Monday, 15 June 2009

The Life and Times of Dato Mokhtar bin Dato Sir Mahmud.

Part 7.

Before I go on to part 7 in the series regarding The Life and Times of Dato Mokhtar bin Dato Sir Mahmud, I must share with readers especially those who went to MCKK after the War, some notes which I just received. These were sent by one Dato Abdul Rahim Aki who has been kind enough to share with us, his own recollection. We are much indebted by his kind gesture.

Abdul Rahim Aki said...

I have followed your commentary about Dato' Mokhtar with much interest and fond memories of my time in MCKK and KK an unforgettable experience that we all share. Dato Mokhtar was my senior but in a boarding school, especially in MCKK, everyone knows everyone else. In his case, I also know his brother Dato Mustapha, Cambridge (Law) and former Ambassador and accomplished Artist! And he is now my neighbor in KL and we occasionally run into one another and have a chat. The story you relate about a certain Punjabi beauty, Theresa Kaur, sounds familiar but I believe the lady you referred to as having piercing blue eyes and in my own recollection, a voluptious body, was Inder Kaur and not Theresa Kaur who was an outstanding beauty and the toast of MCKK boys and also Clifford boys. She went to study in Adelaide where she met a Singh who graduated as a doctor and they got married. On returning to Malaysia, he practiced in KL and played cricket for Selangor Club and the couple was the centre of attraction at social events and dances at the Club. Unfortunately, for some unknown reasons, Inder Kaur died and it was rumored that she committed suicide - what a sad ending for a person who was beautiful until the end. KK had other Kaurs during my time and all came from the small Punjabi family in KK but none could rival Inder Kaur. My friend who was a Prefect with me at King's Pavilion, where we enjoyed some degree of freedom compared to life in the Big School even though you were a Prefect, befriended a Kaur from MGS but it was short lived as he went to UK to pursue his university studies in Engineering. KP provided a relief from the strict discipline regime at Big School and during my time as a Prefect at KP, the Housemaster was Mr Anthony Burgess the well writer (Time for a Tiger, Malaysian Trilogy etc) whose real name was Mr Wilson. He was my English teacher in Form V and had the privilege of being taught, so also my classmates, by a writer who was eventually acclaimed as one of the greatest writers in the English language. He was also musical and played the piano and this musical talent was reflected in most of his writings. He of course drank heavily together with his wife and occasionally joined by expatriate planter and police officer for noisy drinking sessions upstairs in the Housemaster's quarters! His lifestyle was disapproved by the Headmaster and the Royal Palace which caused his downfall and he was transferred to the Teacher's College in Kota Bharu Kelantan. While in Kelantan, he produced his second book called "Bed in the East".He eventually left Malaya to continue his writing the UK when he produced his greatest works. He died in Monte Carlo. Back to Dato Mustapha, he served in the Foreign Service until retirement and he had an interesting first posting as First Secretary in the Malaysian Embassy in Paris. As an artist, there was no better place and environment to be in and he found an apartment on the Isle St Louis, a fashionable residence on an island on the Seine close to the Notre Dame where the rich and the famous lived and continue to live. I recall his apartment was located close to the Aga Khan's and not far from Sophia Loren's apartment! So Dato Mustapha lived well as a diplomat in a most enchanting city. I have strayed quite a bit from the subject of Dato Mokhtar but since you have written quite a bit about him, I feel that what I have written will also be interesting to readers who follow your site. I cannot end this short commentary without reference to Cikgu Salleh Ahmad who was also my teacher to whom I am greatly indebted. However, I cannot recall having suffered from his "Twister" treatment.

15 June 2009 00:16


There was also another side of this Chingaru Singh. By the way, Dato Mokhtar isn't sure whether 'Chingaru' was a real or a nickname. 'Chingaru' is an unsual name for a Male Sikh as was 'Theresa' Kaur for a female Sikh.

As Dato Mokhtar remembered, Chingaru was exceedingly proficient in the Malay language. He was capable of not only uttering Astaghafirullah but also the Shahadah. He spoke the National Language as any other Malay.

The boys of MCKK (after the war) hated Chingaru for another particular reason. Chingaru often refereed football games involving MCKK. Whenever MCKK played the other teams and Chingaru refereed them, the MCKK boys often found themselves fouled and off-sided. Each time their team was faulted, the boys would shout on top of their lungs- Chingaru- garu-garu. Chingaru-garu-garu!

