The year 1974.
A present from Dr Proehoeman of GHKL, Jan 7 Mon. I used it for my thesis literature notes in 1974, because the size was rather big for the time being. My current collection was of the 5X7" or 6X8".
It was a rather hard and adventurous life last year, academically and financially. Somehow, I managed it. Joining the PMUKM's demonstration against the appointment of the new VC at Prime Minister's office in Jln Dato' Onn on the Jan 2 Wed was an epicentre of one in myself, since Sep last year, to about the end of Jan this year, the peak of the 3Q. But the Eid Azha was on Jan 3 Thu, and everybody was in the college; I did not even go to the college Eid dinner on Jan 5 Sat. A sense of graduation prevailed and I took the first step of making many passport-size photos at Ginza Studio (Section 17) on Jan 7 Mon; and enrolled myself to Dr Suwandi for a tutorship for the third year next session. I was driven to make some attempt to further my study, perhaps in the USA, by seeing Dr Gary on Jan 16 Wed and a short visit to Lincoln Culture Center with Mohd Md Yusof. There were many occasional holidays in late Jan, including the first Kuala Lumpur's Federal Territory day on Feb 1 Fri and the subsequent celebration.
The 3Q exam began on Feb 4 Mon, for a week, and this was my most important exam, and in fact to every third year colleagues. The results would decide whether I would continue to the 4th year, or otherwise. Many of my non-science friends, especially those from the FPI, had talked about not to continue to the 4th year if they manage to secure a job; in fact some of them were actually ex-teachers, on study-leave. It was a great temptation. After the exam was over, a shadow hang over me. First on what to do till May 20, the new session, that it took me by train to JB on Feb 14-17 around the MPTI and the Lido Beach before, as always, I began by looking for any reason to stay in the campus (and another similar trip after 4Q exam, Apr 3-4, one way with Azahari, Apr 4-8, down for a night in Singapore's Cantoman -for the first time- and paused-back via JB). The 4Q began on Feb 25 Mon, a fortnight after the exam, and with a high anticipation that all my 3rd year papers would clear, I signed up two 4th year papers (SK410 and SK430), in advance of the session and results. And Dr Gary leaked and hinted us that we were then Bachelors of Science; the only confirmation was one of an oral exam, for me, on Mar 5 Tue, in the Chem Dept Head office (FPI) by Prof Izrin Nordin (the questions were mainly on fluorescence and phosphorescence) in which I had no problem in getting through. However this one was for my future matters; somehow for the current matters, I enrolled to Dr Suwandi's prerogation for a tutorship to pre-run the experiments he designed (on Polymer Chemistry) for the 2nd year students next session. By mid Mar, it was unofficially clear that I made myself a Bachelor of Science; even got an offer from ITK, Gurney Road for a Lecturer B post, Mar 14 Thu (with several other colleagues). I did not respond to the offer because I was eying the UKM itself which I heard the rumour that I was one of the contending candidates. Azahari moved to stay out-campus (44, 17/3) Feb 28 Thu leaving me alone in the college. With one bed vacant in C-12, many "passer-by" dropped in for a night.
On March 27 Wed (the morning Foreman knocked out Norton in just two rounds), UKM announced in local newspaper the third year passers of Science Faculty and eligible to continue to Honours Year (4th Year), and my name was in. That also meant that I had formlly got the Bachelor of Science Degree. I accepted the supervision offer by Dr Suwandi to carry out the Honours Project on multifunctional step polymerisation although I was also eying for the supervision of Prof Izrin on radioecology. But the breakthrough was on Apr 13 Sat when Dr Noramly, the Chemistry Head of Department called me to his office to offer me a tutorship and (and he said with four others) would be sent to probably UK for post graduate training to qualify for lecturership in the department. I was more than glad to accept the offer; pulled myself together into one piece and prepared to go home for a break. I was also thinking of leaving the second college, thus packing and posted some of my books to my home.
I spent the home break on Apr 17 to May 9; this time I could tell my mother in confidence that in a few months times I would be leaving for England for my further study. There wasn't any tear, in fact she was very glad indeed, and proudly explained to my sisters that I was going to England. I bought a bicycle for my sisters, and some materials to 'upgrade' my house which was accomplished by my elder brother, Mokhtar MekAbang and AyahEndut. My elder brother then lived in Paya Datu, in his in-law's house, whose neighbouring house later became part of my life. I went to see many elders around my home, less frolicking with folk-mates except on a few occasions, one was, as always during the beach festival in Pengkalan Maras (the week May 5 Sun), especially with Ripin, ChekWan and my cousin Nawi MakDa (each owned a motobike, they were my convenience at home).
