Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Alec Kaboy

In 1967 Alec was a prefect in the Tanjong Lobang school with many of my friends. I was not one of the prefects.

Alec came from Kanowit Secondary School (now Sedaya) which was at that time one of the leading schools for rural students. In fact out of KSS came several brilliant native scholars and leaders in the world today.

Alec's home village is Bedil which is today still the main stronghold of the Kanowits a special group of Melanaus.

A gentleman always Alec was a true scholar in our school days. He has a great sense of justice and would be honourable for honour's sake.

My last meeting with him was in the Subang Airport in 1969. I rode a motorbike to meet up with him all the way from MU just to see an "old" friend off to the United States.

I did not know then that it would be 40 years before I would see him again.

Here he is standing with his former classrooms behind him.

Popular place to take a photo. The name of the school has changed. There is no more Tanjong Lobang School.

We had special escapades when we were students. Some would best be forgotten. Some would remain with us forever.

He made it home to Sarawak last year but we did not meet up. But this year he made sure that even though hard pressed for time he came all the way from Bedil to see me and visit the old school.

Many things have changed but he felt that it was like yesterday that he left the school.

I would like to think that he has not changed at all where friends are concerned. And that's very Alec. Bless his heart.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Alexander Isut and Michael Martin

Here you are reuninted again....after 1968 in Tanjong Lobang School.

The guitar was the sole entertainment instrument as most of us could not afford a radio. Most of us became good guitar players and singers.

These two were the best duets during their time.

How time flies.

Cheers to great friendship.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Muslim Students in Tanjong Lobang School 1967

This photo is courtesy of Prof Emeritus Haji Mohammad Abdul Majid.

And he can remember most of the names.....Thanks Uchak.

Photo of Muslim students at TLS in 1967.

1. Hamdan (Bintulu)
2. Dr Ismawi
3. Mahmud Yusuf (Gomen Inspector)
4. ?
5. Haidar khan
6. Zainuddin
7. ?
8. Robert Vatsaloo
9. Abg Hj Kassim
10. Brother of Turkey Hamzah (Bintulu)
11. Sharkawi Bohari?
12. Azmi Bintulu
13. Anuar Khan
14. Azmi Bintulu
15. He married Aminah Lampam
16. Bintulu boy
17. ?
18. ?
19. Maybe Late Ibrahim Shah
20. Awg Rahim Bintulu
21. ?
22. Late Aminuddin
23. Abdullah Sani
24. Mahani Omar
25. Sukinam Domo
26. Cikgu Sepawi
27. Hamzah?
28. Kushairi Suut
29. Mohidin Ishak
30. Amin Sahmat
31. Abu Bakar Matassan
32. Awg Zaini
33. Abdul Hamid (Mayor of Kuching)
34. Fatonah Rashid
35. Saadiah
38. Abdullah Awg nassar
39. Zainal Abidin
40. ?
41. Yusuf Nassar
43. ?
44. Wan ali Yubi
45. ?
47. Zakaria Kawi
48. Wan Muhammad Yubi
49. Ali Junaidi
51. Abdullah Mohd Noor
52. Abdullah ali (famous for jumping down from heights)
53. ?
54. Salomon Tatau
55. From Niah or Sibuti

I apologise for not being able to remember all the names. It was 40 years ago.(Haji)

I thank Haji for the photo and the names...hope others can help us complete the name list!!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Robert Madang and Haji Mohammad

Robert Madang receiving "allowance increment" from the Prime Minister.

Robert left school to join the Army.

This is our learned professor Emeritus Dato Haji Mohammad.

This is one of the rare black and white photographs which come back to me via the Internet. My group of former school mates have helped a lot by sharing their photos. Mine were mostly burnt in a fire that razed my longhouse many years ago.

A pity then. But now I realise how technology can help us. I am slowly making a small collection of 1959 to 1968 photos.

I used to enjoy printing the old style photos in the school lab. I suppose I can still "develop" photographs today if I have a chance from scratch.

Robert today is a retired Colonel and is an author of two books with more coming. He is a poet too. Haji is Professor Emeritus from MU.

