Copyright Notice

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other non-commercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the author, at the address below.

Sakmongkol ak 47

Sunday, 24 May 2009

The Midnight Scuffle!


Here is another instalment from my forthcoming The Life And Times Of Dato Mokhtar Bin Sir Mahmud.

Dato Mokhtar was back in MCKK in 1946. It was just after the war. At the end of 1941, his schooling days were abruptly interupted by the war. He was a member of the Ahmad House. The Perak boys would usually be in Idris House. There were only 4 houses. The Headmaster then was Mr Carey. He was succeeded by KD Luke who was to become the headmaster during the event which I am about to tell you shortly.

After term break or school holidays, he made it a point to come back a day earlier. At that time, his father Dato Mahmud was DO of Tapah. It is not far away from Kuala Kangsar.

As to the reason for coming back a day earlier, there was a method to this absurdity. Why would anyone want to cut short his holidays? For Mokhtar it was all the more incredulous given the fact that his home was probably a 2 or 3 hour train ride?

You see, this is a trick that he discovered. If you come back earlier, you can secure yourself the best bed and location in the hostel. It was a first come first served thing and finders' keepers. Invariably he would choose a bed near the door where it was airy. It also permitted easy egress and ingress. The boys who came back late would have to make do with less desirable choices.

Whenever the MCKK boys come back from holidays or term breaks, the mood would be sombre. Now I have never set foot in MCKK- but from the recollection of Dato Mokhtar, the mood of the students coming back from their kampongs or hometown would immediately turn forlorn once Gunung Berapit came within sights. It was as though, their hearts were saying in unison- boys we are back in prison.

Dinner on the first night after holidays reinforced the boys' homesickness. The dining hall would be exceedingly quiet. One could almost hear a pin drop. The same could be told of the mood at the High Table. Once the boys got over the initial pangs of homesickness, the dining hall would resume its normal voluble din carrying the sounds of fork and spoons and the endless chatter of spirited boys.

Just after the war, Dato Mahmud entered MCKK as a form three student. His classmates counted HRH Tuanku Sultan of Pahang, the late Tan Sri Azmi Kamarudin, Y.M Engku Tan Sri Dato' Sri Ibrahim Engku Ngah( keeper of the Royal seal), Dato Wan Nik a former chairman of Ketengah( Terengganu) and one Tengku Yaakob bin Tengku Salleh(deceased).

It is the story involving the late Tengku Yaakob ( a scion of the Kelantan Royal Family) and this Dato Wan Nik who hailed from Terengganu that we now feel worth retelling. It was an event that earned the late Tengku Yaakob (God Bless his soul) the notoriety of the moniker 'MU JAHAK'( pronounced in Kelantan slang). From then on,Tengku Yaakob would always be called MU JAHAK and never Ku Yaakob anymore. The event which I am about to narrate happened sometime in 1949 or 1950.

Tengku Yaakob came from Kelantan. Dato Mokhtar recalled that he married one of the princesses of the then Sultan of Kelantan. (He stands corrected on this). Dato Wan Nik came from Terengganu. Since time immemorial, relations between Kelantanese and Terengganuans were never cordial. Indeed they often degenerated into open hostilities.

Naturally, the antipathy must be carried through by boys claiming to be true blooded sons of their states. During this particular occasion, none carried the burden of this irrational ill feeling more than Wan Nik of Terengganu and Tengku Yaakob of Kelantan.

At the hostel, 9 pm would be lights out for everyone. Except for seniors such as Dato Mokhtar. Seniors were allowed to stay up beyond 9pm.

One particular night, Mokhtar was still up when he heard a commotion coming out from downstairs of the hostel. Fearing that a burglar or burglars have entered their hostel he went out to investigate.

He came upon a group of bare-chested boys who were excited about something that had happened. All these boys were members of Tengku Yaakob of Kelantan's band of brothers. Mokhtar asked the boys what had happened to which the boys answered nothing.

Not satisfied, Mokhtar set out to discover what had taken place.

Wan Nik of Terengganu was a prefect. Tengku Yaakob of Kelantan seemed to bear the brunt of the simmering hostilities between Kelantanese and Terengganuans. He would always be made to suffer a multitude of punishable offences. And guess who was the prefect who would pounce him? It was none other than Wan Nik of Terengganu.

The Tengku from Kelantan must have suffered immeasurably and thus set out to mete out a punishment of his own to this Wan Nik. One night, when lights were out and deciding that Nik must have gone to sleep, Tengku Yaakob went out to dispense with his version of justice.

He went into Nik's dormitory, lifted up the mosquito net, pulled away the blanket over Nik and gave him a walloping!

