A walk down memory lane


It was only supposed to be a visit to a wedding of an old schoolmate. But this schoolmate was not the average schoolmate. He was a schoolmate whole lived 5 minutes from our old school. It was too close, almost sinful not to visit the school after the wedding. So that's exactly what a couple of us did. We went to visit our old school. I finished my SPM exams in 1998 so it's been almost 13 years since I left school and not surprisingly, alot has indeed changed. This will be a long post with lotsa photos so I apologise if it takes long to load. I will be away for some time so this blog might be neglected for the next week or so.

 We all parked at the covered parking space outside the dining hall and started our walk down memory lane by stopping for Zohor prayers at the surau which is contentiously now called Surau Al-Arif i think, named after the much controversial 2nd principle, Tn Haji Ariffin...

 On the right used to be an empty, barren spot next to the surau. Now it has small huts, grass and a water feature in the middle!

Above is the current new colour of the male hostel. It was blue during my time. We went in to check out what has changed but dare not go up to avoid any trouble if suddenly something was lost in the hostel or anything of the sorts. So, instead I shall share with you some pics of the hostel taken from the archive of the KUSESS alumni facebook page...Please take a deep breath before scrolling down...


 Above is a normal sight in a boarding school hostel I guess anywhere in Malaysia. Think flats, 3 times worse...

Below is what it looks like inside the dorm rooms... during my time they were quite barren as we were the first batch of SPM students...

 Photos censored for obvious reasons. This is from my batch taken in '97 or '98. I had a special dorm room for the top members of the student body so you can stop looking for me... =P

 This is a more dignified photo of my juniors, 1 year below me. Our dorms look exactly the same.
 This is the wudhu' place. The old pining has probably corroded so much that they have replaced the old piping with ugly blue PVC pipes and they didn't even bother to hide the pipes in the wall...

 Some of the murals make me feel like i'm in a tadika... Wak Gedik was kind enough to be my model..

The interior of the surau has changed abit too. I rember it being a different colour. The female pray area used to be on the mezzanine floor but now they have a great big curtain at the back of the surau for the girls. I guess they caught too many girls sleeping during the weekly evening Yaasin recitals... =P 


The surau has alot more artwork hanging from the walls - probably donations from parents and the bookcases are now fully stocked. A big improvement I would say. The only comment I'd make is that the carpets probably need some vacuuming... ;)

Peering through the sliding doors, one notices that there's now a covered walkway from the hostel to the surau. We used to have to get wet if it rained on the way for prayers.


 Ah, something we never had during our time. A full plan of the school! Btw, I never knew the road in front of the school was called Jalan Pendidikan!!
 

 These were probably trees we planted 12 years ago... The trees have really taken root. Just shows how long it has been.


This walk way has always been here but back then the floor was not tiled. The school is generally much greener and has alot of wakafs and resting places around the school. During our time we hardly had any of these things. It was a barren place. Grass and trees would not grow as the land was poisoned by the salt that was stored openly here before...

 

The covered walkway below, with it's creeper plants was once an illegal shortcut from the surau to the academic block. The tried to out law it during my time as we had to cross a big drain but it was too convenient to not use. It's good to see that they've now made it proper and safer for the kids...


Next was the academic block. Again much more resting places where it used to be barren land during my time. There are also lotsa sign boards to the various rooms and labs etc..... good.

 


The school office has also augmented into a full fledged office requiring a renovated room (above, right). All those pots and stuff behind a hydrant... are these really necessary? I don't know....At least we're recycling now... =)

There was an abandoned construction site next to the kemahiran hidup building...I wonder what happened?


During my time there was no grass. The fields were all barren. There was no reason to venture beyond the tennis and basketball courts. Every evening I can be found there. I was a very predictable guy in that sense...


We never had ranked classes or any other ranking until we had our 2nd principle. He introduced rankings based on exam results when we were in fifth form. I didn't like it. I was never in the top 10 or 20... or was I even worse! hehehe... well, when you're in a school where everyone was good, you tend to not bother too much to be the best. It just gets too tiring... It's good to see though that the new sports house point system takes into account academic, sports and also good character in their point weightings. Well rounded students is the way to go. I approve.

There seems to be a conspiracy to erase all of my existance in this school! My house Saga is no longer there! They changed it with Waja! Boo =(



The cafe back then was not covered like this. It was just an open canteen like structure like the ones you get in other government issue canteens in non-boarding schools.

The senior prefects of my year in front of the old open canteen. On the left is the new closed walled canteen, oops... cafe...


 I was much lighter back then and could jump a few people to break boards. Note the open cafe...

The school main square. Now with all these ugly boards. The fancy staircase was made after we finished SPM, together with the awning. The stairs look classy but upon closer inspection it's only gold paper and paper design stuck onto the steps... nice trick. I like...




The same spot taken a few years apart. I think the one on the right was taken 2-3 years ago. The one on the left i took last weekend.


On to the school hall, Dewan Prima - a name I think that was given to by Fedtri who was the person who always turned it into something like Sri Pentas... It was quite bland and empty back then though. The floor was parquet which was common of halls like this back then. The floor is now tilled.


I was never one of the smartest at school but I never tried to be. The best academic achievement of my school during our SPM 1998 was Wan Izwin Najla. She is now a doctor in the UK. I think she's doing a specialist course over there. Not sure. Should buzz her on FB to see what she's up to. I wonder if she has any children yet. She's been married for quite some time. Overall best student however was Fedtri. His academics were very good and he was very active in the school activities. Always organising language and cultural nights. Both best students are doing very well for themselves despite taking very different paths after school. =)


Look at all the school trophies!



I had my share of time on stage. I was never good at speaches though. I've performed numerous Taekwondo demonstrations on this stage.. The stairs are new though... We had to go around to the side of the stage to get on stage. Prize giving ceremonies always took a very long time... :s


Enough of the hall. Off to the academic block now. There's so much "propaganda"...



This is how the new classrooms look like. Projectors and whiteboard. It used to be the standard issue backboard for us...



What!! They changed the name of my class!! to Zamrud?! This used to be 5 Permata. We used to call our class Permata All Stars! hehehe.. we supposedly had alot of school stars in our class...


This is what used to be my class...





 

This is how it used to look like:


This was after English Language Night 1998:


The toilet next to our class is now locked!! =(


It used to be venue for these pics:



This corner got us all talking about past stories that happened at the academic block... Ah.. some things I myself don't remember...


Ironic isn't it. We all went to the same school, through the same mould. The actors in this "drama" that is school were the same yet each of us experienced very different experiences which affected us differently leading us to take different paths in life. Boarding school is different than normal school because you experience education as a whole. You will never get the same sense of comradeship and affinity to a school in students of normal day schools. Yes, the living conditions were very appalling back then, even for 16 and 17 year olds like us back then, but getting through the hardship, and making the best we can out of it is what makes us stronger. Being served diabetic level tea, ikan jacket, nasi kawah, washing our own clothes, waking up at 5 for communal Fajr prayers every day will all remain fresh in our memories...

So, when's the next school gathering!!? Who's getting married next?! =P