Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Reunion: "Usrah vs Wayang" 2013

Back in Prep School, in the early days of our batch, dissatisfaction fermented and anger was brewing among the younglings.

The source of the disquiet (which was fast becoming a pent up frustration that may explode into full blown rebellion) was the prefect's ruling that we could not watch the fortnightly movie screened on Saturday night at Hargreaves Hall.

Our prefects were puritanical. They were convinced that on their shoulders rest the heavy responsibilities of turning us to become men of steel who would one day save this country from the menacing Chinese (hence the "Anak kecil main api" that we have to sing every other night during the hated fire drills).

So they set out to shield us from any elements or influence that can spoil us and made us weak.

Fortnightly movie was one of the biggest evils in MCKK those days (the fact that it is an all boys school with no risk of a boy-girl couple fondling in the dark, continue to bemuse me till this day).

So every Saturday, when other batches went to have lighter moments at Hargreaves Hall, we had to go to surau for usrah with the prefects. Then, we had to go to our classroom and could only watch forlornly from afar the Hargreaves Hall. Every now and then the laughter or cheers emanating from the hall brewed more frustration.

Eventually, boys began to whisper that since we had paid the movie fees (each student has to pay an annual fee of RM20 for the movies), we were entitled to watch it regardless of what the prefects thought was right for our upbringing.

This disquiet exploded into full proposition that came to the prefect's knowledge.

So the day of reckoning came - one Saturday, after Maghrib prayers, we were to ask to choose whether we would like to watch the movie or join the usrah that would still go ahead.

It was the first great schism of the batch (ha ha) - eventually the split was almost even. About 50 per cent of us (with me being one of the strongest proponents of the right to watch move, hence I was among the first to line up) chose to exercise our movie right, while the other half chose to remain loyal and respectful of the prefects.

I was very happy that night thinking that we finally exerted our rights, so off we went to the Hargreaves Hall.

Instead of A-grade (or even B-grade) Hollywood movie that we thought we would be watching, the movie screened that night was Khartoum produced in the 60s. I also noticed that the hall was very empty with only Form 1 and Form 2 coming to watch, the seniors chose to go to classroom instead.

At that time, I knew the prefects had taken us for a ride. The decision to so call allow us to exercise our right was a charade, intended to teach us a lesson and make us feel bad. They knew all along that it was Khartoum on the menu that night.

We went back dejectedly. After fighting hard for a month to exercise our right to watch movies that we had paid, we only managed to watch Khartoum (which only Sheppe seemed to enjoy).

But the dejection was only the beginning of more trouble to come.

That night, the bell rang at 2 o'clock in the morning and so the fire drill began. The dejection was quickly surpassed by the desperate plea to relax the muscle and go back to bed after 2-3 hours being drilled in the morning with exercises - push ups, half way ups, running, raising our legs half way while we were on our back etc.

Till this day, the subject of Khartoum and the right to watch movie remains a spark for laughter among us.

To honour that, the theme for 2013's reunion is:


The reunion shall begin with tahlil and usrah at a nearby mosque, after which we will convene at my office. Instead of Khartoum, we shall screen the 18-rated Ted (although most people thought that it is a care bear type of movie, so there was an initial protest requesting a different 18-rated movie).

What happen after 12 midnight is still kept close, we may repeat a drill - although the only muscle involved this time around will be the vocal chord muscle ha3.

Welcome 2013, being old doesn't have to feel bad :-)


Goodbye 2012

This must have been the longest hiatus between one post and another. A few years back, I was adamant (and was very optimistic) that come what may, the blogging here will continue. It records the tapestry of friendship that we started a long time ago in MCKK.

(Well, that was a few years ago and many things have changed).

Strange enough, I cannot list down what is so monumental about Mentula Ingens in 2012.

I notice our batch members have become so vocal in their cynicism of a small faction of old boys in the MCOBA Net. Understandably so, given the frustration of trying to reason out with people who are so set in their own ways (and who benefit a lot from the current regime, I must say ;-). That's why it is must rule not to engage with people who will not listen to reason or argument.

Maybe that's also the reason why Gadap (better known as AU - Abu Usama) always skillfully cut short any heated arguments with references to Kota Damansara, amoi and pretty girls (or occasionally promises of contracts from Umno!). That seems to work well so far.