Where did the boys from college go to make merry and splashed on meals and makan makan? At the end of each month, parents would send money through the post to the boys. The postman would again deliver the much awaited means of sustenance from home to the boys during class hours. Everyone would know who's been receiving money from home.

After class hours, the boys would proceed to the headmaster's office to hand over the money for safekeeping. The amounts would be properly recorded. The headmaster would then function as a paymaster or cashier allocating weekly allowances to the boys. They would usually be allocated one Malayan Dollar a week. If a larger amount was required, the applicant would be subjected to an exhaustive interrogation by the HM.

Mokhtar would ask for Two Dollars at the first week of the month. He would explain to the HM, the extra Dollar was needed to pay off the cleaner. Many boys engaged a cleaner who not only washed their clothes, but also washed their shoes. I need to pay the cleaner, sir, explained Mokhtar.

With a little bit of money in hand, the MCKK boys would usually converge upon two well known establishments. They were the boys' watering holes. One was known AS AH LOKE KEDAI KOPI and the other, DOUBLE LION RESTAURANT. Both establishments were well known for their Mee Goreng and Chicken Chop. Moreover these two restaurants were inspected weekly by a medical doctor named Dr. Din. He and another colleague, Dr Megat Khas were well known Malay doctors during that time. The eateries being inspected regularly were certified clean for the College boys to eat. The College in those days, was fastidious when it came to ensuring the boys ate healthily.

For movies they would patronize the GRAND THEATRE and EMPIRE THEATRE. In those days, well known films such as NORTH WEST PASSAGE starring Spencer Tracy and Robert Young, the Tarzan films staring the Olympic swimmer, JOHNNY WEISSMULLER, films starring DOROTHY LAMOUR, would be playing and eagerly lapped up by the boys

Post War Years.

The tough nut, Meor Ali did no return to MCKK after the war. Readers may remember he was the chap who fought with Dato Mokhtar at some location in Prep School. Jamil Jan too, did not immediately return to MCKK and the boys wondered what happened to him.

He would later rejoin MCKK as a 6th Former between '46-48. After the war, MCKK took in the first batch of 6th formers. Most did not stay the full course. Very often, in the middle of 6th form, they would be sent off to study either in the UK or Australia under the Colombo Plan Scholarship.

Among the first batch of students in the 6th form is the present HRH Sultan Azlan Shah. Dato Mokhtar remembers HRH as a finely mannered young boy who excelled in sports like Hockey. He was a handsome and attractive looking boy with a dimple on one side of his cheeks.

6th formers stayed at a hostel located very close to the MGS. For meals, Raja Azlan Shah (as he was then) would walk from the hostel, made his way down a series of steps and across the Big School to the Dining Hall. Mokhtar on the other hand would walk up the steps to go over to his brother Ghazali Dato Mahmud's House which was located at the sides of the College gates. By the way, during school hours no one was allowed outside school compound. Dato Mokhtar intimated that he never secured the HM's permission on his excursions to the brother's house. Whenever the older 6th formers passed by him, they assumed that he had permission and never once queried him.

As to Raja Azlan, they would pass each other and Mokhtar remembered Raja Azlan as a very pleasant fellow. Dato Mokhtar swears that Raja Azlan had this personal magnetism and was quite well known to the fairer sex at KK then. Back then, he had thick black hair combed backwards. Raja Azlan Shah was in the College Relay team and was a keen sportsman.

Among the first batch of 6th formers was Yusof Zainal who went on to serve as a diplomat. Dato Yusof Zainal hailed from Johore and was nicknamed 'Gambol' in those days. Another notable first batch alumnus was the famous Izani Merican who went on to become a doctor and practised in Kota Bharu later on. Dato Mokhtar also remembered Dr Izani as an accomplished pianist and Mokhtar who was also musically talented would usually listen in when Izani played the piano.

The first batch of 6th formers was probably placed on a trial basis before being shipped off overseas. As I mentioned, most didn't stay the full course. In those days, students were categorised as 6th formers without being differentiated into lower and Upper Six students.

They were joined by a larger group of 6th formers forming the second batch. Among the 2nd batchers, were the Pateh Akher brothers, Ishak Pateh Akher and Sulaiman Pateh Akher. Tengku Adnan Tengku Besar Burhanuddin was also in the second batch of 6th formers. Others included Ismail Long who was known as Jembatan Merah because he would unfailingly sing this famous Keronchong number. Thus when college boys walked pass him, they would holler- Jembatan Merah.....One Hashim Sam was also in this batch as was Nik Mahmud whom we mentioned in an earlier series.

