Friday, January 08, 2010

Childhood Memories

I was just reading K.Teh’s posting on the passing of her friend M. She had cancer. How sad… it must be sad for her to lose someone dear like that. They were primary school friends and have been friends for a long, long time. Al-Fatehah for her, may she rests in peace...

I remember once I wrote a piece about a friend who’s attending a reunion with his primary school friends and I was thinking, “Who the heck have reunions with primary school friends?!”. I thought the guy was pulling my leg because I was not in contact with any of my primary school friends.

Then K.Teh cleared my doubts by saying that she has reunions with her primary school friends ALL the time, so did her husband. That got me thinking. Perhaps that guy did go to his primary school friends’ reunion after all..

In my case, I had no clue where my primary school friends were. I left the school in 1980 for a boarding school in JB and had never returned because a few years after that, my parents moved to Ipoh.

I thought about my primary school friends all the time, but I just didn’t know how to find them, until recently, thanks to FB, I've managed to locate some of them. And I'm so thrilled!

I was so happy to see photos of some of my childhood friends whom I haven't seen in 30 years. Of course, semua dah "blossomed", but in my mind, they are still the 12 year old friends whom I used to hang out with when I was small.

And this, brings back the memories of my childhood days which I'd like to pen down here.

When I was small, I grew up in a small town called Parit, Perak. It’s about 20 miles from Ipoh and is located next to the Perak River.

My parents were teachers, and because of that, we got to live in a house in the school compound. There were two schools in the area, ie. Sekolah Iskandar Shah and Sekolah Kebangsaan. My mum taught in the former while my dad taught in the latter. I went to my mum’s school.

In school, I was more well known as “Anak Cikgu Johara”. My mum was a very garang teacher. I had the privilege (or was it pain?) of having her as my class teacher when I was in Std 2 and 6.

Oh my… the pressure! Kalau tak siap homework, sure kena; kalau tak dapat no. 1, lagilah kena! My friends kena rotan, I pun kena rotan jugak in class (even worse, kata some of my friends!)

I remember there was one time, I didn’t do my homework over the weekend. It just slipped my mind. So, come Monday, when cikgu Johara tanya mana homework, I had to say I tak buat lah, kan? I was in Std 2 at that time.

And she got so angry! She stared at me, pointed her index finger at me and said, “Balik karang siap lah!!”.

Aiyo… I had never been so scared before in my life! I remember standing behind my desk, in the middle of the class, looking at her fierce face. It felt as if she was going to eat me alive! Everybody else had their heads down becoz cikgu Johara dah naik angin! Semua tak berani angkat muka! Bila balik rumah, memanglah kena!

I don’t understand my mum, give mercy lah sikit, kan? And I pun, tak faham why I didn’t do the homework knowing that my mother would surely beat the heck of me if she knew I tak buat homework. And why didn’t she remind me??

Another time was after the exams. Every time after the exam and when she had given out all the marks, she would list down all the students marks on the blackboard. From the highest to the lowest, and she must make sure that my marks always stayed on top, ie. No. 1. If markah turun sikit, she would give me the stare and I would be under pressure.

Why lah mak… chill lah! Dia pulak yang tension bila I exam. And because of that, I pulak yang jadi stress!

Hee.. hee.. that was my mum for you!

But until today, all her students still remember her fondly. They would call her up once in a while asking how she’s doing and visit her at home whenever they feel like it. They say, she was garang but sayang murid2. Anyway, she has mellowed down a lot now. Most times when she’s angry, she would just break down and cry. No more libas melibas macam dulu!

As for my dad, he was a very cool cikgu sekolah melayu. If you watched cerita P.Ramlee “Masam-Masam Manis”, my dad was just like that Cikgu Shaari in the movie. Bila masuk kelas, he would say, “Murid2, bukak buku… Tulis ini…”. Then he would write a one or two liner on the blackboard and asked the kids to copy. And he would go on and do other things. How I know this is because I had attended some of his classes before (anak cikgu, kan? Boleh masuk mana2 sekolah sesuka hati!)

Ahh… those childhood days…

My mum told me she met my dad when they were teaching in the same school, ie. Sekolah Tanjung Blanja. To get to that school, one has to take a boat/sampan to cross the Perak river. I remember this because I used to follow my mum to that school when she was still teaching there.

