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.