I notice Sumali's wedding could have been the only wedding of batch members this year. We can continue to wait for Fadli's wedding of the century, but that is fast becoming a BN style "Janji Ditepati".

Apart from that, I can't recall anything substantive or monumental about MCKK this year.

MCKK was ranked 2nd in terms of academic achievement in the recently announced PMR 2012, but I guess that no longer shocks or excites the crowd considering Mr Anand had managed to turn around the declining results ever since he took over in July 2010.

I had a chat with one of the hockey boys I used to manage through whatsapp last night. Inevitably, our chat ventures to Mr Anand and how the school had been under him.

I was shocked that the boy was very critical of Mr Anand and spoke favourably (even to the point of cherishing) of his predecessor (He Who Shall Not Be Named. On second thought, who cares - his name is Rauhi). As I began to peel the reasons behind the negative perception of Mr Anand layer by layer, I realised how good Rauhi had been as a teacher-politician.

There are many instances where the boy (and presumably the same feeling permeates through his batch) dislikes certain things that happened in koleq, or disapprove certain teachers for their bad performance, but Mr Anand gets all the blame.

I give you a few examples.

The hockey team despises Safaliza for her whole-hearted attempt to sabotage the team. When the boys organised friendly games, she would withhold permission until last minute and then zappp she would tell the boys the school did not permit it.

The boys are very critical of Fairuz Leman and his ability to head the IB. In fact, that was among the first questions asked to me: "if Mr Anand is so good, why did he appoint Fairuz Leman to head IB because clearly, someone else can do a better job?"

It took a while to explain to the boy that all had taken place under the instruction or nod of approval from Rauhi. In fact, these teachers who were in his good books ran amok in the school bullying anything or anyone they considered against Rauhi.

But the skill with which Rauhi deflected everything and put the blame (or maybe the work of his remaining minions in MCKK) on Mr Anand, even on the former's key decisions (e.g. appointment of Fairuz Leman as head of IB) - is a classic example of how school managers in Malaysia nowadays are more skillful at office politics than running an education institution.

That said, with a benefit of hindsight, our talk about what was during Rauhi's reign is akin to talks at Hogwarth during Voldermort's reign - so quite fitting the He Who Shall Not Be Named label accorded to Rauhi.

Apart from that, 2012 remains sombre. Toje's passing away was a rude shock. He was the first one to have left us in the last 10 years. Apart from Allahyarham Kiwi, we have not heard of any personal calamity. I pity Awie most as the sadness and feeling of loss must have been worst for him, as Toje was the only batchmate in Terengganu all this while.

If any, 2012 gives a glimpse of what may become if we don't pull our act together and re-forge the closeness which have defined the last 20 years.

Out of that realisation, we shall embrace 2013 with "Usrah vs Wayang Reunion" on 4th January 2013. It has been ages since we have a reunion :-) so this one hopefully will be a blast :-)  

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Klip Raya 1433H dari Mentula Ingens

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri kepada semua, maaf zahir (batin tak de, itu private matters dengan Bobo saja).

Anak Pyan selalu komplen batch tak tukar klip raya, so aku cepat-cepat buat yang sempoi tahun ni.

Kalau tengok klip raya over the years, nampak sangat efforts dah gone down the drain dari tahun 2009 sampai 2012.

Tahun 2009 - 2010 (klip sama tak tukar ha2):

Tahun 2011 (at least aku rajin lagi la cari photos and put them together):

Tahun 2012 (ha3 ambik je clip video tah mana2, claim tu bowling aidilfitri, letak lagu, almost zero effort):

Semoga anak Pyan puas hati dapat tengok klip lagu raya yang baru ha3.

ps: Aku rasa nak mula berkempen untuk jadi president Batch, sebab aku masih lagi mengekalkan semangat You Keng Kaung Ong Me.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Ucapan Raya Warta KPKM Syawal 1433


Bersempena dengan hari besar Aildilfitri yang akan tiba tidak lama lagi, maka aku pun (ala-ala melepaskan batuk di lif - Nota 1) buatlah ucapan raya Warta KPKM edisi tahun ini.

Bersesuaian dengan tema Janji Ditepati seperti tema Hari Kebangsaan tahun ini, kita hanya mensasarkan 100 ucapan sahaja (sebab semua target 500 ucapan tahun-tahun lepas tidak ditepati).

