Being Bangsa Malaysia!

I grew up in a small kampung in rather a remote place in Perak. It’s called Temoh. When I said remote, its not really secluded, far-flung kind of place. For as far as I can remember, the tarred road has always been there and the bus service (although it passes through hourly) has always been quite reliable. So it’s not that we have to mendayung sampan or anything like that to reach our place.

It’s just that Temoh town is small, sandwiched between the more famous Tapah and Kampar. In fact, Temoh is located right down in the middle that to many locals we also called our place Batu Enam (you see, Temoh is six miles from Tapah to the south and six miles from Kampar at the other end).

However, where most of Temoh kids went to Tapah to do their secondary schooling (Temoh already had a prmary school where my mother attended both as a student and later on a teacher), my brothers and I were sent to Kampar right from Standard One. So in that sense we also consider Kampar as our hometown too. Who wouldn’t if you have to commute everyday for 13 years, right?

Why, Kampar? Well, for one as my arwah Bapak worked in Maybank Kampar, it made sense to send us there. He simply dropped us at school while on his way to work. More importantly, the school that we were sent to – La Salle and ACS Methodist School – were considered good schools then. They still are.

Looking back, I’m thankful that I’ve got the chance to go to these schools where Malays are not the majority. In fact, I remembered when I was in Form 5, there were only two of us Malay boys in my class Form 5(Commerce)II, Adzman and I. And four Malay girls – Salina, Zarin, Dzuraini and Faizah. Because of that I became close with others like Yih Jiun, Wai Seng, Yuen Peng, Yuen Cheng, Lee Yean, Chin Hao, Murugan, Rajendran and many more. Because of that, I think, I accept my non-Malay friends as they are. I don’t consider them my Chinese friends or Indian friends. I simply see them as my friends.

I must say that during those times, almost everybody got along fine, really. Of course there’s cliques and what not. But generally, it’s the bangsa Malaysia that we dreamed of “in action”.

Going to school in Kampar especially in Sek Men Methodist (ACS) Kampar was one of the “right” things that I’ve done. Thank you, bapak and mak!

And I was really delighted when one day a couple of months ago, this email arrived at my Inbox. It came from another former ACS Kampar student now studying in New Zealand. The email reminded me of friendships among the many races that I encountered while in Kampar.
Since I’m in a “merdeka” mood now, I decided to republish the email. It makes me feels good. (To Nav, Boleh ya, I publish your mail)

Encik Mior,
I chanced upon your blog while doing an online search
for Kampar a few months ago, and then decided to trawl
through it and have been coming back ever since.

I grew up in Kampar, and my father ran a clinic in Temoh.
He was the only doctor Temoh had for more than
20 years (clinic opened in 1982 I think and only
closed recently) and I used to accompany him to Temoh
to help out when I was younger.

The reason I enjoy your articles is that it reminds me
of home. Photos of large extended families,
reminiscing about childhood, the funny things children
say, articles about loghat Perak, photos of Kampar,

I moved away from Kampar after SPM in 1996, and have
been overseas since 2000. I am sure I will eventually
come back home to Malaysia, and would like to settle
back in Perak (and maybe even Kampar if they ever
upgrade the hospital - I am doing a postgrad in
Anaesthesiology) and your blog keeps reminding me
about what I'm missing by not being home, and makes me
yearn to be there even more. For that, I thank you.

May Allah bless you and your family.

Nav Sidhu
Palmerston North,
New Zealand