Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Our Annual Trips

It all start in September 2005 when Liz and I went to Mekah to perform our first umrah. We didn't plan to go together but Liz wanted to join me when I told her of my intention. There we discovered the chemistry. We went with my aunties and cousin, six ladies and until now, masih tak boleh lupa the great time we had there. Still couldn't forget some of the "incidents" that happened in Mekah which remain secrets between us.

At Masjid Quba, Madinah

Memborong at Pasar Kurma, Madinah

Then in September 2007, both of us went to Bali. It was also a fun and enjoyable trip. Shopping was our main agenda until I have to pay for excess bagages!! Bila dah habis shopping, terus pergi SPA for massage. Tu lah kerja kita orang for 4 days we were there. Last year in August, Intan and BJ joined us for the first time to Krabi. We stayed at Centara Grand Beach Resort. It was such a beatiful hotel only accesible by boat. Day in day out asyik naik boat aje sampai mabuk laut! BJ wrote all about it (Girlfriends' Gateaway at the Andaman Sea) in her blog in August 2008

Nasi padang st Sukawati

At one of the gallery in Ubud

Barong Dance

So this year, we decided to go to Chiang Mai. We went there last month but unfortunately BJ couldn't join us and her place was replaced by Lin. We would love to have Gylle and Along to join us but they too had prior commitments. So, four of us went ahead with the trip despite H1N1. It was such a wonderful and unforgettable trip. Compared to when we were in Krabi asyik mabuk laut, this time mabuk binatang sebab naik gajah, lembu and kuda. We had a great time at Meatang Elephant centre where we spent 4 hours naik gajah, kereta lembu and naik rakit. After 40 years, barulah puas naik gajah. the rest of the days we spent our time at the SPA and again shopping for three consecutive nights at the Night Market. This time we stayed at Ratilanna Boutique Resort. It was just unfortunate that I lost all the pictures captured during the trip when by bag with my camera inside was snatched last week. Luckily BJ kept one of the photos which I e-mailed to her masa we all naik gajah. I hope to get some of the pictures captured by Intan.
Any suggestion for our destination next year????

Elephant Ride

Monday, March 9, 2009

Pot Luck at Abid's

Pre-lepak session. In the afternoon. 7th March 2009.

Exchanges of SMSes -

Abid : What are u gals doing tonite - want to lepak at my hse for dinner? RSVP.

Me : Sure. We don't hv any specific plans 4 2nite. Pot-luck mcm biasa :)

Abid : Hv not heard from the rest - will keep u updated if tonite is on or not.

Later -

Abid : Onair will try to get Ieja. Do u hv the karaoke mike?

Much later -

Abid : Ok, so far, ieja on with dessert, onair on with ??, shana on with... lauk ke, reha - no reply, jo bercuti in sg. So consider on le ye.

(No SMSes from me in between because I was busy going in and out of the house, ferrying the kids around!)

Hasilnya -

Onair and Co. arrived at Abid's right on time - 8:00p.m! Fuyoooo....sungguh luarbiasa sekali! Hahaha! (With Mee Goreng Special Kota Damansara, and later ordered some Pizza Hut Pizzas)

Followed by moi and family at 9:05p.m (With Ayam Masak Merah and Terung Masak Lemak Chili Padi and the Magic Mic Karaoke thingy).

Then, came Ieja with her four "Deens" with seribu satu macam desserts which you can get under the sun :)

Reha and her heroes came last with Satay Kajang. Tabs was away in Hong Kong.

Abid the gracious hostess - served Roast Chicken and Gravy, Meehoon Curry, Poached Veges, Fried Chicken Drummets and Chicken Nuggets. And rice to be eaten with my lauk.

And of course, Abid had to serve the drinks, too - kalau tak, we all semua tercekik lah pulak... Hehehe!

Instead of karaoke-ing, we ended up watching Slumdog Millionaire sambil menggosip...Hehehe!

Sesi berakhir pada pukul 1:45pagi.

Sekian Laporan :)

Mintak maaf - tak de lah pulak gambar makanan yang mengancam kesihatan malam tu.

Yang ada, hanya gambar makcik-makcik yang mengancam mesin timbang...


