Wednesday, July 3, 2013


Members of the staff with the Principal Hj Baharom Othman in 1967.
 The blogger is tenth from left in the front row.

Fifty years ago I was one of the teaching staff at Sekolah Menengah Sultan Abdul Halim Jitra Kedah.

Last Sunday the 30th of June 2013 the school achieved its 50th anniversary chalking a historic landmark for the fully residential Malay medium school established in the country. When previously residential schools and those with hostels were English medium, the government of Malaysia went on to start Sekolah Menengah Alam Shah Ceras Selangor followed by the one in Kedah. It was to be the beginning of many that followed their trails. Now Malay fully residential schools plus Mara Colleges offer the best of secondary education to the students throughout the country. SMSAH at Jitra also came to be referred as JENAN taking the name of its location adjacent to a Military base of the early 1940's. 

Reporting in 1964 to the Principal (Dato) Hj Ahmad Saleh as the Senior Assistant of the school, after a tenure of four years in Brunei Darussalam, it was an experience that capped many challenges yet fulfilling. More so it continues to secure strong linkages with the former staff as well as the students that formed the members of the school population in the initial years of its existence and growth. Even now members of the former staff and students meet quite regularly always reminiscing the spirited days at Jenan with all its quaintness, discipline and familiarities. With many short comings in its initial years, the students grew to appreciate what was offered and yet survived with success, never complaining of the inadequacies of the time.Their prowess in the community, public and private sector later justified what Jenan had given them. 

The attendance of more than one thousand two hundred students and guests at the dinner graced by the presence of Tuanku Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah, Seri Paduka Baginda Yang DiPertuan Agong at Dewan Wawasan Jitra was testimony to the school success story. Even one member of the former student amongst others donated a new Proton car for a lucky draw. One lucky former student went home the happiest man of the night with a price worth RM38,000.00 with the lucky draw picked by Seri Paduka Baginda Yang DiPertuan Agong himself.

Tuanku Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah delivering the speech and receiving a gift at the function.
The school carried the name of the Sultan of Kedah, who officially opened the school in 1966 when Dr Mahathir Mohamad was Chairman of the School Board.

      A picture personally taken on the occasion when the school was oficially opened by the Sultan of  Kedah . Present on the stage were Sultanah Bahiyah, The Raja Muda of Kedah and Dato Syed Omar Menteri Besar of Kedah then. Dr Mahathir Mohamed is seen delivering his speech. Notice the furniture and deco of the time.

            The friendship and comradeship endured between teacher and student. At the occasion on Sunday I had this photo taken of Che Gu Hj Omar Saad and Hj Ismail Hj Din a former student of the school in the early 1960's. Both naturally have reached their gray age.

      On another occasion students and teachers met at the Selangor Club Kuala Lumpur for dinner.Such close linkages endured the teacher student relationship. Another shot when the photographer would not be in the picture.

These are some of the junior student members of Jenan who traveled from Kuala Lumpur to attend the gathering and were at our home for breakfast on Sunday morning. They happened to be colleagues of our son-in-law Idzfan Idris who also happened to be an Ex SMSAH student. They recognized me as the super teacher being much ahead of their time. It was fun time and a great break for them being away from works in the city.

                    Noted the ex students with two of their teachers at our home in Alor Setar. Che Gu Hj Hashim Abdul Rahman ( in black and blue batik) now resides in Canberra Australia and was the Guru Sains at Jenan 1965  - 1970

On another occasion the Deputy Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak was also at the school, with the official opening of 'Seminar Pembangunan Masharakat' ( the old spelling) 5 -7 Sept 1966. Again please notice the layout and the simple chairs used for the national seminar and the school hall without 'air-conditioning' and personal speaker system for the members.

The 30th of June 2013 celebration gave me this opportunity to throw back some of the recorded moments of the past. Thinking back we are blessed to be able to see and be part of the centenary celebration of my former Alma Mater Kolej Sultan Abdul Hamid  in 2008 and now the second Malay Residential School of SMSAH at Jenan Jitra Kedah. Where as the former was built during the colonial period in 1908 with English as the medium, the latter came with Independence and formation of Malaysia. Its Bahasa Malaysia media was the giant step that heralded education in Malaysia especially for the rural populace, beginning with two fully residential schools and exploding many more as years progressed.

As a teacher and parent you would be happy and glad to learn of your children's success. On one occasion we were at Abu Bakar Omar's house in Kuala Lumpur. He proudly said " Che Gu I have won this price" and showing the reward for his achievement in drama and film. Many of us would have seen this known dramatist in films especially via the TV. Abu Bakar was one of the earlier students at Jenan and began his acting career on the school stage with the play written by Dato Shahnon Ahmad and directed by Hashim Abdul Rahman both teachers at the school then. 

The close teacher and student relationship, continuing after many decades speak well of our linkages with one another. It is this affection which perhaps make teaching the best of all careers. Frankly I would say that you would never get that same respect and honour if ever you are in any other professions after retirement. The teenagers that you knew would remember you much more than the adults that were members of your office or department.

(Orang yang paling bertuah pada malam itu menerima 'kunci'kereta daripada Yang DiPertuan Agong.) 

One lucky ex student who was the special lucky draw winner at the Anniversary Dinner receiving the mock key of a brand new Proton car from Tuanku Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah Yang DiPertuan Agong.

No comments: