Tuesday, February 17, 2009


(by - Mohd Shamsuddin Z Sopian)
I am not sure how many of you remember the day our school got burnt to ashes. I vividly remember because I was already in Std 1, though I was not supposed to be in school yet, but being the son of a teacher teaching in the school I got into Std 1 via the back door.

It was 1950 and I was staying in Kg Kolam about 2 km from the school in Batas Baru, a quaint but very beautiful school made of wood with a few cengal trees very near the frontage, hope they are still there, not being back for a while. They could have been cut down to give way to the school expansion, but the point is they did grow again after a couple of years. I remember seeing them a couple of decades back when I happen to drive that way, before they built new school blocks.

One fine day after the school sports, and I was at the telaga trying to bath, drawing big heavy buckets of water (no public water supply in those days), when someone shouted Fire! Skoloh Sertang Selemang tebakor! I remember seeing my father jumped on his motor bike and sped off. After I got my clothes on, I ran to school in time to see the last bit of the school being gutted by fire. My father was standing there with an axe in his hand. He told me later that he was trying to get in to save the trophy won by his Blue House in the school sports on that day. My word such colonial mentality! Saving a trophy instead of other valuable things such as books and records.

Any way a few days later we were told to go to Istana Maziah to continue our lessons, and we did sitting on the floor. No furniture and the istana at that time was in a bad shape. I thought they were going to tear it down and build a new one. Somebody must have learnt the meaning of conservation. I did not stay in the istana very long, just a couple of weeks later I followed my father to Kuala Krai, and restart my schooling again in Std One.

When I came back to SSSS in 1957, I was made to understand that my classmates had to study in a “Kajang School”. Sorry no pictures this time. I did not have the luxury of a camera in those days.

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