News Item: A Trip Down Memory Lane 2 (Updated: 08 Aug 2007)
(Category: Memory Lane)
Posted by admin
Tuesday 07 August 2007 - 23:30:06

Black and White TV
06 Aug 2007, Part 24.
By MAT

Every day after school, we proceeded to another “class” to learn rudimentary of  the Al- Quran recitation at my neighbour’s house. What a great teacher she was with an exceptionally high level of patience. When she was not with us in the crowd, probably attending to other matters in the kitchen we took that opportunity to chat  among ourselves and sometimes it turned noisy and rowdy. There was one boy who was talkative and very fond of talking about Samurai series shown on the TV. He seemed  able to do recite the story better than the director of Samurai himself. I had not seen a TV before. My imagination told me it was like a radio with a screen. In his excitement of telling his version of Samurai, he invited me to watch the show but not at his house. I made a deal with him that after the Magrib prayer he would meet me at one  junction in Kg Raja. I could not hold my patient to see him. He showed up as promised, he was a  a gentleman through and through indeed. He was my senior and his name was Mamat BSJ.  BSJ means Batu Se Jam. Actually the teasing was on the ‘J’. He got a protruded navel(belly button). Friends teased him ’Mamat Pusat Bujil’.


We arrived early (around 7.30pm) at the house of one government officer,he and family lived in a Government Quarters, a single story detached house (bungalow). I guessed he and his family had not had dinner yet. Here came a few urchins lingering in the house compound. That man was very kind, he opened the main door wide for the kampong folks to watch the TV. It was a small TV sitting on a small table. The picture was not that good but it was  good enough to hear the dialogue. That was the first time ever my eye sat on a television. After the Samurai, I stayed on for a Malay movie ‘Pembalasan’ an old Malay film where actor/actress spoke in Indonesian lingo. (“Pembalasan’ was directed by L. Krisnan in 1951 starred by S Roomainor and Siput Serawak, the back ground singer was the late P Ramlie and Lina) I watched until the broadcast for the day was over. I stood at the door  like a beggar begging for food.Not me alone, there were other boys as well.The next day  I went to school  boasting about my new experience, now I could talk about Samurai, Shinto,Tombe and others. When Tombe ran after his enemy, we all got excited, the same feeling we had when we saw wayang penerangan ‘Tongkat Hitam’. We forgot that we were in people’s house, not in a movie theatre.In middle 60s not many houses in Kg Raja possessed televison sets. Television was a novelty and no a dime a dozen. If there was one new owner of a TV set, the news would spread like a wild fire. To me it was just like a new cinema joining the fray. From  afar you could notice  a long slander bamboo pole protruded through the roof with TV aerial fixed to it. It was the symbol of affluence. Horrible looks by today’s standard but it was the hallmark of the well to do in those days, something like a Beemer or Mercedes Benz being park at the porch in today’s perspective.Although the image was  blurry due to poor reception  it was enough to see  Malay movie that was usually broadcast on alternate Friday night. On the Friday that was going to show the Malay movie I was always thrilled to bits.
Mamat BSJ taught me a lot of things, he was indeed a very nice young lad but towards his teen age, his mental became unsteady and he ended up as a deranged teenager who could not even recognise me when we ran into each other.  His  good friend was Roslan. Roslan lived in Jalan Tembila and  lived together with his grandparents. In their house compound there was cluster of  ‘pokok sentuls’ which were famous for yielding sweet sentuls. There was a boy by the name of Yusuf Mamat Kobat rumoured to be a direct decendant  of Hang Jebat; the famous Malay warrior.  Yusuf son of  Mamat Kobat was a good friend of mine who did not do well in the class. At night he would sneak into Roslan’s house compound and pinch buah sentuls and smuggle them out. I had my share, Yusuf was not stingy and willing to share the God forbidden fruit. It was very sweet indeed. Stolen fruits were always sweet.  
One late afternoon I went to a house whose tenants are familiar to me.  When I arrived at the door, she (a Chinese married to an Indian Technical Assistant of JKR)  closed the door as soon as she saw me standing on the concrete staircase leading to the main door. She was probably worried that a young boy like me was capable enough  of an erection that might put her modesty in danger and also worried that  someday she might like me more than she liked her husband. I was stunned and felt very humiliated by the treatment I received from her whose sister was my playing mate. Worst part was that it happened in full view of her sister who was my friend. Although just a boy I could discern that my friend was embarrassed at her sister’s act. Her disappointed face stays indelible in my mind until today.I pitied her as much as she pitied me. I stayed put on the concrete staircase like a statue  for a moment before I slowly left her house like a pauper being denied some food to eat. From that day I stopped going to that ‘cinema’.She must have been very fed up and annoyed with people like me who stood at the main door and intruded her privacy. Further more her husband was not at home.That was probably my second or third visit there. I left her house sombre and  squatted  by the river bank as I threw pebbles into the river and watched the  ripples that grew larger and larger  until it vanished completely. About 22 years later,I was at the JKR Office in Kuala Terengganu to see a friend and  I saw one quite elderly Indian man who seemed very familiar to me. Ahaa……… he was her husband still  handsome and with the same hair style.Of course I did not go and approach him to say “Hey, your wife was superb, her fidelity was beyond doubt, guess what! she declined my advances!” She must be in her 60s now and wrinkles must be dominating her once pretty face.If I were to bump into her, I would like to present her one set of colour TV and tell her that  I was the very boy who was shown the exit door  even before I could  enter the house and now you should not be afraid of me any more as I do not fancy women above 60. That will be good enough to give her the taste of her own medicine. How dared she insulting a boy whose great great grandfather was a warrior respected by the Kg Raja King. Actually I was not alone, there was another friend of mine in the company but he was allowed to enter, probably she felt  that the  boy was harmless and incapable of any respectable and women fearing erection except during pissing in the morning thus would not pose any danger to her.During one month of Ramadhan, I went to another house to watch  the Quran competition, I fell asleep and dozed at the door of his house only to be woken up when the host was about to go to bed.
Kg Raja folks  now live in an affluent surrounding compared to my days. Now there is  no more Wayang Penerangan. In the 60s Kg Atas Beris folks were usually the first to lay the mat on the football field even before the Penerangan staff  erected the screen post. Free wayang started at 8.30am, Atas Beris folks would besiege the padang well before 6 pm missing their dinner altogether. They would surround and encircle the Penerangan Van to see for themselves how a movie projector works! They did not give a damn care about what was shown on the silver screen but was more excited to see the man ( En Mat Wayang Gambar) doing the chores of fixing films onto the projector. That was the real picture of my experience during my childhood in the early 65. Liza Salleh who now  seems ecstatic  with the new name ‘Daffodil Liza’ was not yet in Besut at that time, otherwise I would have ended up being one of her uninvited guests to watch TV at her place of residence. At least she would not treat me in the same manner I had been treated by that Chinese lady by slamming the door right in my face. Instead she would  serve me coffee with some  plain biscuits  and treat me with full decorum and dignity with the broadest smile on her face befitting a well mannered lass even though I was  in the category of an urchin who  roam every Kampong Raja corner and street looking for  bottle caps for my collection.
 Liza, do you mind telling me what  “Daffodil”is?

