The Spirit Lives On - Part 3
Kahlil Gibran wrote: “If you reveal your secrets to the wind, you should not blame the wind for revealing them to the trees.”
Thus I shall not fault anyone if he shared with others the stories I here recollect. After all, the whole purpose of this is for sharing the moments we have led in this borrowed life. While we know not what shall be on the morrow, we forget not what has been in the past. Even if it was a vapour that appeared for a short time, in our hearts and minds we let it remain, just so that it does not vanish away.
There have been times when I was in solitude, I thought how lovely and how strange the wind is. The wind is the wind, always there, and yet the air flowing through it is never the same air. At times too, the wind blows hard among the trees, toward the beginning of an endless past.
The leaves on the trees applaud when the wind rustles them, as if welcoming me to tell a tale of the past. And I find myself stepping back in time, to when we were 14. Having ended our first year at The Malay College Kuala Kangsar (MCKK) and our primary boarding life at Prep School, we moved on to stay at another building called New Hostel. As the name implies, the New Hostel is a new building block which was opened in 1972 to house the Form Two boarders.
I may not be the only one who felt then that we were going through a new experience of coleq life – the first taste of staying with the seniors, the Form 3 students, albeit only three or four of them in each of the ten dormitories. I come to think that they were there to take care of us while at the same time, giving us the first exposure of sharing the life with fellow collegians in the years to come. As with the Prep School, there were also the prefects assigned to look after us all at the New Hostel. The tradition of official lunch and dinner meals and the “High Table” at the dining hall continued.
After one year of being “prepped” at the Prep School, we have become more adaptable for such a life. The ringing of the bell alerting us of our next agenda for the day – rise, breakfast, parade to class, back from class, games hours, dinner, and lights out when we had to be in bed.
Perhaps the more challenging part was to walk past the Big Tree and the Big School to go to the classroom block. Not so much for the longer walk, as the New Hostel is located furthest from the classroom and school administration blocks, but for having to pass the seniors at the Big School. Because the Form 1 students are totally separated, the Form 2 students are considered the most junior among all and thus, are subject to being teased sometimes. The seniors, in a friendly naughty way, would either call your name if they knew your name, or simply just by whistling, from their dorms or the senior common room at the main section of the Big School called the “Overfloor".
By now we were already introduced to the tagline “Study Hard, Pray Hard, Play Hard”. Other than study, which is the main purpose of anyone being in school, was the games. Each and every one of us was required to play at least one sport. Of all the sports, rugby remains the one that every collegian is most passionate about, ever since it was first introduced in 1956 by then headmaster N.J. Ryan. I can still recall how from the beginning we were made to memorise the lyrics of the cheering songs which we would all sing while cheering for the team on the battlefield. There would be one cheer leader from among the seniors, who would lead us in cheering for the team. Whenever we scored or achieved victory, we would cry out loud at the top of our lungs - “Bung Wak Bung Wek Wek, Bung Kak Bung Kek Kek, who are we, Malay College, can’t you see… yeahhh!”
We were so full of spirit. Even after all these long years, I could feel my spirits rise and soar like the wind as I’m writing, and whenever such melody of Bung Wak rings.
Boarding school life was not easy and was not difficult either. But it was beautiful. The clouds might have come floating into my life in the years that followed, but I realise today that they did not really carry rain or usher storm, but instead, they added colour to my sky.
…to be continued