Yes, in 1974, our Sultan Sulaiman Secondary School had a Fire Fighting Squad. Probably we were the only school that had such a squad then. We even have the squad’s photo in that year’s school magazine. But many did not know about the squad – even for those who were in that photo.

We had several obstacles and delays toward forming a fully operational committee. Together with my close buddy, Syed Fattah (we were also then among the prime mover with the Scout movement – taking over from our seniors such as Razak Mohd Nor and “Cacho” – who were then slowing down their scouting activities) – we discussed and discussed with the appointed teacher in-charge then, Cikgu Arifin Wahab, it just does not proceed.

Then came the photo taking session day. From the early morning, one after another group had their photo taken. Despite the official committee was not formed yet, I approached our Cikgu, that we need to have our squad photo taken too (even though just with the current pro-tem committee). He agreed. I grouped a few that I can recall and happened to be around there – who had at least been interested with the squad.

But we only had about five people, thus we grab in a few more of our friends just to be in the photo and pretend to be the squad members. At least we have eleven – reasonable number for a committee.

With others having something to show. The prefects have their tie and jacket. The scouts in their uniform. Hockey team would have a pair of hockey stick crossed. Or some would show off their medals. What do we have? No uniform.

I grabbed Fattah to follow me to the nearby Administration Block, pulled down two heavy fire extinguishers and placed it one in front him and the other in front of me. Old and rusty pair indeed. Well, those are the only ones available nearby. Anyway, we would never find a better one even if we run around the school looking. All were rusty from the nearby salty sea breeze.

SS Fire Fighting Squad 1974

SS Fire Fighting Squad 1974

Thirty four years had passed, I cannot remember many of the names in the photo and who were really “in the squad” or those that I just grabbed for the photo session.

Obviously that Fattah and myself were seated next to Cikgu Arifin. Seated next to Fattah was a close friend but memory of his name had eroded from me at this moment. Far left is Razali, from the Arts stream of our batch – now a teacher in Kuala Terengganu – but had not met him for more than 10 years.

On my left is Arwah Chacho (who had passed away a few years after that while studying in ITM Shah Alam [UiTM now]) and far right is Tg. Zailan, our class monitor then. The last time I met him was when he was serving as an ASP at Bukit Aman almost 20 years ago.

Standing, from right, Fattah Alias (from TB School, came to SS for Sixth form – also active with scout). Even though I heard that he stays near my mum’s house in Taman Jaya (Jalan Pusara), but I had not met him whenever I pray at the surau there – as if I am a regular!

Next from the back row that I can recall is Jamil (Upper Six Science then), second from left. Dr. Jamil is now with MARDI. He is married to his junior at SS, Norheini Bakar (I hope I got the spelling correct) who lived just two houses from my mum’s house. The last I met him was when I delivered “Growing Up in Trengganu” to his office in Serdang.

As for the rest in the photo – I have to apologise. I just cannot recall the name even though their faces are still fresh in my memory.

Well, back to our fire-fighting squad, we never had a follow up meeting after that photo session. And the squad just did not take off at all after that and the subsequent two years I was at SS. But, yes, we had a fire-fighting squad just for the school magazine in 1974.