Photo Liza Salleh
15 Jun 2007, Part 23.
By MAT

So it is you in the 1970  Romeo and Juliet photo liza salleh sitting number two from the left, looking very sweet, meek and amiable having skin complexion like a porcelain doll. I was your one year junior but nothing wrong to admire a senior, after all you were  just one year my senior, it will not make a big difference. Age wise we are as much. When you walked you were  as graceful as a swan. As  you walked to the canteen  to buy food, I  observed  you from far. We were  yards away, not within a hearing distance, but my heart always pounding hard whenever I caught sight of you  walking along the roofed corridor of our school. What a pair of clean shoes and socks you wore, compared to mine, torn socks and foul smell. That’s all I observed and imagined; your socks and nothing more. Just socks. Not an offence to watch people’s socks.
I bet you   did not  know I was admiring you. Not me alone actually, I got plenty of competitors. To hell with my competitors, they were day dreamers chasing rainbows, so silly of them, but Liza how come you  not knew my name?  Or probably you  did not even know my existence. That really hurts. You did not even have  the courtesy to look into my face when we our path was crossed. Were you waiting for me to make the first move? OOhh….. come on Liza that wouldn’t be possible, people were looking and I got cold feet all the time when I saw you. What made you think boys should make the first move? We were in 1970 not in 1870, we were in a modern world, world of television, at one push on the button  black and white  picture appeared after waiting for at least 5 minutes. Not the world of radio any more. You should have broken the ice, not me. If you had, your history and mine would have been different.