Gambar2 Sahur 1Mentula (SAH1M) ada di sini, kehadiran 48 orang tapi ramai yang beransur-ansur pulang untuk beribadah kecuali mereka yang datang lambat (macam aku), atau mereka yang datang tunjuk muka, pergi joli katak dan datang balik ambik gambar untuk alibi (macam Hazran). Yang lain memang tak nak balik dan tak qiamullail malam tu, sebab tu Gadap marah.

Aku mulakan ucapan Warta KPKM Syawal 1433H:

Drp : Mentula Besar
Kpd : MIs
Ucapan : Kenang daku dalam doamu, jaga Bobo, Barieng & Birdie (BBB) baik-baik (BBB-BB) sepeninggalanku.

Sila sambung untuk cukupkan 100 ucapan. Tradition ni woi, tradition. Awak kena unite!

Friday, July 27, 2012

An Operation

Stuck in airplane with no uncertainty whether it will take off. I am not even sure whether I want it to take off because it has been having technical problems. Anyway, this is just to record that A went throught the operation just fine. I sounded horrible when he described it to me last week, but also sounded as if he looked forward to it. A will be discharged from ICU tomorrow, so hopefully on his way to full recovery. Allah is the most merciful.

Friday, July 20, 2012

An Encounter

This week has been a tracing of the passing years that went missing.

I was quite shocked (and alarmed) when I saw 'A's photo in one of the batch's meating (for durian no less). Shocked because it came unannounced, alarmed because I thought a certain earth shattering event could have happened in the batch that had escaped my radar (and that was just unacceptable, to a control freak).

Weeks passed on and busy with all the other things that take too much of my time (unnecessarily and unproductively, I may say!), it slipped my mind again. This is akin to Saruman's stirring troubles in the wood or the Nazgul's venturing out beyond Mordor that had escaped the attention of every Elf there was (OK, a bit of exaggeration but I am really struggling with any write up lately).

Anyway, one fine day (because I was at home watching TV with the other half on a quiet and airy Sunday, that's a treasure in my dictionary) I got an SMS from Fadli of A's impending operation to remove a tumour embedded deeply below his brain.

I have to admit I went instantaneously into a panic mode. Previously, I did not handle well the death of the two people who meant a lot to me; so while A has been a distant memory of the lost years, he was extremely fundamental to everything I held dear when I was a teenager. Instantaneously too, I felt I had abandoned him in times when he needed support, if only I persisted a bit more it could have been different.

So I asked for A's cell no from Fadli and sent him a long SMS. I waited for an hour and no reply, so I slid further into the panic mode. A could have decided not to see anyone, in the same way arwah Ben cut himself off the world in his final weeks, contemplating of the life that he had had (or so I told myself).

I readied myself for the worst disappointment and called A.

It was exactly the same voice, exactly the same manner of speaking, exactly the same feeble attempt to make jokes that had endeared him to me almost 20 years ago. He never changed a bit and he had always managed to take the lighter side of life - in fact when we were trying to set the lunch appointment to catch up after almost 17 years, I told him he should decide the time and place since I am unemployed so I have a plenty of time to go anywhere. As a matter of reflex, he said "take it from me, it can get boring after some years" ha ha.

We met the next day.

He must have been amused looking at how fat I am and how he had kept exactly the same size, with the same hairstyle (plus the uban kah3) while I am barely keeping whatever I have left up there.

And then he explained, going from A to Z. There were times when I interjected and derailed the conversation from the meticulous chronological explanation that he had set to complete. Each time, he would tell me that he had to go through all so that I could get the full understanding (his subtle way of telling me off to keep focus on the discussion).

And so I listened.

What amazed me was not really that we could be sitting as if nothing had happened for the last 20 years and talked as if we were still the 17 year old we were (of course, we sound a lot more complicated and miserable nowadays), it was the confirmation that I had liked and loved the chap since day 1 he came to MCKK and nothing had changed a bit despite the 20-year gap in between us.

It amazed me that he is exactly the same methodical person that sweated it out when our rekacipta projek did not work at all because the circuit must have been wired wrongly (we were doing some kind of electronic railing and to be frank, Pejal failed big time as the mechanical engineer because it was his mechanical bit that did not work. Fadli did not do too badly putting up pretty face all the time, or so he thought). So methodical that he still is, when we were discussing about what lies ahead for him after the operation, he still sees things from a checklist viewpoint.

