I left the school in December,1968.In April,1999-about 31 years later,a group of us returned to our alma mater to say good bye,Old SDAR..Here is what happened..
It was hot Saturday afternoon 17th April,1999 and also the First Muharam,1420. After registeration at the Dewan Ab.Rahman Talib at SDAR Tg Malim, a few of us went to room 5 Rumah Temenggong,our ‘hotel’ for the gathering. The room and the surrounding never changed and according to Sli (Dr Rusli Ismail), time stands still in Tg Malim-certain things never change, just like they were some 30 years ago….
However, all of us who were attending this gathering of SDARIANS to revisit our alma mater for the last time have changed a lot, especially around the top(hairs) and the middle (stomach). We were here to see for the last time our school and dormitories where we spent between 4 to6 of our formative years of our life. The school buildings will be demolished by year end to give away to new developments for UPSI. I do hope the authority will retain at least one building to remind us that there was SDAR here before. Just a hope and pray………………..
The sound was deafening when you put ten old friends in a room! Everyone was talking.I think the room was getting a big cultural shock listening to all our stories. When Sli opened up his shirt,I saw a “zip” on his chest-that is another story. He got a heart by-pass and it cost him almost RM50,000! After listening to exchange of jokes between Sli and Tokwan (a continuation from our mailinglist), it was time for me to take a bath. In fact,we were all sweating after visiting the school classrooms, the water tank, the sick bay, the empty swiming pool (full of rubbish) and of course the famous kubu Jepun by the Sg Bernam. I wish Rahman Meran was here so that he can nasi lemak by the river. Sg Bernam pun mengalir lesu-sedih kerana budak SDAR sudah tidak lagi bermandi manda. Suasananya sepi tanpa gelak ketawa kami yang pernah mandi dan bermain disini:-((((.
When I was having the showers,there was a gust of memories rushing in. Somehow the showers behaved just like they used to when I was here in 1965-more than three decades ago. During the first week at SDAR, early january,1965 I had my first cry while having a shower at Rumah Bendahara. I was in Room 6 at that time. It was not because someone ragged me; it was because I felt so sad leaving my parents and a brother and a sister at my kampung. Here at SDAR, I was having all the luxuries of life – a nice room with electricity, showers and we sleep on Dunlopillo mattress etc. When I was at home at Kampung Beris, Bachok, Kelantan. I did not have all that, not anything near that. Now, my kids are taking my “luxuries” for granted. How lucky are they all.
The first thing I did was to walk along the corridors from Rumah Temenggong, passing through the Dining Hall and straight to Rumah Bendahara. For those who did not come for this gathering, our dining hall has been converted to a lecture hall with a/c. Coming to Rumah Bendahara brought back more memory to me. The juicy story of our house warden, the reading room, the restrooms and my very own room.
Slowly,I entered Room 6,Rumah Bendahara…..went to where my bed was and sat for almost 10 minutes alone. It is as it was when I left. Then I started identifying whose bed belongs to whom…..one of them has recently passed away.
Sadly, I could only remember about half of them. One of them is Mustapha Zakaria, who we called Stopa. He is now a graduate teacher. He was always being bullied by a senior Ibrahim Yaakub and I really hated him for what he did to my classmate Stopa. But what could I do, a remove class boy at the time. Others in my room that I could recall are Arffin, Hashim Selamat (electronic gang with Mohd Redza, Rani etc), Rashid Mohd, now TNB engineer, Aziz Mustapha, a stock broker who used to make money for me,and last but not least Allahyarham Ramli Abdullah who passed away two years ago due to heart problem.
One incident that I still remember until to-day was when Rashid got a few durians from his parent. This King of Fruits is not easy to hide. The whole room ‘knows’ about its presence, but we did not who had them in their locker. That night after light out, Rashid did his good deed distributed one ulas of durian each to everyone. Next day, no one complained about the smell of durian anymore. In SDAR, most of shared our goodies, but I knew there were a few who ate alone.
Every time I met YB Dato’ Mohd. Ghazali Ab. Rahman in Terengganu, I never failed to laugh. When he was just M Ghazali A.R in room 5 Rumah Bendahara in 1965,I used to be his coolie. My job was to carry his soap by his side while he walked naked along the corridor to the toilet. His towel was on his shoulders:-)))) Another colourful character was Bonget. I do not know his real name until to-day…..
Entering the Dewan Rahman Talib reminded me the days of Monday’s school assembly, the wayang time on Saturday’s night and the Talent Time we usually had them here. This reminds me also of Punawan Sarbini – the drummer of SDAR’s very own band called The Flanders. My favourite singer at that time was Abdullah Sani, now the registrar of UPM. Looking up, I did notice the missing plaques and pictures. All of them are now in Seremban.It is only now a building with memories in our minds and in our hearts.
