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It has been a while that this Sulaimanian blog was not updated (two weeks now). The pain was too much after knowing that the historic row of shop-houses at Keda Payang (Jalan Bandar) being demolished. As Awang Goneng said it well in Earth-Trembling Barbarism and Mabuk Kepayang, I was rather speechless or actually “hilang habis mood nak menaip”.

The final row of historic 100-years old concrete (not the shabby wooden one eh) shoplot at Keda Payang is now gone FOREVER!!! One cannot rebuilt it with whatever technology they have today. Even if they do – it will be a new one – a value void. What more when the new one is alien to the cultural and historical values of the town.

Six months ago, the traders along the row of Jalan Bandar and Jalan Banggol were issued a notice to evacuate the premise – just when they were preparing for the Raya sales. Together with the traders, we set-up the Action Committee (Badan Bertindak Peniaga Jalan Bandar dan Jalan Banggol) [Read our protest]. We only managed to voice out our protest and to delay the evacuation notice – well and good for the traders (I am happy to be able to do that little things for them).  (Read – the justification why a 30-days notice was such hooligan idea)

But we were unable to stop the ultimate demolition by the hooligans who things development must destroy strongly built structure and replace with sans historical values. Never had they learn the many “monetary motivated” projects that had collapsed or poorly built (especially in Terengganu). All their justifications to demolish the area does not stand at all. (read more: here)

I would be ashamed if those involved in the hooligan decision to destroy whatever heritage under the name of Heritage Board (Lembaga Tabung Warisan Amanah Negeri Terengganu) are Sulaimanians (shame shame on you!!!). (Read how a 14th year old girl values heritage) As that should not be the way we value culture, heritage and history. (also read Pokku’s article here)

But then our school had also faced similar destruction. An old building which was part of Sultan Sulaiman’s palace area given for the school that were later used as the scout den where we had our gatherings and meetings.

I was shocked after visiting the school many years ago to see the historical building is gone FOREVER !!! Replaced with a sans value water tower.We do not oppose the need to build such a water reservoir but is that the only location they can build it? With such a large 44.4 acres of land area the school have – why must it be there?

The building has its historical value. Picture below shows His Highness Almarhum Sultan Sulaiman photo session after greeting the group of business entourage from China and some local Chinese traders (including the three Al-Yunani’s) with the “scout den” as the background. The fact that the building was used as the backdrop to treatised the end of their meeting shows the significant of the building. Also seen in the picture were Almarhum Sultan Ali (then as a boy sitting next to his father) and Almarhum Sultan Ismail (then Tengku Paduka).

One has to see the building to appreciate. The flooring was with such a beautiful floral “mosaic/tile” that one can never find anymore. The carving in the interior, the unique carving on the roof top, and amazingly not a single piece of the wood used for the building show its age. The only damage one can see then (when the scout took over for its den) were the broken roof tiles which we then collected some money in the early 70s and had it repaired.

Why must our sans value development be made in the expense of our heritage and historical memorials?

bunting gatheringIt was quite a let down … at least for me. Maybe my expectation was a bit high. But then the expectation should be high being the premier school in the state.

I do not know the final numbers that came but for the one hour I was there maybe there were about a little over 60 people. As most people come and go (like me), but the number is a far cry from when it was organised at the same venue 7-8 years ago (2002?). I was told it was then “organised” by Allahyarham Datuk Razali Ismail (Pengarah Pelajaran Negeri) together with the headmaster then, Tuan Haji Daud bin Jusoh.

The hall was almost full then – but with a more senior crowds (60s and 70s era) than it was yesterday (mainly late 70s and 80s era).  Not only did they have many former students then but many former teachers also attended versus yesterday – if I count it correctly only 2! I was with a former HM (my cousin) the day before and mentioned to him about the gathering – but unfortunately he was not aware (he is staying just next door to one of the pro-tem committee’s parents’ house)

Anyhow, I would like to share some of the photos …

Manja and Manan

The pro-tem committee chairman Manja Man (baju Melayu) giving his speech with Manan Ngah (in white) as the MC.


This is the best angle I could do to have the most crowd captured in one shot. (Shot taken at about 12.54pm) Though there were another less than 10 in a group on the right (not captured) and also slightly more then 10 gathered outside the hall. Some puffing away – which I then jokingly (as if still a prefect!) told them that they cannot be smoking in the school compound. But seriously, we should have a little respect – the school is a not smoking area (still – even though you are an alumni).


Who would not remember Cikgu Che Ma Sulaiman … I came in while she was giving her speech but I noticed not even half were listening. She is now still teching at the Pusat Bahasa Terengganu (located at PPAT).

ong yeo ibni

Ong Huat Beng, Yeo Sin Soon and Ibni Amin.

Alias Onn - Karim - SS Alumni

That is me with Alias Onn (now with Kementerian Pelajaran) [photo courtesy of Yeo Sin Soon – from his Tirok’s facebook] talking (photo below) to Soh Wee Hock, Suhaimee (Atan) Yassin (Bank Rakyat) – we were all of MCE74.

weehock atan

As I had made my comments before [Majlis Perjumpaan Aidilfitri], we could have more numbers:

  1. If we do it at night. Third Raya is full with invitations. Weddings, engagements lah … and of course the Raya open houses itself. And for me, besides those I still have many many relatives yet to visit. We seldom do Raya visits at night. Thus, we can have more time together.
  2. If the publicity is more. I maybe wrong. I did not see banners all over the town – at strategic locations. I saw one (considered small!) near the school main entrance (poorly design to be visible [colour scheme] considering you have to manoeuvre the steering as you drive by the slight bend there. Kan we have the pro-tem committee President “tauke besar media”. Should have optimised it. Even the “Official Alumni SS” website does not say anything about the gathering. At least this blog mentioned numerous times …
  3. Maybe the registration fee for the gathering also hinders the participation?
  4. Maybe we should ensure more participation from the earlier eras, former teachers and HMs
  5. Maybe the committee should be people of various age group. Remember, we now have two generations (some even already 3rd generation) as Sulaimanians. Consider a Reunion – Celebrating Two Generations of Sulaimanians!

Whatever it is, I would like to congratulate the committee members and those who took the initiatives and their hard work to bring together the former students of Sultan Sulaiman Secondary School. Maybe another grandeur event to be identified and start organising now.

One last comment – the music and singing was really unnecessary. We were not there for that. It just does not blend well when the committee President asked all of us to begin the event with Al-Fatihah only to be continued by singing and music right after his speech.


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.

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