Wednesday, 24 September 2008

5A BMHS 1973

The year was 1973. The setting, the form 5A classroom, main building on the right wing of Bukit Mertajam High School and the characters, some teachers and about 40 or so boys but mostly about 9 boys who like any other of the human specie who thought that the whole world revolves around them and nothing else matters.

Why am I suddenly getting sentimental and reminiscing about old times, 35 years ago to be exact? The last 2 weeks had been quite eventful as far as I am concerned. First I received an email from an old classmate, Imbaraj. I was sent reeling coz memories of 35 years ago came flooding back. It was indeed a pleasant surpise.

Last week I received another email but this time from Aravindan, another classmate of the same class. Two phone calls, one from each followed. Aravindan or Ravi then asked me if I could write about old times, specifically about our gang.

Yes, I may be a teacher, Imbaraj may be a successful businessman and Ravi a thriving senior executive, but we were all once students and like students, there was the herd mentality. Yes, we herded only not by race or religion or colour but by interests and comraderie.

There were 9 of us. Jalil, a police inspector who has since ventured into a thriving security business, Aravindan, now with Babas, I hope he doesn't smell of curry powder, Chan Keng San, a former SAF Pilot now deceased. Harikrishnan, a former member of PDRM now deceased, Farid, a former journalist with The Star, now deceased, Radzi, status unknown, don't know if he is dead or alive, Imbaraj, owner of something in advertising, don't know if he makes signs or produce things for tv or radio, Nazir, that is yours trully and Mokhtiar Singh, studied law in the US, ended up in Canada and last heard he is a cop in Australia.

The names are arranged according to what the gang was called: JACHFRINS. Yes, we were kids and so like kids, no 'notorious' gang could go off without a name. If nowadays we have gangs like Gang Mamak, Gang Pukau, Mafia Gang, UMNO and BN, we had a name for our gang too then but unlike the other names mentioned, ours was for our own consumption. No one else outside the group knows the name of the gang. Maybe we were a little bit publicity shy or just not as bad as the gangs mentioned above.

Okay, lets take the members one by one and should any of them besides Ravi and Imbaraj, read this and remember anything about the group, I hope they will email me.

Lets take the members who are no longer with us. Chan Keng San was the first to go. He was the only Chinese in the group because the other Chinese guys were kind of bookworms and the JACHFRINS boys were to be avoided at all cost. He was from, if I am not mistaken, Berapit Village and one of the more quite type. After school, he joined the SAF and one fateful day, his jet got into difficulties off Johore waters. He bailed out but did not survive. May God bless his soul. There was one incident that reminds me of him but that could wait for another day.

The next to go was Farid. A brilliant singer, playboy, in his time, and a good middle and long distance runner, he died about 2 or 3 years ago. His death was reported on tv and in the papers. If I am not mistaken, even ministers visited him in hospital. He died of lung cancer. May ALLAH bless his soul.

Harikrishnan was a very good sprinter. One look at him you wouldn't believe he was a sprinter because of his built. He looked more like Malek Nor. I met him once at the Lam Wah Ee hospital while visiting my mom. He told me that he was shot once in the line of duty. Only last week I knew that he has [assed away, not while on duty but he was hit by a Bas Sekolah. My first experience with 'karmadi', I hope I got that right, was at his house when somebody in his house died. Bless him.

Now for the living. Imbaraj was a tall and lanky badminton player who rose to the ranks as no 2 in the under 18 badminton championship in Penang. Not bad, considering that at that time Penang was a powerhouse in badminton. If he had kept to it, I am sure he would have made a name for himself but then not all potentials are realised. What a pity.

Aravindan, the guy who asked me to write about this was the cynic. I could still remember his favourite way of getting back at you. If someone were to say 'pundek' to him, he would be quick to retort, "I didn't ask for your mother's name". I was at the receiving end of his quick wit, quite a number of times but being the sport that he was, he could give as well as take.

