5 October, 2012 Leave a comment
Life in MRSM Seremban was unlike that of a normal residential school. For one, MRSM Seremban lacked that perimeter fencing. Well, there is a perimeter fence, but keeping people in was virtually impossible. Goings in and outs was easy, as the hostel compound where we live and eat is separated by this 100 meter public road from the gates to academic building.
Saturday or Sunday Outing
As the powers that be have it, if The boys would go out on Saturday, then the girls would go out on Sunday. And never shall the two may meet. The turns would alternate the following week. Somehow, outings on Sundays were less happening, as many shops would close for the weekend.
Saturdays would be the time to go outing… and as luck would have it, the chance to meet the girls of KTK (the Green Frogs). Lo! should you meet with the boys of KGV. They would taunt us with calls of “Sekolah Rakyat”, but we don’t care. We were MRSM and proud of the fact. The SDAR guys are okay, boleh kawan, as are the Tunku Durah guys.
Life would stir just before lunch… groups of students would harry the warden on duty… Some wardens would sign the outing cards wihout questions. But motherly Cikgu Zaherah would at times Interview the selected students, “Nak pergi mana?”. We all loved Cikgu Zaherah, and still do. With the outing cards in hand, students would hunt the wardens should they leave their apartment. As luck would have it, Puan Zaimah (the matron) also can sign!
For many, there was a tradition that has to be kept true. If they were to venture to town, then a stop at the ABC stalls in Seremban were a must. The stalls are at the Bazaar Seremban located along Jalan Lee Sam. This back road was just off Jalan Tuanku Munawir. Last I heard, the ABCs here are just as good as it was some 40 years ago. Prices … well inflation and what not.
Then there’s the Mamak stall near Caltex and the nasi lemak bungkus near the Seremban Railway Station. This haunt was a favourite hangout among the Kali Liau, those owls who fly at night in search of the late night snack. It was nearer to the MRSM Seremban campus but it does come with perils. There was the occasional times when a Teacher would also choose to partake a late night snack… kantoi!
For those special occasions, groups of friends would congregate at the Restoran Bilal (mamak fare) or the Restoran Negeri. It was pricey for us students then, but nonetheless, it was for special occasions.
On the walk back, one can always stop for a mangkuk of chendol, by Hj, Shariff, purveyor. He sells his chendol off a push cart. Yes lah, I’ve also heard about that urban legend of how a certain piece of garment is used to make chendol sedap…. but I don’t care. His chendol was simply delicious. He plies his trade at a spot near the A&W restaurant. The word is, he’s still there and the chendol just as good. Slurp…. It’s been said that Mee Farouq isn’t all that bad. I’ll certainly have to give it a try the next time I’m in Seremban.
At the corner of the street that leads up to the Masjid Negeri, there’s the burger and egg banjo stand operated by this two Malay “braders”. Another must stop before heading back to the hostel. Mine is always the Hot Dog Special. It was good, and my taste for Hot Dog Special still remain to this day.
The A&W restaurant is well-known to the younger ones amongst the alumni, it wasn’t built when the elder alumni were around. The Coney Dog has a loyal following, and the root beer. I swear that the A&W Rootbeer is still the best there is. The A&W restaurant was a very comfortable place to lounge; “lepak” wasn’t around then. And nobody seemed to mind two boys sharing a root beer, staying for hours. Kadang-kadang ada yang shango the root beer mug .
Blue Jeans – Levis ori ke?
The Seremban Bazaar was also known for its choice of blue jeans. That “must have” attire amongst the boys, and maybe even the girls. Blue Jeans were in fashion then, with brands ranging from Levi’s to AMCO. Some were adherents of Texwood Jeans, while some preferred Lee. Then there was the Saddle King, a brand not herd of now. Cikgu Ramli Ismail would often make jokes of the Saddle King brand, calling the brand the “Lee King”. Interestingly, the Texwood brand started in the 1970s
The 72s Seniors ha a resident expert when it comes to jeans… to judge the authenticity of the jeans just purchased, one would seek the seer of jeans, Master Hamidi Harun. He would look at the jeans, casting his expert eye on the zippers, “YKK” ke atau “Talon 42”. His judgement was final, cast in stone. None shall dispute his edict.
For movies, Seremban didn’t offer much of a choice. There’s the Odeon at the northern part of town. The Rex was in the town centre. The Odeon was operated by the Cathay Organisation while Rex showed movies distributed by Shaw Brothers.
Oh, there was another small cinema, the name of which defeats me at the moment, which specialised in Kung Fu and martial arts movies. Maybe it was the Ruby. Mansor Rahmat, known as the Kung Fu Master amongst the Batch 72s would probably frequent this cinema, along with likes of Johari Ishak and Jack Kuda. There was also a pool parlour near the Ruby, but that’s another story.
Tengok Wayang – S.W.A.L.K.
For many, watching the 1971 Mark Lester – Tracy Hyde movie “S.W.A.L.K.” was a must, and it certainly brought back memories. The movie is called “Melody” in International release. Sure you remember it, but if you don’t refresh your memory of the movie here.
One could imagine the rush for tickets for the Saturday matinée, movie goers then knew nothing of queuing up in those days. Third Class tickets were price at 65 sen, but touts would offer those unwilling or unable to fight their way for the attention of the Ah Soh who mans the ticket counter, a hefty price of RM1.20.
For many, it was love at first sight with Tracy Hyde. She never did any more movies after Melody. After Melody, she did a few TV shows, continued with her education and studied at a secretarial college, eventually becoming a secretary at a law firm. Here’s the full movie on youtube.
For the younger ones, it was the movie “An Officer And A Gentleman” starring Richard Gere and Debra Winger. Everyone remembers this movie, though it was heavily cut in places. It was only years later that I saw the original theatrical version. This movie won an Oscar for Louis Gossett Jr. who played the tough but fair Drill Instructor.
to be continued.