Kawan-kawan, yang tergantung kat leher we all tu, bukan jacket atau vest atau baju katok, ya...Tapi, beg-beg buah tangan yang dibawa oleh Onair yang baru balik dari Seamreap, ya kawan-kawan. Thank you, Onair... :)

And thank you Abid and Rauf for having us :)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Eyerin & Along Birthday Bash

Eyerin turned 41 on 20th February while Along will celebrate hers on 27th Feb. But we decided to hold a joint birthday party for them to commemorate the occasion.

Lin Ali was the party planner. Hee.. hee... you did a good job, Lin! She chose Red Box Pavillion as the venue. Seven of us turned up: Intan, Dada, Liz, Eyerin, Along, Lin and me. I arrived slightly late because I was stuck in the office with my boss. But I made it in time anytime as they were just starting to eat when I arrived.

I've had many karaoke sessions with Intan, Dada, Lin & Liz before but that was the first time with Eyerin and Along. So i guess that's why Eyerin was a bit apprehensive at first. Bila suruh nyanyi, suara tak keluar.

Along tak payah suruhlah, dia memang suka nyanyi pun. And she's got a great voice. Bila nyanyi lagu Celine Dion, alamak... tersonyap semua orang!

But after a while, Eyerin became more relax and she took up the mic. Lepas tu, tak berhenti2 lah dia menyanyi. Hee.. hee... siap ada back up dancers lagi! We danced the joget, the rock & roll, the dangdut, the cha-cha, the boogie... hentam je! It was really fun. I enjoyed myself tremendously.

The party started at 6pm and ended close to 10.30pm. Only because Along's husband had been texting her, wondering when she was coming home. Hmmm.... orang lelaki ni memang tak senang kalau tengok isteri dia keluar jumpa kawan2. Sibuk suruh balik! What to do...

So we had to wrap up and leave. Anyway, she had to drive alone to Semenyih. Not safe to let her stay out too late. I hope the birthday gals had a good time with us that night.

So, for those yang nak menyambut harijadi dimasa akan datang, we'll be glad to be of service and make your day a memorable one.

Enjoy the pictures!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Follow-up Reunion at The Apartment...

Hi guys! Have been meaning to blog on this for the last one week, but, alas - work and all other mundane stuffs got the better of me.

It has been exactly 2 weeks since we had our Reunion, and I can still hear the jerit pekik and hiruk pikuk we made at Singgahsana that afternoon. Even though someone did make a comment that I seemed a bit "lost" that day...(Hehehe!) I promise you all that I was actually taking everything in, and absorbing everything that was happening all at the same time, over the 5 hours we were there.

And of course, 5 hours could never be enough to cover what happened over 23 years to 60 girls, could it? But, 5 hours were definitely enough for us to get all necessary contact details and also start new tiny sparks of reacquaintances. And with all the details in hand, I was determine to ignite the spark to another level, at least with some of my Soc Sci gang...And that was what we did last weekend :)

Taking advantage of the long Thaipusam weekend, we managed to pool a number of people for a "mengkopi" session at The Apartment @ The Curve on 6 February 2009. But, I guess the long weekend also meant that some of us already had something planned outside of KL, and therefore, were not able to join us.

I was working on the list of all of our Soc Sci gang residing in Klang Valley, with special emphasis on Neetot, who was not able to join us at Singgahsana the other day, due to a Khenduri Tahlil her family and her were having in Kuala Pilah on the same day to mark the 100 days of the passing of Arwah her father, Arwah Abu Bakar Abu Samah. Al-Fatihah to Arwah...

I had Neetot, Yan, Anis, Ogy, Jue, Oya, Eta, Anne, Zaza, Pis, Hye, Netty and Farah on the list. After several threads of SMSs, also to kengkawan outside KL just to inform them (mana lah tau, they all would be in KL that night, they could join us, kan?), there were some 'casualties'.

Eta, had to give it a miss at the last minute, memandangkan her gorgeous Baby Mikhael is breast-feeding, and he's not that used to going out at night. It's okay, Eta...we understand :)

Anne was having a treasure hunt thing very early the next morning, and she was involved in organizing it, etc. So, she had to say "No". Insya Allah, next time, ya?

Zaza, had to work that night... Aiyooo! You need to chill out, dear. Hehehe!

