VICTORIA INSTITUTION WEBPAGE

VICTORIA INSTITUTION WEBPAGE
(CLICK ON PICTURE TO GO TO VI WEBPAGE)

VIOBA

VIOBA
(CLICK ON PICTURE TO GO TO VIOBA WEBSITE)
The World Anthem

We are all of one Race, the Human Race.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

1967 – a honeymoon year (part 2)

‘to help other people at all times and to obey the Scout Law’



































(click on picture for enlarged view).




VI is pretty unusual in that it has two Scout movements, 1st KL AND 2nd KL. Having been a keen Cub in PRES 1, I signed up for 1st KL in January 1966, prompted also by the fact that some of ‘my gang’ had enlisted. They included my hockey buddies Cheah Peng Keong and Chew Yoong Fong, Yap Meng Teck, Chan Heng Yooi, Kow Yoke Wah and silken sprinter T.A. Mohan Arasu whom everyone knew because his father was the well known and highly respected doctor who ran that famous private clinic in Ipoh Road – Arasu Clinic. Of course, Taman, misread from T.A.Mohan in the register by T.Rajaratnam, followed his father’s footsteps, and is now an established doctor himself.

The three of us together with Yap Lip Sin, Lee Chee Meng, Wong Kam Choong and Ming formed Woodpecker Patrol, led by Third Former Patrol Leader Wong Joon Owang or ‘Joe’ as he was universally called. Boys being boys, Woodpecker Patrol changed its name to Lion Patrol a couple of months later to stop the taunts of ‘peckerheads’. The 1st KL Boy Scouts were about 100 strong with Patrol names very evocative of the wild savannah, nature, jungles, plains and rivers, like Beaver, Bull, Eagle, Falcon, Kingfisher, Owl, Panther, Stag and Swift and of course, Lion (peckerhead) Patrol.

But my time in the Boy Scouts was short and somewhat anti-climactic. The main problems were associated with my diet, as my family was totally vegan, AND Saturday troop meetings and competitions, week-day Patrol gatherings and term camps tended to clash with football practices and matches. But nevertheless I enjoyed that year and a bit and wish now I had persevered.

For our first-ever Saturday afternoon Troop Meeting on the lawn opposite the mini-roundabout near the 6th Form Block area , I arrived in full regalia with uniform, cap, scarf with leather knot holder, stockings with garters and Patrol and 1st KL badges. However, I had a problem in that I did not have time to buy a proper pair of shoes and had borrowed my brother’s cadet corps green jungle hiking boots which were acceptable except they stood out like sore thumbs among the sea of black shoes. TA Mohan of course spotted it like a hawk and soon everyone was ribbing me about insulting both the cadet corps and the boy scouts. At the ragging that followed that investiture ceremony, I got a scarf-whipped a bit more than the other greenhorns for my new found fame, while made to run up and down the slopes leading to the school sports field, between rows of senior Boy Scouts!!

Joe, a bit severe looking at times, was a great and knowledgeable leader who was later appointed to the Prefects’ Board in 1970. He had a deceptive tough side to him. Once when Lim Seng Chuan was getting a bad mauling from Tan Joo Ann in a ‘friendly’ Scouts’ boxing match, Joe volunteered to take on Joo Ann and inflicted such a terrible beating on him, the match had to be stopped. Joe probably secretly carried weights and worked out, though you couldn’t tell from his lean frame.

Soon after joining the Boy Scouts, we were off one Saturday after another on inter-patrol games and exciting group activities. We’d bicycled together with members of Falcon Patrol under Yip Kai Onn to John’s Valley in Jalan Duta for night BBQ. In pitch dark conditions, Joe taught us about constructing the BBQ pit, frame and about starting and stoking a fire with very basic materials like matchsticks, candles, newspapers, dry wood kindling and leaves. The chicken had already been pre-marinated, but it did not help that half way through, a light drizzle started. That was the 1st time I tasted BBQ chicken. It was half cooked, half burnt and rubbery, but the toasted dark sweet soy sauce was tasty! We all huddled under an extended poncho as the rain got a bit heavier and sent a chilly wind up our Khyber! We cycled home about 2 a.m., half soaked and half starved.

