Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I Missed Two Events.

Could it be me when I was young?

Upon reflection I found that I missed another two events in 1968 that is worthy of mention. Infact its exclusion makes the write up fatally flawed. Adding the events in the previous post will only make you lose precious time as you may have to read up the whole post all over again.

Public caning was a rare happening in our school. During my five years at Sultan Ibrahim Secondary School Pasir Mas, I can only recall this one occasion when 3 of my classmates were caned in front of the school assembly. It is common for us to be caned in class but not in front of the full school assembly. It really reflected the severity of the offense for one to be so punished. It will of course leave an indelible mark on the mind of those so penalised. Since I was the one who was directly involved in their getting caned, it affected me too.I spent many months of fearful existence from being accosted in the street as a tit for tat by those being caned. Due to that I spent most of the time to the school fenced up compound as I was a hostelites living within the compound of the school. Fortunately the guys that were caned must have realized it was their mistake and their foolishness of being caught doing the wrong deed made them feel that I wasn't really the cause of their misery and shame.

It is the best kept secret as only myself and another two classmates who know of how the misdeed was brought to the attention of the teacher concerned. Now it is 40 years down the line, only the three of us know about it. Even the teacher doesn't know who actually saw them did it.

You must be wondering what the heck was the reason for the caning? I will not hold the suspense any longer as I too need to proceed with the other event to complete this blog.

Being a small school with a small library, we have this precious set of encyclopaedia called the Enclyclopaedia Brittainica. It was the only set and I cant really recall how many volumes there were in the set. They were definitely more than 10 thick volumes including the index. These encylopaedias was most sought after as a reference material. They were reference books and so they were never allowed to be borrowed. The library was being opened from 3.00 PM to 5.00 PM being operated by volunteer student librarians with me being the head librarian. The library occupies a class room and thus was quite crampy. During my tenure as the head librarian I had proposed a few suggestions to the library master on how to improve and maximise space in the library. One of them was to remove the doors to all the cabinets holding the book and as a measure for security, all the windows of the library be fitted with BRC (2 inch square wire mesh). When we received new paperbacks from United States Information Services (USIS), I suggested that they be covered with plastic covers to ensure longevity and to create space for them, more shelves were constructed on the walls without the need for additional cupboard which was the practice before then. All of these suggestions were accepted by the library master by the name of J N Anardhanan. The cupboards were arranged in such a way almost resembling a maze to improve space. It was at one such corners that these three students had used to tear off pages from the encyclopardia to take home to read.

Always remember that when you are doing something clandestine, the walls have eyes and ears. There were no hidden cameras or microphones then to do a soi lek (too bad if you don't know what I mean) but there were human eyes who could see. The trio were assuming that this person didn' t see what they were doing and even if he did, he wouldn't tell on them. That was their mistake. The information was passed on to another friend and through him to me as the head librarian. I had to do what I had to do and reported the 'crime' to the Library Master complete with the details of the time and names of the students involved.

It didn't take long for the Library Master to extract a confession from the trio and they returned the torn pages which was the absolute evidence necessary to nail them. Ah how I wish our police force are as effective as my Library Master when extracting confession from the real criminals.

The next school assembly was on a Sunday. It was held in the afternoon after classes were over as the afternoon session needs to be present too. Thus at the school assembly both the morning sessions and the afternoon sessions for the lower forms were present. The three guilty students were called to the front of the assembly and the Headmaster En. Yusoff Ghouse (the father of lawyer Marina Yusoff) read out the offense and announced they were to be punished with public caning. The whole assembly comprising of about 1300 students fell to a pin drop silence. Only the sound of passing cars along the road nearby was audible. The trio came prepared. When the first stroke was struck with the full might of a man's swing by the disciplinary teacher by the name of En. Nik Alwi, there was a hollow sound emanating from the strike. True to his suspicion, En. Nik Alwi pulled out an excercise bookfrom the inside of the student's short. The other two were compelled to remove their padding too before their punishment was meted out.
It was not the pain of the caning that made the punishment unbearable, it was the shame that made it hurt the most. To be caned infront of a school assembly is an experience one will not want to experience. It was a lesson well learn't by the other students.

