Tuesday 23 June 2015

WATTOPERS Turn 50s: Celebrating 38 Years of Brotherhood - Part 3 (Puasa)

I have more memories about life at MRSM KB but given that we are now celebrating Ramadan, I will try to recall moments which were interesting and meaningful when fasting at the college.

Ramadan certainly meant different things to each of us. Some saw this as an opportunity to be closer to God while some felt it was the time that they could not eat, in public, again.

Like many other people, fasting started with Sahur, or the early breakfast. For us this meant waking up around 4 o'clock in the morning and headed to the dining hall. Waking up was not easy and many did not look forward to the food that were served, especially at such early hours. However, we had no choice but to queue for food and eat whatever that were served which being half-asleep. I know that some took this opportunity to look at the girls when they were without their makeup.

While most of us did observe fasting strictly, there were some who could not resist having Maggie during the day. I could not recall them but I know some did that quietly in the dorms. I wonder whether they have replaced all the fasting days which they missed by now.

The dining hall could not accommodate all of us at the same time during the breaking of fast. We took turn to break fast at the dining hall or at our respective dorms. I don't think we were served different food during Ramadan but certainly we were provided with dates, something which is customary for breaking the fast. There were guys who decided to be different, by puffing their cigarettes instead!

The dining hall was not decorated like this those days
Because of the big number of students, the Tarawikh prayers were performed at the main hall. I remember the hall was full of students where the boys took the front section and the girls were at the back. Without air-conditioning, it was quite stuffy but many persevered as Tarawikh was something which they looked forward to during Ramadan. Off course there were "moreh" or supper after the prayers although they could be just biscuits and coffee. Many would also head to the cooperative shop for something different.

Whenever I had the opportunity, I went back home during the weekends. This provided me with some relief as I was able to have more "normal" food and enjoy the company of my parents and siblings. Normally, we will bring some food back to college to share with our dorm-mates, especially with those who came from afar. Sometimes we went to buy local food sold at small stalls outside the college. The food supplemented the ones provided by the college. 

The pace of life was certainly slower. The preparatory classes were moved to the afternoon, instead of in the evening and there were less people playing games in late afternoon. Many spent their time in the dorms when they were free, mostly sleeping or did nothing.

As we approached Hari Raya, things will get more exciting around the college. Those who were from other states would be making arrangements to go back to celebrate with their parents and families. Some students took the initiatives to charter buses. The some took the train, not many took the flight like what we do nowadays. 

The sound of Hari Raya songs could be heard from the dormitories. Then the fun really started when people started to play with fireworks including those which flew and exploded. There were inter-dormitory "war" and people from different dorms will be firing at each other. The other popular target was the girls dormitories. I could not recall whether the girls returned fire or not.

Sekolah Menengah Vocational (SMV) was our neighbour. While I could not recall any other serious interactions between the students of the two schools, we certainly had 'small wars' amongst ourselves. Students from SMV would quietly sneaked close to our college and launched firecrackers at our dorms. The responses from our side were certainly as enthusiastic. We would fire back until both sides ran out of supplies or when our teachers intervened. Nobody bothered about the risks of fire or injury those days.

There were students who celebrated Hari Raya at the college, mostly those come came from afar such as Sabah and Sarawak. The college would arrange special food so they would not miss the special occasion. Some also joined their local friends to celebrate Hari Raya in Kelantan.

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