Nowadays, if i mention 'sekolah atap', not many people (especially younger generation) can imagine how is it look like. 'Atap' (in English also known as attap) is roof pieces made from sagoo/palm (rumbia/nipah/sagu) leaves. It also known as 'atap rumbia', 'atap nipah'. Here, i attached the pictures of how 'atap rumbia' were made and how they were fixed to be a roof (pictures above). Today, if you want to see 'atap rumbia' you can find them a lot in KL. You can go to 'restoran atap rumbia' or sometimes they used these 'atap' as a roof for gazebo (picture below-right).
Actually, my intention here is to tell you about my early schooling. I did not attend any pre-school class (TADIKA). My first education (Darjah 1 or Standard One) was started in 1966 at Sekolah Kebangsaan Seri Rejo Sari. It distance about 3km from my house. But, 3km at that time (1966) was totally different as what we feel today. My bro/sis and me went to school by bicycle. The first 200 meters were 'C class' tarmac road, then cross the bridge and next 1km was laterite track (jalan tanah merah) and last 1.5km was 'tanah gambut' (peat soil) track. The most challenging and suffering time was after raining. The laterite plus earth soil track became muddy and sticky and the peat soil mixed with trapped water became 'lecak' or 'becak' nearly like 'bubur kacang hitam'. Just imagine when you cycle on this kind of track? You will never seen my white shoes shown a white colour at any day. Wearing socks was something luxury at that time. 20% of the pupils (boys only) went to school with bare foot or 'kaki ayam'.
Who said i like to go to school?. Going to school was somekind of punishment to me. I have to wake up early morning and take a bath. Take a morning bath? Really a torturing activity. We did not have bathroom with tap water. Orang kampung semua mandi kolam. 'Kolam' (well) like a 'swimming pool' today. I will talk about taking bath in the 'kolam'.
The motive of the story is, i did not like morning bath. So cold. So, most of the time I just washed my face.... hahaha. Brushing teeth? Something luxury. I have to share the tooth brush with my brothers and to avoid sharing, i didnt brush my teeth. Once a week may be....., Do not laugh. That was normal thing for the boys at that time. Nobody taught you about the need of brushing your teeth. Not important. If your teeth got rotten and shaky, easy.... tie it with a sewing thread, close your eyes and snatch it. No dentist required. Lucky, today I still have my teeth.
Come back to the original story. My primary school was established in 1938 (before World War 2). When i joined the school in 1966, the school building is divided into 2 parts. Standard 2 to Standard 6 learned in permanent buildings. Half wooden wall and the upper half was wire net, zink roofing and cement floor (broken here and there). When the rain fell onto the zink roof, the class got to be stooped, so noisy!.
As a most junior students, Standard One classes were placed at temporary 'complex' made by; no wall and no flooring (bare peat earth). The post (tiang) was 'batang pinang', the bench and table foot were made by bamboo and the table surface were made by 3 piece of one inch thick board (we called it 'papan gembong'). What happened in the raining day? The classes were also stopped. The rain were blown into the class, everybody will scrummage at the centre of the class!. That's how I faced my first year of my schooling. Who expect the product of that kind of pupils is now the Colonel in the RMAF?. Do not blame the Malay children (at that time), if they did not like to go to school!
My first teacher in primary school who taught me A, B, C was Cikgu Jemaon bin Hj Nasir (he taught all the subjects except Agama Islam and English Language). My English teacher was Cikgu Zainal Abidin bin Hassan and my Ustaz was Cikgu Aswoto bin Saion.
Among my classmates from Parit Lapis Mahang were (almost all were girls),twin Junainah and Junaidah Yassin, Jamaliah Sardi, Rosesidah Roslan, Shahrom Md Shah, Kamisah Kasmuni and Siti Miskiah Sumadi.
You wanna know how I experiencing my first month in Standard One. BASICALLY I DID NOT LIKE TO GO TO SCHOOL. Every morning I was forced to wake up for school. I could not remember how many time they have to wake me up before I am ready to wake up. I was so weak and getting very easy to cry (in Malay = kememeh and in Jawa = gembeng). In Malay we called it 'kememeh' or in Javanese 'gembeng'. My sister (Rahimah) got to wait me at the back of the classroom every morning. At that time she was in Std 6. When she looked me already settled down in the class, she will quietly leave me. But when I realised that she was not around, I will cry again. I think I was being like that for about 2 weeks before I really settled down and could stand on my own feet.
