MCOBA had been my life. I’ve learnt a lot about life through MCOBA. MCOBA had once become part of the blood that course through my veins.
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?