When we grew into adulthood, what happened during the school days were presumed forgotten and we are the best of friends again. Two of the trio suffered a stroke and one recovered quite well. With a group of other classmates, we visited him on 29th October and he was in great mood though his left arm and leg were almost crippled.

After 40 years the secret remains a secret. It is the best kept secret. I wonder if the secret should remain a secret?

Another event that I missed mentioning was the 'Malam Seribu Bintang' (Night of A Thousand Stars). Our class of Form 5A was tasked with the making of the stage under the able stewardship of Mr. Mark Anthony the wood work teacher. It was a stage show staged over two nights.

It must have been En. Rahman Ali's brainchild as he wanted to showcase his student band called 'Kostrad Pelajar' with Suhaimi Hussin on lead, Fauzan Omar on rythm, Azmi Omar on bass, Mohamd Jusoh on drums and Aziz Awang Hamat as the lead singer as well as on tambourine. (If the name Fauzan Omar rings a bell, yes he is the famous artist/lecturer at UITM).

Cikgu Rahman Ali and his bandboys 'Kostrad Pelajar'
On the night of the show the band couldn't get the bass guitar which was supposed to be lent by the local band known as The Wheels. Che Gu Rahman was so incensed that he straight away bought a new guitar for RM180 which was a big sum of money back then.
A singing contest was also held and Shamsiah Abdullah walked away with the first prize after delivering the catchy song 'Luna Lunera' with the additional accompaniment of the bongo played by who else but Chegu Rahman Ali.
Shamsiah took the first prize by singing Luna Lunera.

The hostelite was given a slot to perform. We opted for the dance drama which we concocted ourselves after getting the idea from the film 'West Side Story'. The dance drama was titled The Fight In Golden Sand played to the accompaniment of For A Fistful of Dollars Since the idea came from me, of course I put myself in one of the main roles. The story revolved around two gamblers one of whom cheated the other which led to a gangfight. The fight between the gang leaders ensued. The gang leaders were played by Mahmud Awang Kechil(Datuk Dr) and Ashaari Haji Amin. The original line was supposed to end with Ashaari being killed by a stab of the knife. Unfortunately we were using real sharp knife and it nicked the thigh of Ashaari Amin and blood oozed out from the wound dripping to the floor. The audience was unaware that real knife was used until Mahmud dropped the knife and the sharp knife stuck upright with the tip embedded on the wooden floor. The show went on umimpeded but after the show, Ashaari was rushed to the clinic to have the wound sutured.

The next day we were allowed to perform on the express condition that no real knife ever be used. We bought a plastic knife for replacement. I can't remember who replaced Ashaari Amin for the second night, could it be the late Abbas Akbar?.
The school choir performed and it was a haunting song which I can't remember the title.

The school choir.

It was a night worth remembering. It was the pinnacle of our student life as many parents were in the audience. Me, I had my girlfriend in the audience.


Pi Bani said...

Fulamak... gambar yang atas sekali tu macam penyanyi pop yeh yeh le pulak... :)

Zawi said...

Kenalke siapa tu? Memang la tahun 60an adalah zaman pop yeh yeh. Lead guitarist Kostrad Pelajar selalu main bank back up A Ramli di Kelantan.

Akmal said...

Pak Zawi,
Hehe that's the popstar I mestioned in the previous posting, the guy in the first picture right? ;)
Gee, real knife! What a prop!
It sure is good to have such experiences during the schooldays kan?
I have been canned once, practically in the public although not in front of the assembly haha. Very embarrassing when you personally know the person holding the can, and likewise he knows you pretty well. Luckily it was just a small stuff that I managed to get it right after that, so the shame didn't affect my ego much haha.
I doubt those two events are the only things you're up to write huh? Keep them coming alright? ;)

Queen Of The House said...

I love the nostalgia of old photos. The ones you have here are really something, especially the first one ;)

I wonder if public caning like that would be taken too kindly now, especially by overprotective parents.

Zawi said...

I can't believe it that you were caned in school. You don't look that mischievous to me. It must be something about going out without permission right? If that is so it was a small offence.
I will try to remember more things to write about before senility catches with me.

Zawi said...

Yes, everything was nostalgic.
You are right about the over protective parents nowadays. No way the teachers can discipline the students the way we were disciplined then. As such some teachers are resigned to the fact that there is not much they can do to improve discipline among the students in school. Look at the video of the students attacking the teacher in Perlis. If they were my children, their butts would be so sore with my own caning that their panties wont fit their enlarged buttocks. Such children will have problems later in life.