The horrified recipient of the punches yelped out cries and seeing that the perpetrator of this invasion at this ungodly hour was Tengku Yaakob- cried out; Yaakob !Gapo mu buat aku gini ?

Tengku Yaakob gave only this answer...MU JAHAK!

Apparently as insurance Tengku Yaakob had rallied a group of his followers to stand guard just in case. If Wan Nik of Terengganu was foolish to fight back, his gang would be upon the hapless Terengganu boy in two shakes of a lion's whiskers. Prudence was the better part of valour- Wan Nik to his credit did not put up any fight.

From that day onwards- whenever the MCKK boys walked past Tengku Yaakob, the name ' Mu Jahak' would be called out.

This Wan Nik turned out to a sort of rebel without a cause. One day, the principal (KD Luke) and MCKK became the object of a scandal which became a hot topic among the local community. Someone from the College wrote to the vernacular newspaper complaining of the lousy food of the hostel. The College immediately carried out an investigation as to the author of the letter. It turned out that Wan Nik was the author. His cover was blown away because he had entrusted the sending of the letter to a junior boy. The boy had admitted to the principal the identity of the author.

Wan Nik was hauled up by the principal and received his befitting punishment. He was striped of the prefect's post. Upon receiving his punishment, Wan Nik poignantly said- Sir I feel like committing suicide. The headmaster(KD Luke) retorted- young man, you have done enough trouble for me. Please do not add to my headaches.

I hope Dato Wan Nik would not find this narration of something from the past offensive. My humblest apologies in advance to Dato Wan Nik. They don't make boys of sterner stuff anymore Dato.

Note: I have updated some facts regarding this story when I reviewed it together with Dato Mokhtar himself.


Anonymous,  24 May 2009 at 22:04  

Dato'! Great story! Mu Jahak!!

Fi-sha 24 May 2009 at 22:15  

Dear Datuk Sak

Would you be kind enough to share this with The Grand Gentleman Dato Mokhtar?

The main contributor is one of Carey Award's winner and he has done many selfless works with youngsters in MCKK.

May The Grand Gentleman Dato Mokhtar take comfort that they are still sterling models produced in 90s by MCKK and to put some smile on his face reading their stories in MCKK.

Take care Datuk Sak.

Lawyer Kampung 25 May 2009 at 00:19  

Sakmongkol wrote: They don't make boys of sterner stuff anymore Dato.

I beg to differ Dato'..Last I recall, they still do..back in the 80s'.. ;-)

Ariff Sabri 25 May 2009 at 06:56  

tuan lawyer,

haha. i am sure they do. and will continue doing so. the last line was meant for the good dato wan nik.
i put it you( hehe in lawyerspeake) that perhaps tuan lawyer did a similar thing in the 80s when food at this venerable institution wasnt inviting? that must be the product of:
Fiat Sapientia Virtus (Manliness Through Wisdom)

Snakebite 25 May 2009 at 10:55  

interesting read. waiting for more.

Anonymous,  25 May 2009 at 14:50  

Uncle Sak..memeang best story ni.. mengingatkan cerita di asrama dulu-dulu..

Macam-macam perangai kan.. hairan dulu masa budak-budak boleh bergaduh bertumbuk memaki hamun tapi bila dah masuk Univesiti dan bekerja,yang jadi kawan baik kawan bergelak ketawa adalah kawan yang dulu duk bergaduh memaki hamun bertumbuk.. kah kah kah

Kudos to you...

kuldeep 25 May 2009 at 21:24  


Being an old boy myself of a slightly newer vintage then the gentleman ur story revolves around;its an interesting read.BUT somehow I get this gnawing feel that this is a prelude to something more substantial i.e. ur laying the foundations for another big expose or POV.So,in the best tradition of MCKK..get out of the kelambu and start ur crawling NOW.

Btw...kudos to ur country man Dato Ismail Sabri>>I sent him an email(address on the Minister's profile on the Domestic Trade website) commenting on his pricewatch website >> he actually replied within 10 mins thru his blackberry.Now,I don't get that even from Obama ?

Ariff Sabri 26 May 2009 at 07:43  


sabor....the plot thickens. in the best tradition of Sherlock Holmes of course.

ajoyly 26 May 2009 at 21:53  

Stories like the one narrated are always memorable because of the reason it happened. And also the characters involved. Normally life in the boarding house/hostel are very exciting. Many colourful characters, to enliven the atmosphere either in the football field or elsewhere. One thing for sure, there's never a dull moment.
Dato', a great story!

  © Blogger templates Newspaper III by 2008

Back to TOP