July 31, 2016

Boarding School Ain't That Cool Pt.1

The other day my wife asked me what was it like to go to boarding school.? She was curious about my life as a "budak asrama" for obvious reasons, her school was just a few meters from her parents' house. We were in the car at the time when I started to tell her bits and pieces about living far from home at a relatively young age. I didn't manage to tell her much as we soon arrived at our destination, so I promised her that I'd write about it one day.
Pupils of SKTM2 on their last week of school
That day has come and a promise is a promise. Back in primary school, one day the class teacher asked us who wanted to go to boarding school? As I recall it sounded a little bit like this "ok murid-murid siapa yang nak masuk sekolah asrama sila angkat tangan.." To tell you the truth I was dumbfounded at the time, I didn't know what exactly boarding school was so I didn't raise my hand. A few of my classmates who did raise their hands were called up front to get a special form from the teacher. While the others filled in forms for nearby day schools. Most of them chose Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Melawati which was just next to our school, others chose Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Wangsa Maju, Wangsa Melawati, Lembah Keramat 1 or 2 and a bunch of other schools. 
Photo credits: smkserikeramat
So how did I end up in boarding school when I didn't even fill up the form? This is how. In the beginning of Form 1, I went to Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Lembah Keramat 2. The first few weeks went fine, then soon enough one by one my classmates stopped showing up to school. The teacher told us that they were either accepted for boarding school or they'd moved to another planet or so it goes. My circle of friends that I knew from day one were almost all gone by the first month. So I went back home one day and told my dad that I wanted to go to boarding school. Guess what he said, "laa kenapa tak cakap awal-awal..?" Why didn't you tell me earlier.? I told him the story and he said ok son your wish is my command!! Well not literally the exact words but something to that extent. 
Back in year 2000 there was NO online application available
Dad put in an application for MRSM at the MARA office. Before that he told me that there were two options to choose from either "Sekolah Berasrama Penuh (SBP)" or "Maktab Rendah Sains Mara (MRSM)", Full Boarding School as the direct translation suggests or MARA Junior Science College. I had to choose the latter because it sounded cool. I mean no offence to you lot who went to SBP, you guys are ok. I was only 13 and not fully aware of the other schools that had great credentials as you would know. So my application for MRSM went through and I was given the liberty to choose which MRSM I wanted to go to. I saw Langkawi on the list and I went like woahhh chocolates duty free come to me!! It didn't hit my mind about being homesick or whatsoever. But I guess it was the love of my parents who just couldn't stand having me stay too far away from home. "Pilih yang paling dekatlah.." said mama "choose the nearest one lah.." The most closest to home was MRSM Kuala Klawang in Jelebu Negeri Sembilan. 
Road to Kuala Klawang, Jelebu
One weekend dad took us for a site visit of the school, mama was obviously too excited about the trip and just couldn't hold it in, she puked of joy multiple times along the road to Jelebu. The roads were like Initial D style winding uphill and downhill, well I'm exaggerating a little bit there but you get the point. People who have car sickness best avoid these roads or in order to reduce the dizziness or motion sickness they should be the driver instead of a passenger. Don't say I didn't tell you. Other tips would be sleeping along the way like what I normally do. No I don't have car sickness, I just sleep whenever and wherever I can.
MRSM Kuala Klawang more than 15years ago
As we entered the gates it smelt like masak lomak cili api and I happened to like what I see. Mama popped in the school office and worked her charm. Out came the Penolong Pengetua of Education, Cikgu Rohana that briefed us about the school facilities. She asked me "Bilo Tanyo Suku Mano.? Jawab Apo?" I went like Whatttt..?! "Tigo Batu ke Tigo Nenek Cikgu.?.." Well actually I misheard the question, she asked Bilo Bosa Nak Jadi Apo? So I said with full of pride "Dulu maso kocik-kocik cito-cito angkosawan.. Bilo bosa ntah apo jadi have to wait and see.." Actually none of that really happened, nothing but a small ounce of fiction to spice up the story eyy. Don't take my word for it but I believe W.A.R.I.S was somewhere out there courting "gadis-gadis Jolobu" or busy "poghah kerigek nyabit rumput poie sawah" being rembau's most wanted at that time. Hobin Jang Hobin..!!
MRSM KK back in the day 00'
Back to the story, she asked my opinion about the school and I said "seems like a good learning place to me.." I had to say something nice of course when actually what I meant to say was the place looks kinda old and dated. Doesn't look like much but "I heard the food gonna make your tongue blaze.." and it's still way better than my previous school. So "Looking forward to spending the next three years of my life here.."  Ye Cikgu.. Baik Cikgu.. Jumpe Next Week Cikgu.. This story continues in part two..!! 

Boarding School Ain't That Cool Pt.2