Kama At-Tarawis said...

Fuuuuh! memang hensem sekali..patutlah cik kak nyer jatuh hati.. kalau kama pun masa umur tu, mungkin sanggup kena penampar tok ayah sebijik lagi kot..LOL

pB said...

fuyoh ...

han sem tu ....

Fauziah Ismail said...

Salam Pak Zawi
I never was caned in school and there was never public caning during assembly. In fact, caning was not in the school policy, probably because our school was an all-girls school and we were all decent girls ... hehehehe!
As for concerts, yes ... we were big on it tapi tak ada band macam your school.
But of course, zaman Pak Zawi zaman pop yeh yeh, which still has a following now.

Gurindam Jiwa said...

I went to a boys' school during the time when gangsterism was rife. So public caning then was a crowning achievement. In fact, when the caning was done, the boys would step down from the stage grinning from ear to ear.

It was typical of those days. Especially during final days of the school year, some things would naturally happen.

A few prefects got thrown into the school's decorated fish pond after being thoroughly whipped by the school bullies.

Teachers' cars were scratched. Nails were placed right underneath of the tires.

In fact, even now, when I see a car with a scratch front to the rear, I would say, "Hah, tu mesti kereta cikgu tu."

I, too, once had my friends caned during my school days. But so far I only told my wife the details. Time will tell.

As bad as my school was back then, one of my classmates is now a Deputy Commissioner at the Prison Department who regularly appears in the media. Another one was a President/Group MD of a bank who always keep a low profile.

We can only plan.

Zawi said...

I put that pic at the request f my friend Tuan Haji Azmy Omar AlAhmadi who took the trouble to find the pic, scan it, edit it and send it to me. Its a way of my appreciating his effort hehehehe. Tuan Haji Azmy, my thanks to you.

Zawi said...

LOL. Tak serupa ngan tuan dia sekarang ye? Semuanya illusi.

Zawi said...

My teachers never caned the girls. What more public caning. They were given less harsh punishment.
I am of the opinion that some acting exposure on stage is good training for young children even at preschool stage.
Ye masa tu Zaman Pop Yeh Yeh and drugs were still at the ganja stage only.

Zawi said...

Your description of gangsterism among your peers at your school is scary. I think things are even worse now in schools around KL and the other big towns. Teaching in Secondary Schools is very hazardous now.
I am happy to note the many luminaries produced by your alma mater

Gurindam Jiwa said...

The school has changed by now. Thanks to a man named V. Chakaravarthy. I personally thanked him at the school's Golden Jubilee Celebrations, two years ago, 25 years after his initial posting to the school.

But boys will be boys. They will always be naughty in their own ways. Just as we all were. But no more gangsterism. Alhamdulillah.

Although some of the school's famous alumni still won't mention the school's name in their biodata. But I try to list them at my blogroll under the title "My Setapak High."

Handsome young man you were, and still is.

Yeebody said...

Thank you for the flashes of yesteryears.
Two things happened after the knife incident:
1. I told myself I'll never be a full time actor. Ed Osmera will miss makan then... kah..kah..kah..
2. The knife somehow cut some of the my veins/arteries affecting 'stupidity'. It was after this incident that my grades seemed to improve.. kuh..kuh..kuh..

Stay healthy and be safe always. Take care.

BTW, the late Abas Akbar took my place.. and Mahmud, still doing his thing... trying to kill me. Just joking...

Azmy Omar said...


You see. I told you to include your picture which I edited. Now everybody knows that you were once very handsome laa... and still is as a pakcik.

Yeah the incident where Yeebody was stabbed with a real knife. And it was at the same night when my elder brother was hit by a car near the CIMB Bank at present, back in 1968 on the way to watch the concert.

Yeah those were the days of the pop-yeah-yeah.

Who were your informers that led to the public caning? I wonder.....?

I am proud to be able to be the bass player for the band then. For your information Fauzan Omar is a senior lecturer with UNIMAS (2005) and no longer with UiTM.

We enjoyed our school days. We really did.

Keep on posting on your LAISI...

Zawi said...

