This blogspot is a medium to share my thoughts and adventures apart from promoting my books. Below are the books which have been written or authored and published by myself.

"Berpetualang ke Aceh: Mencari Diri dan Erti".

ISBN 983-42031-0-1, Jun 2006

"Berpetualang ke Aceh: Membela Syiar yang Asal"

ISBN 983-42031-1-x, May 2007

"Berpetualang ke Aceh: Sirih Pulang ke Gagang?"

ISBN 978-983-42031-2-2, November 2007

It is interesting to note that while these books were written in Malay it has gained enough attention to merit being part of the collections of the American Library of Congress and National Library of Australia. Look here and here.

While the first three books were published by my own company, the fourth titled "Rumah Azan" was published in April 2009 by a company called Karnadya with the help of the Malaysian national literary body Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka. It features beautiful pictures along with stories behind selected mosques which could be related to the history of Islam and the Malays alongside the formation of the Malaysian nation. Look at the article A collaboration of old collegemates - the book "Rumah Azan".

My fifth book "Ahlul Bait (Family) of Rasulullah SAW and Malay Sultanates", an English translation and adaptation of the Malay book "Ahlul Bait (Keluarga) Rasulullah SAW dan Kesultanan Melayu" authored by Hj Muzaffar Mohamad and Tun Suzana Othman was published early 2010. Look here... My 5th book is out! Ahlul Bait (Family) of Rasulullah SAW and the Malay Sultanates... . For more information check out my Malay blogspot CATATAN SI MERAH SILU.

Like my fourth book "Rumah Azan", the sixth book "Kereta Api Menuju Destinasi" is also a coffee-table book which is published by the company Karnadya with the cooperation of Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (the main Malay literary body in Malaysia). Coming out January 2011 it features pictures and stories on the adventure travelling by train to all of Peninsular Malaysia along with the interesting places which could be reached this way.

My seventh book "Jejak keluarga Yakin : Satu sketsa sejarah" in turn is a coffee-table book which is written, editted, designed and has pictures taken by me. Coming out of the factory October 2011, this book which combines family history with history of places such as Singapura, Johor, Batu Pahat, Muar and in fact the history of the island of Java and England has been reviewed with me interviewed live in the program Selamat Pagi Malaysia at RTM1. Look at the article Siaran langsung ulasan buku "Jejak keluarga Yakin : Satu sketsa sejarah" dan temu ramah di Selamat Pagi Malaysia. Some selected contents have been featured in Sneak peek "Jejak keluarga Yakin : Satu sketsa sejarah".


The "Berpetualang ke Aceh" series of novels could be obtained in e-book form. Enter http://www.e-sentral.com/, click general novel and go to page 4. You can also type the word "Aceh" at the search box. Or click straight Book 1, Book 2 and Book 3.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Remembering the "A" Level college days. The seventh and last trial for a rebel... the one that could have changed it all!

At last found a suitable picture from the Net. Order, order!

I cant' remember off-hand if I've written about the college court trials at the student court in this series on 'Remembering the "A" Level college days". Hmm... wait a minute, now I remember. Yes, I did mention about it in the article Remembering the "A" Level college days. The "scandal" with Ann, my dear sweet Ann... .

OK when the situation mentioned in that article happened sometime in 1989 I think, I have already been subjected to 2 or 3 trials there. Hmm... come to think about, the student court session mentioned in Remembering the "A" Level college days. The "scandal" with Ann, my dear sweet Ann... is probably the 4th... probably. What I do remember for sure though is I've been subjected to the student court a total of 7 times, said to be the highest in history of the PPP/ITM "A" levels programme. Why? Because normally a student would have been thrown out of college after the 3rd trial. But I managed to stick around long because I was considered as one of the smartest student ever, in fact hailed by many as some sort of mathematics genius because of what I was capable of then.

In the previous instalment of the series, Remembering the "A" Level college days. A 'get along' session with the BTU juniors... I mentioned this...

Nevermind, that is the attitude I took as I entered the PPP/ITM "A" Levels college. I was arrogant, cocky, supremely-confident of my natural intelligence without having to study and was very sure of my ability to attract women while handling the other guys.

That was also the same attitude I displayed when subjected to trials at the student court. You see, most of the trials happened because I didn't attend classes for long periods. If I remember correctly, my first trial regarding the matter was only made after I missed 10 to 15 lectures. If I remember correctly too, I have also missed classes in a row for more than a week. This is of course a huge offence at my college as all the students then were either sponsored by the government or major conglomerates and thus expected to be obedient students who could perform and pass the grades while obeying the laws and regulations of the college.

