Sunday 19 July 2015

WATTOPERS Turn 50's: Celebrating 38 years of brotherhood - Part 9 The Final Year

The final year at the college was very memorable indeed. The finale was the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examinations off course. However, there were many events and incidences which made the year very close to our hearts until today.

As a tradition, those in form 5 will be part of the Parsatuan Pelajar Tingkatan 5 or PPTL in short. While we were already classmates and dorm mates, PPTL enabled us to do a number of activities as the most senior students of the college. We printed t-shirts, organised events and also performed at the Malam PPTL which was the sign off event for every batch.

As it got closer to the end of the year, the preparation for the SPM got more intensified. Extra classes and additional notes were thighs that we were provided with to enhance our chances to perform well. For some, those were also reminders that they had to start studying! I remember Mr. Matthias worked very hard to ensure we all would do well in History, the subject that he taught. Given the diversity of the students that he had in our class, ensuring one-half of the class to pass was certainly very, very challenging. He distributed copies of notes and we were required to answer pass year questions regularly throughout the year.

We were encouraged to start considering our future career. The Career Guidance section which was administered by Cikgu Fatanah was very helpful. It provided us with information regarding options of what we could consider as our career of choice later. I initially wanted to take up aeronautical engineering as I like planes since my younger days. However, I got to know that somebody who I did not fact was going for the same course. I had to consider a different option as I do not want to end up with him in the same course. Then, as fate would have it, I discovered accountancy. I could still remember reading about accountancy information helps in decision making. From then onwards I was determined to study accountancy.

When I was interviewed by MARA officers during the scholarship interview, they indicated to me that I should go to UK to take up law. I was quite talkative during the session and they reckon that would make me a great lawyer. I insisted that I be sent to Australia to study accountancy. I was very grateful to Allah that MARA agreed to sponsor me to pursue the carrier of my choice in Australia and I was sent there even my SPM results were announced.

To be eligible to go to Australia, we had to sit for an English (the Aussies still consider themselves speaking English) proficiency test. Our listening and written skills were tested. We had to listen to statements and information in English (with the Australian accent of course) and answered questions based on what we heard. It was an experience to many of us as some of the topics covered we unheard off before. I managed to convince the Aussies that I deserve a chance tons study in Australia.

The English proficiency test for Australia bound students
This was also the year (if I am not mistaken) when the World Wildlife Funds brought Kamahl, a Malaysian who met his fame in Australia and sang the Elephant Song, to the college. Perhaps that was among the first exposure that we had about the need to us to take care of the environment and its habitants, from ourselves.

When we sat for the SPM exams, the rest of other students were around but they left us half way into the examination season. It was the first of the experience that broke many of our hearts. We were friends (and some did have fellings with each other) and parting ways for the last time was not easy. Many were in tears when they left. We were then left alone to complete the most important mission in our lives, then.

I could recall that this was the year when I studied the most in my entire life. I prefer to go to the class early in the morning when others were still at their dorm. The early morning stint worked very well for me as I could comprehend the subjects without interruption. Even on the weekends, I would do the same thing. When others started to join me, I will go to the dining hall for tea. 

We sat for the SPM exam with the full blessings of our teachers. They certainly gave their best, notwithstanding we were naughty and cunning with our tricks to avoid serious stuff. While many took the examinations seriously it was not that uneventful. I recall Halim Buntal were late for his history paper because he overslept. He studied so hard the night before the exam. We were also eagerly waiting for "spot questions" which were so customary those days. For those who did not have enough preparation, those tips were useful, provided they were true.

After the examination was over, we thought we would be allowed to stay back for a while before returning to the places we came from. However, breaking the tradition again, we were asked to go back immediately. Perhaps, as we were an all-boys batch, leaving us at the college when there was nothing else to do was deemed risky. I know that some of us already went around and did things to the property of the college. That could be one of the reasons that our departure was fast forwarded.

During this final moments, we tried as much as possible to be close to each other. We shared autographs and photos. We took pictures together and some did some planning on what to do next. We did not know whether we would be offered scholarships and where we would be sent to by MARA.

Photo with our librarians
Finally, the end could not be postponed further. It was in the month of December where were left the college for the last time as students. Hugs and cries were the order of the day as those who came from the other states boarded their busses to bring them back home. Even the toughest of us could not pretend that day. Years just came out from our eyes as many acknowledged that the day was going to be the last day that we would be together as a batch. 

I tried to leave the college the latest possible, after most of my friends left. It was an experience that I carry until today. Leaving an institution which folded us from innocent boys to youths who would be given the responsibilities to continue to build the nation was not easy.

We went to the college as strangers, we became brothers. As what is trendy today, we are Best Friends Forever.

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