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The year 1968.

This year was a special year because Monday Jan 1 was First Shawal (Eid) 1387. And it was another Eid (1388) on Sat December 21. I returned to SAS on Saturday Jan 6 (with Ngah Mamat, a fifth-former 1966 SMKPM, who was a college trainee) after spending the blessed week fully with my family and close relatives. The school term began on Monday Jan 8. I began to feel very confortable indeed in this school, especially during the final exam last November, I did all my best and I got all the best. Friends in Padang Midin had not forgotten me, and I had not forgotten them either. I kept the relationship warm by giving them exam tips and subject edges that we learn here in SAS, limited though to BM, Geog, and BI, not even PI; spiritually we were taking exam together. Othman Ali had been writing contantly, but ironically I could not meet him personally during the home breaks last year. He actually kept my loneliness and homesickness deswelling by humouring me things that were going on in my former school. This year someone else got entangle and took over his job, and our relationship were really warm. We were like sitting together in the exam hall when we were sitting for our SPM in Nov, like we were sitting for our SRP in 1966. Many fourth-formers from Terengganu arrived these year, many of them were from Padang Midin; two in particular were Jaafar Majid and another one I knew wery well last year was Kaida Khalid, but 'unfortunately' he went to Jitra, Kedah, instead of coming here to SAS.

SAS 4Sn2 (1967); 5Sn2 (1968) (Push here to enlarge and here for details)
Being in Form Five in SAS was rather a big relief; a relief from the feeling of being the most junior, and unfortunately the relief overbaked into the feeling of being 'the most senior', forgetting that the lower sixers and upper sixers were watching. Nonetheless we were more senior than the new lower sixers who came in June, and many of them were in Arts classes. I had enough courage to go around all the dorms in both A and B Blocks, and knew where every one of my friends stayed. I would untimidly go to see what was happening when I saw a crowd of students, which mostly were some fouth-formers, who arrived beginning Jan 15, being ragged. And admittedly I could not resist the temptation to partly participate, at the hostel and in their classes. I moved freely, did everything, and tried very hard to be active on the field; those which did not need personal gears: cross-country, sepak takraw, table tennis, basketball, volley ball and hockey. I was not good in any of those though. It took through to February when lessons in the class got more serious and many teachers began to instill the SPM atmosphere in our minds.

My class teacher was CheGu Mohamad Ismail, a Trg UM graduate, the first adult country-fellow I met. It added a relief since he was my teacher too. It was not an imagination; on Oct 27 (the day after Farewell Dinner - a week before SPM started) CheGu Mohamad, via Zakaria asked to see all my math exercise books. He returned them a few days later, saying no words, perhaps they were in order. Mrs Wee (English teacher) later continued as the class teacher. Class-mates were as of last year; so did most of the teachers, except those who were transfered, like CheGu Ramli who took over Add Math when CheGu Baharin left. Mahzan - Md Jab pair continued monitoring.

SAS Geograpgy Soc 1968, L-R, Front Row Seated: Ghazali Yahya, CheGu Ismail Taib, CheGu Goh May Ling, CheGu Aishah Mohd Zahir, CheGu Yang Chiew Phing, Wan Ismail; Back Row: Shafie Abd Rahman, Zawawi Muda, Mat Zakaria, Aziz Abd Rahman, Ismail Mamat, and Salma Mustafa. Shafie was a small fourth-former boy from Kelantan who just checked-in about a month. When he was proposed into the committee in the AGM, an opponent said that the proponent was fooling around, but when he defended him by telling his 4A's in his recent SRP, the attendees voted unanimously as the fourth-formers representative (as I was for the fifth-formers).