Personally I believe a Headmaster can make or break a school. A headmaster who is serious with the school discipline and enforce the the school rules on the teachers. I think your Mr. V Chakarvarthy did the same to the school.
We should always be proud of our alma mater.
Me hensome? It was a camera trick, an illusion.

Zawi said...

Zainal Abidin wanted very much to be an actor. I think he did act as an extra in a film once. Unfortunately he didn't make it beyond being an extra even after coming back with and electrical engineering degree from Belfast.
You being a full time actor? It was because of you being my good friend that I chose you to act in the dance drama. Actually I wanted to act that part myself but after eeing the knife, I got scared. Luckily I didn't so it was you that got stabbed. By your own admission you were lucky that theu cut off your stupidity vein and made you cleverer. I think Dr. Mahmud must be a lousy surgeon given the way he stabbed at you. May be he stabs at his patients the same way too when doing surgery. Thank God he ceases to practice and become a business man instead.
If my hunch that the late Abbas Akbar was the one who replaced you then my memory is still intact. Zainal has confessed to senility when I asked him about the name of our form teacher and the third debators for the dbate.
What benefit will Dr. Mahmud get by killing you? Or do you still owe him money? I will put a few good words to him so that he will find another better target than you.
Anyway Pak Adib (Berisman) has mentioned somewhere above that you married his neice or something.

Zawi said...

Tuan Haji Azmy,
I will always listen to you as you are a wise man and your judgement never strays too far off. Thanks to you I managed to muster the courage to put that pic. I was scared that somebody may say that I am glorifying on my past just to be good looking. Maybe you over did the touching up that made my picture looks so good.
I didn't know that Abang Kamil was hit by a car on that fateful night. One part we had Yee being stabbed by Mahmud and your brother being hit by a car. I thought cars of those days don't speed much in Pasir Mas. Must be somebody trying to copy what John Calvert did at Pasir Mas by driving blind folded.
The informers? I will be keeping my end of the bargain by not telling who they were unless you want to tell the world yourself. Ooops, did I reveal you there? I hope not. Ok I promise not to tell. Scout honour ( I was a scout in Standard 6 remember?).
Oh Fauzan Omar is at UNIMAS. Hopefully you can drag him to come to the coming gathering. We will make him draw a painting and force Datuk Dr. Mahmud to buy it at a premium and donate the proceed to charity. I need some charity myself. Can you get Fauzan to come?

Zainal Abidin Husin :- said...

Anybody know where is Mohd Jusuf, the drummer? We used to do AMWAY together in early 80s

Zawi said...

You were the last to have seen him then so you should be the one who knows his where about. I have not met him since we parted ways in 1968.
Yes I am curious too. Some friends have said they met him on a bus and another said he was working as a parking attendant but on both occasions he preferred to keep incommunicado and refused to acknowledge knowing the friends.
So even if we meet him we wont be able befriend him.

tokasid said...

Salam Pak Zawi:

Ah...a trip down memory lane. Personally, I think the best time in one's life is during secondary school. Its different from primary school or college/university. Secondary schol is the phase of growing up and discovering many new things in life.

Fortunately, I was never caned in school but I do have friends who padded their bottoms with 4 layers of 'spenda' to ease the pain(konon-kononnya) and the walk like heroes during reccess.

Thank you for sharing with us Pak.

Zawi said...

Doc TA,
I was caned twice during my school days. The first time was a a Chegu Ramli when I was in standard three in Sekolah Kebangsaan Kangkong. I was given 2 of the best with all his might for peeking into his class while our own class teacher was not in. He was incensed after a few others peeked in before me and I was the last one he could stand. I think the punishment meted was too much for such a small sin. The welt on my back lasted the whole day but ofcourse I didn't tell my grandfather whom I was living with about it.
The second one was mild even though I was given five lashes during form 5 in 1968. I didn't mention about this because it was already mention in my blog about my hostel life. Yes almost the whole hostel population were caned except for a few who escaped it. The hostel master held back the strokes as the sin was only for raiding the primary schools bachang tree. Nobody was spared even the little ones from the primary school. Only that they were given less number and painless lashings where the tip of the cane missed the body part. The punishment must commensurate with the sin. Read about the caning of the hostelites here:

Mat Salo said...