Our struggles as survivors then were all worth it. But friendship is supreme.

thanks uchaks.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Drinking Horlicks and Milo in the Boarding School

I was once asked by my children what was the most painful part of my student life -

There were many but flippantly I told them this story which still brings a small pain to my stomach these days.

Food in the refrectory was fine and we had the honour of "dining" with Mr. Robert N and Miss McKonkey and other staff members.

Our school mates behaved very well at the "feast". The Muslim students and the Non Muslim students were all together in the refrectory and that was really nice.

Food was very basic. And we even had our own vegetables which we grew next to our hostel.

But at night when it was about 10 we the native students would feel very hungry. There was no supper at all.

Perhaps Alec Kaboy had a few dollars left after his uncle's visit and we could share a packet of dry noodels. Perhaps some one had just come back from the villages and had brought some extra biscuits.

But what we had every night was the sound of the Chinese students like Ang Boon Sian who was a towkay's son who made his Milo or Horlicks without fail.

We could hear the noise of his spoon stirring the hot milo in his tin cup.

And because the milo was hot he would slurp very loudly.

Whether he consciously knew he was doing all these we would never know. But next door to him we the native boys could hear his milo making noises and slurping very clearly through the thin wooden walls.

We could never afford the Milo nor the Horlicks during our student days.....My father did send me money like $15 whenever he sold his rubber in those days which was about three times a year. But that princely sum had to go for a new school shirt or a new exercise books and may be some pencils. (By the way Freda Kedung was rich then and I was one of her beneficiaries - we often received one or two used pencils some her. )

Those images were the most painful.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Chinese Radish and the Late Mr. James Foh

I am definitely growing to become a little more sentimental these days.

Every bowl of lobak or Chinese radish soup would remind me of the special teacher who taught us how to grow vegetables in our school. The Late Mr. James Foh.

Imagine 1960's Tanjong Lobang School - a school on a promontory washed by the sea on the west and blown by cold sea winds at night. those of us having a thin blankiet could only shiver and think of warm blankets. Electric blanket was not even in the books! I would wear an extra cotton shirt to sleep in. And the mosquito net probably helped many to be jnst a little warmer.

And more often than not as we got awakened by loud snoring around us we could even hear our friends' stomach rumbling. We could be really hungry in those days.

Thus in the day time you could see us working extra hard to bring extra vegetables to our dining table.

This photo I copied from the Internet could be a likely scene of our dear Tanjong Lobang of the 50's and 60's.

We used to work like this under the mentorship of the late Mr. James Foh. He was the one who taught us to grow vegetables the Chinese way. (or the proper way)

In my blurring memories probably all my friends and I grew our vegetables as beautifully as these. Many of my dear Tanjong Lobang photos were burnt in the fire that razed my longhouse in 1983.

This was the favourite and easiest to grow radish or lobak.

Thanks Mr. James Foh!!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

John Jau

How many of you can recognise this guy?

He was one of the Kayans who built the famous boat for the Marudi regatta....

The Principal and the rest of us waited for the Kayan boat to reach the finishing point...it did not happen. But we all live to tell the tale. Such was school life.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Going to School in Tanjong Lobang by Coastal Steamer

Years ago I kept this photo very carefully.

These were my school mates from the other divisions who would come in with the coastal steamer called Keningau. A few of the girls also had to travel in this manner - it was the cheapest and perhaps the only means for many of us. So going to school in those days was risky and there was no insurance. (No one has heard of insurance at that time.) If a life was lost it was lost. Gone.

Ting Hie Siong was one of the best friends I ever had and we met up often in Sibu when I was working there for a while.

Then there were Rony Assim (now Ahmad Assim) Alec and his brother Angki and YB Hamden.

My journey to and from home was by walking through the jungle- long boat - government boat from Limbang and then the old coastal bus from Brunei. I do not think any 9 year old would do that nowadays.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Monday, June 15, 2009

Joan Tze in Tanjong Lobang School 1967

Joan Tze still looks the same after all these years!!

A group photo of Joan and her friends.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Tan Sri Leo Moggie - Still the Hero

Leo as we all know him does not need to be Tan Sri-ed or YB-ed.

As my senior in school he was always well ahead of the rest mentally and socially. In life perhaps he was one of the earliest Iban (Dayak) scholars who made it in life and became a political figure for many years until it was time for him to "retire".