Cake baking competition took place in pits dug in the grounds of the grassy knoll in the school car park using biscuit tins as containers. All ingredients were mixed on the spot that afternoon and the cake baked au naturel over wood fire with the earth pit serving as the ‘oven’. Again, proceedings were interrupted by a massive downpour and all Lion Patrol could present to the Assistant Scout Master (ASM)judges was a half-cooked soggy mess, which was still better than some of the other Patrols’ ‘cordon bleu’ stuff which did not even make it to the earth oven!

The Annual Treasure Hunt was part of the Inter-Patrol competitions to determine the Champion Patrol at the end of the year. Clues were written up by the Committee of Patrol Leaders and secreted in places like the gates of the Ampang Road Police Station next to where Yow Chuan Plaza now stands. The competition would run from 7 p.m. till 3 a.m. the next day. Patrols would cycle like fury, criss-crossing KL from clue to clue to be the first to claim the ‘treasure’. My name made its entry into the Lion Patrol Log Book as the person who solved the cryptic clue ‘I am cold’ written on a piece of paper. From those primary years reading Enid Blyton’sFatty and the Five Find Outers’ I had learnt that you could write ‘invisible’ messages with pen nib on paper, using fresh lime or lemon juice. The ‘invisible’ words would come alive if you ran a warm iron over the ‘blank’ paper or placed it over a candle flame. Another clever clue the leaders came out with was one that required finding the roots of a quadratic equation and applying Pythagoras’ Theorem!

We eventually ended up looking for the final clue in Assistant Senior Scout Leader (ASSL) Liew Kon Wui’s (or was it Lum Chee Soon’s?) bungalow house in Jalan Inai in Jalan Imbi. After Panther Patrol led by Chu Kam Choon were declared winners, we tucked into a hearty meal of piping and chilli hot hokkien mee, yin yong kung foo chow noodles, fried keow teow and friend mee hoon washed down with lashings of iced sunquick orange juice and F&N lemonade cordial. Then some settled down for Carroms while others just plunked down for chit chat and then slowly left in drips and drabs and cycled home at 5 a.m.!

There was Castle Camp in Gurney Road not far from the Army Camp, where you went to compete in Obstacle Course which included rope/tree climbing while elsewhere we practiced first aid, knotting, tent pitching etc and practised singing songs for the Annual Parents’ Campfire, songs like ‘Over hill, over dale, as we hit the mountain trail’ and the evergreen Jambalaya, If I had a Hammer, Waltzing Matilda and High There in the Deep Blue Sky (Rabbit Song?).

1st term Troop Camp was held in Camp Semangat at the National Scout Camp, in Cheras. Lion Patrol emerged the champs, topping the various disciplines as well as both the campfire sketches where my comic acting skills came to the fore. We were isolated from civilization for a week, slept 4 to a tent with no pillows and on tarps laid over damp, cold earth, hiked to waterfalls through raw jungle and play-acted first aid at accident rescue scenes and more for marks. We even swept the cooking competition (though my contribution was nothing more than slicing and dicing vegetables, preparing the dinner table and serving the Seniors/Judges and washing up) because we had Ming who at 13, helped his father run a ‘chap fan’ stall back in town! Each patrol had to safeguard its own turf and Joe taught us this fantastic skill of constructing a swing-gate entrance for our ‘house compound’ using a string-strung stone twisted over wood and employing the simple mechanics and laws of motion!

The 1st KL ASM’s like Ramasamy, Robert Ng Sing Peng (elder brother of Ng Chee Peng, my classmate who was himself ASM in 1972) and Lum Chee Soon as well as ASSL’s like Yap Piang Kian were there to co-ordinate all activities. Our 1st memorable campfire began with ASM Oh Seong Lye, Prefect and my House (Hepponstall) Captain reciting the incantations of ‘To the North, To The South, To the East...’ as he prepared to extend lit taper to set the woodpile on fire. There was much hooting and laughing as the seniors too acted out some hilarious sketches, but most of all it was the singing that established camaraderie and made it a night to remember even after 40 years!