Jalil was an Inspector. Even while in school, he had already represented Penang in the under 23 rugby team so it was no surprise that he got to be a cop. I heard he left and started his own security company or worked for a security company. The best part about him was that he married a BM Convent girl, whom he hated so much, or at least that was what he had been saying to us all those time. Their marriage, I heard is still intact.

Radzi comes from Permatang Pauh if I am not mistaken and through a friend I heard he ended up an engineer or something. Together with Chan, he was rather quite but chose to be with the gang.

Mokhtiar Singh was thin and lanky. Not much a sportsman, he could be quite quick in his retorts. The son of a money lender, he was the richest in the group. I remember once going to his house and borrowing 5 bucks. He unlocked the drawer and it was filled with money. No he did not charge any interest. I heard he went to the US to study law and last I heard from Ravi, he is a cop in Australia and makes a yearly pilgrimage to Malaysia.

The last member is of course yours trully. Forced to take up teaching by my mother, I am at present typing this entry. Not the athletic type, I was the musician in the group and a time waster. I hated maths, science, BM, history, geography, Agama, Health Science, hey, I hated almost all subjects in school. No wonder my neighbour told my mom that if I passed my MCE, God is blind.

Oh, by the way, I proved that my neighbour's god was blind.

Maybe in another post, I would go into more specific things like the case involving Chan, Farid Harikrishnan, Catherina, Chan's girlfriend at a bungalow camp in Batu Feringghi after our MCE.

Well Ravi, that's it. If you or Imbaraj or Jalil or just anyone else could furnish me with more forgotten stories I would be glad to post them. Aah, how I wish I could go back to that wonderful carefree time.

25 comments:

Kerp (Ph.D) said...

first thing first cikgu. that bit on geng pukau, geng mafia and suddenly umno and bn simply cracks me up...hehehehhee...

anyway, i remember once you told me about the muhibbah-ness during your childhood days. reading this entry, i guess dring your time it doesnt need someone to tell you to mix around, instead it happens naturally. how i wish that was the case today. selecting friends based on their skin colour should in fact, be a thing of the past. its simply uncivilised. may your friends' souls rest in peace. amin.

:: Aku :: said...

What a wonderful gang u have :)...so sweet of u, can still remember them...

I hope all of friends out there will start to appreciate and treasure their friendship with everybody...

--Though I spent forever--
Each day with someone new,
I'd look and never
find another you.
Earth teams with people,
I know it's true,
Yet none could ever equal,
What I've found in you.

kopitelp16 said...

Life is wondeful when one is colour blind.

P Ramlee's movies ARE the best and can withstand the test of time b'cos his works are colour blind. The way the actors/actress talked seems so Malaysianised. Wonderful. Too bad he went so early....

PERTS MOTORSPORT CLUB said...

classic...makes me want 2 go back 2 those days....

cakapaje said...

Salam Cikgu,

Looks like we more things in common than thought. But Cikgu, have you thought of making a reunion with your gang, those that are still alive? You ought too before more of them can no longer make it.

Kata Tak Nak said...

Kerp,
How could I not capitalise on that. Upon reflecting, I should have called those gangs a group of hoodlums.

Kata Tak Nak said...

aku,
Very true. True friends are big assets. Forget them not.

Kata Tak Nak said...

kopi,
Its the colours that make the group nice to look at and not boring.

Kata Tak Nak said...

pert,
I would really love to meet old friends and also new ones like the bunch of bloggers who frequent my blog. I really do.

Kata Tak Nak said...

Shah,
I have the nos of Ravi, Imbaraj and Jalil. They have contact with Mokhtiar Singh but Radzi is just a lost cause la.

cakapaje said...

Cikgu,

With regards to Radzi, I would suggest you try to advertise in the classified sections of msm. Who knows, maybe he or someone close to him might read it. Or, you might even call 103 if you remember his full name. Off course, that is if he is a TM subscriber.

Kata Tak Nak said...

Shah,
The embarrassing part is I don't know his father's name and I call myself a friend.

aravind said...

