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.

  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)”:


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).

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:

Mohd Shah
-5 %

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!!!!!

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).

Ditto – presumably Idzam will organise he he. Date and details will be announced later.

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)

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”.

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.


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
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.


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


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.