During the introduction of fellow sdara according to each batch, I chose to sit near one of them. I think his name is Ezrul. He is now a retired teacher. One interesting thing about this group is that even though they were of the same batch(1957), their age are not the same. Their ages depended primary on when their parent registered their birth and not on their actual birthdays! One of them that never failed to attend any SDARA function is Musa Ahmad,who is 63 years old. However,he looks like 55 years old. We all must go and see him and dig some ‘ilmu’ on how to stay young. According to him, his youngest child is a 9-year boy! According to the HRH the Sultan of Pahang(as told to me by his friend) that a man age is measured by how old is his youngest child. By that measure, I am older than Musa and HRH. Now, I have to look for Anuar (aka Yak) in Indonesia and Charlie at Mardi, our experts in traditional medicines or alternative medicine or whatever you wish to call it as long it will keep me younger than my age;-)) At the end of the introduction, we had a group photo. One special photographer is Pak Aris, who is quite a character. He cried when a friend of mine gave him a RM50 note as a payment to 20 photo prints that he stole when he was at SDAR at that time. He wanted the photos like everyone of us, but he was too poor to afford them. Now is paying time. He told me he was very happy to see Pak Aris alive.
At night,we had a tahlil for our fellow sdara who have passed away earlier than us. May Allah swt blessed their souls.
I had always wanted to revisit SDAR again after leaving SDAR in 1968, but it never happened. However, at last I did it after postponing it for more 30 years! It was 6:30am on Saturday morning 17/4/99 when I arrived at the KL Railway Station to board the train to TG Malim. That very morning, I woke up at 4:00 am! (Nak tidur pun duk teringat kat TM). I was so eager to go back to Tg Malim like the first time. While waiting for the other ‘lunatics’ who decided to revisit TG Malim by train, I roamed the railway station just like I did when I first arrived by train from Palekbang to Tg Malim some time in January, 1965. That time, I was only 12 years and 3 months old. That was also the first time I stepped my feet in KL. “Macam rusa masuk kampung”. Everything was new and foreign to me. At that time, our Masjid Negara was just completed. I was at loss where to go. So I just followed my seniors to eat at a restaurant at Jalan Melayu, near Wisma Yakin.
Time really flies-more than 33 has gone by. This time I was trying to locate the exact place where I first landed in KL. I tried hard searching in my memory, but it was not there. According to my son, I have a few bad sectors on my hard-disk? I believe it is there, but I could not find it. The age is catching up with me….I am no more the young budak SDAR, I am now an old budak SDAR and a father to one of them! By 7:00am, every ‘lunatic’ has arrived. They were Sli, Bond, Nan and me. Another nostalgic sdara also joined us, however he travelled by second class. The four of us were in 3rd class! Just like before but it is now air-conditioned. If not someone will try to enter by the window as normally did.;-)))
The train to Tg Malim was at platform 4. By 7:25am we boarded the train and looked for our seats. To our lovely surprise, we met Dr Manaf, Haji Rahman and his son all the way from Kota Bharu. Their seats were next to ours. It was fated that way. And it was never planned, only Allah swt wanted us to be together again. Another joy ride again for me; just like the old days…
After arriving at Tg Malim railway station, we walked all the way to the school after a walk about the ‘city’ of Tg Malim. The panggung Rex is no more a cinema, it is a godown. We stopped by at the famous Razak restaurant for teh tarik and roti canai. A few photos were taken. I told Nan and Bond about what SDARIAN life in the old days were-watching movies, minum ice-kacang and loitering around the town during weekends. Sadly, the ice-kacang shop was gone, no where to be found.
After listening to everyone’s stories, we all walked along the main street. It was literally walking along memory lanes. It really reminded me about the old days- Restaurant Kassim and Ghani are still in tact,but Kedai Panjang,Pak Buyung and the Indian Bookstore where I used to buy Beano and Dandy were not there anymore. The old post office was gone and replaced by a new building.
As we walked to school, we talked about the old days. By the time we arrived at the gate, it was closed. Now, UPSI has a grand new entrance near the padang. Someone suggested we should climb the gates! Luckily, no one tried, if not someone is going to get hurt due to our body size has almost doubled in diameter around the middle.
After waiting for a while, a jaga came and opened the gate for us. We did not go to the Dewan Rahman Talib to register ourselves but went straight to tour the school compound – the classrooms, the sickbay and the Sg Bernam. By the time we arrived near the water tank, Dr Manaf climbed the cat-ladder and all of us gathered below him for a photo session! We were kids again! Luckily, our children were not there to witness what we were doing….
Everyone remembers the sickbay-where most of us were isolated for measles one time or another during our life at SDAR Tg Malim. Alas, it was gone. The swimming pool was full of rubbish and the kubu Jepun was hidden by bushes.
To most of us, everything there has a history-even a brass wc at Rumah Bendahara; not to mention the water-tank at the top of it where a few of us went there to smoke. Some even ventured to crawl to watch the house warden having a nice time with his girlfriend.
How can we all forget…Tempat jatuh lagi dikenang, inikan pula tempat bermain(atau belajar).
SELAMAT TINGGAL SDAR TANJUNG MALIM.YOU ARE ALWAYS IN OUR HEARTS…..
~mohd adib noh; forever budak sdar.