I did not obey the regulations and that was very much expected out of me, the well-known rebel called Fly. But unlike most who would have problems academically if they missed even one or two classes, I continued to excel in my studies and in fact often scored full marks of 100 per cent in mathematics papers. That was why I was so supremely confident. Despite missing classes, despite not studying anything at all, I had a very agile mind which could figure a mathematical solution right on the spot, anywhere at anytime, solving problems using methods which were never thought by anyone, at least anyone of common intelligence...

That was the particular ability that lead people to call me a genius since secondary school days. I might have missed classes for even two weeks in a row but I was capable of solving a current problem by creatively reapplying a method or mathematical tool which I've learned in a lesson I happened to attend some 3 months before. While the way of solution was not expected as everyone was supposed to apply the latest method they've just learned in class, the detailed steps and logic offered was sound enough leading to the proper eventual answer. As we in mathematics classes have been taught up till university days, when a solution has been arrived at, just write the initials Q.E.D. Quite Easily Done. Very cocky and arrogant aint' it?

Since my primary school days, I could attend a mathematics exam or test and sit for only half the allocated time. I was capable of solving the problems accurately so fast that I even had time to make an exact hand-written copy of my answers for others to refer to right after the exam or test was done. Why? Because my mates were so confident of my answers, they would use the extra copy to gauge how they themselves could have fared before the actual papers were completely examined and marked which took no less than 3 days later.

Being so cocky, I could have made mistakes here and there. Then again having a clean record of scoring anything from 95 to 100 per cent since primary school days to college while having the time to make an extra copy and yet leave the class at least 15 minutes before the allocated time for exams or test ended speaks volumes for one's reputation. And I had that reputation for quite a long time.

So anyway back to the college days and the student court trials. I was so cocky that every time I went to court I would challenge all those present, at least 3 persons of authority to prove me wrong. Yes, I did miss classes I said but look at my scores. Aren't the classes meant to teach everyone something and then they would be gauged through exams and tests to see how much they have learned? My arrogant logic was this. Since I've scored well, perfect 100 per cent most of the time despite not going to classes, this means I should not be subjected to the same rule that one should attend classes.

Nevertheless the court was not about finding out how well I did but about proving and punishing a culprit and I did go against the laws and regulation by not attending the classes. So of course I was punished and had to be punished often with fines. The only upside was the court could have decided to simply suspend or expel me straight away but they didn't. Why? Because they can't deny that I indeed did well in my exams and tests (that is if I did not miss an exam or test which actually happened a few times).

That is why I hold the college record of having been subjected to 7 trials while none have survived pass the 3 trials mark, at least that is what I was told. Because you either toe the line after 3 trials or got simply expelled. But I was actually given the rare, perhaps the only distinction of being allowed to continue studying there because I did score and excellently at that. The statistics speak for itself, it's just when it came out of my mouth, I sound so cocky and arrogant and yes that admittedly is how I was.

Good Lord, I haven't spoken this way about myself for a very long time. But I have to honestly let it all out for the sake of the remembering process which is my own way of facing my own ghosts of the past. Hmm... that makes me think about a recent comment in my Malay blogspot CATATAN SI MERAH SILU which pointed out to fact that lately in the last 4-5 articles there, I have been using pictures of the holy city of Mecca intermitten with pictures of 'ghost'. Perhaps that is the reason why I subconsciously did that. Because I was trying to face my old ghosts by writing a series of articles here and there which is very true indeed!

OK. Another reason that nobody ever got pass the 3 trials mark is that it is common wisdom that if you create that much trouble to deserve being subjected to the trials in the first place, then you must be not that smart. For the intelectual ones tend to toe the line and thus not subjected to the student court leaving the less smart troublesome people either kicked out for the troubles they have caused or they simply slipped away in their exams and kicked out because of bad grades. In my case I was subjected to the trials mostly because I didn't attend classes. Logically that would lead to poor grades which would eventually cause me to be expelled as the level of education was already high enough that it is not easy to keep up to the pace of studies even when one attends every class and take extra ones too, what more for someone who have missed more than a week, up to two weeks of classes in a row?

So there were rumours that the authorities kept me around because they were waiting for me to "die a natural death". Well, I was a very defiant one. I kept coming in with excellent grades despite missing classes and thus subjected to further trials which is why I hold the record. So why stop at 7 you may ask? Here goes the rest of the story.

