THE MESIAN-MESSAGE NO. 86. JANUARY, 2009.
- A CYBER FAN'S SERIES -
THE TENGKU ISKANDAR 3rd EDITION
12/31/2008 11:51:08 PM counting..... Counting, then clicked
1/1/2009 00:00:01 AM
This time was glimpsed and clinched from my computer as I countdown. Just second before, fireworks were heard
from a distance. It was followed by someone letting off fireworks in my vicinity. So the new year started with
bang, bang, bang! Year 2009 began!!
8 FULL YEARS HAVE PASSED AFTER WE ENTERED THE 21ST CENTURY. HEY, WE HAVE COME TO YEAR 2009, SO FAST! YET SO
GOOD, SO FINE!! EXCELLENT, LUCKY WE. EVERYONE.....
HAPPY NEW YEAR 2009
I will make this the year of REMINISCENCE. I shall try to get Mesians to write or tell me their lives during
their time in MES, their working lives and the rest. Hey! You out there, will you come in and tell me your
story, your experiences, your trials and tribulations in your passage through life. It is worth to read; it is
worth to write!! Or, if you don't want to write just give me bits and pieces and I will string them together to
form your interesting story. We begin with someone who had studied in MES briefly yet till now he could not
take his mind off his teachers, all the ladies and his old buddies. Flip over, read the story.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
STORY 1 : TEH BOON TAN
An extra long text message came. From whom, I could not make out for it bore no name. So I texted back. It was
from Teh Boon Tan a Temerloh guy - a granddad now. He graciously thanked me for sending him the Mesian-
regularly. He enjoyed reading it profusely.
HE REMEMBERS HIS TEACHER
In one of the issues lately, he saw his former teacher's name Mr. Voon Phin Keong. He inquired whether it was
him who also taught his class in 1962. Immediately I took out Past Notes Volume III our mentor's published
diary. Sure enough there was a mention of Mr. Voon with a bad news though. Mr. Voon was absent from school,
nursing a sprained ankle! Want to read the story turn to page 384. In fact if you have the diary, there were
many more interesting things happening in Bentong surrounding that story.
BENTONG BRINGS BACK OLD MEMORIES
Boon Tan says he likes Bentong very much. Many a time when he drove past on his way to and from Kuala
he would stop at Bentong. He confessed that the place brings back good memories. Of what? The good old days
studying in MES and staying in the hostel.
Boon Tan learnt many things which he practises and uses nowadays like table manners. He had even passed
this piece to his grandchildren - the way one puts the spoon and fork after finishing eating. Just look at the
tables in a hawker stall, or a canteen or even in a restaurant after patrons had finished eating. What you
would see on the tables is like a battlefield after a war! Most shocking isn't it!!
We have adopted the western way of eating, but we have not learnt table manners of using fork and spoons! It is
a cultural shock. Sad things nobody teaches us such things as table manners! It all comes from family
upbringing, but what upbringings our parents have as to western table manners. From eating with our fingers
or chopsticks to just conveniently switch over to forks and spoons! Who told us how to hold a fork and a spoon
what more of how to lay them down after the battle is over!
So after the meal, the table tops apparently look like a battlefield with spoons and forks lying hither-thither
messed up with all the leftovers! What an appalling sight!! Hey, Boon Tan, I am sure you and your progenies
would not be the perpetrators of such a scene when the battle is over!
Boon Tan thanks for leading my grey matter into thinking about table manners. Now I am inspired to write more
about table manners.
TABLE MANNERS USING CHOPSTICKS
Look how I appreciate a Malay, or an Indian, whoa a white man eating with chopsticks! He is so good at it:
so graceful, most dextrous. He could pick up the morsels of food so tactfully and superbly like any Korean,
Japanese or Chinese. Praise him!!
One day I was having lunch with a bunch of Chinese friends and a European. It was a heavy lunch at a Chinese
restaurant. The Englishman was very good at using chopsticks. In fact, we offered him fork and spoon, but he
declined and chose chopsticks instead.
SOME MANNERS OF USING CHOPSTIKCS
In the middle of the meal, suddenly he picked up a tissue - to sneeze into definitely. In his rush, he
conveniently poked his chopsticks in the bowl of rice with the two sticks standing upright! Oh my, I was
sitting opposite him. I muttered a mantra to ward off the unknown power. That westerner's act is not a good
eastern table manner. The gentleman knew how to use the chopsticks, but he had no knowledge of the culture
behind it. We only stick the chopsticks standing upright in a bowl of rice when offering food to the dead!
