Saturday, 4 February 2012

Real old school

The boarding school that I went to, MRSM Kuantan, is 38-years old this year. Not quite as old as some of the more established boarding schools in our country but reasonably old when you consider that the first generation of students who came out of that place have passed the half-century mark in terms of age. And to further to illustrate this point on successive generations, two of my former classmates have/had children study at this same school.

1975 photo of a partially completed school. Pic lifted from Capt Norhisham Kassim's FB.
Maktab Rendah Sains MARA Kuantan, to give the school its full name, took in the first batch of students in 1974. The school facilities were not fully completed at that time but MARA pressed on and the us students persevered. The first intake of students, now known as Kuatagh Pioneers, were all boys. I guess they wanted to make sure the school was at least decently ready before bringing in the girls. The second batch who registered the following year had a mix of both boys and girls. You can imagine the excitement of the seniors at having younger sisters to watch over... you know, teenage puberty and adolescent hormones :-)

I enrolled at MRSM Kuantan in 1978 at the 4th Form level, so I am considered as the second batch, with K79 being our alumni identification number (1979 being the year we took our MCE/SPM exams). In the short two years I was there, I have plenty of memories, both good and bad. But we should not dwell on the bad for too long... better to think of the happy events and experiences that helped shape what we are today. All of us have moved on in our lives. Some of us are pretty successful in their respective careers while some are doing okay. But this disparity in achievement has never prevented any of us to reunite and have some coffee together. Whenever some of us meet up for a specific occasion, it is always happy chatting about stories of those mischievous years, of carefree days and youthful adventures. And then we would ask about some of our friends who've been missing... if anyone knows where this particular he or she is, or what he/she is doing today.

In 1979 when we were in Form 5, there were 121 of us who took the MCE/SPM exams, 34 girls and 87 guys. Although most of us regularly meet and do keep in touch, there are still a number of our friends whose whereabouts are unknown. Understandably, some of them prefer to remain isolated... and we respect such decisions, but we still harbour hope of at least knowing a piece of news that he/she is alive somewhere. This is important because we are brothers and sisters. Of the 121 total, seven of our batch have been called by the Almighty. These are the ones that we know... it could be more.

I am thinking of my K79 brothers and sisters at this moment because a reunion is being held for today and tomorrow at our old school in Kuantan. Unfortunately, I am not able to make it to the event although I very much want to. The last similar occasion I attended was the Aidilfitri reunion in 2010. I hear that the turnout may be larger this time, with some friends turning up after being MIA for 33 years.

This event is actually the 37th anniversary of enrolment of the second batch at MRSM Kuantan but the ocassion is not to celebrate the 37 years, rather the fact that Batch No. 2 students are 50-years old this year. This is somewhat a continuation of the effort by our seniors who held their reunion at the school last year. Whether this trend will continue with the K80 batch, we'll have to wait for next year.

To all my brothers and sisters who are in the old school today and tomorrow, do have a wonderful time catching up with each other. Don't embarrass yourselves in front of our younger brothers and sisters (who'd most probably call you pakcik and makcik). Take care and I love you all.

9 comments:

Wan Sharif said...

Ah.. time with friends from alma mater.. priceless.. I guess when you meet friends after 33 'missing' years.. you will lose all sense of time reliving those nostalgic moments..

HLiza said...

I was only 6 when you start studying here! Wow..hehe. I'm amazed by people who can talk fondly of their old schools..as i can't do the same for mine..one of them-lah, not all. I read about MRSM history too when Iqa decided to join one..truly grateful that MARA had produced so many good proffesionals like you..hope my daughter will be one too.

Lili said...

Oldstock,

I totally agree with Ayoh Wang..
Lately, over at facebook, friends from my high school days have one by one found me there. But, sad to say, my inferiority held me back from reliving those nostalgic moments, like Ayoh Wang said; and I remain isolated.

Reading your posting here, has made me thinking...yeah, for the old time's sake...why not I give a shot?! Thanks, Oldstock. ;-)

Thanks

Oldstock said...

Ayoh Wang,

These are the friends whom we grew up with, while away from parents. That's why the shared experiences are always interesting to talk about and re-live.

Oldstock said...

Hliza,

I understand that not everyone has fond memories of boarding schools... I guess I was just lucky that my time in Kuantan was generally okay. As I said, not all who came out of our school make it big time, but that's not the school's fault. But for those of us who have made it a success in some small way, we have a lot to thank our teachers, because they encouraged us to be creative and far-sighted.

I hope Iqa will do well too...

Oldstock said...

Lili,

The reservation that we sometimes feel when we meet up with old friends is when we start comparing how we've come along after all these years. That is understandable.

But the choice is always ours... we may wish to re-connect with some people and remain distant to others. Bukan nak kata kita sombong, cuma we always like to be close to those of the same wavelength, tak gitu?

So don't be too afraid of saying hello to old friends who are re-discovering us. Mungkin kita sama-sama segan nak mengimbau kenangan lama, but that doesn't mean we could not remain as friends, kan?

Al-Manar said...

It is nostalgic and it is impossible to describe the atmosphere of happy past. Make the best of it, Oldstock. You have lost seven of 121, under 6% of the group. Of my group of 42 we have lost 13, representing about 30%. Now when we meet to talk about the dear old biddies who have gone, wondering which durian will gugur next.

You have just returned from Mecca. That is as good time as any to begin a new phase as you expressed it earlier. All the best to you and Salaam.

Al-Manar said...

Regret for the reference to Haj. In my memory I recalled your very compassionate doa for the new Hijri 1933, and I recalled it for Haj. I checked back and discovered the mistake.Old brain is playing trick! At least your beautiful doa impressed me enough to stick there.

Oldstock said...

Salam Pakcik Al-manar,

Sometimes the occasional lapse of memory is the package that comes with old age. Not to worry, I am sure Pakcik has many years to look forward to, insyaAllah. I made my first visit to Makkah in 1992, that's 20 years ago. Perhaps Pakcik's comment is an indication for me to make another trip soon.