Saturday, January 31, 2009

Ada Apa Dengan KPKM

I am sitting in my new office with a much better view than the one before (or so I thought). My staff outside are plotting to kill me for the hell they have been through in the last few months (but they won’t do it ha ha because they know it’s a case of “saya yang menurut perintah"). The amount of unsolved mysteries and masalah dunia piling on my desk can literally crush me.

Outside our little world, the real world is crumbling down. The dynamics of power in Malaysia is too fluid that even I sometimes begin to wonder what will be the long term effects. The question of ethics of party hopping will haunt this country for a while. Erdogan stormed out of the Davos Forum; disgusted that despite the human sufferings the world at large is still sympathetic with the oppressors. The economic reports filling my mailbox every day are getting very trite – it’s a continuation of one gloomy story after another. As more and more central banks in the world lose the effective influence over the fiscal policy, the backlash to the domestic job market is beginning to show its ugly head. It is as if the shadow of Sauron is slowly creeping to Middle-Earth.

In spite of all this, the one thing that attracts my interest more (than all these complicated issues that could have excited many bloggers out there – but then I don’t even consider myself a blogger, let alone someone with a brain worth sharing ha ha) is not from Davos or Washington, Gaza or Putrajaya.

It’s from the tiny little dead town called Kuala Kangsar – and the issue is even pettier and tinier: the election for the Students Union (ha ha ha how petty we can be these days, but ignorance is a bliss!)

I came across this posting.

The excerpt is here (in case you are too lazy to click and read):

H. Ross Perot once said," that inventories can be managed, but people must be led."

Alhamdulillah, In the name of Allah the Almighty God, with his blessings, a new president of Malay College Student Union has been selected. The official announcement was made this morning by the Vice Principal of Student Affairs Mr Fairuz Bin Leman.Here's the positions that have been filled in:

President:Aiman Haziq Bin Zainuddin

Vice-President I:Muhammad Aqwa Aliff Bin

Vice-President II:Amirul Ariff Bin Sazali

The 3 positions were given to us with the power of the Mr. Principal himself. He gave us the mandate to lead one of the highest organization in college. The appointment was a legal one as it is stated in the constitution of Malay College Student Union that the principal has the power to appoint any excos if the situation is out of control.

As i was the only exco who won the last election ( i was the only f4 who won a seat last year. The other seats were filled by last year's f5 who had left the college), i am the most eligible to be the new president.As the new president, i will try to improve things in college without interfering the school rules. I will try my utmost best to ensure the welfare of the people of the east and west will be taken care under me.Insya Allah, the positions which are still empty will be filled soon. The election will take place on the 27th of Feb. Good Luck to those who will join the election!

"Fiat Sapienta Virtus"

May the force be with you.

What do you think?

I am quite sentimental about KPKM (Kesatuan Pelajar Kolej Melayu).

First, because I devoted a good part of my 5 years in MCKK for KPKM – from the time as a Junior KPKM EXCO, to my time as a crew member of Warta KPKM and its Chief Editor; and finally as the President in 1994.

Second (and most importantly), because I learnt so much from the politicking and maneuvering involved in KPKM that much of the bull-shitting skills that I have now (and I bull-shit a lot), originate from the days of KPKM. By the time we left the school, we were quite good at the art of politics, because the demand to survive as a popular KPKM EXCO requires you to manage different parties so adroitly that without the right people’s skills, you would have been miserable.

KPKM taught me the magic of compromise and swallowing our pride. KPKM convinced me (at the age of 16) that at the end of the day, the electorates always go for “results” – whatever they think of you, they will try to balance between those who they like, with those who they think can deliver the job. KPKM sealed my faith in the wisdom and foolhardiness of the electorates – and it is the fusion of their wisdom and foolhardiness; when met with the right response and leadership by the leaders they elect – that will create an everlasting legacy to an organization. That is why electorates and the leaders they choose come in pair; their destinies are intertwined – or to put it more crudely “we always deserve the leaders we have, because they are a reflection of our society”.