The first term activities, as always, were mostly consolidation of the school extra-curriculum bodies, then geared towards the Speech Day in May. February was busy with AGM of many societies. On Thursday Feb 1, I attended the AGM of Geography Society, and with my presence visible by the silhouette of my SRP results and my final exam results last year, I was elected a committee member representing fifth-former. That was my first involvement with the school extra-curriculum. The next day it was House Annual Meeting, Halimi House in Class 4D. New captain was elected, it was the Arts upper sixth-former Md Isa Samad, an ace in the school sepak takraw. And the next day it was St John Ambulance AGM. I attended the meeting, attracted by the beauty and smartness of its uniform. But later that day I had to forget about becoming a member realising that the uniform cost a lot. I missed the scout last year for the same reason, although the King's uniform and its adventurous activities attracted me considerably, as it always did since I was in Standard 4 back in 1961. On Tuesday Feb 6 during its AGM, I seriously joined the gymnastic club, attracted by its combatic display amids realising that my bones were no longer flexible enough but the overhead was low.

But an invariant appeared from Jan beginning. It was water shortage that made students searched every where to get washed in the morning. I chose to get up early, but in the evening one scaterred to even gymnasium WCs to bathe. It was rumoured that the shortage was a deliberation by HM to save some money, and one late afternoon, Friday Jan 26 some impatient seniors abused HM verbally. They were caught and drilled under the hot sun on the field, then in the hall with a very long "lecture" by the warden. The inconvenience persisted for about six months then it damped asymtotically.

SAS Geograpgy Soc 1968, visit to Serdang Agriculture College, Sat Apr 6. Wan Mahmood on my back, right and left, a dorm mate upper-sixth former (Kelantanese). Shaari (from Pahang) was another; I tailed them because the latter carried a camera.
As last year, the in-house movies was our main entertainment. This year most of the weekends, it was shown open-air, it was screened on the wall of hostel's A block while students congregated on the court yard between A block and the office building. Students carried their own chair from the class and returned when the show was over. And I enjoyed very much watching open-air movie. Among the films shown were: Invitation to a Gun Fighter, Geranimo, A Flight from Abshiya, Witness for the Prosecution, Sergeant Three, Pork Chop Hill, That Man from Rio, Tom Jones, King of the Sun, Lilies of the Field, Twice Told Tales, Fairy Cross the Mersey, In The Hard Days Nights, Topkapi, How to Murder Your Wife, Mister Moses, Help, Dr No, Secret Invasion, The Professionals, The Savage Gun, The Swordman of Siera, Born Free, Last Command, Don't Eat the Daisies, Kid Galahad, I'll Take Sweden, Revenge of Frunkestein, One of Our Spies is Missing, Gun Fight of Dodge City, The Spy with my Face, Dr No, and many-many more, excluding the last year 'collection' and the coming 1969 and 1970 'collection'. Normally trailling before the show was other clips, but the most enjoyable to watch were the Tom and Jerry series or the Merry Melody Shows, and many documentaries. Geog Soc managed to make a visit, to Serdang Agriculture College, on Saturday Apr 6 before we began the first term break. I went home for the break on Friday apr 12, with Jalil and Ismail. The transport was fully booked. We checked in Tong Fong Hotel in Kuantan, but after dinner there was a "prebet sapu" going to Terengganu, so we took the opportunity (with two other female chinese passengers, and a male small time fabric trader). Ismail dropped in Paka (his sister's place), and I put up at Jalil's place in Kijing, Marang for we arrived at almost 9 pm.

Gymnastic team display on the Speech Day, Thu May 16. The minister of Education was the guest of honour;

Second term began on Monday May 6, packed with activities in the school. During the break I was approached by a CheGu by the name Abd Latif, a friend of CheGu Alias, my neighbour. He was taking his SPM too in 1968 to qualify him as a trained (by experience) teacher. He put his confidence in me to share my notes, geog, malay, etc. I wrote a couple of notes and posted to him. He never replied, so I stopped doing it after a month. Speech Day, 4th for SAS, was on Thursday May 16. I received my prize from En Mohd Khir Johari the Minister of Education, for my last year results, the runner up being Sulaiman Md Nor from 5Sn3. I later joined the gymnasts for the display.

