The year 1969.
It was a rather long pause between SPM in November last year and late April this year. I missed the school and the hostel life very much. Previous years post-SPM-ers were called to the school as early as Jan, in what was called 'Temporary Lower Six'; they were 'confirmed' or otherwise when the results were announced in mid April. As from this year the 'Temporary Lower Six' was abolished.
Grammar School, Cherong Lanjut, Kuala Terengganu. A private school, exist since 1960's, on a hill overlooking the town towards the sea. I passed by this school a few times while strolling on bicycle with Othman Ngah; and once in 1966 in the class for the extra-curiculum activity (oration competition) for SMK Padang Midin. I had in mind in early 1969 to apply for the job of a temporary teacher while waiting for the SPM results to come out. But this time my adventure was in Kuala Sentul, Pahang;
6SnB2 (1969); 6SnA2 (1970). Push here to enlarge or here for details.
I had some 'adventures' during that pause period. Just before Eid Shawal last year Saturday Dec 14, I went to my cousin's place in Kuala Sentul, Pahang. My elder brother had already been in the area for the past six months, and worked in a nursery close to the place. My intention was to work, so that I would have a thicker wallet when I return to SAS. I did work, as a hard labourer, pruning the plots for palm oil plantation in Jengka Block B, what is known today as Jengka 5, on Friday Jan 10. I was not actually meant for that. I worked only one day, on Saturday Jan 11. I quitted in the evening of the first day working, walked, about five miles, alone, out through the razed jungle and with a mysterious help (from a Sunny sedan car I block-stopped in the middle of the dark road at about 8pm, driven by a Chinese with an Indian passenger) I arrived back at my cousin's place in Kuala Sentul. Two weeks later I was confirmed to carry plasmodium in my red blood cell, and I suffered the notorious tropical disease of malaria. I had to get the treatment very soon, so on Wednesday Feb 5, I returned home to Trg. The fever was very high and I saw regrets in my mother's eyes for letting me go to such a place. I was taken for treatment at Retnaraja Dispensary in KT, on Thursday Feb 13, and after three doses of injection in a week and daily paraquin, the fever slowly disappeared, and my blood was getting cleaner. I hang around for full recovery, in and out with relatives, making up for the lost bond in the past five years of my hostel boarding life; and with friends, especially Othman (Paloh), Omar (Batu Hampar), Mohd Embong (Kuala Ibai) and Ismail (Pulau Ketam), keeping in close contact with each other for the SPM results or any development in SAS.
I knew my SPM results from Othman on Saturday March 29; he got it by phone two days earlier. The offer letter from SAS for the lower-six came on Tuesday April 15, six days after my little sister, Ani Salwiah (I named her) was born (Wednesday April 9); to present at the school on Monday April 21, the first day of second term. Out of nine in my pack 66, Ismail and Shafie failed to recieve the offer. I returned to SAS on Saturday April 19, and spent the Sunday April 20 frolicking with friends after the long miss, unrealising that the day was my 18th birthday. I came to know also that a number of my former friends fifth-former in Padang Midin, Draman Muda, Razak Mohd, Md Dahan (he went to PM in form 4, 1967, so I did not know him till he went to SAS), Abdullah Ismail, Bedullah Botok, Mohd Zaki Jusoh, and two girls, Zawiah, very intimately in contact with me since last year, and Kalthum, were also coming, for Arts six-form. I was put in 6SnB2, math group 2, divided arbitrarily by CheGu Omar against group 1 in 6SnB1. Biology groups were in 6SnB3 and 6SnB4. Indonesian teachers were already in the school waiting eagerly to teach us. The one I knew on the first day was Pak Noehi Nasution who would teach us chemistry. Over the next three weeks, I could not resist myself from joining the crowds in orientating the fresh sixth-formers and disguised myself as Wilfer Ong from Labuan, Sabah. More excitements, surprises and tests were waiting for me.
