2 nd April 2006 was a date to be remembered. It had been 34 years since I left Abu Bakar School Mentakab(ABS Mentakab) just before sitting for my Standard Five Assessment as my dad had to transfer to Kuantan.
The gathering ran smoothly from a fabulous welcome address by our old friend Cikgu Abd. Malek, a note from ex student representative Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah and a short speech from the present headmaster. We had photo sessions, a good lunch, tea and a round table talk. Most of us were either from Kuala Lumpur, Kuantan or Mentakab. We also had a friend who flew from Melbourne to be with us. Congratulations to the organizing committee headed by Rosemayati.
All the speeches given by my friends were interesting but a statement from Lee Kwang Chow, now Aaron Lee triggered my mind to recall all those good time during schooling days. He said that he never had a non chinese friend that he was so confortable with except for those who were from the primary(ABS).
What he had said about his feelings can be refered to other ethnic groups as well. At that age we were innocent and not influenced by any racial, political or social grudge. We spoke english or malay to each other no matter weather it was proper or broken. We played 'police and thief', 'guli', 'konda kondi', 'hopper', shared secrets and recipes without any hesitations. We trusted each other and the trust was based on sincerity, trustworthiness, good manners etc.
My 'closeness' to a non Malay friend however was extended until the secondary school. Since I was in a residential school, we grew together, eat, play, study and understand each other. I could still remember Lip Boon the left winger, Bhajan the left back and Visua the right half who played hockey with me the right winger, with all those penalty corners, penalty flicks, the goals and screaming in triumph after beating the better teams.
I still have non Malay friends with my involvement in non government organizations but as Aaron had pointed out, the closeness is not the same as those whom we knew during our younger days.