Liza, you were a girl about town. I was just a Kampong boy everyday waiting for the school bus when I had the money to pay for the fare, otherwise I would join other boys cycle to school. You would giggle in your Dad’s car as you looked at us sweating on our bike. That’s all right Liza, no harm done. You could laugh your head off  until the whole world shook but that would only make you look sweeter putting Mona Lisa of Leonardo de Vinci to shame.

Liza, unlike other macho boys, I did not splash  ‘Brute’ cologne all over my body. I could not even afford a decent meal to school,to afford Brute perfume was much less.  At most, I only used “Cuticura’ powder under my armpits to ward off the smell coming from it which otherwise would be revolting. So Liza I could not match your “Topez’ perfume. In my effort to compete with my competitors, I once asked them casually where to get the Brute perfume, they said I could buy from the pasar malam either in Alor Lintah or Alor Lintang.

Liza, One day I saw you ride a scooter (Vespa) belonging to Jamil a.k.a Udin in the school compound, Jamil a.k.a. Udin was  your pillion rider. Jamil a.k.a. Udin grinned like a Cheshire cat (or was it like a Doraemon?) for the rarest chance he had i.e  sitting behind a TMS celebrity on a Vespa. I had been dreaming for that moment to come but why Jamil a.k.a got it first? Did he touch you anywhere?  Why were you doing that to me?   What were you trying to prove? Were you sending me or my competitors a signal  that you needed a motor bike, at least a Vespa one day? That was the day I went home cursing myself for not being able to afford a motor bike for you to ride in the school compound or even in the entire Kg Raja. Liza, if looks alone could kill, Jamil a.k.a. Udin would have be a dead meat by then. I would have hung him high like the Talibans did to the traitors.  How dare Jamil a.k.a. Udin  treated you like his own girl friend; carrying a girl friend on a Vespa like Jins Shamsuddin did in a Malay movie I saw  at Panggung Mat Semerak Kg Raja. He thought he was a Jins Shamsudin. Height aspect yes he was like Jins, other aspects I wish to reserve my comments ( I was very sure he was one of the day dreamers, rainbow chasers)  Damn you Jamil a.k.a Udin. Losing to you Jamil a.k.a Udin no way!!!, losing to Suhaime Salleh, errr..well he’s the better guy.

Jalan Tengku Long was and probably still is the longest street in Kg Raja. Your house was along that street and about 15 minutes walking distance  from Kedai Wan Ismail,the biggest  grocery shop in Kg Raja. If you were to walk further down, towards the river of Kg Raja, my house was not far away, meaning not far from your house, meaning not far from the palace of the last Monarch of Kg Raja, His Majesty  Tg Long .That I lived in the neighbourhood of a palace was something that I took pride- since there was no other factors that could make me proud. My house, however small it was, near to the palace. The landmark to my house was simple, near to the palace. Probably my great great grand father was a warrior to the King. Probably he was one of the warriors who fought against the fierce pirates of Pulau Perhentian under the command of Panglima Ebe, if you know the history of Kg Raja. That was why he was granted permission by the King to live nearby the palace. No great title like Dato’ or Dato’ Seri was bestowed upon him despite his contribution. If he indeed had been a warrior, then that warrior blood does not run in me. I was and still is timid of girls, timid of Liza.

Every evening I went to the river bank hoping for you to come with your other sisters to look at the sampans crossing the river and the sun set. You never did.

You seldom came out from your house to admire the boundless blue sky. I wondered what on earth were you doing day in day out in the house. You could  at least  see and discern trishaws plying Jalan Tg Long carrying mostly middle aged women passengers to the market situated not far from the river. There situated the shop of  Wan Ismail’s competitor i.e  Kedai Che’ Leh Bin Busu,mended by the owner himself, Che Leh, the shortest man I had ever seen in Kg Raja and spoke in thick Kuala Terengganu accent and wearing thick glasses that made his eyes looked as big as a tennis ball and could scare his own customers off. That area was once the most elite part of Kg Raja, it was a commercial center with rows of shop.  The wet market selling vegetables and fish was quite busy especially on Friday morning, businesses in the market were managed by the wives, husbands  wasted their time playing draught game (main dam) until the concrete table got dented. These days people wasting their time playing golf. The ‘dam’ players at that market played ‘dam’ until the fish that their wives asked them to buy got rotten. Regular ‘pemain dam’ was the late Hj Awang, bald headed man, completely bald that he was popularly known as Pak Awang Licin. The bus terminal was also there, the legendary Sheikh Ibrahim’s shop was most of the time half open half closed, his  selling was limited to newspaper and  “Majallah Filem”. Sheikh Ibrahim did  not know the meaning of hot and humid, he was always  in a worn out and faded  blazer which had seen better days. He  would cycle to all corners of Kg Raja just to deliver paper. Even in the most severe climate, under the scorching hot sun, he would not leave his shop without putting the faded blazer and songkok on. He had probably bought the blazer in Pakistan before emigrating to Malaya. He never wore long trousers, always in  ‘pulaikat’ or ‘palaiyakat’. I am sure the underpants were right down to his knees. Not the modern underpants, but very similar to the ones we use in our garden to do the gardening.