The hits on June 24, prior to Sports Daya, Sat Jul 6, in which I ran 4x100m.

Sports Day, the 5th, was on Saturday July 6. I was a 4x100 runner class 2 for Halimi house, but we did not make it. This was followed by mid-year exam on Wednesday July 10. Second term break was on Thursday Aug 1. I had no problem of going home, this time by bus with my pax friends.

Third term and important term began on Monday Aug 26. I had a very clear conscience of what the SPM results would do to me. I had this since the first term, and in fact I read and revised my lessons by timetable, as early as in January. SPM finally arrived on Tuesday Nov 5, it began with practical biology. It was preceded by farewell dinner 1968 on Saturday Oct 26. Written paper began with Bahasa Melayu on Friday Nov 15. Fourth and lower sixth formers began their break at Nov end, but my SPM ended on Monday Dec 2 with add math, on 12th Ramadan which began on Thursday Nov 21. I had 8 papers done during the Ramadan.

Farewell dinner 1968, Sat Oct 20. Fifth formers conggregated.
The late Jaafar Majid. I knew him him and Kaida since in Padang Midin from 1965. When I left for SAS in Jan 1967, they determined to follow my footsteps.

A fourth former who registered in January from my former school PM was Jaafar Majid, a little boy with a curly hair from Marang. When I was in form three in PM, he sort of idolised me for my way to excell. He did not quite repeat behind me, nonetheless he was one of the best that came to SAS in 1968. I obliged not to look down on him, so I made every effort to make him getting very close to me. And I noticed that he felt a sense of security with me, a 'senior', always around him. I spent many hours a day with him, in his dorm, took him to my dorm, going for a walk around the school compound, visiting his class, watching open-air movie together; and I always tried to find a reason to be with him. Out of that long hours with him I got his stories of how my former school PM was going last year, and the well-being of many of my former friends there who I began to feel I missed them very much. It went on for the first term, and then second term. And suddenly he did not turn up for the third term. I was told that he was ill, at home. Strained by the stresses of the advancing SPM, his absence went on unnoticed. It was during the third term break in Trg, I learned that he had passed away in early Ramadan, on Thursday Nov 28. On that day I was sitting for my SPM's physics, and the night before that I dreamt I saw a carriage, narrated to me as belonging to The Prophet.

Travelling in Ramadan was not so enjoyble, so for the home-comming final break on Tuesday Dec 3, with all belongings to carry, I chose express taxi from KL to KT. I reached KT at about 3 pm, and met several former PM-mates at the bus station, in particular Khamshah Mohamad.

Much of the early December days were spent with the family members and relatives, trying to make up for the 'lost time' with them. But all the time latent at the back of my mind was my possible next move while waiting for the SPM results and the move after it. Since temporary lower six was no longer an exercise at SAS, it would be a long time from now to May next year; and no matter what alternatives I would do, the common denominator was the same: use the time wisely for the sixth form. While my mind was wandering around, my cousin Abang Mat of Kuala Sentul turned up at my home on Thursday Dec 12. Starting from the fact that my brother was then in Kuala Sentul, my mind computed a mental calculation: go with Abang Mat to join my brother in Kuala Sentul. If the fate is on my side I would get a job, does not matter how hard it is, and I would get a back-up for my next phase in SAS. After all one could not buy an experience. I told my mother about my intention and she did not say no, or perhaps she did not have an alternative. So off I went to Kuala Sentul, on Saturday Dec 14, with Abang Mat. Perhaps what make my mother unworried very much was Mak Ngah who was also going to stay with Abang Mat. His cofee shop then was thriving, many relatives from Trg went and backed to help, and to cater the supplies. The Eid 1388H (the second in this Gregorian 1968 year) was on Saturday Dec 21, and for the first time I learned to spend it away without my mother, my father and brothers and sisters; and for the first time my mother and my father spent without both their #1 and #2 sons.


Edition dated: May 2003