I could have soured his view of the world a bit with my cynicism of the society, to which he retorted of the difficulty to engage in a conversation when he is so full of energy and positive outlook about life and I am full of negativity and cynicism.

The truth is, he has always been full of energy and looked positively at any encumbrances in life. It is the innocence of a can-do attitude that would have made A the darling of anyone who became close to him.

And I am glad he never changed a bit and he persevered when everything in this world (including me) looked the other way around. He believed that he was right and though it may took a bit longer to come to a closure, he did prove that he was right.

I feel finally I made peace after all with every important character in Dorm 21 of the 1993 - 1994 period who had coloured my life profoundly.

In 1997 I wrote to Mior and we had truthful exchanges. I visited Mior in Sydney last year and he remained one of the most important characters of my teenage life whom I can still count on until today (not to mention that we share so many common grounds in our views about life and society).

I made peace with Auzir a long time ago and remain on good terms until today. I could have written a lot more but his wife reads this blog (ha ha) so I shall not risk incriminating him with the misdeed of the yesteryears.

And now I found closure with A.

I pray for the best of health and for the best things in this life and hereafter for him. I don't think we can make up for the loss of the 20 years (what more with my own fate always hanging in an unfair balance), but I am at peace knowing that the one person whom I had expected to reach the pinnacle of success when we were in MCKK, is finally on the way to make the best of the time given to him.

As we left (I get a parking fine for parking illegally, again), he jokingly said "I wanted to say please stay out of trouble, but then...." and he walked away in a grin.

That is A whom I know from those years and I am so glad that he is back.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


I first went to PPM in 1991 when I was in Form 2. It felt ages ago. It was in fact the most enjoyable PPM of all the 10 PPMs I attended (either as a participant or as a coach) because we crashed early, so I had all the time to make friends.

By 1991, MCKK had not won PPM for 11 consecutive years. The last time we won was in 1980 led by Dato' Saifuddin Abdullah. He was the only PPM best speaker from MCKK at that time, so the near mythical status was difficult to challenge.

Against all odds, we won in 1992. In fact, we won again in 1993 this time more convincingly and hands down. As it turned out, the 90s proved to be the most successful PPM forays for MCKK, with only 2 years that we did not make it to the final of either category.

The record speaks for itself:

1990: English final
1991: English final/best speaker
1992: BM won/best speaker
1993: BM won/best speaker
1996: BM final
1997: English final
1998: BM final/best speaker
1999: BM won/best sepaker
2000: BM final

This year marks the longest time in the PPM period that MCKK did not win. There was a gap of 11 years (1980 to 1991) before we won it in 1992. The long years catapulted a near frenzy celebration when we were declared the winner in Dewan Muktamar in 1992.

This year, it has been 12 years since we last won the trophy (1999 to 2011).

I had quit the coaching since 2009 after 6 years looking after both teams. We had ups and downs. Although we did not win PPM, but MCKK created a near unbeatable record by going to the final of Inter-school Debating Championship (the largest debating tournament) 5 years in a row in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008.

But every debater dream is to win PPM. I wish we can end this dearth of PPM win sooner rather than later.

Someone asks me why we didn't win in spite of the efforts, training etc.

Looking back, I think winning PPM is not just about superior knowledge, practice and debating skills. It took a lot more than that - it needs everything with the team to go well, from the teachers, to the coaches, to the HM and the debaters.

Failure to recognise this, means a constant repeat of failures at PPM each year.

One day, we may see a debater who rise above everything to lead the team to win PPM. I believe whoever that person is, is destined for greater things because he will have a lot on his plate to navigate.

Until then, good luck :-)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Scare of A Lifetime

Rashad Class of 2008 alerted me that this blog has been deleted.

He asked whether I intentionally deleted the blog or it was a sabotage, since my laptop, Gmail etc has been a victim of hacking for the last one month (well, not surprising with the kind of things I do nowadays).

Luckily, I guess it was a result of the stepped up security that it messed a lot of things given how inter-connected internet applications are.

So here I am at 439 am feeling a great sigh of relief despite the bulging eye balls that desperately need a short nap.

But at least volumes of writings and memories of the last 8 years will not go to waste as I really want this blog to hit 10 years in 2014!

Back in business!

Monday, March 05, 2012

There and Back Again

We'll do it all
On our own

We don't need
Or anyone

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me
And just forget the world?

