English debate tied with STF and SMSS at the grouping with 2 wins – unfortunately we were out by marks. I reserve my comments on what had happened during the STF debate because it is very trite, but those old boys and parents (especially the family of Dr Sallehin – Skem Class of 01, brother, sister, father and mother) who were there to watch our English team can testify that they were good. Perhaps it didn’t feel as bad because they are all in Form 4 so they will give hell next year.
The BM team went to quarter final – 2 steps away from the final. They were going strong and despite a last minute change of line up (we dropped the Form 5 who had been debating since Form 3 and substituted him with a Form 3. It’s a testimony of how matured budak koleq is nowadays as they can make a collective decision for the greater good of the team although they have to swallow their pride); I have not seen a build-up of momentum this well for quite a while. At the rate we were going, we were almost sure to the final with that kind of performance comparing to the other schools in the last eight.
Unfortunately we were defeated by luck. The topic for quarter final was “Integriti Penentu Kemakmuran dan Keharmonian Negara” and we were the opposition. The fact that all opposition lost on that day speaks volume of the lop-sidedness of the topic – so there was nothing that we could do. One wonders what went through the minds of the committee members responsible for choosing the motions when they selected this topic. The subsequent topic at semi final was not much of an improvement either – “Faktor Ekonomi Penyebab Keciciran Pelajar” (this is the kind of debate where all the speakers should stand up and shout “YAAAAAAA HAAAAAAAAAA”!)
Anyway, what’s important is we bounce back and are assured of the reasons and meanings of what we do.
I have to apologise for taking some time before I say anything to all of you guys, since most of you worked days and nights in preparing the boys for PPM (or UIA for that matter). Not that it was not important to me, I just thought that we all should go back and reflect on our own first, before we gather our thoughts collectively. That’s how it has always been done anyway – we licked our wounds on our own first, then we shall come (albeit limping) together to support each other.
Now that we are at the end of this season, we should look back and ponder. Undoubtedly this season is one of the most intense (if not the most) seasons we had to navigate; what with the plethora of issues springing up out of nowhere all the time. For a start, we had to begin from scratch – it’s a new team for both English and BM. While we had the line up ready for English for the next 2 years, we were still tweaking and testing right till the last minute of PPM for BM; which resulted in a final switch of line up (something which never had happened in our recent history). We had to deal with a less cooperative management and we were saddled with personal issues among the boys. In the end, looking back – I feel glad that we arrive at this point in one piece and are still as determined as ever to continue, given the heart-breaks.
And I don’t want to list down the heart-breaks here. All of you have been with us and you either went through it yourself, or you witnessed the others making selfless sacrifices at a rather young age. You are not human if you don’t feel slighted or disappointed that in spite of all this you feel that you do not see the results (in the sense that we have not won a PPM) or the boys never reciprocate your kindness. And I know you are not an angel too; so it is understandable that we feel de-motivated after each PPM.
Why do we do what we do? Why is it we have to be there when there were times you feel our presence is not even welcomed? Why must we cross the proverbial oceans, or scale the mountains – so that the boys benefit from our presence? Is PPM (or UIA) so prestigious that we are willing to do all this? If the motive is to win PPM (or UIA), have we not failed all this while?
The answers are all within us, because having gone through the mill ourselves we know that we have never done all this to win PPM or UIA. In fact in case you have not realized yet, I can categorically confirm that we are not in the business of winning a debating tournament. Our objectives have always been different from other schools’ or other coaches’. It is partly for this reason, that we so jealously guard the continuity from one generation to another, so that the chain is not broken (so to speak).
What we do goes beyond PPM or UIA. Our results will only show in 5 – 10 years’ time after the boys leave the school. Debates and the tournaments are just processes and tools that we adopt to shape the boys to become people of exceptional qualities who will make a difference in their own spheres of influence one day. Our job is to pick the raw talents from the four corners of Malaysia that MCKK is being provided with each year; polish them and teach them the ways of the world so that for every opportunity we were denied, they will have access to. For every mistake that we committed, they will avoid. For every failure we encountered, they will overcome. For all the things we wanted to do but could not, they will succeed. The saying has been repeated far too often that it is becoming very trite, but it is necessary to remember why we do what we do lest we lose sight of the big picture.
We were brought up to serve so the best way to live our life, truest to what Malay College has stood up for a century is to continue to serve. For the time being, you are being trained to serve your fellow junior debaters so that you appreciate the meaning of loyalty, leadership, sacrifices and the value of service. By the time you are done with your stint here, you would have graduated to a bigger arena and our hope is you will continue to serve – the same way you were taught to serve here to carry out the oath you take each year.
By the time you reach our age, you should have become successful in your career yet your heart will yearn for a fulfillment – because you were taught to fear mediocrity and a successful person without a service to the community he is a part of, is a mediocre person. That fear of mediocrity will always jerk you out of your complacency; push you to make unconventional decisions and eventually make you become unpredictable – all these essentials will set you apart from your peers. In the process, you will always be ahead of others in whatever you do that by the time we gather for our annual event, say in 2020 onwards, you shall look around and realize what an exclusive club it has been.
