Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Hostel life - Part 2

Ashaari Amin (now Tuan Haji) was instrumental in getting me back to stay in the school hostel.

Prior to that I was staying with my foster mother on the fringe of Pasir Mas town. We were in form 4 then. Reading story books was my main priority then compared to studying for my exam. Since School Certificate of Examination ws only due in 1968, I thought studying for the exam can be done during the year itself.

During a discussion on Biology, Ashaari asked me to describe the alimentary system. He was horrified to know that I couldnt describe it. The alimentary system was elementary to students of a science class who was due to sit for the School Certificate of Examination in slightly more than a year's time.

He immediately asked me to move in to the hostel and promised to talk to the hostel master for a place for me. I definitely qualify to stay in the hostel with my home being located 10 miles away. Compare that to Ashaari's home which was just 1 mile away from the gate of the school.

A short letter addressed to the Hostel Master Mr. G. Thanda and handing the letter personally to him was all it took to enable me to join the hostel life for the second time.

I cant recall the exact date of my return to the hostel nor could I recall how I carried my beddings and few belongings to the hostel. Being a school prefect I was automatically appointed as the hostel prefect. Life changed for the better for me since now I will be going to class without an empty stomach. Meals will be regular. There will be at least 5 meals a day including mid morning tea break and afternoon tea. There will also be games in the evenings and prep class after dinner till 11 pm for the seniors. Those who were in form 5 will continue studying till the wee hours. The regular study among peers helped me with my grades.

Mr G Thanda demonstrated how to be an effective Hostel Master. As a hostel master we rarely see him around the hostel except during the occassional walk around the dorm. One day during prep class, one of us by the name of Abdul Rahman Hasan Koya (now deceased) fooled around by going out of the class and made silly dance movement. The next minute we saw Mr. Thanda walked over to him and in the sight of everyone he gave him several tight slaps on both cheeks. He felled down and Mr Thanda helped to bring him up on his feet then the slapping was continued . That was the one and only time that we saw Mr. Thanda punished any one of us and the impact was long lasting. Though we don't see him around, he could be somewhere in the darkness watching us.

One of the most memorable incident in my hostel life that year was when I got drenched with a small bucket of water while in deep slumber one night. I must have been boastful after prep class and somebody thought that I needed to be taught a lesson for that. The way they usually did it was to place a container full of water on your mosquito net while you were sound asleep. The weight of the container full of water will gradually lower the container until it finally reached a certain level whereby any body movement will make the container spill its content on you. It was more like a time bomb that will drench your body and not only your blanket but also the matress. I got mine on on a night when Pasir Mas was at the height of the monsoon season and flood water was nearing the level of overflowing the Kelantan river bank.

I was so frustrated that I took my revenge on the most innocent of persons who happened to sleep on the bunk above me. The victim cursed aloud and the dormitory light was switched on. With lots of guilt, I pretended to be asleep. The person who slept above me was none other than my best friend Ghani Senik (now Tuan Haji). So Tuan Haji, as I have confessed today in my email reply to you, I was the one who caused your cold discomfort that night. I believed many knew that I was the one who did it but they just didnt point me out.

There was not really much to recall for the year of 1967. More so when the teachers boycotted all extra curricular activities and we were left on our own to do any activites.

Part 3 will describe my final year of stay in the hostel of Sultan Ibrahim Secondary School Pasir Mas. It constituted the most memorable part of my hostel life.


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