Forget what we're told
Before we get too old
Show me a garden
That's bursting into life

All that I am
All that I ever was
Is here in your perfect eyes
They're all I can see

I don't know where
Confused about how as well
Just know that these things
Will never change for us at all

A New Spring?

And so it ended. We would not make it to the national championship in STF this year although by all accounts, many would have agreed grudgingly that we deserved the spot most judging by how we have played.

I am not usually keen to talk about luck. I don't believe that much in luck, I certainly don't put my faith in luck. But those who were there watching the semi-final at which we crashed, would have inclined to agree that luck was certainly not on our side even if you are not a firm believer in such a thing.

We were up against Sekolah Menengah Sains Mohamad Jiwa (to whom a credit is due, because their Alumni was the pioneer of this tournament) in the semi final, after a rather slow start at the grouping.

We drew both with STSSS (1-1) and SAINA (0-0). The first game was disastrous, luckily by the second game the boys were more composed and began to dictate the game.

They thought their biggest fear was against STAR in the quarter final. They played well and scored first - always elusive with previous teams. STAR equalised during a short moment of confusion when the ball had hit a leg in the D and the boys were expecting a whistle; but the game continued. Anyway, what was important they did beat STAR - which I kept telling them was what would have been expected of them, since STAR had never once beaten koleq on the hockey field since I followed the team in 2007 (except last year when we lost by one goal during penalty stroke).

They did continue the tempo during the semi final against MdJiwa. They played well, kept the pressure, scored first before a lull in defence allowed an easy goal by MdJiwa. They had many opportunities which could have ended the game but eventually it dragged to sudden death and penalty stroke.

By then it boiled down to luck.

Even so, the boys actually had a good start all along. Twice they were leading during the penalty stroke when Megat (the keeper) saved. In fact Megat played so well that we just had to reward him cash on the spot (ha ha).

In the end, they still lost 1-0 by penalty stroke.

They went on to play for the 3rd and 4th placing, played extremely well and defeated SMSAH 4-0. But by then, they would not have qualified for the national level.

How do you make sense of everything, when you feel they truly deserve to be in the national tournament?

Well, I have always believed that life is fair. If you don't win, that's because some other teams deserve to win. They may not be the best team to our naked eyes, but there are other things hidden from us that make them more deserving to win.

They may have trained much more than our boys. The school could have put all that they have for this. They may be more experienced and more determined - and a plethora of other reasons.

But what is important is for the boys to also realise that for every one door that closes, one more will open. Sometimes we don't get what we want now because something bigger is waiting.

So the only option they have now is to press ahead with more consistent training.

And this is where they will fail without the proper support from the adults. Mr Thaman and Mr Pala had drawn up a good training schedule, consisting of 3 days training on the turf, 2 days in the gym and another 2 on the field. We have committed to book the turf and pay, as well as arranging regular friendlies because frankly speaking, what the boys require most is match exposures (sounds familiar ha ha).

I came back from KK without a voice (which will definitely spell trouble because I have one full month of speaking engagements that I have to honour), fully drained and in deep withdrawal syndrome (because I don't want to leave the surreal world of school's hockey team and back to the real world).

But certain things about Mighty Ducks that never change.

First, it is never about hockey. Looking at Mr Thaman and Mr Pala talking to the boys, telling their hopes and asking the boys to play one beautiful game for them will melt anyone's heart. It is the most beautiful story that can be told - stuff that would have made it to big cinema screen if anyone dares to fund it.

Mighty Ducks has always been about our collective stories, from different backgrounds and worldly worries; weaved together into one stream of endless tales of love and selflessness. It is about the journey to teach a group of young, gullible boys about the way of the world; so that where we have erred, they will not and where we have failed, they will succeed.

I told them that my objective is very simple. I want to teach them the pride and joy of being an MCKK boy by experiencing the feeling when they walk into a hockey pitch - the fear evoked in their opponents, the respect they earn from others, the confidence which they carry.

I want them to feel what I felt at their age; when I grew up feeling I could change the world if only I put my mind to it (the fact that I didn't is something else altogether). I want them to understand the meaning of undying loyalty to a cause and to develop resourcefulness to convert that loyalty to a result.

Because once they understand the meaning of all this, they can truly conquer the world when they grow up. They can become whoever they want to be.

And that's the best gift we can give them so that when they look back one day, they would want to take our place and offer their services to the society without conditions.