Pis had already made plans for the long weekend, and so she was not able to join us. It's okay...Sesi mengkopi ni pun, rather a last minute thing :)

Hye was down in KL from Bukit Mertajam that night, and she was staying in Bangi with her hubby who had some work to do and also her adorable son, Iman. Adat ada anak kecik ni...we understand, Hye. No worries. Ada rezqi lain kali insya Allah :)

Netty could not get away from atas bukit nun...Ya lah...nanti kalau sesi mengkopi habis lambat, susah pulak for her to drive back to Genting, kan? Next time kita buat sesi di siang hari, okay? :)

And Farah, who also did not make it for the Singgahsana Reunion, could not make it for our mengkopi session, too, as she was stuck at work until quite late that night as her school was having a gotong royong the next day. It's okay, dear...there'll be another rezqi to meet up with all of us, insya Allah.

I wasn't sure of an appropriate venue for our mini get together, as some of us wanted to just have coffee, while some didn't mind if we were to have dinner. So, after work, as The Curve was right in the middle of my office-to-home route, I made a dash to just check out a few places there, and finally settled for The Apartment and made reservations for 8:30p.m, for 8 people. The menu was perfect for both 'mengkopi' and/or dinner.

I went back straight to SD, cooked dinner for the kids, and left for The Curve again straight after Maghrib. It was a miracle that I managed to find a parking space in that place, at that hour considering that it was a Friday night! And just as I was about to go up to The Walk, Yan pulled in and parked her car just a few spaces after mine. We made our way up together to The Apartment, and soon after, we were joined by Neetot, followed by Oya, Ogy and Jue.

Borak sakan lah we all malam tu...Baru lah rasa puas...(SIKIT ajer tapinyer!) Anis joined us slightly later with her pretty little daughters - Madiha and Hana :) I tell you, they looked exactly like Anis, okay? Even the way they smiled and talked (or in Anis' case - the way they DON'T talk! Hehehehe! Just joking, Anis :))

Baru lah dapat catch up sikit-sikit about what's going on in our lives, and gossip sini sikit sana sikit malam tu. We were sitting in one corner at the back of The Apartment where we were given 2 day-beds to lepak on. So, it was quite cozy. We ended up sharing our food - just like old times...And of course, we also ended up mengekek-ngekek tergelak like nobody's business...just like old times, too :) It was especially nice to have Neetot with us that night, to make up for her absence in Singgahsana. Thanks, Neetot...for making time to be with us. All of us tak gering kusi dengar your witty jokes...just like old times :)

Borak punya borak, tak sedar dah nearly 11:00p.m. Some of us had husbands and kids waiting somewhere at The Curve (or kawasan sewaktu dengannya), while some had hubbies and kids waiting at home. And reluctantly we bade our farewells. That was before we promised to meet up again soon. Insya Allah, next time in KL pulak.

And Oya yang ever so generous (sejak dari sekolah dulu, sampailah sekarang!) was kind enough to belanja we all that night...THANK YOU SO MUCH, OYA! :)

I'm so looking forward to seeing you guys again soon, insya Allah :) So many things tak cover lagi laaaa...I'd love to know more about Oya's business from home, Yan's life as Lady of Leisure as an Exec Chef's Wife (I'm still amazed with her lifestyle! :)), Ogy's successful MAA Agency, Jue's legal practice, Neetot's life, also as a Lady of Leisure as a Doc's wife, and Anis' life as the PA of the CEO of Ce*co*! And of course, the lives of all other friends, who insya Allah can make it to the next sesi mengkopi, insya Allah. Nanti kita *"Pergi Belanda", okay? Hehehe...

Till then, take care my friends :)

Here are some pics :)

* "Pergi Belanda" = Go Dutch laaaa ;)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


I have been meaning to blog on the STF81-85 Reunion on Saturday night itself, but, somehow I couldn't find the right words to describe the whole thing. Quite unlike me, I must say, BUT, seriously - I was "wordless" (if there is such a word to describe my state of writer's block that night!)

I was wordless in my efforts to pen down in this blog as to how exactly I felt when I saw all of our friends whom I have not seen since we left school 23 ears ago, in 1985. Just as I was wordless that afternoon itself at Singgahsana.

I was wordless when I saw our friends who still looked the same after 23 years and after giving birth to between 1 to 7 kids!

I was wordless when I saw some of our friends who have changed tremendously and I nearly did not recognize them. Thank God for the name-tags which we were asked to put on. THAT really helped :)

I was wordless when I saw how much some of our friends have changed, but at the same time have not changed at all! You know what I mean?

I was wordless when I saw some of our friends who have not changed at all - physically, or demeanour-wise : the way they walked, the way they talked, the way they laughed, the way they smiled, the way they joked. In fact, the way they did everthing! It was like we never left STF...