One thing I will always remember him for - whatever he did in school he would try his best to do well.

So in an evening of joint celebration of Dayak Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Kadazan Chamber of Commerce and Industry Leo stole the evening with his majestic performace of ngajat.

With superb showmanship he danced with his eyes closed and moved across the stage.

Elias and I - Fond Memories from 1959

It was the end of the school holidays and my friend Alias Mahmud and his family were going back to Miri from Kota Kinabalu.

Good friends from Tanjong Lobang School days we got talking.

Do you remember the football playing in the rain? What about foot ball in the hot sun? I came in 1959 and he had been in the school register since 1956. So he is my senior in so many good ways.

Those were the days when we had no TV and not even a small radio to entertain us.

Now we are white haired and going into our 60's.

But some things never change : our warm friendship and our sincere wishes for each other.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

1961-1962 Mr. William Scott and Boys

Prof Dato Haji Mohamad Abdul Majid my good old friend wrote in his email to us in the ex-Tanjong forum

"I got this photo from Said Mohidin of Limbang (finished Form 5 in
1962). Please help identify those in the photo. I can identify only
the following:

3. Gabriel Uking
4. William Scott
5 Said Mohidin
6. George Ganang
7. Bernard Agan
11. Henry Lian
12. Mohidin seman
14 . Salleh

Who is the one looking like ZAM?"

I hope readers would write in and tell us more about the photo!! thanks.

Thanks to --
Prof. Haji Mohamed Abdul Majid
Biology Department
Universiti Brunei Darussalam,
Jalan Tungku Link, Gadong,
Brunei Darussalam BE1410

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Form Five in 1962 Tanjong Lobang School Miri

I was a little boy then only wishing to study hard and break away from the vicious cycle of poverty. Most of my school buddies were very determined as well. We often talked together like brothers. Our teachers were like gods and goddesses to us.

One of the activities I remember most fondly was the work party. I took pride in doing all the work for the school as I consider the school my saviour.

One of the teachers I remember most fondly was Mrs. Sargunam. In later years I met her in Kuching and she remined a very kind teacher towards all of us knowing truly that we were from extremely poor families.

So it is good to have this photo digitalised for all of us to remember her and my seniors in school.

Form 5 in 1962 with their class teacher, Mrs Sargunam who was expecting her first baby Sarah.

Do you remember them?

1. Jolhi Saar
2. Said Mohidin
3. Grace Tze
9 Late Abdullah Aziz Khan
10. Hatta Solhi
11. Mohidin Seman
12 . Leong Mei Kim
16. Timothy Liaw Aik Hon
19. Bernard Agan
20 Awangku.... Awg Anu
21. Zamiran Ujang
22. David Tie
23. Salleh
24, Mrs Sargunam
25. Ahmad Razali
26. Musa Girie?
27. Late Waslie Ramlie

Photo is from Prof. Haji Mohamed Abdul Majid
Biology Department
Universiti Brunei Darussalam,
Jalan Tungku Link, Gadong,
Brunei Darussalam BE1410

Monday, June 8, 2009

Court of Justice of the Highest Order

I must have been a very keen observer of of the carriage of justice even at a very young age. It was 1954 before I was selected to go to school in Tanjong Lobang that I saw what it meant to go to court.

An adultery case had been mentioned in my longhouse and at an appointed day the court was to convene.

It was the most unusual court case but to me it had a great aura of poetic justice and it was deeply imprinted in my young mind.

In the early morning of the court case a clearing was made and no one went to their farms. The plaintiff was my aunt Emor who had accused her handsome husband Galang of committing adultery with a young lady called Enkrama. Emor was one of the most beautiful ladies in our longhouse at that time. Galang was handsome and big in size.

On that eventful morning Emor had hired my grandfather's fighting cock and Galang and Enkrama had hired theirs from Apai Tajak. Before the cock fight was to take place the "president" of the court who was my uncle gave the definition of adultery and mentioned the case. Apai Tajak also stood up to say something in defense.

Everyone was respectful and quiet that morning because the gods or spirits were invoked to be present with us.

