Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Hostel Life - Part 2

Ashaari Amin (now Tuan Haji) was instrumental in getting me back to stay in the school hostel.

Prior to that I was staying with my foster mother on the fringe of Pasir Mas town. We were in form 4 then. Reading story books was my main priority then compared to studying for my exam. Since School Certificate of Examination ws only due in 1968, I thought studying for the exam can be done during the year itself.

During a discussion on Biology, Ashaari asked me to describe the alimentary system. He was horrified to know that I couldnt describe it. The alimentary system was elementary to students of a science class who was due to sit for the School Certificate of Examination in slightly more than a year's time.

He immediately asked me to move in to the hostel and promised to talk to the hostel master for a place for me. I definitely qualify to stay in the hostel with my home being located 10 miles away. Compare that to Ashaari's home which was just 1 mile away from the gate of the school.

A short letter addressed to the Hostel Master Mr. G. Thanda and handing the letter personally to him was all it took to enable me to join the hostel life for the second time.

I cant recall the exact date of my return to the hostel nor could I recall how I carried my beddings and few belongings to the hostel. Being a school prefect I was automatically appointed as the hostel prefect. Life changed for the better for me since now I will be going to class without an empty stomach. Meals will be regular. There will be at least 5 meals a day including mid morning tea break and afternoon tea. There will also be games in the evenings and prep class after dinner till 11 pm for the seniors. Those who were in form 5 will continue studying till the wee hours. The regular study among peers helped me with my grades.

Mr G Thanda demonstrated how to be an effective Hostel Master. As a hostel master we rarely see him around the hostel except during the occassional walk around the dorm. One day during prep class, one of us by the name of Abdul Rahman Hasan Koya (now deceased) fooled around by going out of the class and made silly dance movement. The next minute we saw Mr. Thanda walked over to him and in the sight of everyone he gave him several tight slaps on both cheeks. He felled down and Mr Thanda helped to bring him up on his feet then the slapping was continued . That was the one and only time that we saw Mr. Thanda punished any one of us and the impact was long lasting. Though we don't see him around, he could be somewhere in the darkness watching us.

One of the most memorable incident in my hostel life that year was when I got drenched with a small bucket of water while in deep slumber one night. I must have been boastful after prep class and somebody thought that I needed to be taught a lesson for that. The way they usually did it was to place a container full of water on your mosquito net while you were sound asleep. The weight of the container full of water will gradually lower the container until it finally reached a certain level whereby any body movement will make the container spill its content on you. It was more like a time bomb that will drench your body and not only your blanket but also the matress. I got mine on on a night when Pasir Mas was at the height of the monsoon season and flood water was nearing the level of overflowing the Kelantan river bank.

I was so frustrated that I took my revenge on the most innocent of persons who happened to sleep on the bunk above me. The victim cursed aloud and the dormitory light was switched on. With lots of guilt, I pretended to be asleep. The person who slept above me was none other than my best friend Ghani Senik (now Tuan Haji). So Tuan Haji, as I have confessed today in my email reply to you, I was the one who caused your cold discomfort that night. I believed many knew that I was the one who did it but they just didnt point me out.

There was not really much to recall for the year of 1967. More so when the teachers boycotted all extra curricular activities and we were left on our own to do any activites.

Part 3 will describe my final year of stay in the hostel of Sultan Ibrahim Secondary School Pasir Mas. It constituted the most memorable part of my hostel life.


J.T. said...

It was a good thing you got a place in the hostel, thanks to Tuan Haji Ashaari Amin. Dare I say that the disciplined life set the pace for you?

May I ask what happened to cause the teachers to boycott all extra curricular activities?

If that water prank had been played on me, I would have definitely got all riled up. I am not a fan of practical jokes. :)

Zawi said...

Indeed the regulated life life made a change in me. Furthermore I was using dim kerosine lamp to study in my foster parents home. Sometimes i wonder how I managed to get good grade in my Lower certificate of Examinations. I was among the top student.
The teachers protested against the anomaly between the Day Trained Teachers and Normal Trained Teachers teaching in the Primary and Secondary Schools. Their actions wer definitely justified. Our teachers even had a one day strike outside the school compound led by the chairman of the Teachers Union Chairman who later became the Chief education Director For Kelantan and Negeri Sembilan and later the made a director at the minsitry of Education. The Head Master then was the late En. Yusoff Ghouse, the father of Puan Marina Yusoff, the lawyer. The Education Minister then was the late Tun Khir Johari, a close friend of Mr. Yusoff Ghouse.
The government later acceded to the Union's demand.
Water pranks were normal in hostel life. If there was no specific taget, water in containers will be placed on doors going out from the dormitory. The first to get up will be the victim.

J.T. said...

That strike of 1967 - was it nationwide?

My aunt, who now lives in France, was a teacher in Perak (I think) and she mentioned about the Teachers Union strike. She left Malaysia that year.

Zawi said...

I think the strike was by National Union of Teaching Profession and so it must have been nationwide. That was how it was effective. I think it was the only strike they have ever done. Of late the teachers have been getting better deals without having to strike. The Minister of Education will give it to them as a reward for them for their subservience. Many of them are actively involved in politics and their support is very important to these politicians.

Anonymous said...

"We were in form 4 then. Reading story books was my main priority then compared to studying for my exam. Since School Certificate of Examination ws only due in 1998"

Somehow I think 1998 isn't the correct date.....


Zawi said...

You are right. 1978 was the correct date. Thanks for the observation. I will correct it. Thanks for the visit.

Zawi said...

Ooops, another blunder, should be 1968. Early morning blues.

mangchikla said...

Assalamu 'alaikum Pak Zawi. Came across your blog entry after 'googling' Mohd Ab Rahman Hassan Koya, whom I knew as an officer of the Royal Renger Regt of Malaysia n was my cadet instructor in 1979. I was searching on him merely for nostalgic reasons, its been 33 odd years since. I was told he originated from Rantau Panjang. Someone did informed me of his demise but not the nature of his death nor the time. Is he the one here standing 6th position from the right and the same person u spoke of? I'm trying get his latest photo from the net. Wassalamu 'alaikum :D