Friday, 22 April 2005

Old chums revisited

I hold AuntyN responsible for this. Her piece on catching up with old friends provoked some powerful memories of days gone by. And actually gives me an excuse to rehash 'one' that I did earlier.

Anyway, two days ago, while I was busy trying and trying very hard to do my essay, my handphone was buzzing with sms's from 8000 miles away with messages like "kami dok poco poco ni!", "missing you and wish you are here"! These are from bosom friends of mine since Primary One. We have a website in which we rant about almost everything. If those days we talked about the latest perfume and how to combat pimples, now we share anxieties about the big C having lost friends along the way as well as the frightening and alarming and impending big M...hmmmm. Have a read while I continue with my essay!

THE voice at the end of the line sounded familiar. "It's Ek Ti, remember me? From Convent Alor Star. I'm staying at Malaysia Hall!" Of course I remember Ek Ti!

My brain did an automatch with the voice and a quick search came up with a picture of Ek Ti 24 years ago not updated. We promised to meet and catch up over a plate of nasi lemak at the Malaysia Hall canteen the next day.

But the night before the meeting, I dreamt of Ek Ti complete in her prefect's uniform, pony tail and all striding in to admonish me for my short skirt. Tan Ek Ti was on a brief stopover in London and like most Malaysian travellers, a refill of Malaysian food at the canteen is a must before continuing their journey to other destinations in Europe. I've met up with many of my former classmates this way as they troop up and down Europe either on business matters or for leisure.

I have always been proud of the fact that I'm still in touch with friends from as far back as Standard One in Sultanah Asma School Alor Star. Although it was only for a year before my father's transfer to Yen, we remain friends to this day.

I will always remember Jijah Pak Pin holding my hand on the first day of school. I had clung on to her as my mother headed for the bus stop and Pak Pin, as she is known among those from Class yesteryears remains the steadfast, strong and dependable character to all her friends. We still hold hands and cling on to each other when the need arises.

On my return to Alor Star, I opted for St Nicholas Convent more for the very challenging nature of ironing a convent's school uniform. Although that put Pak Pin and I as rivals, we met at sports meets at the local stadium to giggle over boys from Sultan Abdul Hamid College.

Much later, her home was mine as I stayed over with Muni and Lia after late night parties dancing to Santana music in our floral catsuits. To this day, my homecoming is never complete without a meeting with them. We'd drive around all the way back to Bangi singing to The Carpenters and reminisce over fun times in abandoned and quiet carparks.

Once, over tea at Yow Chuan Plaza in Kuala Lumpur, evergreen songs from the Seventies provided the perfect music for the small reunion. We were back being giggly teenagers as every song played provoked sweet and funny memories. "Huh, remember the one with the sweaty palms?", "Whaaaat? You fancied that nerddd???" and so on and so forth.

Husbands were warned of my return and had to find their own dinners as we talked, laughed and cried into the night recalling events our spouses had not been part of. Our husbands could never understand why when we meet, we laugh over sentences even before we finish uttering them and come up with strange and silly nicknames that would provoke even louder laughter.

My own husband opted out of a hastily arranged reunion at the Pan Pacific Hotel in Kuala Lumpur a few years ago, which brought together friends from my primary school, the Convent and Sultan Abdul Hamid College. Thanks to Pak Pin and Norlia's organisational skills, the boys downed their golf clubs just to be with us and left their spouses to look after their children.

Cik Na came out of confinement to join us - she who used to twirl my hair in the class is now somebody in the bank. There was Yazid without his Afro hairdo, now a big-time architect with lots of kids, Sharifah Nor Azian who keeps in touch yearly if only as a reminder of another birthday gone by and Hong Chu - lawyer turned remisier.

In Alor Star, Wan Salmiah is our trusted self-appointed secretary who could arrange a get-together at a drop of a hat. She got together about 25 ex-classmates from Primary One last year during my last trip back.

In London, I caught up with Syed, the prefect who smoked behind the bicycle shed. He is now a senior officer in the police force. Doi, our head prefect who turned a blind eye to goings-on behind the bicycle shed, is now head of a big bank. Sadly, my first meeting with him after a long time was when he visited his dying sister at a hospital in Birmingham. He, of course, did not lose any opportunity to remind me of my Special Angel days. And since then he'd organise a reunion during my homecomings.