The story goes, at that time, my dad baru putus tunang (dengan siapa I tak tahu) and he was mending a broken heart. During recess, my mum always found him sitting alone by the river entertaining his thoughts. And she used to tease him. Usik mengusik punya pasal, lama2 suka, I guess.

They used to write letters to each other. I found some of them at my opah’s house, where my dad used to live. I think I picked up my writing habit from my mum. Their letters were full of pining for each other, and I think this was before they got married. Every time I visited my opah’s house in those days, I would surely lock myself in that room and read those lovely letters from my mum to my dad. I should have kept them, I don’t know where they are now…

Btw, my mum calls my dad “Sir” (as in Sir Elton John). I don’t know why.. until now.

My friends from school are aplenty. But the ones I remember most are Nani, Shera, Ramni, Yuliza, Mawar, Haslinda and Jamilah. Jamilah ni suka cari gaduh, she was very well known for that. When we lawan balik, she’d say, “Nanti kita beritau abang kita!” Ek eleh.. beritau lah… tak takut pun!

Nani and Shera lived near my house. We were the so-called Charlie’s Angels of our time! Every evening, we would ride our bicycles around the football field near my house and boys would be trailing us behind. But we were not interested. Our favorite pastime at that time was to update our scrapbooks with pictures of Farrah Fawcett and Bionic Woman and Six Million Dollar Man which we cut out from magazines/newspapers.

Oh, and we so loved Donny & Marie! During one of the Hari Penyampaian Hadiah, we did a dance routine with the song “That’s The Way Ahak, Ahak, I like it ahak, ahak.. “, wearing Donny & Marie T-shirts and bellbottom pants! Cool!

And this was also the time when I used to exchange letters with one of the boys in my class. Entahlah, masa dulu suka sangat main tulis2 surat! Bukan ada benda pun, saja bertanya khabar. Very innocent, ok?

We would write to each other and in the evening, when we went on our bicycle rides with our respective friends, we would meet half way and “swapped” letters while we were still on our bikes. Much like passing the baton in a relay.

That was going on for quite some time and I was enjoying my first introduction to writing love letters when one unfortunate day, my mum discovered his letters under my bed! Oh dear! She tarik my telinga and screamed, “Ohh… kecik2 lagi dah pandai nak bercinta, ya?!!”

But the worst was yet to come. The next day, she called the boy to the staff room and gave him a long lecture in front of all the other teachers! Poor boy… I felt sorry for him!

I remember seeing him standing in the staff room with his head down while my mum was going on and on about why he shouldn’t indulge in such things. Soon after, he was transferred to another school in Ipoh.

That explains why my friends and I used to call my mum “Harimau Berantai”.

I don't usually like to write about my childhood because it brings pain in my heart. Partly because my mother was so garang, but most often than not, the memories are just rather vague.

But eversince I found these old friends on FB, I've been reminiscing about those yester years with a smile on my face. I remember my class, I remember my friends, the things we used to do, the games we used to play...

Life was so simple then and it was all about friends.

On this 24th January, I'm going to meet up with my primary school friends after a 30-year lapse. It's sort of a mini-reunion, so to speak, as we haven't located everyone yet. I'm so excited! I can't wait! Thoughts of meeting up with Nani and Shera bring joy to my heart and I'm sure we'll have a great time.

Of course, the love-letter boy is going to be there as well. We've spoken and he's now a very happy family man with two boys in tow. In my mind, I still picture him as how he was when he was 12, but obviously he is not anymore. I'm sure he thinks of me the same way too, but that's not important.

What's important for me is, I'll get to rekindle that long, lost friendship, not only with him, but with the rest of the gang as well, and that would be simply wonderful.

Will keep you posted!

Pekan Parit, if you were coming from Ipoh

Right at the end, where the trees are, is the river. You take the boat from here to go across to Tanjung Blanja

The shophouses

In the olden days, there were not that many cars..

The road leading up to my school

Perak River. Right across is the school where my mum first met my dad.

Ironically, the bridge is known as "Jambatan Nordin".

(Note: photos courtesy of


MA said...