Thare was one man in his 50s whose hair was long enough to compete with John Lennon of the Beatles. His name was Wan Ngah, affectionately known as Ayah Wan, spoke in thick Kuala Terengganu accent. I am not sure what business he ran but he was a regular figure loitering about in the market and its vicinity. Did you observe that Liza? LIza, you missed a lot of things because you kept yourself locked in the house most of the time.


Your house was not very far from the only tennis court in Besut (Apart from TMS Tennis court). Tennis was only played by people who worked in the office including teachers. It was the game for the elite. I went to the tennis court almost every evening  hoping to catch a glimpse of you, even your shadow was enough. I did not play tennis, never touched any tennis racket. I swallowed my pride (which I did not have) and put up a brave face to pick up tennis ball. Ball that went out of the court would be collected by me and threw back to the player to resume the game. At the end of the entire game, usually one of the more civilised players would dig his pocket to give  me 50 Sen.

After you left school, I was told that you joined MAS as an Air Stewardess, but some said not you, it was your sister who joined MAS. I could not trace you. It prompted me to join MAS after my MCE hoping to meet you in the air. I did apply for the job after my MCE.  A Kampong boy went for an interview in Kota Bharu in his best clothes trying his luck to join MAS as an Air Steward. I took a bus to Kota Bharu after a long wait at the Jerteh station. The wind gushing in spoilt my hair style and my face all tainted with dust along the journey. The interviewer smiled at me probably wondering where the hell this boy had come from who could not talk  in proper English and Bahasa Melayu. When I could not differentiate between a Foker and Boeing aeroplane, he smiled sarcastically and went on to ask whether I could tell the difference between a helicopter  and  an aeroplane. That was too much of him making fun at me as if I was a moron. He might as well ask me the difference between a rocket and a trishaw. I left the office downcast and went straight to the bus station to catch the next available bus to Jerteh. I failed the interview miserably.  On the bus I let my mind wonder of how nice if you were sitting next to me  to cheer me up and encouraged me to look for another job suited me most, probably as a fish monger.
From here let me digress a bit. I was told by a friend that my junior at TMS by the name of Mr RG had gone  for the same interview, a few years after mine. An interview to become an Air Steward for MAS.  Before he could even sit down, he was asked to take his shoes off and they measured   his height. Short of 2 inches and he was rejected outright. RG’s jaws dropped almost to his chest in dismay. RG appealed for consideration but to no avail. Now RG is a Headmaster of one the  primary schools in Besut.
Almost 37 years have passed, I feel everything was so fresh in my mind, your demeanour, your steps, your clean socks stay indelible in my memory. I forgot History, Geography, Maths and Science the moment the teacher left the classroom, but the memory in TMS with Liza as my imaginary heartthrob  will always remain. We were not classmate, the worse part we never talked to each other because you did not know me. Now I am almost 53, poor eye sight, on pills of every illness that you can think off. BOTOK injection will not do me any good.
 
It’s not your fault that I admired you, you never responded anyway. You always maintained your admirable  image of being polite to every one, you did not take advantage on your good looks.
 
And me, I am going to continue my dream while listening to the song ‘Telok Bayu’ by Ernie Johan,your ‘twin’ sister from Indonesia.....

My apologies if my ramblings disturb you in any way whatsoever. Its just a memoir from a forgotten old man who loves his friends and former school, teachers, staff and gardeners.. Bye! Bye!