The wheel of life turns all the time. What once has passed may come again, what was lost may be recovered. The time may yet come when others will tremble when they have to face MCKK on the hockey pitch.

(In between that, we have a lot of work to do to raise money and arrange friendlies and making sure they understand how much they mean to us, but that's always another story better not told here).

For the photos, please visit

For updates on the boys' progress, please visit Mighty Duck Project's FB page

The present boys' FB

You can follow their games and activities on Youtube  channel MightyDucksMCKK 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Road to North Zone 2012: Camping, Jersey and Badut

Good omen that we may give a good fight for this year's north zone SBP's hockey tournament:

1) Badut getting all sentimental after the camping and has not recovered from a massive withdrawal syndrome judging from his SMS:

" Just to say that the team building was a success despite all the drama and hiccups. Just tgk the video and kind of missing the hockey team already. Looking forward to see the team perform masa north zone :)"

"I showed some of the videos tue [aku tak pernah faham why Badut would spell "to" as "tue"] my wife last nite and she said this team seems to be very receptive and full of confidence. Ada jugak part yang kau kata kau bengang sebab kita antar zul to ketuk the pintu hihi"

2) The team building camping went very well and perhaps the smoothest despite all the hiccups 

We had never done any camping without Wong. That was his department so we took cue and made sure that he would be around and outdoor activities are his forte.

Unfortunately, he could not make it this time as he was already away on another outdoor trip with another group. Some people suggested that we postponed or canceled the camping (ehem ehem) but I was adamant that it must happen because I already promised the boys (as always). After all, the window is very small and if we miss this date, they would have to go to the tournament without the camping first.

We wanted to do it in Manjung so that we could close it with a friendly match with old boys (especially those from batches who had gone through the Mighty Ducks Project). Unfortunately, the response was not encouraging that it was pointless to do it in Manjung, so at the last we shifted it to Ulu Kenas. We could not get the confirmation from Ulu Kenas either so about 3 days before the camping, I called Kem Intan Suraya.

The owner (a nice auntie in her 60s) instantly remember us and said "yang ni projek Donald Duck tu kan?"

In between suppressing my giggling and trying to stay focus on the conversation, we booked the venue at the last minute.

Then we did not have the tent for the camping, but rescue came from MCKK (which actually has really nice tents for this sort of activity).

On the day itself, we had another problem - with only one car going in the morning to receive the boys, we could not fit the 5 people and all the camping stuff (periuk belanga Coleman dapur memasak etc) into the boot. Some of the boys (Mizan and Nash from Class of 2011 came along) had to squeeze at the back and we had to put bags in between someone's legs ha2.

Not even half way through, my car's air-cond went kaput. It was one of the most uncomfortable journey ever but the boys survived (though they were not pleased, of course) and we reached Sungai Siput in one piece.

From there on it was perfect - the cooking was perfect (I meant no nasi lemak bubur, no sirap ayam, no bihun goreng gumpal etc like in yesteryears). Even when it was pouring on the last night and all our kayu api that we collected earlier on was soaking wet, we still managed to start a good fire for BBQ.

This was also the camping with most hockey content, with the boys treated to a few games of hockey (apart from the usual simple fitness drill etc.)

3) I did not lose my temper

Frankly speaking, I started the camping with a foul mood since Canoe and I and A were the only taxpaying adults to do everything when the boys arrived - Badut, Chibik, Pak Tuan and Ober (Class of 99) only arrived about 1 am in the morning with Zul (Class of 2010).

Understandably I didn't pick any call though it was more because the phone was on silent mode throughout (ha2 yeah right).

When Badut rang me at 143 am, I was 20 minutes into my first nap in the previous 36 hours so I didn't pick up.

In the end, they had to cheat and send the ever innocent Zul to knock the door of our chalet at 2 am to get in. Whatever anger building up fizzled out immediately the moment Zul flashed his jittery smile and I thought "oowh come on in and get on with it".

4) This team has more common sense than the previous teams

And how do we determine that? Because they completed all the tasks that the previous teams struggled in a jiffy with much better results. They had clearer thought process, they worked better in a team and they were more at ease with each other.

I attribute this to the fact that the majority of the players are F3s and F2s. Their seniors (F4 and F5) are wise enough to make way for them so they discarded any notion of seniority complex in the team that the juniors can joke and communicate freely with the seniors. In the process, there was less inhibition and the team could float an idea and discuss freely (compared to some teams in previous years).

