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

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Pre-war College Days- The Life and Times of Dato Mokhtar bin Dato Sir Mahmud

Pre-war MCKK days.

One senior Dato Mokhtar remembered very well is the late Tengku Abdullah ibn Tuanku Abdul Rahman. He would later become an MP and became a close friend to the 4th PM of Malaysia, Dr Mahathir Mohamed. He would also become a prominent businessman and a renowned socialite.

Tengku Abdullah was a good footballer too. He was a fifth former and was put in charge as some sort of mentor/protector to the younger boys.

Boys would be playing football and other sporting activities in the evenings. I suspect it was cooler and also, it was common practice of pupils staying in hostels to play in the evenings. The English masters were fastidious people when enforcing study and play. They certainly believed in the saying- all work and no play makes jack a dull boy.

At a certain fixed time and the end of play time, boys had to go back to their dormitories. They will bathe to clean themselves and make their beds. The hostel master or warden will dutifully inspect the dormitories to check whether this rule was followed. Those found violating this rule would receive appropriate punishment.

Now, Tengku Abdullah had this habit of playing football until the end of regulation time. He would then rush back to the dorm to take a bath before proceeding to take his meal. We may remember, the rule was, before you go down for dinner, you must make your bed. It must be prim and proper. The hostel master would go on his rounds and inspect each and every bed. Those who flouted this rule and left their beds in a mess would be punished.

Tengku Abdullah found a way to overcome this. If he comes back and take his bath and then had to make his bed, he would not be in time for dinner. To overcome this, Tengku Abdullah elevated Dato Mokhtar to a special role- that of making sure his (T Abdullah's) bed is made every day. In return, being the hostel senior in charge of football, Tengku Abdullah always gave Dato Mokhtar the first choice to select his football team. In that way, Dato Mokhtar would ensure his team always had the better players thus ensuring wins against Tengku Ahmad Shah's( as he then was) team.

Being a sports man himself, the future king of Pahang wouldn't take this unsporting behaviour lightly. Often HRH Tuanku Sultan Pahang would inveigh to the seniors with protests. But of course, Dato Mokhtar had already secured the advantage and Tengku Ahmad Shah's protestations would be heard but never acted on.

Dato Mokhtar was a form one student in 1941. The Japs landed in Kota Bharu in December 1941. The headmaster H Carey had given the boys a one month's holiday.

On the day, when they were about to leave, Dato Mokhtar saw the headmaster and some teachers talking to a happy looking future Sultan of Selangor. Dato Mokhtar remembered the future Sultan Abdul Aziz was talking to one Cikgu Salleh Ahmad. There was also another Cikgu Salleh- Salleh Hussin.

They were laughing and making merry over some conversational subjects in the passageway adjoining the Assembly Hall. In those days, the Hall doubled up as the School Library. Books were lined up against the wall and students did their studying there.

We must take a few moments to say a few words about this Cikgu Salleh. He had a peculiar way of punishing errant students. He would call a student up, pinched some strategic portion of the stomach and will do a twisting motion. While doing that Cikgu Salleh will be grinning and of course, with each twist, the pain becomes more excruciating. Many an errant boy will quickly own up to whatever indiscretions and infractions he had committed to escape the 'Salleh twister'.

Many teachers were a creative lot when it comes to dishing out their versions of punishment. Some teachers would pull pupil's side-whiskers or side-burns as they are also known. Some would also grab both sides of your cheeks and pull them outwards. Some would make you into 'Scottish Folds'- they would grab both your ears and wring them. Whatever the teachers did would ensure copious tears and occasionally saliva wetting shirts.

Cikgu Salleh had married a lady who came from a very wealthy family. Dato Mokhtar couldn't remember her exact name- maybe it was Cik Teh Berlian. The lady got this title as her front teeth were studded with diamonds. Hence she was given the name Cik Teh Berlian. Cikgu Salleh was also among the very rare who had cars at that time. Cikgu Salleh drove to school.

Its funny, but almost always as a rule, students remember the 'vicious' teachers most later on. Indeed they developed intense friendship and admiration. Years later in 1975, when Cikgu Salleh Ahmad visited Kuantan and stayed at the Merlin Hotel, Dato Mokhtar and another of his MCKK senior Dato Wan Salaidin( then SS for Negeri Sembilan) entertained the proprietor of the Salleh twister.

The future Sultan of Selangor on that day, wore a dashing shark skin suit. He must have looked resplendent in the light purple coloured suit. Dato Mokhtar remembered this especially as he admired the suit. At this young age, he had developed an expert eye on impeccable clothing.

The future Sultan had by then become a more or less a 'resident' student, having been promoted to higher forms and demoted to lower forms on several occasions. This must have occurred several times, as Dato Mokhtar remembered the Sultan was older than most of the other students.

MCKK during the pre-war years excelled in football. Dato Mokhtar was in charge of selecting boys and assigning them into teams. He would always pick his good friend Jamil Jan who was an exceedingly good player. Jamil Jan enjoyed a reputation as a winnable player, i.e. if he is in your team, you are likely to win. We can say that Jamil Jan then was an MVP- Most Valuable Player. And so Dato Mokhtar wanting to win all the time would include Jamil Jan in his team.

And where would he place the sporting Tengku Ahmad Shah? Dato Mokhtar would mischievously place the current Sultan of Pahang- Tengku Ahmad Shah as he was then, on the other team. Tengku Ahmad's team would lose every time they played against Jamil Jan's team. This must have irked Tengku Ahmad somewhat for he went up to complain to the college senior about Dato Mokhtar creating unfair advantage.

Dato Mokhtar remembered the senior boy as Shamsuddin Yaakob.Shamsudin would later become Dato Mokhtar's brother in law. What would Tengku Ahmad Shah's chances be when complaining to a senior who must have spotted a daughter of Dato Sir Mahmud?


Anonymous,  30 May 2009 at 14:40  

This is again a beautiful piece of the memoirs of Dato' Mokhtar when he was in MCKK.

I am sure HRH The Sultan of Pahang will cherish this comical memory of himself in MCKK too.

ala 3 June 2009 at 03:43  

Thank you for making me smile (ter meleret-leret, sorang2). Ur article gives me the nice warmth of nostalgia (also grew up in a boarding school).

Looking forward to more HAPPY material from u.

Yasmin Saulnier,  30 March 2012 at 10:16  

Hello...Just came across this. Cik Teh Berlian was my grandmother and her husband, Cikgu Salleh (the late Datuk Seri Salleh)was my grandfather. He's also the uncle to Sultan Azlan Shah.


Yasmin Saulnier of Belmont, MA

  © Blogger templates Newspaper III by 2008

Back to TOP