10 Mei 2007, Part 22.
By MAT

In 1969, there were eight (8) Form One classes, from Form A to Form One H. Crème de la Crème were put in  ‘A’ class and good for nothing dumbnuts who did not even know how to correctly spell their own name  and not sure about the name of their own school  were dumped in the ‘ H’ class; the last and the most damning class.Among the dumbnuts there was one ‘ master strategist’. I would not reveal his name. Let us call him Mr S which has the same rhyme as ‘ass’. He  had a close friend, a tall and lanky Office boy of TMS by the name of Jamil a.k.a. Udin. He hailed from Kg Raja and always wore tight pants which were in vogue during that time. 

Mr S yearned to be promoted to a better class. Being in “H” category was morally downgrading. Given his nature it was the remotest chance for S to be promoted to a better class. It would not happen even if he cried his blood out. He simply did not like school books. Giving him a text book was as good as giving a Bible to a Christian prostitute. The prostitute would run haphazardly like a headless chicken and shouting expletives. As much, our friend Mr S would not even touch any text book, let alone read it. Not that he was dumb, he was a smart guy for sure, just that his mind always wandered somewhere else imagining how a girl would behave in a toilet to answer the call of nature. The only subject he was keen on was PE (Physical Exercise i.e Senaman). Even that he used to play truant (ponteng). He skipped going to the football field, he would stay in the class. No teachers were interested to teach in that class. Most teachers regarded the H class as a zoo with wild endangered   species in it. Students were shouting, yelling, giggling, barking, howling and throwing chalks at each other. Some came to school without any book, pen or pencil. Teachers would not bother them. There was no use to bark at the dead trees. They knew their faith were doomed.Master strategist Mr S did not think so. His faith was neither sealed nor doomed. He must strategically plan for his future survival.  He had to find a way to move to a better class the following year without having to open text books to study. He had to be in a more ‘respectable’ class where the  teachers would at least have the mood  to teach and look into the faces of students when he or she taught. In the class of 1 H, teachers would look up to the ceiling as they taught while the students staring  to the floor and restlessly waiting for the bell to ring.The Master Strategist, S, hatched a scheme in cahoots with another boy from Form 1 C, his trusted buddy. Opportunities must be shared with buddies. Together they approached Jamil the Office Boy and Jamil  listened attentively to their plight. Jamil  agreed to lend a helping hand to his desperate friends. He had nothing to lose. What are  friends for!Jamil promised to smuggle out the final exam questions. He was responsible for cyclostyling all exam papers. As easy as ABC if he wanted to smuggle the papers out,not at all a big deal for him.
Eventually Jamil secretly passed the exam papers to them before the exam date. The better boy who was in Form 1 C helped S to answer the questions. S memorised the answers by heart. All in objectives form.In the examination hall, S and his Form 1 C buddy answered the questions with full confidence. All questions were familiar to them. They did not want it to be too obvious  by answering it all correct, lest they be held on suspicion of cheating. They were smart in that respect. S exercised his brilliant skill to answer the questions just enough for him to qualify a few jumps in the class ranking. That Form 1 C boy was as much skilful as S had been. His target was to remain in C class in Form 2 the following year. He did not want a demotion to a lower ranking class. S’s target was between Form 2 E and  F.
When the results were announced, S was promoted to Form 2 F. He was as pleased as Punch, grinning widely from ear to ear. What a jump!! From Form 1 H to Form 2 F! It was good of him to join the better boys instead of languishing in a class equivalent to a Zoo full with tree to tree jumping beasts. Other classmates were startled to learn about S’s promotion. The rest of his classmates remained in H class as there was other class worse than H. H was already the bottom most pit class. Some felt very proud, at least among them there was one boy who got the brain in the head, not just an empty shell like them. After Form 2, S pursued his Form 3 at Sultan Sulaiman School in Kuala Terengganu and  he flunked his LCE. Now Mr S and his buddy are living in the Klang Valley, each runs a successful business of their own. Both of them are successful in their own field. Jamil is probably still in Besut, has he retired?

6 Mei 2007, Part 21.
By MAT

In my primary school, I did not miss buying food at the tuck shop. The tuck shop was operated by the family of Che’ Gu Harun of Alor Lintang, his children were students of TMS as well. One of them was Rohani Harun, the TMS singer. One day during recess, I went to the tuck shop to buy keropok gotel, now more popular by the name of keropok lekor. Che Gu Harun was there mending the shop. He took my order, I asked for a ‘Keropok Gotel satu’ He wasted no time, touching every other food on the food bench except the  keropok gotel that I had asked for. His 10th attempt got him right, at last he got hold of the keropok gotel, I excitedly said ‘Yes,itu keropok gotel’. By that time, his fingers had landed on all the malay delicacies on the plates for other pupils to savour. Later I came to know that his vision was impaired, no wonder he wore thick glasses and took him unusually long to get hold of the keropok gotels which were right in front of his eyes. I was in standard two then.