The break was cut short by a telegram from Chem Dept asking to return to the Dept as soon as possible, May 9 Sat. For a while I stayed in the 2nd college, room C-23, then C-12, then squatting, while looking for a better 'temporary' place to stay, perhaps until Sep. When the new session began on May 27, I must move out. I continue the study from May 27, the new session, for a Hons Degree in Chemistry, under the supervision of Dr Mohd Salleh Suwandi. Some how I got the post of Residential Tutor, from May 31 Fri, in the First College in Pantai Baru, the main campus, whose Principle was Dr Noramly Muslim, the Head of Chemistry Department. I was made to stay in G Flat of the College, with Tajul Ariffin Nordin my flat-mate, the same person who had been my room-mate in SAS in 1970.
|The flat was actually a luxary accomodation. The bedroom (unfortunately shared), had an attached bathroom. It had a kitchen and a living corner, with study table c/w table lamp, and a balcony. The unit was made for the warden of the Teachers Trainees of the College UKM acquired. The flat was provided by the college, but I had to pay for my own meal to the college. A resident tutor gave tutorials to first year boarders; in my case I gave chemistry tutorial, once a week, normally on Sunday, outside of their normal course tutorial classes.|
The degree conferement (Convocation) was on June 8 in the Banquet Hall of the Parliament House, the second time for UKM. My seniors received their Hons degree while my batch received the general degree. I took along my host resident in 1971, the constable and his wife as an honour for them, and I received my degree from the late Tun Abdul Razak, the Malaysian Prime Minister who was the Chancellor of UKM. During this period we were more interested in the after-degree conferement; unlike last year when we were more interested in the convocation festivals. I presumed, the 2nd year students were like we were last year. However, we enjoyed the festival as much as they were.
Receiving the degree from Tun Abdul Razak, the University's Chancellor, Jun 8 Sat.
June 12 Wed, Dr Noramly informed me that University of Salford, United Kingdom had accepted my application for a Master Degree in Polymer Chemistry; the formal letter was received on Jun 19 Wed; as did Md Pauzi (analytical chemistry) and Md Soot (radiation chemistry), while Ibrahim Baba (inorganic) and Md Wahid (organic) were applying in Reading. From that day I abandoned my Hons project and prepared for an oversea trip. This include enrolling in Capitol Driving School, Sect 17, Jun 21 Fri, for a car driving licence - prerogation of En Salleh Tulus in JPJ PJ to forward the test before mid Sep -which I passed the test I sat on Sep 5 Thu. In the department, I still attended the lectures (in Pantai Campus), but most of the time geared towards the polymer fields; and Dr Suwandi was more or less my tutor. I gave tutorial and practical demonstration (in chemistry labs in the Sect 17 Campus) to third year students on polymer subjects; plus the residential tutorial to the boarders of Pantai College. On many occasion I just walked from Pantai Campus, through MU, to the Sect 17 campus. Jun 27 Thu, my last recording in Wisma Radio of the SDOR; I told the producer, Wan Hanisah Omar of my upcoming leave to England, and I want the job again when I return in two years time; and I went to see En Mansor, who introduced me to the producer, in First Colleg MU (he was the principle then) on Jul 19 Fri, thanking him for everything and that I was on my way to oversea.
Another blister formed in end Jun and early Jul, in the mids of handling my brother on his way to PUO, Ipoh to complete his course, and a visit by Husin (just coming back from Indonesia) and Sulaiman (UM) -both my close SAS70 buddies, Jun 26 Wed, in my G-Flat, a students demonstration was errupted against the University in the campus. The issue was an FPI student leader (Halim) who was unable to continue to the hons year. The blister spread to the second campus Sect 17 with the students managed to closed the gate. It was partly solved by spreading the rumours that the microbes in the biology labs needed to be fed, otherwise they would break loose and would cause a hell lot of epidemic. Jul 11 Thu, Wan Mohamed turned up; apparently he ditched in Mahidol and was relocated to Reading, UK, perhaps in Aug. I helped him with the transportation he needed for the matters with the British High Com. Jul 24 Wed, a further communication with Salford U about the accomodation; Chem Dept said they needed all the letters from Salford for the tutorship appointment.