That’s the business we are in and we have our own ways of doing it – regardless of whether we win PPM or not. As I have always made known to you guys my opinion that MCKK should not run helter skelter trying to find a perfect prescription when the perfect prescription has been there all along – we too should not discard the right thing that we have done all along just because we fail to win PPM year in and year out; because we are in it for a different reason. Our prescription is meant for life, not to win PPM.
So while we should reflect what went wrong and how we want to improve things, we should not question the motive of what we do (only Mus’aab is allowed to question that ha ha). We should continue to do what we do best (and we all know what we do best) and pray that one day we shall get the bonus (i.e. winning debating tournaments). We should continue to take interest in the boys and take pride when they achieve the turnaround we expect of them.
What is a better prize than to see Adam shouting “bitch” at eD, signaling that after 3 years he has finally come of age and is matured enough not to prejudge or preclude. I asked him about certain people he wasn’t comfortable with initially and his answer was “well we are all different, but once we accept them as what they are, you’ll appreciate what they do”. Look back and remember how he was and look at him now – it is an achievement that no PPM trophy can ever match.
Look at Mas and take comfort that yet again, we may produce another Headboy and Carey Award winner from among their midst. Since 2004 until 2009, there have only been 3 MCKK boys awarded a full SBP colour for their outstanding achievement – 2 out of 3 are debaters; though they did not win PPM.
We shall be judged by how many of them obtain scholarships, what they become when they graduate in 8 years’ time and how they live their life afterwards. We shall continue to worry and agonise when they do not behave the way they are taught even if they are the best debater or the most popular boy at PPM – because our job is to shape their characters; not just to teach them to debate.
And we shall come together for a retreat each year – to reflect on the service we have provided for the last one year regardless of what other people think of it. This year, we shall wait for Bucks to come back from France and we shall visit Aslam in Cameron for a weekend – because we were brought up to provide the support system for others; that is why we are a lot stronger than others (with or without the PPM). If you need a friendly or elderly advice, Abang Dany, Abang Rizal and myself are always around to give a helping hand and the pool of the “Yodas” (the old fart who are still around) will grow bigger by each year.
One day, you will get an email from one of your boys as I did mine in 2007 (at the time when I was questioning whether I was being sucked into a black hole and I was hitting a dead wall trying to reform Aqwa) and at that moment, you will understand why it has been worth every single penny and every single minute.
Because when we shoot our arrows, they will fly high and vanquish the enemies. We shall pick them up at the end of their journey still intact, ready for the next adventure!
Let’s take a step back and count our blessing that we are a part of this!
Dear abg XX,
i wanna type out nice consoling words but a noisy IT lab doesnt seem to give d rite ambiance.nevertheless, i shall do my best to give my 2 cents worth.
how to change aqwa? i think dat dat was d question dat plagued u all dis while. u asked masa kat benteng on d weeknd we came back to koleq for d dinner n training;how to change aqwa sedangkn u are able to change ppl in ur office! i dont pretend to know a lot but i think dat aqwa cannot b changed at d moment. even by u. not so much bcoz of d wrong approaches or d lack of attention but bcoz of hormones. i think that even though u saw aqwa as a matured person for his age, he is still 15.
sum ppl can change for d better at their teen years but 15 is still very young. nab changed at f5 n i changed at around d same time frm d horrible boy i was at f4. a typical boy his age mmg x mkn nasihat n will x change unless they themselvs wanna change.
n sumtimes its d experiences that we go through that changes us. nab became so much more mature i think partially bcoz all d advice u gave suddenly made sense. i think i changed mostly stemming frm sherry's outburst to me calling arrogant n self-centered. perhaps more time is needed for aqwa to experience his own "life-changing" event to b able to bcome a better person.we coaches shud b patient to wait for dat moment to come.n perhaps dat moment will never come while we coach him.den perhaps finally we give up on him.
but u shud take solace, tho u probably already know dis, dat altho aqwa might not change,so many other boys turned out to b so much better than they wud've had u not came into their lives. u wont hear me say this (just like u will never announce love for us in anything other den ur letters or emails) but i owe so much to u for who i've become.
dats not saying much considering dat i'm only an a-levels student but i dont think i'll b who i am had i not joined debate n leant frm u as a coach n mentor.n i'm sure dat all d other debaters of my generation feel that way.all that u've done falls short only of that of a father and there's no possible way dat we cud ever do enuf to repay u.
in d end aqwa is only one boy n altho he might hav made an impact to u,he's still one debater frm d hundreds dat mckk hav ever produced n might probably mean nothing in d course of time.
let him b abg xx. u urself noe very well dat d contributions made by all d other boys exceed any importance of aqwa by leaps n bounds.
u might leave by next year n we'll still b around to coach these kids albeit wif a strict budget n lots of constraints. we might not b able to change aqwa either but hopefully we'll b able to change so many others in d same way u did.
aqwa is not a living proof of ur inabilty to inspire n change. again,he is jz one boy.
take pride in all d other debaters that u produced. those are living proofs of ur ability to inspire n change.
i hav no idea wat else to say. i hope i conveyed it nicely.