22 April 2007, Part 20.

One day in my class of Form 4, A Chinese lady marched into my classroom with the headmaster Mr Yusoff Ngah alongside. That rather plump Chinese lady threw a big grin  as she quickly scanned at us and uttered this  “ Tak tok, tak tok” ( Tak ada, tak ada ). Both then left the class proceeding   to other  class rooms hunting for someone whom I presumed very important.

There had been a blackout in entire Alor Lintang the night before. One boy ( Samad, not his real name ) who had some knowledge about woman’s anatomy patronised a sundry shop ran by a Chinese couple in Alor Lintang( along  Jalan SNS). He wife was attending to the shop in the candle light. He was  in the bed waiting for the wife. He was looking forward for an early husband-wife session, after all there was no point in extending the business hour, as there was no electricity. But the wife refused to close the shop early as a trickle of  customers still  patronizing.  Samad came into the shop to buy something. There was no other customer. In the glimpse of the candlelight the lady was looking for the item Samad had ordered.Outside was pitch dark, not street light, moon was pale. It took sometime before she could give him what he wanted. Quite dark. The lady scuttled in the darkness amidst the groceries randomly lying on the floor. As she walked her boobs bouncing up and down rhymatically. That motion aroused Samad, he did not bat his eyelids, stayed focussed on her boops and once in a while on her buttock which were quite rounded due to her tight pants. Samad’s mouth was half open, he felt his pants were too small for him.

 Being young and full of imagination and especially having learned  a bit on reproductive system in the Biology class, a bit about Hadas Besar/Kecil in the Religious Knowledge class,he could not control himself,full of libido, saliva dripping  from the mouth like a dog breathing lustfully  looking for a bitch. That lady was always in the traditional Chinese  pants had probably bended down to grab the item needed by Samad, Samad instead took every opportunity to imagine he was looking at Norazizah’s arse. He was in full imagination of having a doggie fashion with Norazizah. Norazizah was the popular Malay movie actress then. He wasted no time, in full lust he lunged forward and grabbed her boobs from behind which were about the size of  dried coconuts  and  hanging like bats on electric transmission lines. That Chinese lady got a shock of her life and screamed blue murder at her molester. Samad wasted no time, he broke into a run and disappeared in darkness. The husband who was looking forward for a lovely blackout session got off from the bed and rushed forward amidst full darkness. ‘The Standby Mode’ quickly subsided. Erection collapsed totally as he tried to run after the culprit who had broken into a run. Samad was really a spoiler for the husband who had been waiting dutifully to perform at early hour of the night; which he seldom got. Electricity blackout was a good excuse to close the shop early, but Samad had it spoiled.  The husband cursed Samad with whatever swearwords he knew.  The otherwise  would be a beautiful lovely night which  now ruined completely by one school boy. To wait for another blackout was too long for him to bear.

The next day, that Chinese lady went to see the HM to report the incident. She said she could recognise the boy even though it was quite dark. Samad was as clever as a fox, he did not go to school the next day, he pre-empted rightly. He was never caught.


13 April 2007, Part 19.
By Mat.

This incident occurred in 1964. I was in standard one at Sekolah Kebangsaan Kg Raja. We were stuffed in a dilapidated building which was on its last leg struggling its best to survive. In my class of standard 1 (1964), there was one Hamdan who was a stammerer or stutterer (gagap) and quite naughty in the class. (In fact who wasn’t in a class of standard one! as they say ‘boys will be boys’) There were only two teachers in the whole all boys class i.e. the late Che’Gu Shafie and the Ustazah.I can’t recall her name exactly, if my memory serves me right, it was Ustazah Mariam, the wife of Ustaz Husin who later became the Besut Perikatan  MP from 1969 to 1974.

