Friday, July 27, 2007


Kirkby College 1957

A welcome sight on our return from summerr vacation.
The gateway or 'pintu gerbang' besides the College
Administrative Building and Cafetaria was symbolic
of Merdeka August 1957.

1.0 Introduction

For some people a country that declares its golden anniversary comes August 2007 surely seems a questionable feature. What? Only fifty years old? Yet this is Malaysia's age since securing Independence. Indonesia and India too take precedence in being privileged to gain their Independence before Malaysia and then only a few single digit years earlier. The end of the Second World War only helped to spark nationalism in the South and South East Asian region. Truthfully not many nations in the world can take that pride as Malaysia has done.

We must not of course be confused by its very existence hundred of centuries earlier. Malaysia's historical origin with its culture, episodes, migration, development, influences etc in no way harbor along five decades of consequences. We celebrate 50 years of achieving self government: being able to do things our own way and recognizing our heroes and founders. More so fifty short years have brought us more success and physical development than centuries earlier.

"Sebaliknya bagi usia kita melepasi lima dekad atau 'half a century' bukanlah suatu tempoh masa yang mudah dilalui dan dikenangi. Pertama kalau kita masih hidup selama itu, ia merupakan satu Anugerah Allah. Kita tentu mengenang rakan dan saudara mara yang telah pulang lebih awal dan tidak kesempatan menjengguk berbagai acara yang dirancang oleh kerajaan untuk menyambut hari yang bersejarah ini" Perjalanan hidup kita melalui berbagai liku tentu sekali membawa keinsafan.

Fifty years of a man's lifetime is another story since he must count himself grateful for having been given the privilege to exist when friends and families have been unfortunate not to be here to see the celebrations being garnered by the government or the ruling party or simply to look back at the opportunity given.

On the threshold of Celebrating Malaysia Day 2007 in August, I am fortunate to reminiscence events and happenings back in 1957 or earlier. Thanks to my own inclinations at noting and documenting happenings, indulging in photography and collectibles, evidences of five decades or a half century remain fresh and vivid. Looking back, when I was in my late teen, without so much guidance and yet persevering, I wonder 'What would have been if we had all the orientation and counselling to help us?" Opportunities for present youth are opened for their trust forward if only they want to participate.

2.0 Remembering a Birthday Morning at Euston Station August 1956

In August 1956 I remember taking off from our only international airport at Sungai Besi Kuala Lumpur on a BOAC aircraft for London and then continuing from Euston Station to Liverpool and Kampong Kirkby. My mother and grandma were there to say farewell. I never asked or even thought back till now how they must have felt to see me going away. My dad had passed away only six months earlier. It must be sad mixed with blessings.

I hit my nineteen birthday the very morning I arrived at London Heathrow Airport.

Kampong Kirkby played its important roles. We were there to be trained as teachers. On our return to the country which had just gained independence, we would be playing our roles. As the Federation of Malaya celebrated 31 August 1957, many of the College students were on vacation. I was in Europe grateful to be able to see a foreign country because I was motivated and curious enough to explore the countryside. However the community celebrated the occasion when the College reopened. Tutorial, lectures and various activities at College helped to mould our youthful characters into Malaysians who appreciated one another, adopting a brother and sister relationship a characteristic trait and trademark of Kirkby. We seeked to gain as much experience as possible. Just six months after arrival, I found myself at Aberdeen Scotland attending a British Council Course which came with a home stay in a British home.

When I was in the College sick-bay down with flu, no thanks to the English weather, I had a VIP visitor. His Highness Sultan Abu Bakar the Sultan of Pahang was at Kirkby.

3.0 Photos for Eternity

Photos alongside this essay perhaps captured the best moment if not the most memorable of those years when we would dare do many things because there was no alarm, nor fear, intimidation or coercion. It was safe to travel. It was safe to hitch hike. Fellow travellers welcomed you. Families welcome you into their homes. It did not cost a bomb to travel either in Britain or Europe. The Youth Hostel card that registered you as a member was a gateway to all youth hostels in Europe. The opportunities to travel, meet people and socialize at an age when we were maturing into adulthood must certainly be fortuitous yet fortunate.

Kirkby College near Liverpool recorded a historical moment of its own when Tunku Abdul Rahman after the success of his delegation to the British Foreign Office announced the date of Merdeka Celebration in the College Hall for the first time on 7 February 1956

Kirkby College Liverpool existed for only a decade. Thousands were trained and Kirkby teachers played prominent roles at a time when teaching and education needed the momentum. At this moment in time all Kirkby trained teachers would have put aside their chalks and books as all would have passed their 56th year of golden age. Each one of them still living would happily look back at those years that have passed by. Each with his or treasured memories.

We are joyous that we have seen the country grow alongside its past and present statesmen. We salute them for their sacrifices who invariably had given everything for the sake of the country at the detriment of families' time and needs.

Events and happenings of years gone by are easily forgotten. What more if they occurred a half century ago. Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad our fourth prime minister once remarked that "Malays forget easily" in reference to a dilemma. We fear Malaysians may forget too the struggles and sacrifices of the elder statesmen and nation builders if we fail to highlights their contributions continuously.

("Kita bersyukur kepada Allah swt ke atas segala kenikmatan, kesihatan, usia berpanjangan dan rezeki yang terus dicurahkan. Bertapak dari ilmu dan pengalaman diperolehi semenjak lima abad yang lamu insan ini terhutang budi kepada semua." )


Photographed with a group of Spanish children
while on route from Madrid to Barcelona in August
1957. It would be exciting if I could meet the children
again. I was then on a scooter trip around Europe.
The red barret was my safety halmet.

The College put up its share of celebration on Merdeka Day August 1957 with buntings on the side road between Block Eleven and the Staff Residential Block.

This was my group tutorial.
We were at Dr Fielding's residence
for a casual evening. He was also our English lecturer.
Dr Fielding and wife seen in the picture surrounded by
colleagues as Amin Zahari and Laila acted a sketch.
Abdullah A Rahman near the door bursting into laughter.



Aduhhh ! Mengapa aku cukup gembira membaca artikal2 pasai Kirkby ni , aku pun tak tau . Guru2 ku banyak dari Kirkby . Aku cukup nak berjumpa dengan Mr.Abdullah Yunus , tapi aku juga dah dapat berita bahawa dia sudah kembali ke Rahmatullah (AL-FATIHAH).

Aku sokmo hulurkan doa ku kepada semua yang dah kembali.

Akhir2 ni dapat pula saya berkenalan dengan Pak Non ( kirkbyite ). Pak Non juga cikgu saya .

Once a cikgu always a cikgu.


Pak Non,

Mungkin budak2 sepanyol tu berketurunan Islam . Sebab Sepanyol dulu pernah dijajah oleh Islam.Kan nama2 'shopia' masih banyak digunakan anak2 gadis hingga kini di sana . Saya cuma kenal Shopia Loren. Acah2 aja Pak Non.
Syok betoi kalau boleh temui anak2 sepanyol tu . Mungkin umur saya depa tu . Dan dah pencen macam saya juga . Depa pun dok bernostalgia dengan PC depa .

Nostalgia yang lepas , Mengharap yang di depan.

zuber zain said...

Pak Non, from your writing I would like to suggest that you should focus on only three subjects and put in more details. Firstly, the Europe trip and secondly, the Merdeka announcement by Tunku at Kirby on 7 Feb 1956 and finally, the Merdeka celebrations at Kirkby College on 31 August 1957. TQ