The old building of my school was opened by then District Officer of Batu Pahat, Dato Mohd Seth bin Mohd Said on 5 March 1950 and the new school building was officially opened by the then Minister of Education, Encik Mohd Khir bin Johari (almarhum Tan Sri) on 5th July 1968. The picture below is the present school building which was built in late 80s. The school emblem was not like this before.
Start from Dj 4 onward, my education's performance can be said as excellent. Every exam i maintained first in the class.
My Dj 4 class teacher was Cikgu Ahmad Hj Salleh. He rode big bike (Triumph, we called it Terompah) to school everyday. During the raining season, he left his bike at orang kampong's house before entering the second phase of the route to school. Otherwise he had to carry his bike!. In this year (1969) i had one teacher from Milwaukee, Wauwatosa, USA (under Peace Corp programme), his name is Thomas Joseph Huwiler (Mr Tom). He taught Science and English. He introduced Science Lab and also audio visual aid room. The condition of the 'laboratory' is very difficult to described here. That year also we watched Neil Amstrong and Edwin Aldrin landed on the moon through the 'only television' in the school. Off course 'black and white'.
After more than 40 years (1969-2009) I still remember one 'formula' how to memorize the colour sequence of the rainbow. "Mat Jambul Ke Hutan Bawa Nasi Ulam'..... "Merah, Jingga, Kuning, Hijau, Biru, Nila, Ungu". Thank You Mr Tom. He came down to Malaysia 'once' sometime in the end of 70s. I hope 'one day' you will come back to Malaysia and meet us again.
My class teacher for Dj 5 was Cikgu Mahyun Hj Yusuf (almarhum). My ustaz was Cikgu Shariff bin Omar and my English teacher was Mr Yee Kong Heng. I was also announced as the best student in 'Peperiksaan Penilaian Darjah 5 (1970) with 3A1B1C. What subject i got C? Off course my English. No one else got more than 1A. At that time 3A for 'sekolah kampong' was something a rare species!. Who else want tu 'angkat' my 'bakul'?.
My final year in Primary School also had a different story. First I joined Class 6A. My class teacher was Cikgu Khamis bin Sujak (almarhum). He was suffering obesity and also minor-psych (he admitted himself). When everybody in the class in serious situation, he smile or laugh. When we all in happy mood, suddenly he got excited and angry. Sometime he slept in the class (macam Cikgu Shaari (P.Ramlee dalam cerita Masam-masam Manis). He knew me very well. He is closed to my family and used to overnite in my house to avoid daily travelling from Batu Pahat town to school. He sympathised me for his handicap and could not give his attention to me (as the excel student- 'perasannn'). So, on his initiative, I was transferred to the other class which had a good class teacher. Unfortunately this teacher (Cikgu Redzo bin Hj Sidek) was so 'garang' and like to punish his students. One of the punishment was, when he asked any question, the student who could not answered the question will be punished. If the 4th student manged to answer, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd had to carry (dukung) the lucky student round the class room. Regardless of boy or girl. What sort of funny punishment?. Slap or slash with 3 feet ruler was a normal for us.
After his retirement, Cikgu Khamis continued his close relationship with my family. Though we do not have blood relationship, he and his family never failed to visit my parents every Hari Raya, normally, in the afternoon of first Raya. And I am a poor 'anak murid' Inever been to his house (at Jalan Pantai, Minyak Beku) throughout my life.
My elder brother, Khamim was a hero in the school. Throughout my tour in primary school, he was my protector. Whoever trying to disturb or bully me, that person will get paid from my brother.
My good friends in Primary School.
I did not have many friends because my outdoor activities after school time and during weekend was very limited. My activities were controlled by my father. I could not simply mixed over with anybody. As I informed earlier, everyday, I must at home by 5pm for Qur'an recital. During weekend I got to help my parent in 'kebun'.
However, in school, I got few close friends, Norjaie bin Amin (from Parit Kadir Darat); Razali basir (leave nearby to school); Md Khir Sarikin (called him Nuk) and Abd Wahid Abd Aziz, both from Parit Mahang. Since Khir and Wahid were cycling toward the same way home, so i was closer to both of them. Everyday we cycled together. Sometime, during weekend we went for fishing at Parit Botak river mouth.
Other School Activities
Other than being recognised as excellent in education, i had nothing extra. Poor in sport and other school activities. I liked to join Boy Scout Movement, but not allowed my father. I never ask why? As i explained earlier, who is my father. (May be) the reason was he did not like 'unggun api' in the scout camping, where the scout surrounded the 'unggun api' doing the performance. Close to the event where 'Nabi Ibrahim' was burn by Namrud.
However, when i was in secondary school, he did not say anything when i joined Boy Scout activities.