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 :-)



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