While I was known to regularly patronise night-clubs and spend good times with many many girlfriends, that was not the actual reason I missed classes. Granted that since my mid secondary-school days, I developed a fierce rebelness against authority which also could be a reason why I missed classes (and that is what was generally on the minds of the authorities, that I simply refused or that I was just too busy playing the adult game outside and that was why I missed classes) I was actually having another problem.

I don't know why, since Form Four I developed this sleeping problem. I would have trouble going to sleep and when I do sleep I have trouble waking up and thus would go on sleeping for more than 10 hours at one shot! During Form Four, this usually happened in patches. I might be normal, attending classes for a full one month or so before I suffered this problem again for a streak of 3 days, and then things got normal again. The problem however got worse as I went to college and later, university. Believe it or not, in England I've even slept for 3 straight days, waking up only to take a pee or a glass of drink and a few bites of bread.

Anyway back to the college student court trials. My 6th trial was definitely about me missing classes. If I remember correctly, I was charged after missing only 3 straight days of classes and that actually got me dumbfounded as previously, I could go on missing more than a week of classes before the authorities came knocking.

At the same time I was having problems with my father. Then again we've been at odds since as long I could remember. My father has been receiving complaints from the college of my behaviour. While me myself was starting to get tired of missing classes because it was due to my sleeping problem. You see, it has got to the extend that I missed my regular night-outs at the clubs because I prefer to sleep alone in the room. And I even missed times with the girls because I was too sleepy to go out and meet them which is a serious sign of sickness on my part.

And thus I resolve to start attending classes. I was so certain I wanted to change that in my 6th trial at the student court, I made this promise: "You can kick me out if I missed my classes again!". This time I didn't fight them as I used to do... well, maybe I did a little but I believe it was not that much because I myself have become tired of all these...

OK, I can't remember if my 6th trial happened in Damansara Utama or in Shah Alam. What I do remember the whole college moved from Damansara to Shah Alam and the 7th trial was set there.

So it happened. I just couldn't get over my sleepy head problem. Classes were missed and I soon was called to the student court again. I believe I did say something to this effect without the authorities initiating it: "Well, what could I say? I made a promise that you can kick me out if I miss classes, so do kick me out!"

Even the authorities whom I had so often fiercely defied were surprised. One of the more senior ones with whom I have often been at loggerheads with since the first day we met in court persuaded me to retract that statement. I said no, I made a promise and I will dance to the music. With that he nodded and I was officially kicked out. I am sure his eyes and face showed respect for despite all my faults, I have kept my words.

I was kicked out just about a month or two before the actual "A" Levels examination which is admittedly very stupid. But the 'stupider' thing was if I had worked for it, I could have found another place just to sit for the exams but didn't. After all I was so supremely confident of my intellegence, I could still score without having to attend any classes. Instead I became dumbfounded and just sat the whole period out wasting time much to the chagrin of my family especially my father.

Yes. I was a boy who wasn't thinking of the consequences. It didn't cross my mind at all then that my family might have to pay compensation to my sponsors for being a drop-out. I was just too engrossed in my own thoughts, problems, rebelness against the system and such to pay attention to other people's perception. As the "A" Levels examination approached very near, I tried to get the college authorities to allow me to sit. After all my name was still registered. But they said I was already kicked out. Besides, what is the point of the punishment if I could still sit for the exams and scored.

Still I could try and register for the exams at private colleges or such but it didn't cross my mind then. So there I was for the next few months either loitering around in the Klang Valley bumming at relatives and friends' places or staying in my native hometown in Muar. In between I did take up jobs but it did not last long. I remembered being a trainee auditor at a firm in Jalan Raja Chulan but ended up missing work as I was more engrossed in joining my busker friends at Central Market plying their trade.

I only became slightly 'useful' early 1991 when I joined a computer education software firm as a junior editor. That's when I met Mas (yep, here let me use the familiar part of her real name), while having lunch between work , a junior from PPP/ITM "A" Levels programme which I failed to notice before and we immediately hit on. I won't go into much lengths about this. Suffice to say we got on so famously that for the first time ever I really wanted to marry a girl and told both our parents about it.

Mas was the one who got me motivated to continue studies again after I've decided to just climb the ladder of life without any university education. And soon, I got a powerful uncle to reinstall me back into the "A" level programmes but at another college.