The biggest impact that KPKM had on my upbringing is the notion of fairness that we must uphold in everything we do. Of all the things I learnt in that stinky place called MCKK, fairness and justice are the two values that I think define MCKK most. MCKK operates on fairness and natural justice (or at least used to). There were many times in my junior years that I felt I (or my batch) was not treated fairly that I vowed when it would be my time to call the shot, I would try my best to be fair.

Fair to the teachers who had to tolerate our antics. Fair to my batchmates who had to be boys (and therefore they needed to sneak out, to smoke, to play, to have fun and to be defended when they were right). Fair to my juniors who deserved an equal share of say just like anyone else, as long as they know their place. Fair to the workers who long had been ignored and were as part of us as any one of the teachers.

I would like to think that we had always tried to be fair from day 1.

There was a time in the first few weeks of 1994 that things were about to explode. I was not the anointed leader of the under-achieving bunch – the President of the batch was Toy, in fact I was 3rd in the official hierarchy. But as little politicians and little Napoleons, we all had our own group of followers – in those days, I was more of Muhyiddin than Najib (ha ha). I would have stood regardless of whether the other person backed down or not – and though I was quite sure I would win, I would have dragged the whole school in my path. It would have divided the school till the end, with two opposing factions always at loggerheads with each other (we were not that smart if you remember, so the only thing we excel is to be at each other’s throat ha ha).

But it is the fair-mindedness and maturity of the other two people higher in the hierarchy, who made way for me which had saved the day. KPKM elections put them on the spot – in retrospect it was as if they had to choose between what could be construed as our respective personal interest versus MCKK’s interest. Both of them made the decision in a split second that it was in MCKK’s interest for me to stand as President, Toy as Deputy President and Amoeba as the Secretary General.

That was the value of KPKM election back then – I don’t think it was exaggerating to say that it separates the men from the boys. I had never forgotten the graciousness and gentleman manner that we concluded the “negotiation” for the EXCO seats. Each faction, each group was represented and given a seat, with the most qualified person nominated from each faction to occupy the secretariat that matched their capabilities. Therefore we had a fair representation of all the jungle dwellers – the ones hanging from the trees: Toy (Deputy President) and Cop (Penerangan), the ones barking and guarding the farm: Mpro (Treasurer), Che Mad (Kebajikan) and Hairul (Sukan), the centre-left ghimau hutan: Amoeba (Secretary) and Capoe (Asrama), the centre-right kucing hutan (both ghimau and kucing hutan represent the silent majority): myself (President), KNO (Auditor), Pak Tuan (Ekonomi) and Chamat (Penerbitan). I was very proud of that grand alliance and we have been loyal to that grand alliance of jungle dwellers to this very day.

The reason I cite all this boring recollection is not for pompousness or unnecessary reminiscence down the memory lane.

I wonder whether we understand the value and function of KPKM to the character building and development of MCKK boys. KPKM is the epicenter of the political culture that MCKK boys are exposed to from the very beginning of their time there. Tampering with KPKM’s due process is inadvertently tampering with the conducive environment that had contributed to MCKK’s politically-oriented upbringing all this while.

The boys need to experiment with democracy.

During our time, the outgoing EXCOs were grilled for the little things that they were supposedly accountable to. The toughest question which I could not answer on stage, as a BRU President during the AGM, was when Madad (who had planned all along to make fun of me ha ha, not enough of doing that in the class) nonchalantly went to ask the question:

“Berapa banyak sumbangan derma telah dikutip dalam tabung di surau dan bagaimana ia telah dibelanjakan.”

(I had no clue and was quite sure Gadap used it as a capital for his nasi goreng order business).

Through KPKM, when it was allowed to operate on its own devices, budak koleq would have tasted what it feels to be accountable to your electorates. They would have been pressed to the wall to make difficult choices. And because they make difficult choices, they become men – not boys.

For them to operate on their own devices, they must be allowed to make mistakes – because only from mistakes they can learn.