|The memoir from the HM CheGu Mohd Ghazali Hanafiah. His tenure in SAS, and the in famous May 13.|
May 10 Sat was general election day, and we did not sleep through to late Sunday morning, listening over the radio the election results. It was raining heavily in the evening. Monday was a clear, normal school day, but May 13 Tue, the rain fall very heavy in the first quarter of the morning. A racial riot broke out in Chow Kit - Kg Baru, KL. By night it was clear over the radio that the tragedy, later infamously known as May 13, had taken its toll. The city was under curfew. Its seriousness was felt by the wardens and senior students as we were not allowed to go to the classroom, instead were told to stay put in the dorm.
May 14 Wed, it was heard on the radio in the morning that last night incident took a toll of twenty death, sixty injuries, and the burning down of houses, shops, cars, motorcycles, and other properties. The nice figure quoted was an indication that the casualties was far more serious than that. The curfew was apparently for the whole country. We still went to class, but teachers who stayed outside school compound were absent. The girls who stayed in their hostel in Jalan Raja Abdullah, Kg Baru were also trapped. In the late morning HM, CheGu Arifin, "called" for (students) volunteers to donate blood; by afternoon they were loaded into five army trucks and were taken to KLGH; then over the radio the casualties had increased to thirty. Fearing that my blood was still stained by plasmodium, I did not volunteer. The rain fall very heavy in the evening, and when the rain stopped, we were swarmed by Kg Congo people, mostly women and children, who were very frightened, panicking the students themselves. They were given shelter in the school hall and gymnasium. After dinner sixth-formers were assembled on the court-yard infront of B block to be briefed on security measures by warden. Sixty upper-sixer volunteers, including all prefects, armed with sticks, were picked to patrol the road encircling the school and hostel buildings. Lower-sixers were told to stay awake patrolling the corridors of the hostels. Duty roster would be detailed out tomorrow. Fourth and fifth former were told to stay on their own beds, light off at nine thirty. No one, under any circumstance at all was allowed to go out of the school compound, until to be told otherwise.
May 15 Thu, all schools in the curfew area were closed. In SAS, students could go to classes to study or stay in the dorm. Meal menu were rationed drastically. Breakfast was black tea or coffee and biscuits, no morning tea, lunch and dinner was rice with scramble egg soup, black tea or coffee less-sweet for evening meal, and no supper. Evening, An explosions was heard from the direction of TTTC; more Kg Congo people came for shelter in the hall. Teachers and their families who stayed in the quarters moved to C blocks because the quarters were rather far off and exposed to Salak South. At night a long persistent bell rang from the direction of STTI with rumours of an attack from Cheras. Some Kg Congo people had to be moved because the gym and hall were too crowded. They were given B House (fourth floor), and thus I had to move, to room 1B3. As the night rolled on, nothing actually happened in the school.
May 16 Fri, over the radio everything was under controll in KL. Many Kg Congo people returned to their homes, the remaining men performed friday prayer with us, in the hall and gym. Students moved freely between classes and dorms, the teachers remained in C block, and night patrol went as scheduled.
May 17 Sat, we were told to go the classes during day time, but water shortage began to take effects. Although the rain fall heavily, many students could not get washed. At night, corridors patrol were carried on, but road patrol was taken over by a group of (real) army.
May 18 Sun, curfew was relaxed for a few hours in the afternoon, many students went to Cheras to buy sundries. Night patrol was carried on, but upper and lower sixth-former combined.
May 19 Mon, curfew was relaxed for 12 hours day time in many places throughout the country, except KL. The schooling was still closed, but students were told to keep on the daily activities, including recreational activities. My night duty was in the group lead by Shukur, the Halimi House captain.
May 20 Tue, students were told to use the morning time as prep class, like on Saturday. Curfew in certain KL area were relaxed from 6 am to 2 pm.
May 21 Wed, some close by students, especially sixth former, went home during the relaxed hours.
