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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Remembering Maahad : The Great Escape Part 1

It was one Friday afternoon in SMKA Maahad Hamidiah, the year was 1985, bulan & tarikh tak ingat. I was in Form 2 back then. Right after the Friday Prayers, myself and 4 friends, Udin "Ketong", Muzaffar "Roche", Nik Fazri & Ismail "Jenggo" confidently made our way to the guard house. The previous night, right after the recitation of surah Yasin at the surau, we had approached 4 separate wardens to get their permission for us to balik kampung. Nik Fazri, my old primary schoolmate buddy and me myself were heading back to our homes in Damansara Utama/Taman Tun, Roche planned to go back to Taman Ehsan in Selayang, Ketong, the son of a rubber tapper, plans to visit his aunty in Sg Buaya, Rawang while Mail Jenggo, the class ruffian and the toughest S.O.B for the whole batch, plans to visit his ailing mother, whom was suffering from diabetes in Klang (see, sebenarnya hati dia baik).

Unfortunately, none of the wardens gave any permission whatsoever for our outing. And we were desperate enough to try other alternatives just in order to "fly". The system for allowing persons coming in and going out to this boarding school were not without any flaws.
  1. From our observation, among the great many flaws of the system :
    Each of the wardens has got personal discretion to allow a student to go on an outing but there is only one record card aka "kad keluar bermalam". If memory serves be right, the card was maroon in colour;
  2. Full reliance on the record card – if one warden’s signature is already on the card upon inspection, the other wardens would just assume its authenticity;
  3. The record card has no serial numbers or security feature whatsoever;
  4. The record card can be purchased at the price of a measly 50sen from the koperasi (requires proof that the previous card space for recording dah habis);
  5. The koperasi was compromised – persons in charge was either our close friends, abg or kakak angkat we all;
  6. In the alternative, if one cannot d.i.y the necessary documents, the of course, in any "prison" such as this (exactly like in the WWII movies), small underground businesses of enterprising students could flourish & caters for the preparation of "travelling papers" complete with 99% accurate signatures of any particular warden & the school rubber stamped chop. All for a small fee.

Back then, the schools boundaries were still covered by rubber plantation, with great hiding places, obscure from the public view and unlike the present surroundings. All these factors encourage creativity.

Armed with muka selamba & 4 separate and signed "authentic" record cards duly "signed" by each of the wardens (just in case). We made good progress at the guard house, semua dokumen lulus… and proceeded to exit through the main entrance.

After some brisk walking suddenly …OMG!….waiting for us behind some bushes – pengawas sekolah!!! We are done for… so we thought, but alas, it was revealed to us that they were also having their own version of "the great escape". A small mini "sapu" van stopped by and picked us up to transport us to the old Kajang Bus Station. From Kajang, we would need to catch Foh Hup bus no 5?? (or was it 577?) to Puduraya. One abang pengawas sat next to me in the mini van (better for me not to mention the name of the abang) and asked me "nak ke mana?" and advised us to be careful. Imagine the smile on each of our faces.

(the story is far from over - to be continued if enough request for it is garnered)