Believe it or not I am still in touch with my kindergarten friends! Every year whenever I am donw in Johor, we would still go around beraya from one house to the other just like when we were kids, only now we have our whole families in tow! Our parents are all in awe with the strength and length of our friendship.

And we are the epitome of 1Malaysia cos we are all from different races.

The fact that I moved a lot during my schooldays also didn't matter. It was the friendship that made all the difference.

MHB said...

what a lovely piece to read (and great distraction) from completing my deadline!! arrggghhh...

tasya said...


I kinda know how u feel when ur mother is ur mom was the cekgu disiplin..laaaagila garang huhu..i was a prefect back then so kena be very ikut rule punye org..also she made sure i always get top 3 in my class every year..bile exam, whatever result i got, say 85 marks..i kena rotan kat tgn until cukup 100, dat means 15 strokes!!and that was for all subject, dat was wat made me the way i am now, thnx to my beloved mom :)

Superwomanwannabe said...

HI BJ! Loved your post!

I think your mom masa tu actually knows she was being overly garang..but felt that she had to be ,because you had to be better than the best mah...When I tengah berleter or marah anak2 I sekarang, part of me thinks- eh garangnye aku nih, is it necessary??? But pride keeps me from relenting...(anyway I am almost always mush)

Take it as "it's about her, not you"..and you became the casualty in her own self imposed pressure to have you performed...

tapi..look at where her garangness got you- she made you what you are, and who you are. A tough lady with loads of compassion and fact, your mom!

Miss you babes!

Anonymous said...

Yong... u bring tears to my eyes...I can still remember that 'that's the way dance'. Thanx for the tribute ofour hometown...

leen said...

Mrs N,
what a lovely post!

You sure know how to bring back the good ol' days. Keep writing okay

Gylle said...

Hi BJ,
Hehehhe... I went to the same school that my late dad was in as well (Std 1 only - he was teaching Std 5 class). He was also the garang type - dia beliakkan mata ajer students dah takut, ahaks. Anyway, I bet your reunion would be great - very interesting, after soooo long. Bestnyer.

busymum100 said...

MrsN, yes, my primary school gang had our reunions too. the first was the grandest, i think in 2001, or 2002. Tak ingat dah..

We had a few more later.

BTW, recently, thanks to FB, i found out that my std 2(& std 3) classmate is married to my sec school senior! All these yrs, dok jumpa reunion dgn senior tu (we wer both AJK for the alumni at one time), tak tau pun... Lgpun, reunion campur2 batch ni, biasanya we all tk bawa spouse, takut depa rasa boring...

Recently, anak best friend (sek rendah) i buat practical at my co. Tanya2 punya tanya, lah, rupanya anak member kita je...

Life is so interesting...

My class teacher pun ada anak dia in my class. Kesian mamat tu. Selalunya dia no.1. Bila i pinda ke sek tu masa std 2 (std 1 i kat singapore), i dpt no.1. Mamat tu kena lecture kat mak dia (in chinese) lama betul! we all ni dok tengok je.. Now he's very successful in singapore! And a few yrs ago, my friend and i visited his mum (our teacher tu).

MrsNordin said...


You're still in touch with your kindy friends? Oh wow... that's a very long time ago friends! Nice... those are friends for keep!

MrsNordin said...


Thanks! Banyaknya kerja... awal tahun pun dah ada deadline??

MrsNordin said...

Hi Tasya,

Kesian you kena rotan macam tu... nasib my mum was not as bad (now I'm grateful). Kalau 15 rotan satu subject, mahu lunyai tangan you dibuatnya!

Anyway, like you said, looking back, that is what made us what we are today. If it hadn't been like that, we may not be what we are today. Take care & have a nice day!

MrsNordin said...


I think I got my mum's tempias2 character because sometimes I could be very garang. Nizzarlah selalu kena!

But you are very lembut and mushy2 with your kids. Can't imagine you screaming at them!

I'm looking out for your Fraser's post!

MrsNordin said...


Hee.. hee... this post is actually dedicated to you! Can't wait for the reunion to come. See you soon...

MrsNordin said...


Thanks!! I'm happy that you like it!


Patutlah you terror... bapak you pun cikgu... I know, the moment the beliakkan mata saja, sure kecut perut dibuatnya, kan? Horror!!

MrsNordin said...