More table manners of using chopsticks. After finished eating, it is unlucky to put chopsticks on the bowl or
on the plate. You are raising the chopsticks! It means your job is on the chopping block or your business is
going to rot - excuse me, imminent bankruptcy! Oh no, just put your pair of chopsticks flat on the table beside
the bowl. Never raise them even if you are given a chopstick "pillow".
Hold your chopsticks firm so that none of them ever drops. Dropping a chopstick is a bad omen. A mantra should
be uttered to neutralise whatever is to come.
Never point or wave a pair of chopsticks at a child, or else whenever you are going to eat, he will be doing
his potty business.
Do not simply use that two simple food picking sticks if you are not sure of the culture behind it. Stick to
your way of eating, for manners sake!
Oh, Boon Tan you must read the next one.
REELING BACK HALF A CENTURY:
BACK TO 1959 - JANUARY
Letfs now delve into some history. Please bear with me. My mentioning of names at last had aroused some
forgetful fellows; and might have awakened a few sleeping beauties. One e-mailed me saying it is an honour to
see his name in print and in the Internet too. So here we go more names that appeared 50 years ago! Our
mentor's January 1959 diary mentioned the following:
Razak, Zainal, Kow Yong, Ismail from Raub, Cheam Eng Choo, Shek Phooi, pastor Edwin Khoo, Bala, ADO
Kamaruzzaman, Hashim bin Mohd. Sidek, Mohd. Noor, Pang How Seng, Tan Goon Ting, Kanagaraj Daniel, Charles
Benjamin, Zubir, Tengku Jalil, Tengku Ibrahim, Chow Yin, Othman, little Ismail from Kuantan, Mohd. Nadzry,
Sharif from Pekan, Law Cheng Yong, Tengku Abdullah, Murad, Brian, Mr. Ambrose, Ah Chiam's son Michael,
Chong Koon Yoong, Dharma Rajah, Ahmad Awang, Zamri.
Recognize any of the above persons? Remember their behaviour? Recall their characters? It's interesting to try.
The hostel ran by our mentor was bursting at the seams. And the whole lot of 44 hostel boys was mass de-wormed
before they started the new term! The hostel master must have used a good supply of vermicide to expedite such
mass worm genocide!
MES in January 1959 was booming. Admissions were soaring! The classes were overcrowded with students. For
Here I quote what he had written: "We're the only school in Pahang now that takes the L.C.E. failures and
overage students." There goes his diary.
So MES was the only place opened to those people axed by the LCE to continue their studies. It gave them hope
so they would not be turn into duds. That hope made many turned over new leaves in their lives making them
successful people later in their lives. Till now, many are still most grateful for that last only opportunity
Yours truly was stuck in a vernacular school boringly entreating little kids saying read after me: "a, b, c..."
came 1959 January.
HE ALMOST BECOMES A CANNIBAL EATING HIS OWN BALL
One morning a call from Loh Kok Keong came in. This was his story. He had just gone under the scalpel recently
to remove a huge lump that was his swollen hernia. Strange, he said he was up and walking the next day! The
nurses even enquired if he was a meat eater. Why? He could have a feast on the one kg lump of his own meat.
If he did accept the offer he is not only a meat-eater but a cannibal best described as a self-eater!
But Kok Keong is only a plant-eater a vegetarian I mean! Ha, ha, ha, the nurses there seemed to be a jolly lot
of teasers. The huge round lump of meat from the most private anatomy of his, must have tickled and trickled
them so much that nothing could beat!
His quick recovery even put Kok Keong in a shock. It was good for him, for in the next two weeks things moved
very fast for him. First his boss wanted to transfer him. Probably they wanted to push into a more interior
region of the Sabah jungle to be more in the company of wild animals. Before they could chuck him inner to
somewhere from his previous worksite, he moved himself away to a better and higher-pay company. Hey, Kok
you are darn lucky!
WEDDING BELLS RING FOR THEM
What an auspicious occasion! On the 8th of December, I attended Ramasamy's son wedding dinner function.
Ir. Thiruchelvan was the groom and he tied the knot with one Dr. Suguna d/a Raman.
The dinner was held at the locally most impressive Chinese Primary school hall in Karak. The place was turned
into a banquet - like fairy land. Fireworks were let off with many bangs to welcome the groom and the bride,
relatives and friends. The newly-weds stationed themselves on a richly decorated dais. Friends, relatives and
acquaintances went to bless them with kind words, warm handshakes and gifts of various kinds.
