Sunday, November 11, 2012

"We don't need no education ... "

Believe me, it has to be an MRSMer to think of something this out of the ordinary and out of place.

As we entered the ballroom of Allson Kelana Resort, Seremban, playing in the background was Another Brick in the Wall (Part II) ....
We don't need no education.
We don't need no thought control.
No dark sarcasm in the classroom.
Teacher, leave those kids alone.
Hey, Teacher, leave those kids alone!
All in all it's just another brick in the wall.
All in all you're just another brick in the wall. ...
To an outsider, it would have been the most in appropriate homecoming song for returning former students.

Naturally, we felt personally honoured by the song.

It was surely not designed that way but it was as though the organiser honoured our presence. Quite a few know of our activity as blogger. Some have been feeding us stories.

That song was actually a popular song of our past. The organiser had painstakingly compiled all our favourite songs at MRSM through the 70s and into the late 80s to be played as background song at the foyer.

But there is more about that song.

It is pratically a tribute to the original MRSM's unconventional education. To tell that hiSTORY of MRSM, here is this video clipping:

If anyone noticed from the video, the creation of MRSM is not merely Malay effort and Malay aspiration wanting to better themselves, including the Bumiputera community of Sabah and Sarawak.

We were blessed with Chinese and Indian politicians, bureaucrats, and teachers who believed and dedicated themselves in helping to polish potential Bumiputera students into fine gems.

Ponder the fact that at the time these students begin entering MRSM from 1972 onward, May 13, 1969 was still fresh in everybody's mind. The boys from Kg Baru were witness to some gruesome scenes.

We were not alien to multiracial Malaysia. Some of our best and most beloved teachers like the late Tan Ah Eng and Ms Siow were Chinese.

In 1974, Shum Shin June, Amutar Karuppan and Lim Hui Cheng (she came) enrolled. While, Praba Ganesan came in 1975.

We knew and understood back then of our role.

Naturally, Tun Abdul Razak's name was mentioned in the tribute. One of his nephew from his family and a niece from his wife side were present.

That was the serious part. It was conveyed in the presence of Chairman and Director General of MARA, Dato Idris Jusoh and Dato Ibrahim Ahmad.

Do they have the political will to review the education system of existing MRSM and revert to the old proven model?

If they do not have it, we will build one MRSM of our own.

And it will be only our children and grandchildren plus some selected urban and rural poor. History will come a full circle with MARA sending their officers and Directors to learn about the college we copied from them.

That is if there is still a MARA. If DAP had it their way, they will closed up such institutions. It is  happening in Selangor. Institutions like Yayasan Selangor, PKPS, and PKNS are systematically destroyed.

Sadly, PKNS's CEO is one of our boys.

One Ketua Cabang PKR and in Azmin Ali faction is our boy too. Though he has always had an indifferent attitude to serious issues, he was anxiously giving his political update to his friends.

Sure ... we believe you that PKR can beat Najib in Pekan. Sabah and Sarawak will fall like bricks. Just make sure 16-17 existing PKR Parliamentary seats remained with them first. He thinks we do not know DAP demanding quite a few of PKR seats, especially in Penang!

There was no politics that night. No, only some politics.

Much to his embarassment, we were introducing Dato Amiruddin as the next Kedah MB. While ADUN Sg Tiang Kedah, Suraya Yaacob is confident it will be Dato Mukriz. She is looking forward for Mat Sabu.

She was talking to us about Wanita UMNO and we were complaining about some of their leader/(s). But syyyy ... that is secret.

On the whole, the dinner organiser did a very very ... good job.

There was more than 800 in attendance, the biggest ever reunion dinner turnout. The organiser made a serious effort to search for everyone. It was compounded by everyone's eagerness to come after there had not been such dinner for quite a while.

They laid a good schedule and choreographed the night very well, knowing the eagerness of everyone to talk and catch up with their friends.

As soon as the dignitaries came, dua' was immediately read. It was rather moving as we were reminded and prayed for those who have left us earlier.

Without wasting anytime and before the chattering could resume, there was a pantomine interspersed with songs and poems.

Not sure what it about was but the singer had a good voice. Norizah Supar can still move hearts. Not to mention her poem reading.

There was no speechy speeches. The organisers understood that.