That was why it was a lot easier to work with them throughout the camping and it was so much fun - you did not have to shout to get them to clean up, they were punctual most of the time, they organise themselves well.

Good stuff for the tournament.

4) Sleeveless jersey 

The boys had always wanted a set of sleeveless jersey. I vetoed them year after year because I think they were too skinny.

By a sheer twist of fate, when we were selecting a new jersey for the team, even the smallest of size available (S) would be too big for them because most of them are small.

In the end, we had to settle for a special type of sleeveless line - the size is purposely designed to be smaller and would fit the boys well. I hope they will finally get rid of the superstition that one set of jersey carries more luck than the other, now that they have the sleeveless set as they had always asked.

5) The boys are organised and show more initiatives than some previous teams

So far they look more determined and organised. They haggle me more often with SMS (ha2 on top of all the other things I had to put up) and they put up their own Facebook page to communicate/focal point for hockey related matters. At least they show a bit more ownership this time around.

If you want to show support for their initiatives, please go to their Facebook page and "like" the page as an encouragement.

So, Badut's excitement to see them play in the next tournament is not an exaggeration - these boys did beat some odds and showed a bit more promise than some teams we have encountered so far.

Anyway, talk is cheap. Best to see them in action - so far I have managed to upload these videos, enjoy :-)


I have been meaning to blog about this for a while. The rest are excuses so let’s spare every one.

During many of my short trips to up north in the past 3 months, I dropped by at the MCKK hockey pitch to see how the boys were doing. Was quite impressed with their skills and determination despite the obvious lack of attention given, especially compared to their seniors. Over time, it feels like falling in love with the whole thing all over again (if that is even possible).

We have been doing this – looking after MCKK hockey team – since January 2007. By early 2010, due to a combination of events and factors, it was obvious that the bulk of the group who started it with me decided to “gantung stick hockey” (or become Itik Pencen as regularly referred to by Joe). I had to make a choice by then because my confrontation with the school administrators had gone from bad to irreconcilable and I decided to risk everything to see changes effected at the top of MCKK leadership.

That episode warrants another full write up but the first 5 months of 2010 took a great toll on the Mighty Ducks Project – it made the writing on the wall so clear to me that we had reached the end of the road. The national level inter-SBP hockey tournament was supposed to be the last tournament that we ever supported, we were supposed to fade away. We said goodbye to the boys and 2011 went by quietly for the boys with hardly any appearance by us.

But then I forget that absence makes heart grows fonder. In a way, they were never absent in the first place. Mr Pala continued to update me, the boys from Class of 2011 kept in touch and on their own soldiered on. They enrolled into tournaments on their own, picked up the pieces together and ended the Mighty Duck years with one step closer to our target – they became 2nd in Perak after being defeated by Anderson in 2011 (which was beyond our imagination).

My life also took a different turn, completely opposite from what I ever planned. Life is truly what happens to you while you were busy planning other things, so I agreed with Lennon time and time again. All the private space that I so cherished all my life is no longer there, that in the end I looked around and desperately wanted to cling to whatever remnants of the life I left behind.

The more you walk away, the more you yearn for some bits of the past to remain, what more when that past represents the purest of your intentions.

Against this backdrop, it is not surprising that on 2nd February, just recently landed from a long overseas trip, I decided to take the day off to drive to KK.

It started with a short SMS from Badut telling that the boys would be in the district tournament and they stood a chance to clinch the championship from Clifford. I called Badut and asked if he wanted to do the unthinkable – drop everything and drive 200+ km away just to see a bunch of kids whom you do not know play hockey.

He must have missed the adrenalin as much as I did, so together with A (who shall not be named), we made our way (above the speed limit) to catch the final match with Clifford. I did not want to miss any single minute of it that I kept praying the game would be delayed.

Lo and behold, it was delayed indeed. The prayers were answered – only it was not postponed by half an hour, they decided to do it the next morning because the turf was flooded.

200+ km away from life and after 2 hours of speeding, we ended up in quiet Kuala Kangsar for a game that would not take place.

But as with everything sweet about Mighty Ducks in the past, a little misadventure like that opens the door for something more meaningful. We decided to see the boys for a pep talk one day before their match, bought them pizzas (which they finished in 15 minutes and not a single piece left to us) and in the process I fell in love with the whole thing all over again.