I was wordless when I saw the efforts made by some of our friends to be with us that afternoon - travelling from KT, KB, JB, BP, Kota Tinggi, Melaka, Taiping, Ipoh, Kulim. One even drove from Sandakan to KK to catch the flight to KL that day, but, alas she missed the flight! Nancy Simon - now Nadirah Abdullah, WE HEART YOU, girl!!

I was wordless when I got to know that some of our friends who were supposed to be there with us could not make it at the last minute due to unavoidable and unforeseen circumstances. We propose, God disposes... Aida K, Lin Sharif and Farah - insya Allah ada rezqi next time, dears.

I was wordless when I saw the slides of our yesteryears. God - those pics of us in those REALLY SHORT shorts, and those 80's looks - those hair, those poses, those blouses, those skirts, those everything! Mega cringe big time, I tell you!

I was wordless when I listened to all the glorious songs of the 80's! Thanks, Leha. You're a gem :)

I was wordless when I saw the photos of our dear friends who have left us forever to be with HIM. Al-Fatihah to Arwah Rosmawatee Mohd Sirat (Ross) and Arwah Rohaidah Abdul Ghafar (Rohaid)...

I was wordless, but in place of all the words that I lost were the words from all of us that afternoon which came in the forms of -

* the screams of excitement,
* the squeals of laughter
* the tears of sadness and sorrow
* the smiles from our warm hearts
* the hugs from our even warmer souls

However, I don't want to be wordless when I saw how well the organizers of the event have put everything together. You all deserve a pat on the back and a standing ovation for a job well-done...And for this, I can't be wordless, can I? Because I so much want to THANK YOU ALL for making the Reunion possible...

Dada, BJ, Intan, Gylle, Lin Ali, Leha, Liz, Tuti, Eyerin...


Let's make do'a that we will have the opportunity to come together again soon.

Let's make do'a that Allah SWT akan panjangkan umur ALL of us to come together again.

Let's make do'a that those who were not able to be with us that day, diberikan rezqi to join us next time.

Let's make do'a together.

Amin. Insya Allah :)

In the mean time - here are some pics!

Monday, February 2, 2009

At Last We Met!

I'm sitting in my study room, listening to "Suratan & Kebetulan" by Kenny, Remi, Martin. This CD is on loan from Dada as I didn't get a copy from Leha, who had painstakingly compiled the beautiful songs from our STF days for our reunion.

Leha and her adorable baby (he's soooo baik!!)

Ahh... there's so much to write about the reunion last Saturday, 31st January 2009. I'm lost for words. But if I have to summarize it in just one word, it would be simply "wonderful". It was a wonderful event indeed...

I'm glad I initiated the idea which was reciprorated by all my other friends who were at Madam Kwan's that fateful evening. And I have to personally thank Dada for putting in her 110% effort into making the reunion a reality. Without her, I don't think all 60 of us would be there last Saturday afternoon.

Dada and her beautiful bouquet

For me, the best thing about the reunion is, I got to meet my good old friend, Roza. Roza and I went a long way in school but we parted ways after SPM. She went straight to the UK to do her A-Levels while I stayed behind to do mine at TKC. We did meet once in London in 1990, but after that, I lost touch with her completely.

I only heard "stories" about her from friends thereafter but we never took the initiative to meet again seriously. Well, honestly I felt a bit slighted because we were so close before but I supposed, people changed, so I let it be.

But when I saw her last Saturday, oh my... she hasn't changed at all! She's still the same adorable Roza ~ ever so gentle and speaks ever so softly to anyone she meets. I was a bit apprehensive at first, afraid that she might be a different person now. But my perception was totally unfounded. She's a doctor now, in Tanah Merah, Kelantan. She has 3 daughters and now expecting another one. I'm sure she's a wonderful mother!

Me & Roza

Then, there was Nan Aini. She's another person who I really wanted to meet after Roza. I remember her clearly because she had a boyfriend when we were in Form 5. His name was Md Zain and he was already a working man at that time. She always received letters from him and the whole class knew of their love affair (it was kinda scandalous actually, coz she was only 17 and he was older). So, I was very curious to know what had happened to her after school.

She came alright, but she looked completely different from before! Most of us didn't recognise her. Dah pakai tudung and verylah mak datin with her gold jewellery. She told us she married Md Zain eventually and she's now teaching in Bukit Indah, Ampang. Hee.. hee... itu memang cinta agung!