President Zainal Hisham Yusof merely gave a short thank you and got everyone's attention as he made a rollcall called on every batch to stand up and cheer themselves.

Dinner was great. There was fish, prawns, abalone and etc., overall a decent menu. Banyak dapat sponsor ke, ma? 

While we ate, Rahim Sulaiman, who came all the way from Kota Kinabalu, was singing an old sentimental number. Anyway, the dinner entertainment was just nice. Not too loud and inhibiting to conversation. Just nice in the background.

Reunions are good for the soul. Meeting up removes old grudges or reduce e-group or facebook discussion tension.

It does help to avoid professional disputes. We bump into a corporate Vice President we have known all along. What a close call.

He was told of an expose of his company that we decided to call off because it was merely a contract dispute. And, he said it was a right move because there is another side to the story.

Sometimes reunion rekindled old flame. Hisham Hashim met his old flame in school and got married. With most of us in our 40-50s and married, not likely this time.

Last night, there was acknowledgement for social work done by many of us.

Dr Halim was honoured for his pre-Ramadhan Derma Darah which has beome part of the national social work calender. One all-girls group have been doing work with homeless for quite a few years.

Several former students were given honour for their effort and achievement.

We lost attention.

Our table was discussing over why we kept honouring and giving VIP table seatings to politicians and wealthy business and corporate men. There shouldn't be social classes and strata among us. Too British!

Some friends felt strongly that we should honour the servicemen amongst us. They put their life in harms way to provide the blanket of security for the nation to prosper and progress.

One fine example was Kolonel Zulkifli Tahir. He lost a limb in an army operation in the jungle up north in the 80s. The army was a natural sanctuary for this former ITM graduate. Otherwise, he could be a Chow Kit muscleman.

Since the unfortunate incident, he continued his education to complete his MBA. He could move on but still remain doing administrative work at MINDEF. The army was too dear to him, which ever dear means.

It is not so much about honouring Zulkifli the person but a tribute to those in millitary. For instance, pilots Tajuddin and Zaimi lost their lives in their line of duty. The first set of Malaysian submarine dolphins was a former MRSM Kuantan Aeronautical Engineer, the late Mustafa Dapat. The current Commander Baharuddin is from MRSM Taiping.

The millitary requires also professional and there were former MRSM professionals practising as Engineers, Doctors, etc. such as Ir Shahar, Dr Adlina, and Dr Rawi.

However, there were former millitary who left the service. Left. (B) Adnan left the army and pursued a career in construction. Jamaluddin "chicken out" of the navy and pursued a business in marine engineering.

Maybe next time.

The teachers, Dato Jamaluddin Abdul Hamid and Encik Wahab Alwi was honoured. Wonder why  he still remain an Encik?

Why has the nation not honored this great man who has contributed much to society? Even Azeez "Rempit" has a Datokship and not to mention many gangsters who are Datoks and Tan Sris. Why not him?

If the BN states can't honour the man, the Pakatan state should steal the limelight from BN. Kelantan is his home state. How about from Kedah, Dato Amiruddin Hamzah?

As soon as the VIP leaves, it was showtime. We had a ball of a great time till the late hours.

Remember that we were not a Taliban or some Maahad school back then. There was music in the air. Throughout the night the music never stopped till the late hours of 1 or was it 2 am.

We could hold a Battle of Band and easily some 10 bands can be put together instantly.

There was Maybank's senior management, Farid Alias singing Sweet Child of Mine. Can someone confirm whether he is a Dato' yet? Anyone saw his elder brother, Datok Mutallib Alias?

Farid's boss, DAWO wasn't playing that night. He was a bass player with his own band back in school and able to hold his own.

Quite a few of us became professional musicians. If Acham (class of 83-88) had came, we would have licked the living daylight of every axman that night, except perhaps Jimi "Ucop" Hendrix (75-77).

Near the end, The Ins or the singing "Makcik"s belted out their rendition of old favourites. They were former members of an all-girls band. Something unheard off these days and definitely those days. Sacriligeous!

Former drummer, "Makcik Ushi" flew in from Perth, Australia for this reunion. Rythm guitarist Auntie "Zairani" resides in Charlotte, North Carolina but couldn't make it.