Chemistry Dept UKM in 1974, in Sect 16, in the FPI compound; on the hill close to the Dewan Al Malik Faisal. The Dept Office was on the foreground building, op floor first room;
|Got a job and around the office of the Chem Dept: Nyonya (the clerk) and Maimunah (the typist).|
The exam for those who were staying began on Aug 5 Mon, but I decided not to sit in any paper eventhough I, and others, had not received any appointment letter yet. On this Mon also, in the Sect 17 campus, the Chem Dept farewelled Drs Mudjiran who was returning to Indonesia and Dr Pfeiffer who was returning to the USA, on Aug 8 Thu, -another "farewell" at Subang Airport -the day I received a copy of the letter from the Chancellory, directing the Assistant Registrar Personnel to appoint me as tutor -the letter of which I received on Aug 10 Sat, dated Jul 30 Tue; from which I received my first salary RM600 on Sep 7 Sat. With the letter I made up myself in full one piece for a study leave in England, including medical check-up in Ampang and application for a visa in the British High Com, Ampang Rd (Aug 12 Mon). Also a passport 5-yrs extension (due Feb 1976), Aug 15 Thu; a purchase of a radio-cassette in Petaling Street, Aug 20 Tue; buying a lunch for Dr Noramly in Shephard Inn, Aug 23 Fri, then a climax-letter from him about his unsatisfaction about our chemistry work, out of which I had attended the examination of SK434 paper (Macromolecules), Aug 16 Fri; Malaysian General Election, Aug 24 Sat; a decision not to chech-in MARA although MARA itself offered us teachers job for MRSM and rumoured that, from Dr Noramly and Basir Elon the asst registrar, it would not release us from the scholarship bonding, and seeing them in the HQ (with Md Soot), Aug 28 Wed and 29 Thu; a visit to G-Flat by Ghazali Bujang, a SASian70 who had just returned from Liverpool with a BEng, Sep 2 Mon; and a home trip to Terengganu, Sep 8-16 before my eventual departure.
My main purpose of seeing my mother was that I wanted to know if she would like to send me off at Subang when I was taking off, to which she said she'd glad to, -and to make necessary arrangement for her safe return to Terengganu in my absence. This was done through AbangWi who would get in touch with his brother AbangMat in Kuala Sentul, who, as arranged would drive to Terengganu to fetch my mother to KL and returned her to Trg after my departure. My mother made a small feast for the villagers on Sep 13 Fri afternoon after Friday prayer. I took sometimes to acquire some things which I would take to UK: a pair of tailored baju melayu (the first I ever had) and the songket and some batik which I thought would be useful over there; but did not move very far from my home. And the mosque attendees, headed by Raja Sulaiman and ChekWan Nawi, offered me a prayer on the night of Sep 15 Sun. I gave a "talk" which I did not sure they understand or not; perhaps they understood more of what I had been through than what I said in the talk, especially my folk-mates with whom I had so much funs when we were small boys. I saw only one thing in their eyes: their hopes that I would never forget them. Sep 16 Sun morning I left for KL, en route to England.
Ramadan 1394 clocked-in the next day Sep 17 Tue, and the next day I was given my flight ticket and schedules and the advance money, then a long money matters in BBMB, MU, the evening of which I took my friends to Wisma Lontong, Kg Baru for a dinner: Zahari, Jidin, Ati, Nolly, Harun, Rahman, Fadil and their pairs, and Esah. I finished off my days in UKM on Sep 20 Fri, including a resident tutor resignation letter needed by the principle Dr Noramly.
My mother and sisters and youngest brother and neighbour's daughters; with Zuber; and Rohati Nor and her friend at the Subang Airport, Sep 22 1974 late afternoon. Rohati Nor was a friend indeed. She, an Arts junior, suddenly unannoyed to know me when I first became the Resident tutor in the First College. For about a year to late 1975, she kept on replying my letters to England when I wrote to her about the England's life; as did Zahari Bakar, Esah, and Salmah Kasmani, the Chem Dept sexretary.
On Sunday evening September 22, I took off at Subang Airport to UK, with about fifteen others, to different universities in UK, in all fields Arts and Science; the occasion very close to happen to me in February 1971, but towards England instead of towards Australia. A handful of relatives sent me off, including my mother, and my sisters and my youngest brother, then only two years old. They came from Trg the day before, as arranged with Abang Wi. I fetched them at Tabung Haji, Ipoh Rd, pact in the yellow Ford Escort (two-doors). Abang Mat brought himself a friend-driver. KL was congested everywhere from the students demonstration in Federal High Way - MU, and Prime Minister Office (the issue was something to do with Thailand). I could not take my mother to see my G-Flat, instead took them via Sg Besi - Old Klang Road to Sg Way to put up in AbgSehat police station Q, where I spent the night with them. There were buses load of friends from the colleges sending us off.