As Ek Ti will testify, the Special Angels of St Nicholas Convent was a force to be reckoned with. With blue polka-dotted ribbons in our hair, we raced our mini bikes along the streets of Teluk Wan Jah for that bowl of ice kacang at Busuk's stall in front of Sultan Abdul Hamid College. Now I wonder whether we were there for Busuk's ice kacang or for a glimpse of the college boys. So, what's happened to the Special Angels? WZNA became a mother to her sister's children when her sister died tragically while swimming. Salomi, who was the first to get married and have children, went to varsity and made headlines as mother who was in the same class as her son and now holds a senior position in sports management. Then there is Siti Norina, the fashion icon in our circle and Sharifah Fadhillah, who fell in love with a fellow Collegian and now lives in Dhaka.

The Special Angels later morphed into The Mod Dots. As we were all quite spotty in those days, polka-dotted ribbons and spotty cheeks blended in very well. A recent picture of the now more matured Angels stands on my window sill, side by side with the one of us in mini skirts, taken in front of an old Ford belonging to our cookery teacher.

Recently, I was told of a big Mass Communication reunion. It must have been exciting as journalists met up with broadcasters, public relations officers and advertising moghuls, networking and exchanging business cards. I imagine designer spectacles being pulled out from expensive cases as the wearers scrutinised each card to see the bearer's position in the social and corporate ladder.

Aaaah, how I want to cling on to memories with a small circle of friends especially those who conspired with me in our Toyol sessions at the hostel and suffered sleepless nights together as the so-called orang minyak ran rampant in our minds and hostel rooms. And most of all those friends from hostel 3B who tolerated my rendition of "My Eyes Adore You..." from the shower after a session of barn dancing in the room. We phone up each other across the oceans, and even expletives sound sweet to the ear. Last week, Kudu and Ena had a farewell bash for Fati as she left the NST and of course the gang went, without me.

Two days ago, Lia, Pak Pin, Zuhurin and Muni poco poco'ed without me. Lia has since written in our website "Small group celebrated my birthday bash, but the celebration was BIG man! Lepas makan, kami adjourned ke Holiday Villa lounge and dengaq Fredo & the Flintstone. But no dinasaur music. Rancak. The girls (Muni, Mahan, Pak Pin, Zuhurin) had a great time dancing away. Aku tak leh rancak, baru operate. Tapi pasai dah jenis gedik, sikit sikit ada cuba juga menari. Hehe. I went back home early I pm, they stayed on."

The Sultan Abdul Hamid lot too is planning another reunion as a an old classmate is back from Melbourne. And I only get to read about it in our website. *sigh*

33 comments:

Arena said...

It's good kan to have your old friends. Though our path now may be differet from theirs. But we will always have certain memory be it a little or a lot shared with them.

AuntyN said...

Kak Teh, tak baik tau kata kat cek macam tu. Awat kita ni asyik dok lawan saja ni?
Tu pun cerita dah banyak censor dah tu. Kalau tulih macam Kak Teh tulih tu mesti lagi panjang tu. Kalau betui2 buat reunion rasanya kena buat cliffhanger macam si tenah tu lah.
Kawan kita ghamai nak buat camna no?

Kak Teh said...

arena, that is true..flick thru the album and a certain memory will be rekindled.
auntyN, kalau i balik ada beberapa tingkat reunion ..my sister kena jadi sosial secretary.btw - rose has left nst and now with fati running their own media consultancy...sure, i know her.

atenah said...

aik ni pun nak berjangkit le, teringin plak nak blog abt the bar-b-q reunion my gang had for me last summer. bahaya penyakit berjangkit ni. kalu tenah & kak teh sama2 ada kat Msia boleh but bloggers reunion noo, sure rak sampai ke pagi ni

SC said...

i am thinking about a blogger meet up in singapore sometime in may.nak brainstorm? yang jauh2 tu kalau ada duit lebih tu, beli aah ticket joing sama...

Sunflora said...

Its amazing how time flies isn't it? It felt like it was just last week when I was in Primary school :)

Susan Abraham said...

Hi Kak Teh, I tried yesterday to post a comment but was unsuccessful. This page simply would not open up.
I wanted to say that I thought this post lovely in an articulate way of memories and remembrances.
That it was particularly lucid with its sensitivity and deep moments of a profound remembrance.
That it was especially well-written with its emotion.

Kak Teh said...

tenah, dalam blog nisemua berjangkit...ish, kalau kita boleh balik at the same time, kan baguih?
sunflora,when we meet we do feel like we are 'young' again...tak sedar ke diri!hehe
sc,aiyah, yang jauh macam mana ah?
susan, thanks...its something that i wrote sometime agao..and a bit of rehash here and there.

Lollies said...

I find this simply amazing

oneEE said...

bestnya jumpa lawan lama!sekarang dok terbayang pulak lah kawan2 lama kita sendiri starts primary one -form 5

Kak Teh said...

lollies & Oneee i find it amazing that after all these years, all of us keep in touch and year after year we meet up! Its wonderful. if only I had kept all the school pix! i only have those from secondary schools. Yang lain entah dimakan anai-anai!

auntyn said...