These Makcik used to be "hot stuff" in the Seremban secondary school scene and the envy of TKC and Convent for attracting the attention of boys in town.

But today, no amount of spa treatment at Living Skill "Spa" would give them any fighting chance against younger MRSMers like actress Neelofa from MRSM Langkawi.

In the audience, another former "hot stuff" but less musically inclined, Norzilah Anis from Dallas, Texas was diligently watching her "gang" perform. She and Zairani came from the same hometown.

Balwan used to reside in Charlotte, North Carolina. Nazri Bachik used to do work in Charlotte when he was based in Knoxville, Tennesee. All three never knew of each other's existence in Charlotte. Nazri and Balwan have since returned to Malaysia some more than 10 years ago.

The Ins led by professional vocalist, Zaiton Alwi began with "I'll be There." We were there alright.

It was followed by a joget session. No wonder the wives were nervous and kept asking 15 times "Where are you going in that baju Melayu, abang?" The video and pictures are safe with us at an annual ransom price.

You see there was no spouse allowed that night. Conveniently, there is no hall in Seremban that  cater to include them.

Fittingly, this one was the one for the road.

We left at the time one botak senior was playing gitar tong, singing Bee Gees songs, and thinking they are still cute. That is intolerable. Dah tua la..., abang-abang hoi!

Anyway, thanks abang-abang and kakak-kakak for organisiang this great night. Hingga bertemu sekali lagi di lain masa, take care of yourselves my brothers and sisters.

Be good, be healthy and be careful. We love all of you!

* Edited 12/11/2012 9:00 AM 


Unknown said...

I wish to pay tribute to Dato' Idris Jusoh, Chairman of MARA for his soulful effort in establishing MRSM Ulul AlBab at Kota Putra, Gemencheh and Kepala Batas. If the stiff upper lips Brits could pay bombs to send their children to Eton to mugging up on Latin for three years so that they could cry "Floreat Etona". The children at MRSM Ulul Albab have to mugging up and memorized on the whole Al Quran for three years also so that they will be transformed into humble servants of God and mankind leaders who are full of civility and fair play…..the results are yet to be seen since the first badge just completed their Form 4 (Kota Putra)…

Anonymous said...

Well writen bro. Eventhough i was away in Japan, i could felt the heat of that nite. Congrats to all, both the organizers and those who came to the function. MRSM Sbn is just a stone throw from my house. I can still remember those ups and down as a student there. I must say without MRSM and without sheer own determination, i will be where and what i am today, from a kampong boy to now running global operations. Thank you teachers, thank you friends. Time to move on and still cherish the good old days. Cheers!

Anonymous said...

pls wish Tony fernndes deepavali cos he hates deepavali Tks.

Anonymous said...

Azmin Ali was never an MRSM student. There's not record in any MRSM that Azmin Ali attended MRSM.

Anonymous said...

anon 3:54 PM

"One Ketua Cabang PKR and in Azmin Ali faction is our boy too. "

not azmin,one of his lieutenants.

here i helped u save some time mr A Voice.ha3

Anonymous said...

It should be Praba Dinasen, not Ganesan,

Anonymous said...

Too bad I had to give the Ansara Big 40 do a miss but I must say that THAT was the place where IT ALL started. From the Kakak Dapurs to Leman Tukachit and Pakcik Kadir and Pakcik Aziz to Pakcik Barang Baik to Mr Selvarajah, Cik Zaitune, Cik Zaherah, Librarian Hamid Ismail, Puan Rahmah Sahamid, Encik Kandan, Haja Mydin, Ustaz Mohamad and Ustaz Korong, En Shafie,Mrs Shanti, En Salleh "Area No 1" Deni and Miss Seow (to name just a few of our teachers) to Abg Lab to Matron Zamiah to Datuk Jamaluddin to Kakak Aini Coop to Tom Sidwell, Carol Jane Hawkins and Miss Laura King to Makcik Dobi and her team of launderers to Nurse Jamilah to all those who were there when we were - they all played a part in shaping who and what we are today. Thank You.

As Pian Boe once said in his tag line - There's a bit of Everyone in Each of Us. That is so very true.

Happy 40th Anniversary MRSM Seremban. I am proud to be a part of your legacy.

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