You are 1 person I know who would keep friends for a long, long time. So I'm not surprised if you are still in touch with your primary school friends. Thanks for sharing!

Cik Puan Kamil said...

Sweet... Have a good reunion...

Desert Rose said...

Mrs N,

Hi hi lawaklah, but your childhood yg filled with stress sebab anak cikgu tu well ....I feel u ha haha lebih kurang la . But I like the love story part...I kan hopeless romantic, esp citer orng dulu2. U should write more on that..i'll b waiting.My parents lak met at Maktab Perguruan hi hi. I dont have the oppurtunity jumpa their love letters, just pictures. It would be lovely kalau I dapat jumpa their love letters mcm u.

Kitchen Guardian said...


I pun anak cikgu, tapi i tak stress! Hey, lagu That's the way I like it Ahaks..tu sampai sekarang pun kita suka kan kan...ingat lagi!!Hmmm, lately I pun dok reminisce my childhood friends....

DadaIQ said...

Itulah dulu2 kita musykil pasal reunion primary school, sekarang kita pulak being reunited with our primary schoolmates through FB. Nak gelak tengok my class photos when I was in std 2 dengan Intan at SK Jln Gurney 2 (depan your office now)posted by one of our classmates.

Anyway, aku dulu pun kena ikut my mum pegi mengajar duduk kat belakang sekali. Yang horornya masa tu dia mengajar Sek Batu Road kat Chow Kit, semua boys!!!! Tapi tak pandai2 pun. May be because my mum tak garang macam yours :-)

MrsNordin said...


You pun anak cikgu? Hmm... patut lah... :)

That's the way ahak2 tu punyalah lama lagu tu... but it's still hip even until today! Yeay!!

MrsNordin said...


Ya lah.. agaknya bila umur dah meningkat ni, mula teringat kawan lama2 balik. Nanti I want to check out your photos masa darjah 1 tu!

Btw, dah ok demam?

MrsNordin said...

Hi Desert Rose,

I think, anak cikgu ni ada lebih kurang sama perangai lah. That's why I can "feel" you too! Hee.. hee..

You tanya lah mak you macamana diaorang jumpa.. You must know their love story!!

Madam Tai Tai No More said...

BJ, I guess your fate was sealed with the name of the jambatan at Parit.

Garangnya Mak you, ya. Kalau I pun, takut jugak nak pergi sekolah and be one of her pupil. :-) I'm sure she's the happiest Cikgu/Mum now since all of you turned out very well.

tireless mom said...

Both my parents are teachers and like you, I studied sebab takut kena marah. And takut to embarass them because mak bapak cikgu but anak tak pandai! Hehe.

Einaipohmali said...

I sooooo love the "cikgu Shaari" part (cute). Judging by your parents' photos posted in your FB, they look so loving & trusting with each other..what more during their courting days.. definitely "TO SIR WITH LOVE". How long of blissful marriage..40+ years?
Anyway do enjoy your reunion. Ehh, "that boy" still has your letters aaahh? Share....plsss!

MrsNordin said...


Yes, I guess so! When I was small, I always went on this bridge to get to the other side, and I always wondered why it's called Jambatan Nordin. Tak sangka pulak dapat suami nama yang sama. Hee.. hee...

MrsNordin said...

Hi Yatt,

Kalau dah parents teachers, anak kena lah pandai. Kalau tidak, droplah their waterface, iya tak?

Hey, see you this Saturday!

MrsNordin said...

Hi Eina,

Mana ada lagi surat2 tu... dah kena bakar by my mother!!

I think, my parents, when they were not so old, they were very loving. Tapi bila dah tua ni, loving tu lain sikit lah. But they survived all the 43 years together. I want to be like them!

Anonymous said...

I married a kindy friend lak tu. Adoyai!
.. & he was my classmate for 5 years kat secondary. Hah!

.. and yes being anak cikgu myself, when i was 3, he bawak me and letak kat library belakang kelas (dulu2 library was like small shelves yg boleh lipat dua and kunci dgn mangga)
.. my dad lak mcm cikgu (ntah apa ke nama dia kawan Cikgu Murni tu) dalam citer Labu Labi.
..pakai songkok, kemeja tangan pendek, necktie, seluar loose sket.. Wahh kacak abes masa tu.. Hehe.

p/s: kat sekolah sekarang takde orang jual sengkuang letak atas ais yg ada kuah kaler merah tabur kacang pun kan?
..and recess time sekarang i rasa they dont play galah panjang and skipping - skipping kepit la, somersault la (jenuh la kutip getah gelung nak kasi panjang ek).