It was soOOO nice reminiscing abt the past after reading ur article lah, Nasir. Life at that time was so carefree. I remember going to school every day just to be with our group.... and all the fun that we used to have.
I also have Boon Kheng's no. and Im in touch with him. He is the guy we didnt accept into our group until the end.....remember?

Kata Tak Nak said...

Yes, yes I remember, the guy JACHFRINS refuse to accept. Is his surname Cheah?

Yesm la. I also never ponteng school. I only ponteng the Agama classes and maths because I did not take maths for MCE.

imbaraj said...

Cikgu,it was a great nostalgic feeling reading about the JACHFRINS the displined mischievous gang of BMHS 1973.I still have our group photo taken at the school assembly area.Teachers had a tough time with our impromptu pranks.i will reveal and release our mischievous deeds in my subsequent postings..feel free to add on especially Ravi..this bugger has good memory.

Kata Tak Nak said...

Imbaraj,
Dei fooker you, email me the photo la. You are going to blog about it, so what your blog la dei.

aravind said...

That photo has a lot of stories behind it Cikgu. For one, it was snapped by our Chan Keng San just before the Dec holidays 1973. It wasnt ready during our Bungalow camp. Thats why im sure you dont hv a copy of it. He developed it later and sent it to me. Then this bugger Imbaraj flicked it from me....!
Much much later when Farid was in hosp., Imbaraj made copies for all of us who were going to visit him... Jalil, Singh & I. He also made a copy for Farid.
Unfortunately, as fate would have it, we were told by the hosp staff that Farid passed away that same morning. So we did the next best thing we could.....visited his family and gave the pix to his wife.....!

Kata Tak Nak said...

Aravind,
You know what that arsehole Imbaraj did? He sent me an email without an attachment. Real pundek la that fellow.

That story you just told is really sad considering Farid and I exceptionally close.

imbaraj said...

Cigku & Ravi,
Sorry la the attachment went haywire-either the file was too big due to the bangali pundek's turban or the turban got virus- delete which ever not applicable.
anyway cigku i hv resent with attachment.

farid! a sad episode,we Jalil,Singh,Ravi and I wanted to be at his bedside to bid him farewell with a gift "jachfrins group photo"but we missed him by few hours.he will be still singing and playboying in Syurga.

muteaudio said...

Chegu,
Boon Kheng = Cheah Boon Kheng, lecturer in USM?

Kata Tak Nak said...

Razlin,
Nope he is Sia Bong Kheng a thriving businessman.

Tok Jack said...

Bro, that was cool.I was reading and rolling and at the same time tears keep flowing down my cheeks.What you have posted is classic.That was probably a quarter of what we went thru for the whole of 1973.Awesome and JACHRINS was one of a kind but the rest of the class also played a roll.People like Teh Sek Hock,Hang Song,Hup Tong,Kong Piew whom Hari Krishnan threw a chair for hiding his porno book.Then there was Meera. Sia Boon Kheng wanted to join us but to have to go thru all the rituals and initiations.One of them I remembered was asking him to buy nasi lemaks at the Form 3 block from this Form 3 boy whose mother make one of the best nasi lemaks in town wrapped in banana leaf.We even threw his comb downstairs.He did not mind.He would happily ran down to pick up his comb and told us we can do it again.Unfortunately he failed.He cried the whole day.If not we have to add another s to JACHFRINS. I will continue cos got to go."5A BMHS 1973" was posted on 24 Sept.2008.Betol ka? That was last year. I am into this blog thing, Facebook and what not, only recently

Kata Tak Nak said...

Jalil,
So you are Tok Jack now? I am not a Tok yet, no rezeki yet. Glad that you could write something here. Please do write some more. Miss our good old 5A times.

Tok Jack said...

Was it posted 24th Sept 2008? u have not replied.yeah, being a cucu is good.I m lucky becos they are staying with me.so i c my cucu everyday.

Kata Tak Nak said...

I do hope my cucus when I have them that is would be staying with me. My eldest with her husband are staying with me but my youngest who is getting married next year would be staying with her in law about 15 minutes away.

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