The best part of my years in MCKK was because I was allowed to explore. I explored many things – many were wrong things, some were good; but it allowed me to discover and understand myself, the people around me and my surrounding. With this understanding came empathy and a strong sense of justice and fairness (the last two are the best thing that MCKK can give to its students, on top of the academic results). That sense of justice and fairness had brought me (and some others) to many adventures; including been smuggled in and out of the country because our passports were blacklisted – but such was the impact of what KPKM could have mould you into.

It is ironic that we spend so much time trying to decide for others. The politicians crack their head trying to decide for us. The parents assume everything and decide for their children. Administrators choose to see everything from their perspective and enforce their views on the people they care for/administer.

I had a mock debate with the present MCKK team about two weeks ago. The topic was very apt (given the development in MCKK ha ha) – “This House Will Lower the Voting Age to 16 Years Old”. There were strong arguments that adolescents were not matured to decide for themselves; that they would choose the wrong candidates.

My first speaker, Sdr Rashad (Class of 2008) asked a very pertinent question that should be echoed all the way to Putrajaya, in Dewan Rakyat and in Hargreaves Hall: “who are we to decide whether the choices that the electorates make are right or wrong?”

I had also once written about 5 years ago on the importance of legitimacy in MCKK’s leadership culture. MCKK boys are trained to give the respect only when it has been earned hence the need to have student leaders with the right legitimacy.

There’s a lot to ponder. Sometimes I really feel that the time of the Elves has really passed – what has befallen our once globally admired Judiciary has permeated in other aspects of our nationhood too.

And to the newly anointed President of the Union in MCKK Sdr Aiman Haziq – my best of luck to you and may you do justice to the office that you occupy, for it is steeped in tradition all these years.

If you want to have a glimpse of what KPKM was not too long ago, maybe this short report can give you some ideas - but we did run most of the things in the school back then on our own (and the teachers trusted us enough back then!).

ps: For all the sentimentality about KPKM - I am surprised that KPKM actually has a constitution! I have never seen it in my lifetime!


  1. Anonymous12:35 AM

    Noni, the fearsome leader. But wonder what wrong things did u explored back then? ;)

  2. ha ha i shall leave the juicy parts out of public domain.

    (no, i didn't have an affair with the teachers. i tried but the pretty teacher was not interested)

  3. Anonymous12:56 AM

    i know what you did....

  4. abang berdarah manis9:00 AM

    Anonymous yang pertama,

    kenalkan lah dirimu. marilah kita berkenalan. aku suka jaipong, kamu suka apa ya???

    tapi ku bukan superstar, ku bukan saudagar!!!

    Anonymous yang kedua,

    dengan kamu aku tak mau berkenalan.Pasti...

  5. Bukan krew warta10:02 AM

    I peeked at the kid's site. kesian jugak dia kena hantam dalam comments.

  6. anonymous ketiga10:44 AM

    aku rasa anonymous pertama memang sah KD. pi check kat facebook dia, dah siap2 komen pasal benda ni.

    aku rasa kita kena panggil AJK Keselamatan Internet sekali lg.

    anonymous kedua pun aku tak nak kenal.

  7. anonymous keempat11:34 AM

    anonymous ketiga,

    tapi KD tak add aku as friend dalam facebooknya.

    Aku tak ganteng yekkk?

    KD, tolong aaaaaa - add la aku as ur FB friend...tolong aaaaa...

  8. Mcm sekolah rendah je. Tak fearsome leader la camni. ni 1st time ke dah byk kali ?

  9. ha ha selamba perli aku. kita fearsome masa cari spare change kt koridor nak beli cempedak goreng uncle david je ha ha

    it's been like this for a few years kot. pres kpkm not elected. sapa yg dpt jawatan tertinggi masa f4, naik f5 automatic jd pres.

    ni ala2 umno skit la, dia bagi power to the incumbents ha ha.

  10. itu fearfactor tu... kena redah bawah spender basah2 nak cari pitih.

  11. ha ha spender basah tu x pe lagi, bila hidden bawah spender2 kotor yg dh ada fungus and kaler hitam2 tu.... lagi fear factor.