Me, Dada & Nan Aini

There are loads of photos from the gathering, but it's very slow to download now. I'll post more later.

In the mean time, this is the photo that I like best:

Geng tak pakai tudung!

(hee.. hee... hopefully, next reunion, this row will be shorter!)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Fate and Hikmah...

I was not supposed to go to Sekolah Tun Fatimah in 1981.

Nope. No siree. I was supposed to go to Sekolah Menengah Sains Bukit Mertajam. I can still remember the letter of offer which was sent to me via the office of SRK Treacher Methodist Girls School in Taiping. The clerk, Cik Fazillah, gave it to me during recess on a Thursday morning. The letter was in a brown envelope, with my name neatly typewritten on it. (God, sometimes I even amaze myself with the things I did and the people I met or knew more than 30 years ago which/whom I can still remember so vividly! It's scary, maaan!)

I was so excited when I opened the letter and read the contents, and I couldn't wait to get home to show it to Mommy and Abah! I had dreamt of going to a boarding school since I was 6 or 7 years old, I think. And my dream was finally becoming a reality! There were only 4 students who got 5As for the Penilaian Darjah 5 in my school - Karen Goh Gaik Sim, Ong Gaik Hong, Mageswary Devan and moi, and I was expecting to get an offer to go to a boarding school. I was barely halfway reading through the offer letter, and I was already planning on what to bring with me, and the things I needed to have to survive my stay at SMS Bukit Mertajam. I could already visualize the dorms, etc - just as Enid Blyton described them in her St. Claires', Mallory Towers, Naughtiest Girl series, etc.

But, what greeted me when I got home nearly made me cry. Abah said, "No. You're not going to a co-ed school." Just like that, and my heart dropped, and I remember thinking to myself, "Oh no...there goes my chance to go to 'sekolah budak pandai'!" :(Abah is a man of few words, for a simple reason - he doesn't have to talk much because nobody would argue with him. If 'puteh' kata dia, maka 'puteh' lah dia...)

I remember asking Mommy if she could slow-talk to Abah, and I remember her saying that there must have been a good reason why Abah wouldn't let me go to Bukit Mertajam. And there must be a hikmah if it was fated that I was not going to SMS Bukit Mertajam. With that, I was resigned to the fact that, it was just never meant to be. I was never going to stay in dorms described by Ms Blyton in all those wonderful story books of hers. Ever.

What I didn't know was that Abah had then written a letter of appeal to the Kementerian if I could be offered a place in an all-girls boarding school instead, and lo and behold barely 2 weeks after that I received another offer letter! And I was SO excited because this time it was for a place in Tunku Kurshiah College : T-K-C!!! And I remember thinking to myself - there was no way Abah was going to say "No" this time, because as far as I remembered/knew TKC was an all-girls school. And Abah could not use the same excuse of not letting me go to a co-ed school this time, could he?

Yup, you read it correctly. I could have been an ex-TKCian now if Abah had not come up with another brilliant excuse for not letting me go to Seremban pulak...This time, it was, "There's nobody in Seremban to tengok-tengokkan Shana nanti, kalau ada apa-apa hal, etc...", and my heart sank. Yet again. And this time, I was resigned to the fact that whatever it may be, I was never leaving home until I was old and crumpled at the age of 70. I thought Abah just could not bring himself to let his youngest daughter go and leave the nest at the tender age of 13... But, boy...was I wrong.

I remember Abah going to KL for a couple of days barely a week after that, and the night he came back, he called me up to the living room and said to me, "You're going to Sekolah Tun Fatimah in Johor Bahru." And in his hand was an offer letter for me to go to STF!

I was speechless, and I didn't want to put my hopes up too high, as I didn't want to be disappointed again. And I remember asking myself, "Isn't STF in JB? And isn't that further, MUCH, MUCH further than Seremban?!" But, I didn't want to risk the chance to finally be allowed by Abah to go to a sekolah budak pandai. So, I kept quiet. Tapi, my heart was bursting out with excitement! Finally, I was going off to a boarding school! YESSS!!!

I later found out that Abah had wanted to get me into STF because my uncle - Ayah Anjang, who was a CID with KTM had just been posted to Tanjung Pagar, Singapore, and Abah was hoping that he and his wife, Mak Wan would be able to keep an eye and also visit me in JB every now and then, on my parents' behalf. I guess he felt more confident, and he trusted his own brother to take care of me while I was there. Tanjong Pagar was just a train ride away from JB. And kalau ada apa-apa hal, Ayah Anjang would be there for me. I guess, it was difficult for him to let me go, but, he knew that it was the best for me and the least he could do was to have his brother in his place to be there with me, for me.