MrsNordin said...

Hi Girlfriend @ Office,

Your comment surely bring back nostalgia from the past!

You are one person who I know married their kindergarten friend! Punya lah agung cinta engkorang.. span decades! And I'm sure both of you are still very much in touch with your kindy, primary and secondary school friends. How nice!

Bapak engkau macam cikgu dalam cerita Cikgu Murni? Yang pegi mintak derma dari Hj Bakhil untuk anak2 yatim tu ya? Hee.. hee... memang... hansem habis!

Bebudak sekarang dah tak main getah and skipping tu semua. Actually, I don't know what they do during recess. Makan saja, I suppose... Sengkuang tu, aku rasa kita kena cari resipi dia lah!

Thanks for dropping by and I hope you'll get well soon.

Cilantro said...

Hi MrsN,

You sure know how to bring back the good old days. It got me to reminiscing into my good old days too. I still keep in touch with my best friend who was with me from std 1 till form 5. She has settled down in Australia now, but we still meet up every year when she comes down. In fact I was just talking to her yesterday. Enjoy your reunion and hope you all have a splendid time together.

MrsNordin said...

Hi Cilantro,

That's nice of you to keep in touch with your childhood friend until today. You both must treasure the friendship very much!

I'm very looking forward to this reunion. I've been talking to one of them actually and you know what? I feels like we've never parted ways all this while!

mummy-mia said...

OMG... Mrs N... I know your mom!!! She was my netball coach... and my... you are right... she was very garang...

How is cikgu Johara now? She would know my late father too... my father was a headmaster in one of the rural schools near Bota and he was well known among teachers in Parit. My teachers often called me (and my other siblings) by our father "strange" name: Aswaddalai.

I was so excited reading your post... I went to that primary school from 1971 to 1976...

OMG OMG... what a small world...

MrsNordin said...

Hi Mamma Mia!

My mum was your netball coach? Oh my... what a small world!!!

I remember she used to play netball a lot last time, until she injured her leg. Then she stopped.

I'm sure she knows your dad (or my dad would). They were in KL last weekend and I met up with them for lunch & fish spa. If you go to FB, I've posted some photos with them.

I was in Iskandar from 1975-1980. You must be in Std 6 when I was in Std 1!

MrsNordin said...

Sorry.. sorry... Mummy-Mia. Terlalu excited, jadi Mamma Mia pulak!

mummy-mia said...

Yes yes I was very excited, well... still am actually. Last night mcm susah nak tido thinking of which batch you were. I was in standard 5 in 1975. I have 3 adik who went to the same school but none of them were your age.

Anyway, what is your FB name?

Please give my salam to dear Cikgu Johara. Tell her "anak cikgu Lai" kirim salam. (Lai is pronounced as La-E).

MrsNordin said...


Are you in the same batch as Sharifah Mazwin / Suzana Suyut?

Btw, my FB name is Noorhayati Munit.

mummy-mia said...

No, I sama batch dengan Saerwati Said (, Faridah Sulaiman, Khushairi Zainun...

Ok, will look up ur FB tonite (kat office, FB kena blocked).

nahiella said...

alamak romantiknye mcm baca buku cerita la.....i love your parents' love story...

MrsNordin said...


Thanks!! Glad you like it.

Anonymous said...

BJ, I so lurve reading this..Somewhat similar to my stories mom pun dulu very the garang one, also a teacher, tapi fortunately dia ajar secondary school so she never got to be my teacher..Phewww!!her studenta all loved her though despite the garangness..she's mellowed down a lot now..and i am also cyber meeting my primary classmates via FB :)
take care dear and keep writing..
lovess..Along Faezah

MrsNordin said...


Kalau dah anak cikgu tu, anak cikgu jugak.No wonder you were so terror!

I hope you'll get to meet up with your old friends. It's really nice. Makes you wanna smile the whole day after that.

Take care now and see you around.