Bung Zawi.. Whoa.. the Black & Whites ... cantik. Awek-awek zaman dulu sure exudes style and class; charming and demure in their tight-laced kebayas.. Pee-weet! Kudos too for the scans by Tuan Hj Azmy.. certainly complements very well to your story.

As to Abd. Rahman Ali, how can I forget. He was my HM in Form 1. He wanted to force each boy to learn the violin. Can you believe that? Nasib banyak parents protest. But I think that man is a visionary, ahead of his time. Who knows? If he had his way, maybe one of his charges would have morphed into the next Yehudi Menuhin!

I posted in my batch egroups about him. One commenter met him during the schools centenary 100-yr bash back in 2005. I was there too but unfortunately I was busy pursuing people like Hishamuddin Rais, so I failed to spot Cikgu Rahman.

This is what my classmate wrote:

"Abdul Rahman Ali, was at the 100yr celeb attending as an old boy and strangely not invited as a past HM. I remembered he said "Tak ape.." but yes he was rather chatty."

Quite sad to hear that because of some screw up on the part of the organizers lah.

Hmm, the next question is, did he ever end his bachelorhood? I could not summon the courage to ask when we spoke on the phone the other day...

Kerp (Ph.D) said...

whooaa...a trip down memory lane i see. Pak Z, Kostrad Pelajar pernah main cover songs from the Beatles tak?

oh and one more thing, during the 60s, did you ever come across a band called the Zeds, fronted by azean irdawity?

uncleawang said...

fuyoo!!!!B&W photo memang cantik dan lawa..yang paling lawa tu..gambar siapa agak nya? yang di atas...
Mawi zaman dulu agak nya.
Wow..panjang cerita, I love reading the story of nostalgic and Thanks for sharing.

Zawi said...

Mat Salo,
Let us just talk about Cikgu Rahman Ali. Consider the tight fitting kebayas and what the kebayas enclosed as academic as they are more than half a century old by now with a few missing teeth perhaps.
Cikgu Rahman is just a stone throw in Damansara from your Taman Tun (that is if you carry the stone to somewhere near his house). Just pay him a visit and he will be the happiest of man to see you. He lives with his children and his sister after his wife passed away some years before. So how do you think he got his children?
Thanks to Tan Sri Isa Samad the then Menteri Besar of Negeri Sembilan who insisted that all directors in his state must be married. He was the state Education Director then. I guessed Tan Sri Isa himself must have found him a wife.
I forgot to mention that he was an accomplished violinist. It was the greatest mistake of the parents of your school to protest the learning of the violin. For a start they dont have to buy the Stravidarius to begin with. He knows he could not succeed to do it in Pasir Mas because the parents of the students in Pasir Mas can't even afford to buy a 20 rial school pants but in a premier school like MCKK?
He speaks highly of MCKK during our class of 68 gathering in 2005. It was truly sad for the organizers to have forgotten him as a former HM.
Personally I think he is open minded and will accept blunt question. When you mistook his demise I immediately called him up and ask how he was. He was quite surperised and asked me why to which I explained about your misinformation, he replied 'tolong doakan supaya saya panjang umur'.
He is planning a tour to all the places he had been serving with his children. May Allah give him the good health to meet up old friends and ex students wherever he goes to. Ex students of Pasir Mas will forever be welcoming him.

Zawi said...

Mat Kerpov,
Tuan Haji Azmy the bassist is one of the biggest Beatles fan on earth. Love me do is one of his favourite. He has some of the best collection of their LPs. Unfortunately a nincompoop borrowed his Sargeant Papers album and damaged it.
Of course I remember the Zeds, but I cant recall every individual members other than Azean. Were you one of them?

Zawi said...

Uncle Awang,
However good B & W were, color photos became the top choice later and B & W simply vanished into the twilight zone.
For your info, most of those pictures were developed ourselves in our school darkroom. We even developed the film ourselves using Microdol X no less. Some of us abused the darkroom and came out from the darkroom with acid stain of the palm print on the back of the girlfriend's shirt. He must have forgotten to wash his hand after immersing the prints in the acid bath. I can't imagine myself doing anything in that suffocating small room full of acid fumes hahahahaha.

GUiKP said...