When the two fighting cocks were released some how Galang's hired bird took fright and ran into the bushes. The court had thus decided that Galang and Enkrama were guilty. I remember seeing Enkrama looking embarassed and kept her face down. Galang looked very sad and walked away without even bidding good bye to his three young children then. He immediately packed his little bag and took his boat away.

I particularly remember his boat because he had the best outboard motor engine at that time in our longhouse.

Galang was known to have settled in Song in Batang Rajang and later remarried. Emor too remarried and had children. Both of them passed away not too long ago.

Today I am still in touch with my cousins who are children of Emore but I am glad that I have the opporutnity to meet one of Galang's sons from his second marriage.

Justice was carried out in a divine way. But it was sad to see a good couple split up in that way.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Memories in Black and White.

This is an excellent black and white photo from Datu Professor Haji Abdul Majid of the 1962 Luak Bay.

I am wondering how many people still have these old Kodak photos of the old times.

In retrospect a poor Iban boy like me and a boarder of Tanjong Lobang School at that time to have some keepsakes of our stay at the school was a great feat considering how precarious our lives had been.

All students selected from the rural areas who fortunately studied in Tanjong Lobang school in those days had to travel great distances and many days by land and water. I personally had to walk almost a day to reach a suitable long boat. Later when my father was able to own a boat of his own I was able to board a boat and then paddled two days to reach Limbang where I would board a government boat to reach Brunei and then I would take a bus to Miri.

It was a good time then as no one had even heard of little boys being robbed or abused along the way. If I had lost my photos so easily I would not have any black and white photos left today.

Whatever photos I had I would carry like my precious life home to show my longhouse relatives. These photos they would look at until I came home one year later . Some of these were lost forever when my long house was razed to the ground. Only one album survived because my wife insisted on bringing it back to Sibu during one of our homevisits.

In order to show my friends at school what my father looked like my father actually took a photo in a photo studio in Limbang at a great cost. I treasure that photo till today. That was 1960. I often wondered what if some of my school mates or hostel mates had been nasty and stole this photo from me! I would have lost the most precious memento in black and white of my father .

The Luak Bay was not only our playground. It was more importantly our source of supplementary food. Whereas most students today would have lots of money for tidbits we survived on whatever we could catch from the bountiful sea at that time. Mr. Hicks one of our principals allowed us students to catch fish and crabs at a specific time before our dinner and prep. I am sure many of my school mates then have their own individual stories to tell.

I am glad today that the digital age has enabled me to retrieve some of the black and white photos. I will be posting them from time to time on this blog.

this photo comes from my good and long lasting friend from my Tanjong Lobang Days. Perhaps together we can build a good archive of our school days in Tanjong Lobang School. (Now renamed Kolej Datuk Tuanku Haji Bujang of Miri)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Movie Fan in the 60's in Miri

Movie fans in the 60's in Miri would probably used the service of one popular guy called Dol.

He was our hero as he could help us buy tickets. We rural boys did not have the ways to manouvre into the front to get the best of the cheapest tickets. But Dol could.

For several years whether it was a day show or late night show my school mates and I would look out for Dol. Dol would always be so willing to help . But at times the cinema was really full. Perhaps some of us did manage to sneak in and avoided all those searching flash lights of the ticket checkers.

I have fond memories of Pak Cik Dol because I was such a small kid I was often squeezed out of the line for the tickets. Or if I finally managed to come to the box office somehow there would have been too many hands jamming into the opening. I hurt myself several times that way. So Dol's presence at the Miri Theatre was always such a welcoming moment for me.

I never knew if Pak Cik Dol enjoyed the movies as much as we did.

In later years I would meet him in Bekenu where he lives with his son. He has been a broker of some sorts. Enterprising as he always has been he knows how to make a living even at his age. It is good that we can meet up and I can continue to call him pak cik Dol. Although when we were younger as small kids we're just too happy to call "Dol" who was not very much older than us actually. Pak Cik Dol frequents the coffee shops in Miri but he likes Fortuna Coffee Shop best. That's where I have managed to say hello to him and buy him a drink several times.

He looks awfully swanky with his cap on . I met him this morning at the Fortuna Coffee Shop and we shared a cuppa and talked about old times.