A short stop for a fresh air in Penang in MH824 BKK-KL; Bangkok Bay in the evening of Sunday Sep 22 1974; Met by a colleague, Zuriati, who was studying at Mahedol; Staying in New Imperial Hotel BKK for thirty hrs; and seeing BKK from a very close range on Monday Sep 23.
Disembarked from LH667 in Rome Tuesday morning September 24, 1974; Breakfast at Alfi Hotel; Seeing Vetican City and Rome in close range; And the clouds over central Europe in the evening of Tuesday September 24 from AZ422 from Rome to Frankfurt.|
|Frankfurt in the evening of Tuesday September 24; In Flugafen International Airport; In the street of Frankfurt; and frozen in Hotel Excelsior.|
|Disembared LH030 in LHR in the morning of Wednesday September 25, 1974; Met by colleagues in London, Wan Mohamed and Raja Daniel; Manchester in the evening of Wednesday September 25 from BE4078; Manchester Airport.|
|In the Castle Irwell Student Village. My room was on the second floor; cooking in the kitchen; I never lacked friends, from left clock-wise: Khalid, Tengku Sidek, Amin, Mat Zakaria, Azizah, and Ibrahim; and a show-off in the cold air. Four to six units (house) per block, each three storey, ten rooms per unit. The kitchen on top, and the bath on the ground floor. Two electric cookers, one refrigerator and a box-locker for everyone to keep the foodstuffs. A sink in each room with lugage compartment on top; a small windows, a single bed, a study bench with a wall-fixed shelves for books. The bed sheet and pillow case were laundered by the hall on weekly basis. A plenty of open space around the hall to play, but contact with the outside air was minimum, especially in winter. Remember, don't get yourself locked out.|
The Cockroft Building, the horizontal Cold Wing, and perpendicularly the Hot Wing.
I met Dr Fitton on Oct 1 Tue, the person I communicated with when I was in UKM; apparently he was not my supervisor, but merely the graduate admission tutor. The next day, Wed, he took us to see Prof Phillips, the chairman of Chemistry Dept, and the chairman told me that I was assigned to Dr G Pass of the polysaccharide group headed by himself. However since Dr Pass had not come back yet from a leave in the USA, Dr Fitton took me to see Dr Lawton, another member in the polysaccharide who took me to see the lab technician Martin Jefferies in Lab A201 of the Cockroft Building, who showed to me the instruments in the lab that I would be working. The next day, Thu, Dr Lawton took me to the library and showed me most of the journals I would be reading during my tennure. The "A" wing of the Cockroft housed the gamma-source, so even though I would not be working with the radioactivity, I was needed to follow the procedures as any body else entering the wing. This included the radiation badge which would monitor my radiation exposure, and it was ready for me on the next day Fri, and thus a full access then on. The wing must be accessed through only one entrance, one had to put on a special overshoe, and the lab coat (all were laundered with special procedure every week) had the hands checked for any radioactivity; and reversed procedures on leaving the wing. I was needed to attend an undergraduate lecture on polymer chemistry, which I did from Oct 14 Mon by Dr Brown. I met for the first time my supervisor, Dr Pass on Oct 24 Thu and from then on we discussed the actual project I was assigned, eventhough there was a visit by the sponsor, the Indian Gum Co on Oct 14 Mon.
|The 'elders' in Salford vicinity when I arrived in late Sep 1974.|
Minhat Abd Rahman_Habsah, and the daughter ca. 15 months, Su Setia, on his last leg of a post-graduate degree in Manchester, sponsored by UTM. He stayed in the same 23 Ellesmere Ave, top flat (and taken over by Maimon-Yusof before Christmas). Minhat was a SAS-ian, perhaps an upper-sixth former in 1966. I sort of read a tribute for him in ASAS67, that he went to England after his STP. He left Manchester on Nov 16 Sat.
Wan Abdullah_Azmah, who came under LLN studied in Manchester, and stayed in Belmont St, Monton. They left Manchester on Nov 1, 1975, to Brighton, then to Makkah for Haj and home. I had countless times of meal in his place, as did many other colleagues and friends, as they were many more times friendlier than the number times they prepared the meals for us.
Ibrahim Mat and Azizah lived in Richmond Ave, Prestwich. I acquianted rather long with them, went outing trips for a few times, eating and sleeping many many times in his place and my place; we were very close. He came under British Council for Malaysia Custom and Excise and studied for a diploma in textile technology at the nearby Salford College of Technology. They left on Jul 17 Thu 1975.