A day earlier they had been ceremoniously wedded at the famous Sri Marathandavar Aalayam temple in far
Maran. Thereat, guests were entertained to a most sumptuous lunch. To add to the felicitations, in the evening
at Bandar Baru Sungai Jerik, the bride's family held a dinner party to entertain relatives, friends and guests.
ANOTHER KNOTTING TYING
On Saturday 20 December,
Vanaja Melissa Rose (bride)
d/o Palanisamy tied the knot with the son of Mr. & Mrs. Janeris Anthony-Flomena, named Jeremy(groom).
A reception dinner was held at the Bangunan Peladang in Petaling Jaya to mark and celebrate the occasion
with joy and felicitations. We dined banquet style with the presence of some Mesians like Mahalingam and
family, Ramasamy and me. More than 500 guests attended the party. How do you know? I asked and was told
filled up 52 10-seater banquet tables!
MUN SEONG FETES US AGAIN
On 24th December, Wong Mun Seong threw a party for the ladies and our old MES buddies. It was his sort of
ritualistic/traditional ways to fete our mentor to a sumptuous Xmas Eve lunch. I worked to bring together all
the available people to form a jovial and amicable bunch.
This time round, at the Bentong Rest House we lunched. No, it was not the old colonial building forming the
Catholic High School's neighbour. It is the new Rest House that had become our neighbour, but on higher
ground. Sorry, excuse me the new Rest House's neighbour is but now only the ghost of MES. Why? Sadly MES is no
more to be found. It is now but unfamiliar and incognito ground.
Yonder over at Ah Tai's orchard and cottage and farther up the higher ground is a new housing estate now.
The rushing stream that many of us used to quench our thirst and cleansed our body of sweat and dirt is now
buried under tons of earth. It probably has become a subterranean rivulet, a spring flowing underground!
Gathered at the luncheon party were our mentor Ted Miles, Munzir and his spouse, Mokhtar Mat Piah, Lee Yew
Kwong, Ng Kam Thai, Wong Yeng Kee and me from Bentong. Then came Wong Mun Seong and his missus. Hilda
was chauffered in from Sungai Marong.
Zainal Lisut and his son drove up from Kelana Jaya with a basketful of Christmas goodies all wrapped
colourfully. From another booming suburb of Selangor known as Seri Kembangan came Peter Chong with his two
daughters. Chan Siew Mun drove in from Ketari. From Karak came Ramasamy. Oh, from just outside Bentong
emerged Bokhari from Kampung Gemeti, the place where I was born! From not so far away Raub cruised in
captain Mohamad Gimon. Yap Kim Hee drove up from Kepong.
There were a few eleven-hour dropouts due to family emergencies and mechanical deficiency! But I have texted
others who could not make it and sent their apologies. Some did not even RSVP. They must be too busy or just
The afternoon's gathering was most appropriate and enjoyable with tantalizing food and good company. It was
session of babble and prattle where the most familiar expressions were, "long time no see. I missed you. You
remember me?" Blah, blah, blah like until eternity!
Obviously, many of us did notice most conspicuously upon the countenance of the ladies and buddies: wrinkles
and crinkles grey and sparsely covered crowns! As you can see, time has naturally wrecked havoc and left those
undeletable aging marks upon our once round, smooth and lovely anatomy.
Come to think of it, much water has flowed under the bridge, hasn't it? Oh, the bridge! You remember the little
bridge where we used to walk across the stream to reach the pastor's house? Where is it now? As we looked
down, we knew that the little concrete bridge has been entombed deep underground.
AT OUR MENTOR'S
X'MAS OPEN HOUSE
Year in and year out, Mr. Miles holds open house hoping to see new faces. New faces, new people? No, new
but old people. There are some of us who had not met him or the rest us since they left! They are on my mailing
list, yet they have not appeared for a visit. This time round, a small gathering of Mesians came, plus the big
gang of Taylorfs college colleagues.
Together they had a most closed and cordial gathering in the ambience of our mentor's house. It was such a
thing to see one another again. They were tucking in food and talking of all and sundry about life past and
present and how time is fast passing.
Why "they" not "we". This is because the party excluded yours truly. Yours truly had to attend to an emergency,
someone fell seriously ill, an immediate member of the family. My apologies.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE FOLLOWING IN JANUARY
||LEE SAI KAN
||KOK AH KOW
||ABDUL JALIL MOHD DIN
||CAPT MOHAMAD GIMON
||MUNZIR BIN ABAS (HAJI)
||TAN CHEONG LUNG
||WONG LAN CHAN
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