During a session of scout inter-patrol water polo, Robert saved my live! I developed a cramp in the deep end of the pool and before I knew it, I sank like a stone and was struggling to make surface. Suddenly I heard a splash overhead and these huge arms circled me from behind and hauled me on my back over the pool’s edge and started pumping my chest, all the while asking me if I was ok. Fortunately, I had managed to hold my breath underwater. A few seconds more and I might have been done for good. My gratitude to Robert, whom I met again in June this year at a VIPB reunion after a hiatus of 40 years, is eternal.

But my Boy Scout career floundered as I could not get my Tenderfoot Badge, which is really the most basic of hurdles. I’d gotten through all the other tests like Scout Laws, First Aid, Physical Exercise, Campfire and Tent Pitching. But when it came to knotting, I managed to get my knickers in a twist. I’d practised till I could tie all the knots behind my back in total darkness. But for the 1st test, Senior Patrol Leader Wong Twee Juat set a time limit of 1 minute for 6 knots. All of us failed to beat the buzzer by a few seconds. At the repeat test a week later, Twee Juat threw in another googly. We had to tie all 6 knots - reef, rolling hitch, clove hitch, bowline, sheet bend, sheep shank – in exact sequence on the same rope!!

It was at this point that I rebelled and refused to take that final test a third time. I figured we were being messed around with. I could not work out if he was just bored and deliberately making it difficult for us or he had a natural mean streak in him. I mean, some of these knots, we were never going to use (and still haven’t) like the ones for tying goats and horses while we moseyed over to the OK Corral Saloon Bar for some neat whiskies, were we?! 6 knots on 1 rope? Which Armageddon was that going to be employed in? So, one thing led to another and I never made Tenderfoot. This was a huge embarrassment to me personally as I had ‘do or die’ ambitions to emulate my elder brother in Cochrane Road School who was close to a King’s Scout Badge, having secured his Bushman’s Thong (nothing to do with Transvaal Beach underwear)!

In ’67, Our Patrol leader was Christie Tan Tiong Tee (now Dr.) who is one of the most pleasant, nicest, understanding, patient and gentlemanly student/person I have ever come across. It was not surprising he made it to the VIPB in 1971, given that in addition to his superb leadership qualities, he also represented the school in Rugby and Swimming/Water Polo. I missed some of the early scout meetings in January and February when it clashed with football. Moreover, my father was not too happy with all these excursions and I had to allay his suspicions by spinning him about eating a lot of bread, butter and jam and chapatthi and dhal on these trips and camps.

Matters came to a head one Saturday afternoon as I was lying in bed with high fever and ASM Liew Kon Swee popped over to my house to check up on whether I was skiving or what? My father, a man of few words, explained to him my condition, but Kon Swee insisted on sighting me, at which point my father, not used to having his words questioned, sent Kon Swee off on his bike! Immediately, my father sat down at his desk and drafted my resignation letter from 1st KL Boy Scouts, which I presented to Christie a few days later. There was no Court of Appeal as far as my father was concerned. My father would never say it aloud, but secretly he was chuffed that two of his sons had made it to VI. But he too had his limits and any infringement of that total vegan diet thing was the last straw.

Kon Swee, who did not know of my vegan problems, would not accept my resignation letter just like that. He insisted I attend a sort of ‘court martial’ with the other ASM’s in the temporary scout den (previously the caretaker’s shed) opposite the VIOBA building, within the school field area. As it was fated to happen, we had football practice under Peethaparam, and I could not, dared not, get off at 5.30 p.m. for the ‘court martial’. When I arrived at 6, I got a shelling and that was that. There was no way I was going back to Lion Patrol and 1st KL!

But you see inflated ego and puffed up false pride are like that!

More than football, cricket and hockey, it is these group activities like Scouts, Cadet Corps, School Band and others that shape character, develop leadership qualities, discipline and living skills, engender camaraderie and lifelong friendships. As 13 year old Boy Scouts, we would place hands over each others’ shoulders round camp fire and sing ‘Ramasamy, son of Mani, drank some toddy, thana nay, thana nay...’ smile at one another and burst out laughing in complete innocence .