It has been a while since I left my indelible mark here. It's nice to be back. During my time in the late 1970s, students from SIS were transfered to SIC to do their Fourth and Fifth Forms in the Science Stream. One of the students from SIS later got the Dr Ezanee Merican Prize for getting the best MCE results in our batch, then continued his studies in London (A-Levels) and Oxford U(offered to do Physics, but he switched to Law) and he is now a successful legal eagle in KL. The College magazine at that time, the vibrant and glossy The Kijang, was edited by Kee Hua Chee, now a globetrotter who chronicles the lifestyles of the rich and famous. You have more stories on SIC?

Zawi said...

Missed your footprints here.
I was in SIC for only 3 months to do the 6th form before I left for Serdang so I don't have much stories about SIC except for the 3 months which I am going to blog about later. I wonder who is the lawyer?
Those from Pasir Mas that I know who made good is Dr. Nazlee Hamzah who owns Perdana Clinic and Judge Datuk Ariffin Zakaria now elevated to head Court of Appeal. By right he should be the CJ but being the straight kind, he doesn't seem to appeal to the executives.

GUiKP said...

You know any Fung family in Pasir Mas? SIC also attracted students from Tumpat, and other schools in KB, who had just completed their LCE. One of my classmates infact joined us in Form V from Sultan Sulaiman in KT. Together with Fung, they were the only two who scored high distinction (A1) in Add Maths, among our batch, who sat for MCE in 1979.

Zawi said...

I am not aware of any Fung during my time.
Who is the lawyer in KL?

Kerp (Ph.D) said...

was i a member of the Zeds? you gotta be kidding right? i couldnt be that old, could i sir? dad was a core member of the group actually, he was the guitarist. they were briefly featured in one of P Ramlee's movies, Dibalik Tabir.

Zawi said...

There you are. Now you are telling us why the sudden interest in The Zeds. Rupanya ayah dia guitarist dalam kumpulan tu.
So what musical instrument are you playing as to continue your father's involvemnet in music?

Mat Salo said...

Bang Zawi: La ni nak kena call lagi mintak ampun kat Cikgu.. Ha ha..

Will do, next time I'm back (few days shy of the Pesta Blogger Sa-Malaysia PBS '08 on November 29th - all and sundry invited - along with Chegu Nazir as the guest of honor) I will take my stone and throw it somewhere near those houses at Pusat Bandar. And invite the old man for a chat somewhere. Yes, he already told me he liked that very much.

To a twelve year old that old man was really something. When we heard him play the vioin... whoa...

But premier school or not, bang there were few that came form Pasir Mah or Wakaf che Zenab ke apa and some even stayed back during festive breaks like Raya. So all were not so fortunate laa. Except for my buddy, whom I fondly call mason, who now heads Lua & Mansur. Did I tell you one time I stayed at his huge mansion on Jln Telipot (this was in the 70s) masa cuti sekolah ke apa and I had the temerity to ask his father, during lunch, 'pakcik kerje apa pakcik'. Of course, he was the State Secretary at the time... Oops.

GUiKP said...

Am not at a liberty to reveal more other than he is also a rock guitarist. Once when I sent him my photo taken in Venicein 2004, he circulated it to other e-group members with the caption: An Indonesian Actor in Venice. I think he has Broery in mind, and not Sophan Sophian. LOL.

Zawi said...

Wah this 29th Bloggers gathering is too good to miss. I must find a way to get there. Wht not invite Chegu Rahman to play a song on his violin? I know he will be game for it. Probably there will be more than you who had been his students among the crowd.
If you were to see him now you won't consider him old. I think he looks younger than some of my classmate he being slim and trim. He still has his own hairs and teeth.
So Mansor was your classmate eh? You should befriend Lua too as he owns a resort on Perhentian Islands. Having a friend with such facilities could be handy someday.
I would have attended MCKK too if I was as good as Datuk Kamaruddin Jaffar when we attended the interview in 1963 with Datuk Murad Mohd Nor as one of the interviewrs. Six of us from Pasir Mas went there and only Kamaruddin Jaafar was selected. He was head and shoulders above us back then being better groomed and much more intelligent than the rest of us. (If you want to say something about him don't say any negative things about him here as he reads this blog too hehehe)

Zawi said...

I respect your wish to keep his identity under wrap. Who knows he maybe kidnapped virtually by bloggers.
Oh you have the Broery's macho look. Sophans look are more for boys but I dont mind looking like Sophan Sophian hahahaha.