I remember pestering Mommy to go and shop for the stuff I needed to bring to STF just in case Abah were to change his mind again. And I remember all the preparations made for me to go to STF! I don't know if any of you remember the list of things that we were supposed to bring with us to STF? The item I remember so clearly was "5 pasang seluar dalam berwarna putih"...and that was how many undies I brought with me on registration day! Mommy had insisted that I brought more, but, I was so scared that it was going to be against the rule, that I refused to bring more than 5 white undies! And you can imagine how stupid I felt when I saw the other girls in my dorm who had more than 5 pairs of undies...and in so many rainbow colours some more!

Luckily for me, Mommy had left the rest of my new undies with Mak Wan. And the first weekend after registering, Ayah Anjang and Mak Wan paid me a visit. And besides the yummylicious macaroni goreng they brought for me, they also brought with them a small bag of my colourful undies...Aaaahhh, bless them. And bless my Mom to have left the undies with them :)

I remember the first friend that I made was Lin Rahman. The first thing that came to my mind when I saw her in the school hall during registration was, "Wow, she's very tall!". And I remember thinking to myself just how confident she was. The second friend that I made was Zarina Sheikh Osman - the girl whose bed was beside mine in B2-13. She must have thought the same thing about me, i.e. how confident and sure of myself I looked, because from the day we met, I was like her bodyguard/minder. She would be following me wherever I went. The Dining Hall, the Surau, 'Round Compound', etc, you name it, and she would insist that we walk to class together, even though she was in 1(1), and I was in 1(3).

And I can still remember how she would always ask me to remind me about everything -

"Shana, nanti ingatkan kita kunci jam, okay?"

"Shana, nanti ingatkan kita pakai talipinggang, okay?"

"Shana, nanti ingatkan kita telefon Mak kita, okay?"

"Shana, nanti ingatkan kita pakai skirt hijau kita, okay?

"Shana, nanti ingatkan kita beli sabun basuh baju, okay?"

And I would remind her to do all those things. She was a very nice girl. But, I guess, boarding schools were just not for her. She would be crying almost every night, and almost every day she would ask me to accompany her to call her parents to take her home. And I was quite sad when her parents finally came a few weeks after that to bring her home to KL. The second friend I made in STF was no longer there...and I never heard from her again after that.

But, of course, I made other friends to whom I became very close after that : Noi, Idah Balquis, Awin, Kala, and Yah who became my dorm-mates for 5 years. We shared so many memories together - sweet, bitter, and of course those horror/horrifying stuff, too, especially about the thing that goes bump in the night ;)

And all my 1(3) and Soc Sci friends : I will not do justice to anyone by trying to list the names of all my partners in crime/my best friends who grew up with me in STF. Some of whom include Yus, Reha, Jo, Sal, Yati Samad, Arwah Ross, Oya, Neetot, Eta, Anne, Tan, Kmar, Mahani "Bo", Masni, Mas, Wan, Jue, Sanisah, Farah, Aida K, Hye, Awe, Zaza. Oh my..the list goes on and on...and you know who you are, dears :) Some of whom I've lost touch with, and some of whom I'm still VERY close to, syukur alhamdulillah.

And some of whom, I was never THAT close to when we were in STF, but, through penentuan Allah, have become my closest buddies after leaving the alma mater until today - Abid, Onair and Ieja :)

And I really treasure the friendship and the memories we made while we were growing up as sisters in STF, and I would never trade the friends I made in STF, and the memories we shared there - sweet or bitter, with anything.

And I shudder to think what could have been if my Abah had allowed me to go to SMS Bukit Mertajam or TKC instead, all those years ago. I might have never had the chance to know all the wonderful friends I made in STF.

And those who know how I got to know my hubby would also know that I might not have known him if I were in Bukit Mertajam or Seremban in 1984... ;)

To think that I was not supposed to be there in STF in the first place, I have indeed come a long way, in terms of meeting, knowing and loving all the special people who hold a special place in this heart of mine until today.

Call it fate, but my Mommy was right after all. There WAS a hikmah when I was fated not to go to SMS Bukit Mertajam all those years ago...