If I could have a second chance and go back in time, I would crawl on my knees and beg to be re-instated to 1st KL to earn my Tenderfoot, 1st Class and Kings Scout Badges.

- to be continued

Saturday, 1 August 2009

1967 - a honeymoon year (part 1)

or how i discovered Pussy Galore!


















































































(click on pic for enlarged view).






The Third Man TV Series Theme Song
video









The Third Man Movie Theme Song
video



Paladin Ballad
video



Stingray Marina Theme Song
video







Being in Form 2 is like being in Form 4. They are regarded as the honeymoon years. These were non-public examination years and so most got through with the minimum of academic effort, though ‘minimum’ in VI could be more than a handful elsewhere.

To our surprise, our Form and Art teacher in 2 North was the same as in Form 1 North, i.e. Mrs. Chong Hong Chong, who continued whipping us into shape to master the England! She introduced us to more public speaking with a weekly Tuesday session where randomly picked students had to present the class with a speech on any subject of their choice.

This was the era of many cops and robbers TV SHOWS like ‘Arrest and Trial’ with Nick Anderson (Ben Gezzara) as the thinking man’s cop who made the arrests and John Egan (Chuck Connors) as the thinking man's defending attorney who invariably put the right man behind bars and cleared his client. Then there was ‘Highway Patrol’ with the flabby Chief Dan Matthews (Broderick Crawford) with his famous by-line ‘Ten Four, over and out!Perry Mason (Raymond Burr) was the American attorney who, with the aid of his leggy assistant Della Street and private detective Paul Drake, always got his man to confess on the stand with his brilliant and intuitive cross examination. Burr also played the lead role in ‘Ironside’ as the brilliant and intuitive wheel-chaired ‘consultant cop’ who, with the aid of his leggy assistant Eve Whitfield (Barbara Anderson) and Sgt. Ed Brown, also always got his man. From reading the Perry Mason novels, I learnt the theory of firing bullets from murder guns into test chambers of layers of cotton wool and examining them under a split microscope to match striations and grooves on bullets and casings.

Most compelling of all was the mega series about the Fugitive doctor who never stopped running from an acerbic and sour Lt. Gerard (Barry Morse). Dr. Richard Kimble (David Janssen), innocent victim of blind justice, took 4 years to track down the one-armed killer who had offfed his wife. Or as a wit at VI (I can’t remember who) said, ‘Dr. Richard Kimble, innocent victim of QM Productions(the show producers)'!

Then there were the Spy TV series and Movies. Roger Moore, as the suave quintessential English Simon Templar in the ‘Saint’ (novels by Leslie Charteris who was half English, half Chinese) and ‘James Bond’ had an electric effect on me. I would spend hours practising with a hand held mirror to arch both my eyebrows exactly as Roger Moore and Ben Gezzara would.

By ’67 I had made my way through Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels starting with Casino Royale, Live and Let Die, Moonraker, Diamonds Are Forever, From Russia with Love, Dr.No, Goldfinger, Thunderball, The Spy Who Loved Me and OHMS. You Only Live Twice was my favourite because the movie version had a skimpily clad Mie Hama as Kissy Suzuki and her ample charms were displayed in full colour in the ‘Movie News’. Who can forget ‘You only live twice; once when you are born and once when you look death in the face’ as Bond/Connery nookied (or as we say in Tamil, ‘madakkaran’) and rogered Kissy/Mie!

Ian Fleming had of course all along preferred a terribly upper class British Bond like Roger Moore. So, how the Scottish Sean Connery got the plum part beats me! He was given those immortal line to say to another skimpily clad and beautifully endowed Ursula Undr...er no, Andress as Honey Ryder. ‘My name is Bond, James Bond’ created loads of spoofs such as ‘My name is Bon, Simon Le Bon! Luckily for Connery, it was not Steve Stanley Bond or Connery’s career would have been offed then and there with ‘My name is Bond, Shteve Shtanley Bond!’ Note that whatever role Connery plays, he never loses his Scottish accent. If he were playing the part of an alien, you can imagine him regaling us with ‘I come in peash, I am from the planet Shaturn!’.