Kak Teh, Actually would like to get hold of rose, She was my pet sis at school. No worry lah kak teh finish up your essay first. It's not urgent at all. Dateline essay bila tu?

atiza said...

bestnya..you must've missed them a lot..

Susan Abraham said...

In answer to your reply, this entry is very very well-written!

Ms.B said...

Wah.. really made me walk down your memory lane, this one. Best! Also reminded me that I haven't written my 3rd instalment of my blast into my educational past.

Kak Teh said...

auntyN -rose has set up media consultancy with fati - will get u the contact number.
atiza: yes, I missed them very much..all those girly talk...
susan: thanks..
blabs: are u back and are u well rested now??

anedra said...

sigh...and you wonder why yr children and all yr anak menakan are the way they are? Kalau kuah tak tumpah ke nasi..nak tumpah kat mana?????

btw..tolong link-link kan balik kat my site? everything changed..dunno what happened!

Thanks! u'r a GEM!!!

shidah said...

Apa kata Kak Teh balik msia for the reunion? tak payah lah nak sigh-sigh :) Lepas tu Kak Teh oraganised pulak bloggers reunion ke, Makcik Blur's fan club ke..... orait tak?

Kak Teh said...

anedra, didn't i say. do what mak teh say and not what mak teh do? :) anyway, yeah will add the link, that's what happens when u change template.
shidah: i like that! a mak Cik blur fan club - tapi semua mesti blur jugak lah!

Bustaman said...

The difference with me is that my old chums are really very old.

Ewok said...

wah! kakteh..my fellow SN Convent sister. i went back to see the school last year but, sedih tengok the place dah jadi like cheap bazaar.

Kak Teh said...

pok ku, hehe - you made it to my blog - so you must be well now!! abt yr old chums being very old, well, we are not too far away!
ewokkkkk: yes, we are snc sisters...though far from being a nun lah, kan??? I was so sad to see what it has become! I have pix if you want - complete with ferries wheels and all!

Ewok said...

kakkktehhhh..*hugs* long live SNC! my sis also SNC jugak, tah tah kan kak teh kenal? but she went there for secondary only batch 78 or 79 kot. poor miss sibert, she was a very nice lady eventhough she was really strict. I takut dengan dia ooohh..

Kak Teh said...

ewok, '79 kak teh dah mai london!
U suka miss sibert??? hmmmm, lalu depan dia pun dah lembek lutut. This makes me want to blog abt SNC... i do have some old pix as well as the new ones!

Leen Ash Burn said...

Everyone's feeling melancholic nowadays! :) I've read a few more who talked about their childhood years too. I think it's the weather :)

Kak Teh said...

leen, yes, it must be the weather or for me, may be am running out of topic. I see another walk down memory lane quite, quite soon! watch this space!:)

anedra said...

makteh! thanks for the links!

mobilemom said...

Kak Teh, someone asked me to ask you...Are you the Kak Teh or Kak Ah that he knows? Jeng jeng jeng..*grin*

Kak Teh said...

mobilemum, both lah...I have also answered you in the other posting in Sepet...Sapa tu? mesti kenal rapat kalau dah panggil macam tu...plss! dah suspense ni!

Mobilemom said...

heh heh heh jeng jeng jeng...

Hmm...he could be someone very close and related to you and your hubby kot. He was blog-hopping from my blog to yours. So he asked me to ask you loh.

Hint: He visits me and hubby at my ward room almost everyday when he is free. He and my hubby goes to the same school of thought. But he is much much super senior than my hubby.

His patients ramai woaaa...tukang bagi gas la katakan... ;)

Jade said...

kak teh! miss u so much. seronok baca this post. i've been busy, tak sempat nak browse here and there.. by the way, i've updated toonjade few times. atn, dont forget to drop by. new cerpen, tak dak idea lagi lah. just a couple of poems..

Kak Teh said...

mobilemom, macam ni tak aci laaaah!. I can sort of narrow it down to one person bila you kata tukang bagi gas. my bro in law ka??? does he have time to blog hop in betweeen bagi gas kat orang??
LadyJade, oh sorry i have neglected yr toonjade, will certainly go. and have you seen that i have dabbled in puisi too? go to puisi relay..

Ain said...

Hi Kak Teh I found your blog went i was surfing around. Hey I am glad to know that I have my senior of st nicholas convent in England. I think we should meet up. Hehe. Or maybe we can organise reunion for ex st nicholas convent in Uk.