The problem is I was still very much a sleepy head. In fact it got worse as you could say in the whole 2-3 months at the college leading to the next "A" Level exams, that for summer 1991, I have only practically attended maybe less than 10 hours of class. Fast forward, and soon its time to sit for the exams. Except this time I have lost something very important, the sharpness of intellect as I sat down at the exams very clouded, not able to figure out the answers as easily as it could be.

In fact I was not even operating at normal people's pace. I really couldn't find the point when this actually started to happen as just 3 months earlier at the computer software firm, I could still mentally play with large numbers fast while spontaneously without notes, charts or references write moderate level computer programs in BASIC and PASCAL. In fact just half a year before at the audit firm, I could still add and balance a spreadsheet of 10 x 30 numbers or so on paper without the need of calculators and still be able to get accurate figures in about the same or faster time than people take to input and add the numbers into a calculator.

I really did not know went wrong. More shock was to come when the results were announced. I got a D and E! That I could still remember until today. What I can't properly remember is whether the D is for Additional Maths, E for Pyschics or was it the other way around. Whatever, the invincible aura was broken. Me, the infamous genius Fly has taken a downturn.

Luckily, before I was kicked out of my original college, I took an "A" Level January paper in Mathematic and got an A which of course, I had supremely confidently predicted beforehand. Perhaps I would have done as good if I were to take the other two papers in 1990 not 1991 because of what has happened. Then, the momentum was still on my side. All I had to do was sit for the exams but I've wasted it away.

Nevertheless, it was with that A, D, E that I luckily managed to get a solid offer to study for a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematic from a very reputable British institution, the University College of London. But with such bad grades, I couldn't fly straight to Britain as I should at least get an A, B, C or B, B, B to meet the sponsors requirement. The rules dictated that I should do the first year of studies locally under a programme called NCUK (Northen Consortium of United Kingdom) and missed the chance to study in London. At the same time Mas was offered a place at the prestigious LSE (London School of Economics) while slightly missing the grades to qualify for straight studies in the UK.

Being the lovebirds that we were then, we decided to go privately for the first year in London and get our sponsorships (actually it turned into a changeable loan programme after 1991) reconnected for the second year. So we flew there being a very contented couple. But I continued to be a sleepy head, even a worse one at that and again missed most of the classes.

While I loved Mas very much, the satan inside me lead me to blame her for the lost of my 'genius'. I thought I was alright all this while when I could have all the girls I wanted but the minute I turned into a one-woman man with this girl, my mind started getting clouded and lost its sharpness.

It took many many years later, after I've broken up our 6 years of beautiful but turbulent relationship, after she married a junior of mine that I realised it was all my own fault. With this I'd like to end the series of "Remembering the "A" Level college days" which now has 13 instalments. And I'm happy to note that this is the 333rd posting in this blogspot. Tata! :]

p/s: Me and the wife are going somewhere abroad for holidays. So take care ya... :]


awanbadai said...

Salam MS,

Begitu ceritanya pasal gambar2 kat
merahsilu.blogspot tu. Baru paham.

Pasal sleep tu .... hmmm ... begitu jugak la yang pernah aku hadapi di Jepun dulu.
Aku sendiri tak dapat menghabiskan study kerana 'sleeping disorder' "disease".
Bertuah jugak hang, pulang dgn bukti berijazah, aku tetap pulang dgn spm jek.
That's my ghost ....
may be it still berhantu.

Radzi Sapiee said...

Wassalam Awan... memang nasib aku masih baik. Itupun aku juga nyaris-nyaris tak habis degree. One week sebelum final exam aku dapat arahan tak boleh sit for exam sebab yuran 8,750 Pound Sterling (masa tu lebih RM35,000 ) tak bayar... sponsor potong aku punya line.
Nasib baik last minute Malaysian Student Department di London settlekan, jadi dapat gak ambik exam.
Dari segi lain plak aku lucky sebab dalam sakit-sakit aku tu masih ada enough intelligence to last the mile. Aku punya markah coursework memang out le sebab berapa lama aku tak datang class, tak pernah buat test ngan assignment? Jadi markah aku boleh kata 100 per cent depend on exam sedangkan otak aku sebenarnya dah tumpul dah. Tu pun alhadumlillah, barely scrapping the barrel, dapat le honours gak. Ish...

(My girlfriend masa tu yang tersampuk aku punya disorder dapat general degree je. Tapi ingat, from LSE, London School of Economics, still bukan sebarang punya degree...) :]