Rama and I watched a midnight doubleheader of ‘Goldfinger’ and ‘Thunderball’ at Federal Theatre in Sentul with complimentary tickets obtained from piecing the Jigsaw Puzzle pictures (over six, monthly issues) in the ‘Movie News’. I bicycled all the way to Rama’s house in Gurney Road one Friday evening, spent the night at his house after the movie, and cycled back home to Pasar Road late Saturday morning, after feasting on a delicious carrot sambar and veg/rice lunch prepared by his ever-smiling, gracious, friendly and chatty mother!

I imagined I was Michael Rennie, the tall, elegant, handsome, debonair and mysterious English spy Harry Lime in the ‘The Third Man’ based on the novel by Graham Greene, smashing my way through Viennese espionage rings with that eerie signature tune in the background. Remember, ‘teng te tang, te teng te tang, te teng te tang,.teng te teng te taaang..?’ (refer video). Rennie was also Klaatu the alien who lands in his spaceship with Gort the robot in the 1951 black & white original version of ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’.

Guns and bullets were well represented by Westerns TV series, now a practically dead genre. There was the incredibly handsome Gene Barry as ‘Marshal Bat Masterson’ with its theme song of ‘Back when the west was very young, there lived a man name Masterson...the fastest gun....they called him Bat, Bat Masterson...’. And who could forget that rugged gunslinger in all black, Paladin, played by black moustachioed Richard Boone with his calling card of ‘Have Gun, Will Travel.’ Soon in VI it was ‘Have Boots, Will Kick’, ‘Have Hockey Stick, Will Hook’, ‘Have Prefects, Will DC’, ‘Have Manuel, Will Cane’ and ‘Have Miss Ooi, Will Bond’! The theme song was not bad either with ‘Have Gun Will Travel reads the card of a man... Paaa-l-l-l-l-a-din.’ (refer video).

The High Chaparral’ (with due apologies to the Indian Kampong Buah Pala in Penang) was a big hit for two reasons; the sexican Mexican Manolito (Henry Darrow) the ladies’ man, and the dark (and we all had dark thoughts about grilling her slowly over a roasting hot bed), tempestuous and to die for Victoria (Linda Cristal).

Of course Paladin, like Bat Masterson, Billy the Kid, Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Johnny Ringo, Manolito and the Henry Fonda silent type Virginian of the eponymous TV series were all ‘the quickest draw in the west’ who could ‘slap leather’ more rapidly than a dang bob-tailed raccoon whose butt was on fire and being chased by a rattlesnake fleeing from an Apache Indian loin cloth hunter out in them there dunes and dusty sun-setting hills of the wild, wild West in Utah, Wyoming and Arizona!

So, when picked to talk to my peers, I had visions of introducing them to the concepts of space and time travel involving Paladin, a dark alien half man half robot leather slapping neutron powered colt 45 toting universal cowboy super spy cop lawyer medical detective searching for his kidnapped sexy mermaid wife Marina who never speaks (from the British ‘Thunderbirds Are Go’ TV cartoon series which spawned StingrayMariiiina, that one Mariiina, why don’t you whisper, the words that my heart, is longing to hear...Mariiina... (see video)). His quest takes him to Hollywood where he battles an inter-galactic Klingon OxCam based espionage ring hell bent on blowing up Earth. Paladin is aided in his quest by the ever compliant and supine Universal Sorority of Pussy Galores for whom the Planet Earth moves and then stops! In the intro, Paladin steps out of his photon powered spaceship on a beach in Santa Barbara and utters that unforgettable line ‘My name is Paladin, shon of Aladdin from the planet Gelatin. Well, you see, my Paladin was a wee bit Scottish too!

I couldn’t quite see where all this was all heading to, and besides I realised I‘d have a tough time explaining to Mrs. Chong about Pussy Galore. When I first encountered her name in ‘Goldfinger’ while reading it in Standard 6, I was unaware of the double entendre; Ian Fleming or producers Saltzman & Broccoli had a fetish about it for all the femme fatale in Bond movies! The only Pussy I knew back then was of the mangy furry four-legged variety with mice in its mouth and which meowed all night in the back alleys of Jalan Pasar and Imbi!