When I open the Mighty Ducks fan page on the Facebook, the irony of it all comes rushing at me. We initially talk about “hockey revival” in MCKK when we started in 2007. It now comes to one full circle and I realise the one who needs so much of a revival is me, not the team. I realise for my own sanity and everything that has defined me in the past, I need Mighty Ducks Project more than they need me so that even in the harshest of reality, there is a sanctuary of pure kindness not maligned with everything that is wrong with this society that I can always fall back to.

Welcome back Mighty Ducks Project J

As for the result, the pep talk certainly was not effective. The boys lost 3-2 to Clifford after leading 2-0 during the first part of the game. I blame Badut.

Thanks so much to my other half who understands there is certain thing that I have to do in order to keep myself together. I am incapable of saying this being an emotional retard, but I know some people do read the blog J

Thursday, January 26, 2012

22 Years Later

So many had happened in between the last posting and this one that it is unthinkable our life can change so drastically within that short span of time.

If I were to list them here and blog each of it, no doubt we would have hit a new record of most number of postings in a year. But 2011 was monumental to many of us despite being a seemingly quiet year (at least here). It is not unlike 1991 (20 years ago) when everything seemed to hang in balance and people held their breath - for the fear, excitement and mostly the uncertainties of graduating to the Big School from the protected New Hostel.

I find myself alone in a quiet place, a rare privilege I get nowadays. A place I have left behind for so many years and being here gives me some time to reflect - another rare luxury that I often do not have lately. I have a list of 20 urgent matters to attend to but for once, I thought I should allow the heart to speak (people say we speak our mind, but we write our heart).

I managed to catch up quickly with Radin, Aiwa, Capoe and La'aba this week although it was only for a brief moment. The days when we can sit down until the wee hours are long gone, to be able to drop by to prove that you still care is already a big achievement nowadays. Truth is I have not been able to keep up with the batch for a long time. The bigger truth is I don't feel that I have been fair to most of them, but we have to do what we have to do.

The irony of trying to keep up with everything that is changing around you is the desire to fight back and cling on to whatever we can keep as a status quo. I find myself being closer to the hockey team in MCKK although I have no clue who they are. These are all new boys whom I have never met and ever since we withdraw in 2010, the remnants of the Mighty Ducks Project had also left the school.

But that is the beauty - life is full of cause and effect. For every change that is taking place, it sets in motion a different course of events that may bring about unexpected results, working mysteriously and independent of each other.

I fear that once we withdraw, the hockey game and team will die a natural death in MCKK. But the final batch of the Mighty Ducks Project honoured us with becoming the top two hockey team in Perak, beaten only by Anderson. That was unexpected and unplanned. In return, they inspired a new group of junior hockey players who want to fight back and emulate them, even without the kind of support their seniors had been receiving in the past.

When I first dropped by earlier this year only to observe them, I realise they were a lot better than most of the players we used to coach during our tenure. They are more determined, they are juniors (mostly Form 3 and below) and they have better skills. They want to fight back so as to earn the kind of support their predecessors had had in the past.

I couldn't help but to admire these kids. In their innocent ways, they demonstrate how this world works. Bad things happen, but life will go on. We can plan in vain and we may be facing the greatest opponent against which we think we have no hope, but do not discount for the unexpected small heroes who will make most impact outside our planning. Bad things will always happen, but good things come about at the end of each misery.

So while I struggle to keep sane with everything that is changing around me (that's the 'cause'), I am suddenly being pulled closer and closer to the very thing I thought I needed to move on from (that's the 'effect'). I know it sounds impossible and ridiculous, but I am more determined than ever to see that these boys will know what it is like to be fighting on the field with full pride and determination, the way we have always taught their predecessors. I don't know how many will be with me in this yet another crazy endeavour, but I didn't know either that there would be enough people to see the Mighty Ducks Project through when we first discussed it in 2006. But if the intention comes from the heart, Insya Allah the heart will see through.

So 20 years later, in 2012, I find myself communicating with kids who enter MCKK in 2010 and leave in 2014. The batch 20 years after ours. There is an automatic soft spot because you would like to think that we are similar one way or another.

20 years later, I wonder whether we (as a batch) realise how long we have been together.

I hope 2012 will be as eye opening and full of discoveries about life, lessons and the world - just how 1992 and the encounter with Big School was full of surprises and largely make us who we are today.

Happy new year 2012, welcome home :-)