May 22 Thu, I felt like I was having malaria again, but the fever was not periodic. HM assembled all students into the hall at night and scolded us by saying that we had wrongly spent our time in the past many days.
May 23 Fri, breakfast returned to normal, but lunch and dinner improved a little only. Patrol volunteer were needed only at the office and junction leading to teachers quarters.
May 24 Sat, house meeting. I guessed life had progressed to close normal, but schooling had not yet resumed. Morning hours were used as prep class. Curfew was very much relaxed in all places except in a few active area in KL. At night it was movie time, VIOLATION and THE WOUNDED PRINCE.
May 25 Sun, stories about riot trickled down, one was Jamaluddin Ghani who returned to his home in Melaka on May 21, today told us that his elder brother in KL was a casualty. A fire broke out near teachers quarters and was put off by fire brigade from Cheras.
May 26 Mon, informal meeting among students to put up exhibition items for comming speech day.
May 27 Tue, another movie in the hall - PARISH.
May 28 Wed, maulidurrasul, obviously no celebration could be organised.
May 29 Thu, Pak Arifin Harahap came to the class to teach and that was the beginning of schooling to resume. I recieved a letter from Abang Wi asking about my well being here. Evidently my parents were very worried for the past days.
May 30 Fri, some teachers came to class to sort out non academic things like account. At night farewell party for CheGu Harun who was moving to UM.
May 31 Sat, wardens carried out full house inspection. All meal menu returned to normal, and at night there was another movie, open-air - THE FAMILY WAY.
June 1 Sun, the day to acquire momentum for schooling to resume as normal although there was still a periodic curfew in KL.
The prize I earned in 1968 SPM for "Kaji Hayat" (Biology).
And for "Kimia" (Chemistry). In 1971, I used this book as a textbook for my chemistry paper of Prof Dr Achmad Amiruddin, who used the sister book by the same author, University Chemistry which I bought only in 1972 when I cashed the honorarium from article I wrote for xxxxxxx.
Zainal Mohd Tahir (L) and Sutarji Kasmin (R).
SAS Board of Prefect 1969. Push here to enlarge or here for details.
The most unexpected event, I figure in my whole schooling life, was on Monday, September 15 when during the morning assembly the new HM, CheGu Ghazali Hanafiah, made the announcement that I was appointed Acting Head Boy, meaning if I am still alive and not committed to a criminal offence I would be the Head Boy 1970 of SAS; the 8th in SAS chronology. From that day, upper six prefects, including the current HB, 'retired' to pay full attention for their STP. I was made to take over the job of the HB with the remaining prefects with me. It was a challenge. I won some of the games and lost some others. When somethings were at the beginning, it meant that some other things were at the ending. In the middle when a thing ended its beginning, another thing began its ending. No matter how elstic one is, a move in a direction will tend to result in a retreat from the opposite direction. Ramadan 1389 began on Tuesday Nov 11, third term break began on Thursday Nov13. I went home for the term break the next day by bus, with Zawiyah. I spent the Eid at home, on Thursday Dec 11.
After Eid, I made another unprecedented adventure: cycling to Kuantan, with my cousin Ahmad Yusof, on Monday Dec 15, 8.20 am Batu 6. Spending two nights in Batu Tiong, Dungun (the home of AbangYas, #1son of AyohChik Takir), and Teluk Kalong (in the home of Rokiah, Ahmad's sister), Kemaman, we reached our destination, Kuantan on Wednesday Dec 17, 3.15 pm, and by boat to Tanjung Lumpur (the home of Ahmad's maternal grand-untie). We had in mind to continue to KL, but hardship and spare parts needed very fast for the bicycle, we decided to return home, the next day, Thursday Dec 18, reversing the route and break points, we reached the spot where we started, on Saturday Dec 20, 2.00 pm. I felt like seeing again the place I contracted malaria at about the time last year, so en route to KL on Tuesday Dec 30, I popped in Kuala Sentul. I spent the last day of the year there.
Edition dated: May 2003