Eventually I made a presentation titled ‘Crime and Detection’ and talked nervously about police investigative techniques on matching bullets to guns, fingerprinting, collecting blood samples for forensics and profiling rape artists with sketching identikits from descriptions by victims and witnesses. There was a fairly appreciative applause when it was over. I had sweated buckets! During the mid-day break, R. Jayabalan (now in Insurance) who joined VI in 1967 came over and congratulated me and posed,“That was really interesting you know. Where’d you get all that info from? Your father a cop?” A lot of it was also in the Book of Knowledge Encyclopaedia!

I had a habit of blessing teachers with nicknames and 1967 produced a fair harvest. Much of my overactive imagination owed its inspiration to Marvel Comics and TV cartoon series. For General Science we had ‘Spiderman’ Renggasamy (RTC Trained) who was skinny, tall and had these long spindly arms and legs. His by-line was ‘don’t be naughty, boys!’ and ‘idiots!’ when the wind got up his tail. But, he would reach for the feather duster only as a last resort. Spidey, who always wore white shirt and black long pants, was a dedicated but not over-inspiring mentor.

Then there was ‘GigantorKP Gengadharan Nair (College Trained, London) who later took up law and became a highly respected High Court Judge and a Dato. He passed away peacefully on 21st April 2007 at the age of 63. But in his youth Genga was portly to say the least, and when lecturing on Agricultural Science, had a tendency to stand as if he were at attention with his arms by his side, a picture perfect copy of the Japanese Gigantor Robot cartoon character getting ready to take off into space to the refrains of ‘Gigantor, Gigantor, Gigantor, Gigaaantor, Gigantor the space age robot...’ Agri was a new subject to which most of us took to like splendid alaskan arctic ducks to an Amoco Cadiz oil spill and never encountered it again after Form 3. Gigantor was a bit aloof and could be mean and vengeful in his punishment, though he was not quite so trigger-happy as Valentine Manuel or Muru!


For Swimming, we had ‘Emrican’ (that’s the way he pronounced ‘American) Robert Pachymuthu. Besides coaching Cricket, Robert also taught English and was popular among the students. To us, he was a gift from the Gods after Sawn-Off Broomstick Handle (SOBH) the previous year! Robert was himself an ex-Victorian and had established a schoolboy cricket record of scoring a century against Selangor Club at the tender age of 13 or 14! He resigned in '68 to get his BA and returned to teach us General Paper in 1971. Teh Mun Hing continued efficiently with Geography. We had a succession of relief teachers for maths after the untimely passing away of ‘Fiddlesticks’ T.Rajaratnam (cancer) in June 1967.

For History, there was Lim who was excellent especially on the Roman Empire and our vocabulary soon extended to Goths, Visigoths, Barbarians, Mongols, Huns and their fraternity to whom mere hand to hand combat was a sport for their ladies and raping a breakfast past time. We also had a succession of ex-student temporary teachers in the early part of the year like Yong Siew Onn (General Science), Leong Weng Chiew (History), Melville Jayathissa (General Science) and Ng Hon Yuen (Geography) about whom I’ve mentioned in earlier blogs. They were, though untrained, all exceptionally good teachers. Weng Chiew encouraged us to visit the Upper Six Arts Classrooms and read the best of the essays on specific historical events such as the French Revolution and World War 1, pinned on the notice boards. Hon Yuen, now an architect in KL, engendered great fun and was actually attending Lower 6 evening/night classes, but later found a place in Lower 6 proper and became one of us. In 1968 he won the Talentime contest strumming his guitar and singing Trini Lopez’s version of ‘Puff, the Magic Dragon’ which was banned by the Government later for its supposed connotations to marijuana!
(Lopez's version, though not so well known as The Mamas & Papas original was also my preference).