And the hikmah comes in the form of my wonderful STF friends, and the special someone whom I got to know when I was 16 in JB...NOT in Bukit Mertajam. NOT in Seremban :)

GOD works in mysterious ways indeed...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Of Tears and Streetlights

Looking at this photo remind me of my early days in STF. The street lights... oh how I hate those street lights!

The year was 1979 ~ I sat for my Penilaian Darjah 5 and scored 5A. I was the only one who got 5A that year. My school, being a sekolah kampung in Parit, Perak, only produced one 5A student every year for Peperiksaan Penilaian at that time, unlike these days when hundreds of Primary 6 students get 5As in their UPSR.

Because of my good results, I was offered a place in a boarding school to pursue my secondary education. At the time, everyone wanted to go to a boarding school because it was simply the best place to further one's studies. My cousins went to boarding schools, a friend's sisters went to boarding schools, everyone clever went to a boarding school. So naturally, I also wanted to go to a boarding school.

So when I received the offer to go to STF in 1980 (I was in Standard 6 that time), I was very happy. I knew one of my cousins was already there in Form 3, so I was not very afraid of going.

Imagine, I was only 12. I was so young. I didn't know how my mother could let me go at such a young age. I can't. How she could send her only daughter away from home and let her be on her own for the next 5 years in pursuit of better education was beyond me.

I also didn't know that I would be badly hit by the separation; that I would miss my mother terribly; and that I would cry my eyes out in the first 3 months that I was there until she left me all alone beside my bed on that fine Saturday afternoon.

Ahh.. the torture of separation. I still have tears in my eyes whenever I think of that first day in STF.

I don't quite remember what happened before that, but I do remember getting into my dad's new white Fiat which he drove to JB. It was a long journey. At that time, there was no NSE. So Ipoh-JB took almost 12 hours. Upon reaching school, again, I can't remember what happened, but I remember going into my dorm for the first time.

It was dorm D1-8. That was to be my domicile for the next 12 months. All Form 1 students from green house were to reside in this dorm.

As I walked in, I saw many parents fussing about, helping their young girls to put away stuff/ make their beds. I didn't know a single face. I continued walking until I reached my bed which was located next to a window somewhere in the middle of the room. There were 20 bunk beds, if I'm not mistaken, 10 on each side. I got the one on top.

When I reached my bedside, I saw a girl sitting on her bed which was located below mine. She was very fair, almost Chinese-looking. I didn't say hello to her, but my mum did. As usual, my mother made small talks with her while I started unpacking my things. Her name was Zaleha and she came from Kelantan.

I was minding my own business while my mother made acquaintance with all the other girls/parents in the room. Later I was informed that the girl sitting next to my bed was from Kluang (Lin Ali) and another was from K.L (Pis).

Then I saw another girl coming into the room. She has this beautiful long hair and she seemed very relaxed and comfortable despite that being her first time there. Shortly after that, another girl came along. She also had a nice long hair and was very friendly towards the other long-haired girl. She brought along her little sister whom she called "Baby", who spoke in English with an Australian slang. Her parents looked like someone very important, and indeed, they were someone important.

These two girls chatted away like they had known each other and I felt quite intimidated by them. I didn't know anyone then, they were all strangers to me. But the two long-haired girls, Intan & Dada, would end up being my bedroom buddies throughout my stay in STF and my closest friends until today.

Anyway, after I had sorted out my stuff and made my bed, my mother told me she was going home. At that point of time, it suddenly hit me, "No! She can't go!" I saw tears forming in her eyes and I knew I didn't have much time left. She hugged me and as she squeezed me in her arms, I broke down and cried my eyes out. "Mak, jangan pergi!!"

I was cyring uncontrollably. I remember she had to push me away as I held her tightly so she could stay with me a while longer. But when she finally turned her face away, I knew that was the moment of truth. She was not staying with me. I was going to lose her.

So I just stood there crying as I watched her walking out of the door. That was one of the saddest days of my life. I wouldn't want a repeat of that.

That night, I couldn't really sleep. I kept on thinking of my mother and my own sweet home. I wondered where she was, what she was doing, if she was thinking of me... I missed her so bad. Everytime I thought of her, I would break down and cry.

Things got worse in the morning. We all had to wake up at 5am to shower, pray and get ready for school. That first day of school, when I got up, I looked out of the window and saw the street lights flickering by on the main street. It was still dark and cold. Everything was so quiet. I just sat there on my bed, looking out of the window to the cars that passed by under the street lights, and I cried my heart out.

