It was in 1997 when I first came to know MCOBA. Of course I had known it when I was in Koleq, but then, it was too farfetched. Too foreign. Too great. I felt unworthy of it then. Hahaha, I was not even eligible. And when I was studying in the States, I was too busy trying to decide on which road to take in this journey called life. Guess I was a late bloomer. But that’s another story. So in 1997, after being preached by several of my batchmates, I became a lifetime member. I embraced MCOBA. Wholeheartedly.
Since then, I had become a fervent supporter of this little but powerful association. Year after year, I had been involved deeper and deeper. And the deeper I went, the more mystical the experience had become. The more precious was the learning and the more had MCOBA become me, where in 2005, I began to notice that MCOBA was actually, me. The fusion of these 2 souls was not accidental. Everybody knows of the effect of MCKK on her students. The fanaticism. The attachment. And MCOBA is part of MCKK, so to speak. Thus I felt the bonding. MCOBA had become a surrogate lover to me. A kind of sustenance provider that somehow kept my heart beating and my spirit high. MCOBA had become an addiction. The Penthouse was my second home. And for 2 weeks in 2005, it WAS my home. And all these sentiments were mostly due to what it did, rather than what it was.
I felt great respect for MCOBA. MCOBA managed to let me be me. This small entity had let my creativity flow without boundaries. It had let me experiment and find my own tune to dance with. And for an artist, that’s heaven sent. Reciprocating this gesture, I worked for MCOBA like a dog (I was a prefect in 86…) and surprisingly, enjoying it more and more. The tougher it got, the more enjoyable it became. My friends questioned my determination and sacrifice for MCOBA, and most of the time, I answered with only a smile, or just plain “I love MCOBA.” What they didn’t know was the extent to which MCOBA had sacrificed for me. The knowledge, experience and friendship that MCOBA offered me were invaluable. I am a natural introvert. A shy guy with low self esteem. But with MCOBA, I felt liberated. Unshackled. And free.
There were 2 important things that MCOBA did which was responsible in leading me into this intimate relationship. Old Boys Weekend and MCOBA Dinner. Year after year, I’d find myself getting involved in these activities. Even though my depth of involvement differ, my responsibility had been the same – DESIGN. And some years, I got more than just design. One can never comprehend the extend of joy that I felt each time I was given this responsibility. It was fun.
Designing is fun. And it’s my bread and butter. But with MCOBA, it’s more than fun. It’s MAGIC. This sentiment grew out of the fact that I was always given the freedom to design. However, there was another factor that had created this Magic – it’s the camaraderie and brotherhood. It’s the teamwork and cooperation. The sleepless nights. The constant fights. The perpetual bickering. But ironically, the endless smiles. More than once I cried due to joy. It touched my heart so deep and I thanked god for giving me such a wonderful extended family.
Every year, usually in April, my heart would begin its restless wait for the calling of the OBW Committee. And most of the time, I already had the design proposals planned out in my head. Once the appointment was confirmed, BOOM, the design would be ready to be presented. And a lot of times, I felt so proud because my design would become the catalyst for the other team members to work harder. OBW had been more like playing. It’s fun. Not too much stress. Everybody somehow knew what he’s supposed to do without much supervision. After the first year of organizing OBW, it seemed like the committee was on automatic gear. And what fun those years had been. It was very inspiring that we would try to outdo what we had done the year before. Thus, OBW had become bigger and grander. And of course, more enjoyable.
After OBW, which usually took place in June or July, I would nervously wait for the next event, The MCOBA Annual Dinner, which was obviously, THE event of the year for MCOBA. The MCOBA Dinners that I had known over the years were elaborate productions. And it’s one of the reasons why I am so proud to be a MCOBA member. MCOBA Dinner had been the showcase of talents for the old boys. Not only it showcased the talented performers in music and acting, it also boast a high quality production in terms of directing, writing and technical matters. And then the talents of designers, producers, technicians, engineers and numerous other fields that were needed to organize such a big production. And believe it or not, most of these talents had been in house. Home grown. And they were not professionals. And of course, NOT paid. Another thing that always touched my heart whenever I was involved with MCOBA Dinner was the opportunity to see an elderly old boy work closely with another old boy 30 or even 40 years younger. And the respect for each other would be clearly visible. Lines were never crossed. This was so heartwarming. My god, I am so proud of them. Their dedication was legendary. Their commitment was exemplary. The team that produced The MCOBA Annual Dinner year in and year out had been heroes to me. If this beloved country of ours could have citizens who worked as hard, we’d have beaten Japan a long time ago. By the way, why couldn’t we beat Japan?
After taking the pictures i was so tired. Too tired to catch the next train from a.s. But money was depleting. Hmmm. So i searched for cheap but ok hotel for the night. Which proved to be tricky. I didn't realize that good hotels are so expensive! It's normal to find a room that cost 600 per night. And that's not four seasons. THAT ONE is only 1800.00 per room per night PLUS 10% service charge! Crazy. But yeah, international standard. I won't be suprised if langkawi would start using USD like bali. At least bali is more exotic and beautiful. Go figure. But at last, i stayed at eagle bay at kuah town. 109 bucks with breakfast, not that bad.