Oct 8 Tue for the first time I had a chance to go to the post office to send a letter to my mother; things which I would never forget to do when I am away: to write to tell my mother that I had arrived at the destination, and at least one more time to tell her that I would be home when a few days time away. The Eid 1394 was on Oct 16 Wed, but as anticipated, lab work was as usual. Only in the evening Md Soot and I went to raya-visit the family of Jamaluddin, Minhat (Ellesmere Ave) and Wan Abdullah (Belmont St, Monton) in Eccles. The Ramadan activity was marked only by one occasion: my visit for a tarawih prayer at a Pakistanis mosque near the Village (with Pauzi, and Hoesni and Salleh - both Egyptians), Oct 1 Tue, and an iftar organised by Kesatuan Melayu United Kingdon (KMUK) in Small Assembly Hall of UMIST on Oct 13 Sun. The rest of Oct was to gain the momentum for the lab works, but also to comprehend the shortening winter days when British summer time was pulled back to real time on Oct 27 Sun; the things I learned in Geography when I was in form two in 1965, that the winter days are short and anticipating the long summer days to come in many more months.
Apparently my first car, never mind it was not a brand new. For the moment it functioned well. It cost me two hundreds fifty pounds and took me to many places in Great Britain, to the Land End -minus Northern Ireland. I was a member of AA, and benifitted instantly on the registration day and in years ahead.
Dec 1974, limestone wall on the beach in Brighton; a 'nostalgia' from a picture in my memory in the geography textbook I read when I was in primary school, perhaps in 1963.
L-R: Rabin, MatZakaria, and Hanafi in Liverpool, end Dec 1974. Rabin Ngadimon was a good friend of Raja Daniel, a SAS-ian 71. Hanafi was his friend. In yr 2000, I met Hanafi -then in the Ministry of Agriculture, is SAS, in the occasion for our children, my Zidni for his SPM and his son for SRP; and we gathered that his daughter in TKC in 1997 in form one was my daughter's CS in her form five.
"Seing" England for the first time was on the last day of the BST Oct 27 Sun; it was in Blackpool in which they claimed to be the best city of light in the world. I had not been in a city of light before, may be there were a lot of illumination shows, but they did not tell us that in Blackpool, a seaside town, the wind was very strong indeed in winter; children could simply be blown away. Nov 13 Wed, Prof Phillips called us to his office; apparently he was going to Malaysia for a visit to initiate the Inter University Council mechanism between UKM and Salford U. Obviously he wanted to tell the UKM counter-part (most probably Dr Noramly and Dr Ghazali) that we were doing very well in Salford. The overseas syndrome began its bite, Nov 21 Thu, I wrote a letter to my mother saying that life in England was very lonely indeed, that most of the time the people here lived in a 'box' not a house. I knew that the solution would not be immediate, so with UKM advance for Jan-Mar 1975 arrived in my Midland Bank account on Dec 2 Mon, with the help of Osman, I purchased a late 60's Cortina Mk II, DTD425E, Dec 5 Thu, from K.D. Brown (acquired through Manchester Evening News) who lived in no 3, First St, Eccles. The car was very useful indeed, among friends. And it immediately took me out of the 'box' on Dec 13 Fri to London, after becoming an instant AA member, with Osman (on his business of something to do with the insurance of his car which met accident before I arrived), Amin and Khalid, even on the same evening to Sussex to put up with Azahari; and the following day to Reading to put up in Sibly Hall with the friends there: Wan Mohamed, Ibrahim Baba, Wahid Samsudin, and Sukiman. We returned for Osman's matter in London on Dec 16 Mon; put up in Amin's friend Raihan Taha?? in London; my first time visit to MSD and a 20p lunch; a stroll in Oxford Street and Soho, and began purchasing noise-producing machines for my room (a Pioneer SX434 coupled with a pair of Calestion county) before we returned to Salford on Dec 17 Tue to arrived at night; Azahari followed along; Hamdan (Norwich - UTM) and Bacok (Lancaster - UPM) were already in Salford, they, and others were on the move for the Christmas break.
While they were here, we drove to Sheffield and met Sharifah Mastura, Dec 20 Fri. They all spent the break during X-mas in Manchester, but also the Eid Azha, Dec 24 Tue; and left Dec 26 Thu by train in Piccadilly. The year zeroed in with another visit from Reading on the morning of Dec 29 Sun: Raja Daniel, Wahid Samsudin, Ibrahim Baba, Sukiman and Rashid Mohid (Strathclyde); and the next day taking them to visit Liverpool: Rabin and Hanafi; and the night of Dec 31 Tue in Ibrahim's place in Prestwich for the raya gathering, including Yusof-Maimon, Jamal-Siti, Aminah, Tg Sidek, Khalid, till the dawn of the 1975 new year.
Edition dated Dec 2003