Among the 3rd batch of 6th formers was one Jamaludin , a son of a penghulu from Negeri Sembilan. He was in the same batch as Dato Mokhtar's older brother- Mustafa bin Dato Mahmud. Jamaludin hailed from Negeri Sembilan. Dato Mokhtar remembered him as a fair skinned young man with almond shaped eyes slanted like a Chinese. He walked with a light swagger perhaps due to a slight deformity in one leg. Dato Jamaluddin later went on to serve as a diplomat as did Dato Mustafa bin Dato Mahmud. Dato Jamaluddin is of course the father of Khairy Jamaluddin, the current Ketua Pemuda UMNO.

And yes, like Dato Abdul Rahim Aki mentioned and I have confirmed this with Dato Mokhtar, his brother, whom he calls 'Ban' is an accomplished artist and a Cambridge trained lawyer.

6 comments:

Suci Dalam Debu 15 June 2009 at 12:35  

Dato,

I enjoy your MCKK stories very much. I cannot but envy all the excellent facilities, teachers and system available to the MCKK boys.

As for me I only attended a very simple rural school and my command of the English language is not as polished.

Nevertheless, I also can't help but realised that many MCKK boys become who's who in Malaysian politics and high government officials. Despite their excellent education foundation, their integrity is suspect. Many could not differentiate between basic rights and wrongs. Blinded by wealth? To the good ones, tabik!

Dato, I only have questions but no answers.

Maybe you can tell us why?

suki,  15 June 2009 at 18:46  

Dato i think the teachers name would have been spelt shingara singh n not chingaru or maybe as we know when anyone went to a balai to register a birth,the policeman on duty would spell it according to what was heard.

Abdul Rahim Aki,  16 June 2009 at 09:50  

As a rejoinder to my commentary, I have to state that I am not a Dato (I do not know how you got it from)although in my class of 30, one is a Tun, six are Tan Sris and ten or so are Datos, both Berseri and Ta' Berseri! (no offence intended). And this I believe is a record in Malaysia. At the rate Honours are being awarded nowadays, it would not take long before our class would achieve the perfect score! So I can say that until that happens, I still escape from the proverbial stone. I would just like to add that Cikgu Salleh Ahmad and Chingaru Singh shared the same habit of twisting the sensitive parts of their students, and this I have learned from my wife who was a student at Clifford and Chingaru Singh was her teacher.

Omar 14 February 2010 at 15:01  

Abdul Rahim Aki was my prefect at KP in 1955. I must say he was the most liked prefect among the three of them which include Syed Zainal Hussein Wafa (now retired Doctor) and Abd Razak Bahaman (now retired Electrical Engineer, one time my colleague at JKR).This is because, unlike Rahim, the punishments meted out to us by prefects Syed and Razak were very severe. So it was some relief when both of them were diagnosed with typhoid and were hospitalised for some considerable time.Prefect Abd Aziz Hussein,(later my boss at Ministry of Works)was assingned to KP during their period of absence. Omar Bin Ibrahim

AbdRazak Bahaman,  21 December 2010 at 14:18  

Like in most Schools, Prefects are appointed by the HM. Those chosen are either they are difficult to control or they exhibit a kind of intelligence which may be above average. I was never one of those, so maybe I was chosen because there no others that qualify.I was and still am a strict disciplinarian, so if I have caused some kind of hatred towards me, I am really very sorry, but I am sure those who were punished learnt their lesson through it. Rahim Aki and Syed Zainal are my firm friends till today. There are others who are my great friends like Hanif Omar ( now Tun) Razak Hitam,Abdullah Ahmad (KokLanas) Rawi, and a few others who have passed on.
I am not on the Fast Lane, so not often seen in public circles, and I like it that way: See nothing Hear nothing and Know a little.

arbee36 31 December 2011 at 17:56  

I presume not many people knew that our exHead Boy Ibrahim Ariffin was hospitalised recently (now dicharged). I was made aware by my dear friend Tun Hanif (my classmate 1952-1956). We visited him at the University Hospital and had a brief session recollecting old times.Tun asked me what I do nowadays. I told him I have two wonderful friends whom I regularly visit.Tun Hanif gave a good chuckle when I told him my two friends are Mr Book and Mr Sleep. Unlike our Tun, he is still active in public life and I admire him for that. Amongst other things he is also the Council Member to the Board of Governors of the Malay College. Just to update on the the old geezer of the MCKK.

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