And now, after a one and a half hour ferry trip and one hour bus from a.s, i find myself waiting for my bus to kuala kangsar from butterworth. I just hope that the chocolates i bought for gift won't melt before given to my friends. Hahaha.
We've never won more than silver since the team was formed in 1997. And for the first time, under the tutelage of Cg Rosman Ngah and coupled with out of this world enthusiasm of the whole team plus the encouragment and support of old boys, teachers and parents, MCWO received the Gold Award during the Preliminary Round. Not oonly we got the Gold, which was the target for 2007, we received the Most Improved Team award as well. But what came as a shock, was when we were selected to be the 5 finalists! That's a step above expectation. way to go.
Fast forward to the Finale at Putrajaya Convention Centre. The team arrived quite late, Saturday night instead of Saturday morning, thus the time for sound check and balancing needed to be cut short. The delay was due to the MCKK Speech Day where YDP Agong was the Guest of Honor and of course, the Orchestra performed and received enthusiastic reviews by the guests that include Raja Nazrin and the Minister of Education, Dato Hishamuddin Hussein, who's also and Old Boy.
On Sunday morning, the team went for balancing at the hall. Somehow the sound was not as anticipated. And the mood was quite... how can I say it... dark. The team felt uncomfortable and unsure. Scared I guess. Nervous maybe. And those feelings resulted in a not-so-memorable sound. Morale was quite low. And the competition was only several hours away.
Somehow the mood changed when we were there that night. I've no idea what kind of medication the kids got themselves :-) And everyone seemed cheery! Cg Rosman and I were quite late, coz we had to go back to SAS to pick up the bow tie box which the boys had forgotten to bring along. The boys were happy and handsome in their mess kits. And they began to converge at the hallway in front of their given prep room. When I checked inside, whoa, the room's divided into 2 and on the other side were the SDARians, also tuning and practising. No wonder we were outside. Hahaha. But come to think of it, why on earth do the organisers gave 2 teams only 1 room? And being an orchestra competition, surely hell would break loose? But we being budak koleq, tend to adapt. The boys didn't mind being outside. And now it looked like a camp ground. Sitting on the floor, the boys were having a good time :-)
In the hall, there were a lot of Old Boys. En Hamdan of MCOBA was at the door, trying to keep note of those Old Boys who had informed MCOBA of their attendance. What a noble thing to do. Thank you En Hamdan. Then I saw so many Old Boys :-) Never before so many Old Boys came to see MCWO perform (pls exclude OBWs) and its very heartwarming!! Thank you brothers!!! Even Pak Engku came.
Back to the waiting room, or err, the waiting hallway, the boys were waiting patiently. One can hear snippets of jokes coming from certain smaller groups and hearty laughter ensued. And finally the time came. The boys were led onto the stage. I went back into the hall and nervously stood with Mon and his videocam. They performed. They performed very well!
And after being told to wait at 2 different places, the boys finally were sent back to the hall and sit at their reserved seats which were filled with girls throughout the competition. And then the result was announced. "Tempat ketiga dimenangi oleh Sekolah...Kolej Melayu Kuala Kangsar!" followed by a loud applause. Loudest from the Old Boys I guess. And the rest is history.
After the finale, a lot of congratulatory messages were given to the team and the teacher. The boys deserved the win. The fact that we had gone 2 steps above our original target which was Gold, speaks a lot about the team. The sheer hard work and dedication of all involved was exemplary. Nearing the tournament, the boys even practised till 1 am night in, night out. they worked hard. and the spirit was high. Their passion shows. To those who questioned why 'Only 3rd place,' should be with the team more often. They should understand the nature and culture of the wind orchestra competitions better. For us to get the 3rd placing when before even Gold was unheard of, is a very commendable achievement. And we trounced SSP, who had been one of the powerhouses. Right now, we are with the big boys. We are on par with those who have the wind orchestra as part of their school tradition.
But of course, we won't sit still. We want to be better. And believe me, the boys have begun their training to face next year's challenge. The form 5s, even though busy preparing for their SPM, are busy teaching the juniors on the ropes of administering the team. The form 4s are busy teaching the young ones. I could hardly find the band room empty when I went back to koleq a few days ago. And the recent surge in the band's membership (mostly form 1 and 2s) is very encouraging. the donations have begun to trickle in. Perhaps now, we want more than 'trickle.' Why not an avalanche? :-)
Perhaps i'm so lonely. Can't seem to find anyone to be with me. I'm too old for everybody. Very frustrated. Wanna watch movie, nobody wants to go with me. I guess, i should just let the devil run amuck. And see what happens.. Good bye
Nothing would ever get lost. We'd have TOTAL CONTROL over our belongings that they would never get lost. And of course, would never break down either. And that's what owning is. Total ownership. But of course, we don't have such control. Sometimes, things do get lost no matter how much we take care of them.
The truth is, we never own anything. Nothing in this world is ours. Not even our bodies. No. Not even our souls. No.
Lights. Wonderfully sweet. Tantalizingly beautiful. Yet so many of us are blind, unable to discern a lighted path and a dark alley. We are always confused and disoriented. We are always doubtful of our instinct. Yet we are so attuned to pleasure and forever seeking it. Pleasure. Lust. That to some, mean everything in life. The force of life. The meaning of life. Only if.. Only if they know better