with some personal friends from girl schools; when any captain before or after would have rallied the team and saw them through their lowest points.


(I don’t even have to mention about the length we have to go through with a set of parents who lay blames on everything in this world - and debating is an easy target all the time).


Besides, all the other coaches have left the bench and I am the only one from the 90s generation still around – so it gets lonelier by the day.


So one day I wake up and decided that the wheel must turn. What goes up must come down, a privilege given can be taken back. In the grand scheme of things, when so much has been fed it would begin to become counterproductive on the very values you want to teach them - resourcefulness, courtesy and leadership; because they (the boys and the teachers) can always fall back on the coaches.


I finally realize that we have reached a turning point that the crutches which were once given to the boys to quickly gain their footing, are the very ill that they must rid of if they want to understand what values they need in order to be successful in the future.


Along the way, in their struggle and low points, another bunch of like-minded boys hell bent on claiming their rightful place as the giant of Malaysian debating circle will come along to begin to turn the wheel up again – not unlike the coming of Adlan Benan Omar or the recent generation of debaters in the 2004 – 2008 period. Until such time, MCKK debating teams are doomed to the twilight years unless they buck up and remember what made them great in the first place.


To the junior coaches – we leave behind all that you ever needed in order to maintain the chain, as the chain should never be broken (as you were taught from day one). There is no longer any rope to save nor to restrict you; you shall shape the boys in your image as how we tried to shape you in our image in the last 6 years. Time will tell how you fare; as time too will ultimately judge the people before you in this enterprise.


We can finally take our leave and as we set sail metaphorically to the West; you too must remember this:


“I made a promise Mr Frodo, don’t you ever leave him – and I don’t mean to”.


Good luck, may we stand the test of time!


September 2009