The school had a new Sports Master, 'Lenny' De Vries, a M'sian Eurasian who was outstanding throughout his tenure in VI as teacher, disciplinarian, mentor and especially as cricket and hockey coach. In 1970, he left for Canada to earn his PhD in Sports Science. He commanded the respect of every student who came into contact with him. Lenny coached our victorious 1968 U15 Hockey Team and taught us startegic team play such as 'attacking in triangular formations in either flank' and 'kasi makan defensive feints'.

More than that, Lenny led the VI Cricket team to its 1st ever Navaratnam Shield semi-finals, after HM Murugasu and the Board of Governors succesfully secured a court order to force the Selangor Cricket Association (SCA) to reverse their decision to disqualify VI who had given a strategic walkover to Selangor Eurasians a day or two before May 13th 1969! Eventually, VI lost the semi-finals played at the PWD Cheras grounds despite a fluent top score of 20-odd runs by Lenny which included a classic cover drive that just failed to go for 4. 'Billy' Achen Balachandren (VIPB and Cricket Captain 1971) tells me that there were several contentious decisions made by umpires like Christie Sheperdson of NEB that day including a crucial one against Terence Jayatilaka (bowler), who with Lenny and Bain Saurajan were the 3 teachers in the VI team. There was much acrimony in the cricketing circles in Selangor then that a team of mere schoolboys in short pants should have gone to court and advanced to the semi-finals of one of the most pretigious Club cricket competitions in Malaysia.

Notwithstanding the loss, it was an incredible performance by a team comprising mainly schoolboys pitted against the might of teams like National Electricity Board (NEB, the forerunner to TNB), Tamilian Physical and Cultural Association (TPCA), Rubber Research Institute (RRI), Selangor Club (The Dog) etc., who all had had a sprinkling of past and present National cricketers! The stylish Terence Jayatilaka taught us English Literature in F4 (1969).

Dr.Leonard De Vries was at one time attached to the Sports Science Faculty of USM Penang and is now President of the Malaysiam association of Sports Education, Sports Science and Fitness as well. He also consults for the National Sports Council (NSC).

In football, there were only 4 of us from F2 in the U15 squad of 18 players – Indran, Hiew Heng Foo, Mokhtar Dahari and myself. For some peculiar reason known only to the organizers, several of the preliminary inter-schools matches were played at the grounds of the Cheras Road Boys School near the Lady Templar TB Hospital which was closed down in 1985. The other 3 ‘juniors’ and I spent most of our time in the reserves and got only a couple of full games during the entire season. On another occasion in Cheras, where we had to head for by Toong Foong bus (no school van for U15 players), captain Ezani Bakar finally called me up for a full game. But as we warmed up, for the first time ever the referee asked everyone to produce their IC’s which I had left at home. I was sunk and totally devastated as Mokhtar Dahari replaced me!

We lost 1-2 to MCKK at home that year and to St. John’s by a penalty in the U15 inter-schools finals at TPCA Stadium in Princes Road (now Jalan Raja Muda). Bryan Pereira was the distraught, inconsolable goalkeeper that day. But, it was a good team with many fun guys like ‘thunderkicks’ leftie Sugunabalan, Raja Ahmad, Zainal Ibrahim, Eddy Chong Kwong Chin, Dave Chin Peng Hoon and Chan Heng Kwong (the last 4 were all from PRES). Our coach was senior player Wong Toon Say, of Korean origin, who scored a rousing 1st goal with a fabulous left leg smash from way out on the left winger’s side in the seniors’ 5-1 thrashing of MCKK at home. Cikgu Hassanuddin, the dedicated Master-in-charge of the VI Cadet Corps and Band, standing next to me near the school Pavilion, described it as 'a copy-book goal. wonderful!' The MCKK goalkeeper stood no chance of saving it.

The VI senior U20 and U18 football squads were all-conquering that year, sweeping the Khir Johari and Dato Yahya Cups. Enthusiasm was so great the school entered two teams for the KJ Cup! The legends of the team were Zakaria Sharif, Ganeson, Tan Lip Tiong, Dina Bandhu and Tan Kim Chuan (Captain) with inspiration coming from the man in charge of it all for many years, Cikgu Othman.

to be continued.

dpp