Che Gu Shafei was a good teacher but sometimes quite quick tempered. One day he could not rein his anger and slapped Hamdan for the reason I cannot recall. As if not enough with a few tight slaps, he  took a waste paper basket which was not far from Hamdan’s chair and put it on Hamdan’s head, like putting a helmet onto his head. As Hamdan was sobbing,he continued to slap on  the waste paper basket with Hamdan’s head in it.  Why he went into that fit of anger  I do not know or remember. When it was all over, the class resumed. Out of the blue, Hamdan’s father appeared standing by back door. Hamdan was still sobbing. He came just at the right moment. I was as surprised as Cik Gu Shafei to see him standing by the door as though  knew what had happened. I knew him by sight since that was not his first visit. He regularly came to see his son. Hamdan was a bit naughty and playful. On seeing Hamdan’s sobbing incessantly, he asked Che Gu Shafei what had happened. Che Gu was visibly shock to see Hamdan’s father standing by the door  shooting a question demanding to know why his son was sobbing. Until today  I can still remember the look in his face in reacting to the  appearance of Hamdan’s father. However Cik Gu quickly answered exactly this “dia teringat kat Pak” (he misses his father). Off course it was not true, he was lying through his teeth but that answer saved him for that day. If the father had asked me, I would have told him the truth! If I had done so, Cik Gu Shafei would have been in hot  water and I might have had to leave that school for spilling the beans. Hamdan’s father did not ask further but his facial expression showed he was not at all pleased. Facial expression does not bluff.

Hamdan did not stay long at that school, he left without completing the entire one year. Probably his father got transferred out of Kg Raja or Besut.  His father was a policeman and not a local Besut. I still got the photo of 1964 class which Hamdam is in it.  Cik Gu Shafei is sitting in the middle. I wondered what Hamdan might have told  his father at home about the incident. That incident stopped there, not pursued by his father.
 Today’s parents would not have let the teacher go scot free. They would drag teacher over the coal until it   hit the headlines. To them their children are always right. They think that it’s the duty of the teachers to educate if they are naughty, go berserk or sulk. Teachers are to clean the mess if their children defecate in the class. Teachers are not supposed to scold let alone touch them. Now teachers are materially poorer than the parents, unlike those days when only  teachers could afford a Morris Minor. Some parents were illiterate, when they crossed path with a teacher, it was like having an audience with the King himself. So much of respect they accorded to the teachers. Today’s scenario is just the reverse, father picks their child by Beemer or Mercedes while teacher goes to school in Proton Savvy or Kancil- feeling very inferior when seeing their pupil getting inside a luxury car driven by the driver. Some teachers especially fresh university or college graduates queue with the pupils waiting for the same bus to get to school or home. The rich primary school pupils could afford to carry a 3G hand phone, while their teacher only  carry a RM 120.00 phone, prepaid. Because respect comes together with wealth, present teachers will not get the respect they used to enjoy in the 60s. Parents thought that they are much better educated than the teachers. Any tiny mistake by the teacher will get the case reported to the education ministry, just because the father has got some small political connection but enough to pull string via UMNO Head of Branch to get some cheap attention from the Education Ministry. Education Ministry has to interfere or pretending to show interest as the complainant is a strong UMNO supporter who will oblige   climbing the telephone posts to hang the party’s flags during every election. 

 After the school holiday, some pupils  would brag to their teacher about their holiday in overseas, while the poor teacher just lend his ears with jaws half dropped, does not know whether to laugh or to cry, cursing  himself why had he been preordained just to end up as  an ordinary  primary school teacher - a profession not even respected by his own the school gardener.
Che Gu Shafei passed away this year at Intan Gleneagles Hospital KL after a heart operation. He was also  the ex-ADUN of Terengganu. I did not have any unpleasant experience with him. He was nice with everybody except Hamdan. I remember vividly he told us not to eat ‘pulut’ (glutinous rice) in the morning. It made you go stupid, he said. I  told my mother that our teacher had  told us not to eat pulut before going to school. She just laughed, pulut continued to be regularly served by her as breakfast nevertheless. (The Thais eat pulut and we are not smarter than them!)
Another classmate of Std One was Wan Rosli. Wan Rosli was the class monitor, a boy with the sweetest smile Besut has ever produced, adored by many including Che Gu Shafei himself. Very clever in class and active in sports as well. A boy whose behaviour was impeccable and never got himself involved in any argument let alone fight. I still remember a period he was not well and absent from school for almost 2 or 3 months. When he came back I saw a big scar on one of his thighs which looked like a dead centipede of 5 inches long. It was noticeable miles away if he was in shorts. In form 3 he was elected as a school prefect and wore long pants. Those long pants covered the scar. Wan Rosli is now a respected geologist  working for an international company in Malaysia.




This news item is from TMESA: TMS Ex-Students Association
( http://www.tmesa.org/install/news.php?extend.28 )