Gosh... I missed my mother! I just couldn't pull myself out of bed and I felt so sick in my stomach for I missed her so much. I just couldn't do anything but cry and cry and cry until the tears ran dry.

That was my daily routine in the first 3 months of my stay in STF. It was sheer torture, I tell you. How I managed to pull through was beyond me but I made it through somehow, and I'm glad.

I think, as I made new friends, things started to change and life got better for me. I didn't feel so miserable anymore. With my newfound friends, we discovered new things and spent many happy moments together, keeping each other company. Those streetlights didn't mean anything to me anymore, except to brighten up the streets on those cold, lonely mornings...

Class of 5 (2)

Back Row (L to R): Ungku Nurulkamar, Zaleha Adwin, Zaimy Haniza, NoorHaliza, Zalina Ali, Tuti Aini, Aida Haniza, Kamariah Shamsinar, Azlinda, Kaladevi, Nik Nurlaili

Middle Row : Arniwati, Rosmawati, Chong Mun Peen, Fajura Juffa, Tina Abdullah, Azlina A. Rahman, Nik Harlina, Rozita Baharom, Nan Aini, Noriza, Pang Poh Ling, Rosrahimi

Sitting: Noraizan Hassan, Noorhayati Munit, Rashitah Rahmat, Pn. Chong, En. Hozaimi, Siti Aida, Valarmathy, Eliza Hashim

These are my classmates from 5(2). That Mr. Hozaimi was my favourite Physics teacher.

Looking back to those years in STF, I wonder how we survived. Amenities were very basic. In our dorm, we only had 1 bunk bed with 1 pillow, 1 white bedsheet, and 1 thin blanket. There was no air-cond, not even a fan. Each one of us was given a small locker to store our bajus and valuables (not that we had many) and a small compartment to put our toiletries and such. That's all. And we survived the 5 years there with only these few possessions. Amazing.

I suppose at that time, our needs were very minimal. We didn't need fancy clothes, more than one shoes, expensive perfume or other luxury items. We went there with only one intention in mind, ie. to study hard and do well in the exams. Our life (well, my life, at least) was centred on going to class, prep, and passing the exam with flying colours. Day in, day out, that was what I did mostly.

Outings were only possible at the end of school term, and that, for only 2 hours. The green bus would pick us up infront of the dining hall and drop us all off at either Komtar or Holiday Plaza for our much-awaited shopping. All of us would be dressed in our green baju kurung to make us easily recognised as a student from STF. Quite boring, actually, but what the heck. It was the school policy.

So, for students who lived far away from JB (and had no relatives nearby), their only outing would be once every 4 months or 3 times a year. How sad! But we didn't complain, and we survived.

Getting ready to go for outing. From left: Salina, Dada, Eliza, Nan Aini, Aida K.

Despite the lack of amenities at school, education was a top priority. The teachers were very dedicated in making sure the school maintained a certain standard of achievement for every major exams. We were named top school for SPM & SRP for many years in the 80's and all students worked hard to maintain that posisition.

Oh well, had I not been in that school, I don't think I'd become what I am today. The school taught me discipline and to always aim for the best in whatever I do. And that's important because I notice children these days (my children, at least) lack this virtue. They tend to be too complacent with life, do not want to aim high in exams, very laid back when it comes to studying and revision... the list of complaint is endless.

Now, going back to my class photo, I can safely say, out of the 29 students, I've only met 9 or 10 since I left school. The other 20, only God knows where they are right now. But this coming Class Reunion on Sat, 31 Jan 2006, would probably give me a chance to meet up with some of my long lost friends whom I haven't met in 24 years. 24 years.... gosh, that's a long time! I left school when I was 17 and now, I'm 40 years old! I wonder if everybody still look the same...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

How Do I Begin?

Starting a blog is easy. I have one. But doing a blog for my alma mater is another story.

How do I start? What should I write? A lot, really...

Five years in STF grant us hundreds of stories to tell. Happy stories, sad stories ~ you name it, we have it. This is where we spent most of our growing up years. This is where we learn to love, be loved, independent... away from our safe home and doting parents.

I sure have lots of stories to tell and I'll do so as I go along. But for a start, let's just say that this is going to be our common forum to share stories of our yesteryears. Let's bring back those memories and share them all here to remind us of the good old days...

So, please write.