This Time 30 years Ago…

Nafis (my no.4 child) is now sitting for his SPM examinations. It’s now raining heavily in Kota Bharu (where Nafis is), and many roads out of Kota Bharu are closed due to flooding (as of today’s  evening news).

Exactly 30 years ago, I was in his situation. 30 years ago I was in the final weeks of my Form 5, and was sitting for my MCE (Malaysian Certificate of Education) exams, which is equivalent to his SPM. I was in the last batch of the so called English medium, where we studied the Maths (Modern Maths & Additional Maths) and Sciences (Biology, Physics & Chemistry) in English, whilst the other subjects were taught in Bahasa.

Strangely, in 1979, it was also raining heavily, as we were going through our weeks of examinations. I remember, just a couple of days before the exams ended, there was a huge land slide in Kuala Bala – something like a hill collapsed and a clinic was submerged under mud! I remember I went to town (Kota Bharu) to buy a bag to pack my stuff. It was sunny in Kota Bharu. Over the radio, we heard about the land slide, and the following day Kota Bharu was flooded!

On the morning we sat for our final paper (Additional Mathematics) , it was raining heavily. We were in the school hall. The moment we stepped out of the hall, our feet were submerged in water up to our ankles! As if the tough exam paper (I did find it tough) was not enough, when we went into the Dining Hall, we were only served with HALF piece of a miserable dried fish (ikan kering) and a little sardine (canned) each! It was the last day, so the storeroom didn’t have much dry food. I think they finished the eggs for breakfast. Unfortunately, on that day, the area around my school (Pengkalan Chepa) was no longer accessible except by heavy vehicle, so our perishables didn’t arrive, hence the lunch with canned and dried fish!

Our planned farewell party/meal in the classroom was so quiet and uneventful at all. It was attended by hardly half of the class, as most of my friends were fetched by their parents much earlier. I remember instead of fried noodles that we planned to have, we only had some dry crackers that my friends and I managed to buy at a small local grocery shop. It was surely a very sad moment. There was no cake, no jelly, no fruit as we intially planned 😦 . I think we had some ground nuts..

Now, with the heavy rain in Kota Bharu, I hope Nafis doesn’t have to experience what I did exactly 30 years ago…

Here is a shot of my school more than 30 years ago:


Note part of the roof of the dining hall (front left, behind the tree) which was grey. Now the roof is red! The wall-less middle block is our (then) newly constructed canteen.

And now (taken in 2007):


The canteen is now fully walled, and air-conditioned too! Note the same block behind the bare canteen? Now there is another building between that block (Block A) and the Dining Hall (red roof). The later has part of the Main Hall on the right hand side.

Another shot taken in 2007:

aidiladhha-2006-smstmfp-01-01-2007-11-46-49Both the dining hall (red roof) and the canteen have grown bigger (wider)!

It was so yellow/orange during my days:


Can you see the canteen again, behind the Main Hall (red/orange roof). There used to be a volleyball court next to the hall, but now there are covered car parks instead (see the earleir pic).

But very green now:


Footnote: Yeah, Nafis is my only child who managed to study at my alma-mater 🙂

To Nafis, if you happen to read this blog entry, Mama would like to wish you all the best in the examinations. I know, you will not let any of us down!



  1. Sabar, you were right. With the gloomy weather, improper meals and sitting for one of the toughest paper surely put most of us down. Ingat tak,we had our exam in classroom ( 2 or 3 opened up) in block B. The hall was used by the malay medium friends from our school and also from MRSM nearby. I remember that we had our Add Maths exam (last paper) almost an hour late because the head invigilator got stuck on the way to our school because of the flood. It was indeed a ‘sad’ experience. I missed the farewell ‘party’ — went home right after the exam.


  2. i notice one difference between 1995 n 2007. back then the canteen have not been air-conditioned.
    i am many years your junior, n yet it has been 14 years since i sat for SPM.


  3. I can remember the 1st and the 4th photo, but there looked like to be some buildings which weren’t there when I left in 1976. By the way, where was the canteen ?


  4. Okay, just so you know, I am genuine, i think the headclass in my class is someone by the name of Mohammad Hashim, or Hashim Mohammad, or something like that. But in my class there is also a fellow which goes by the name puyoh, sorry, i cant remember your name mate. And there’s Zaitun, and there’s Zainun from Pasir Mas. And there’s … err… those names eluded me. Sorry.


  5. Man,
    For photo no.2, please look at the little bit of the main hall to get your bearing. The canteen is still there, but so are a few other extensions..

    The Dining hall has been expanded sideway, that’s why it looks “low” and the parking space looks smaller now..

    I hope the above explanation helps.


  6. Hashim Mohamed passed away just a over a week ago.
    Are you from the first batch that sat for SPM/MCE? Because The late Hashim was..
    I was in form 1 in 1975, so I didn’t know many of the seniors 😦


  7. Ow now it all coming back together…. Yes Nasir Hasan is in my class. So also is Sudin kepala besar, sorry again mate. And there’s Nurhayati, and there Che Kamala.. something.
    So sorry about Mohammad Hasim.

    Yes Nordeen zakariya sat behind me in class. In 1976 I was sitting the MCE.
    And i remember Muhibbah Ahmad who was in Form 4 Beta ?

    And thanks also for giving me the right bearing. But having to wake up early enough as to get water for a shower was definitely tough, especially when i am a day sleeper. Was called and punished once by the biology teacher (cant remember name) coz nodding in class. LoL, that was some days.

    As for FB, il try to make some entry, i am not the greatest at making entrances into facebook.


  8. I think you got it wrong. The one who passed away was Hashim mohamed. Mohd Hashim (your batch, mayb?) is still alive.
    Pls email me privately for more information. I think I do have a lot of info that might interest you 🙂 . My email is


  9. Was it Hashim Mohamad from Kg. Kota that passed away. If it is so then he must be from my class 4-5 Beta of batch 75-76. The last time I heard, he was at Felda.Please confirmed. By the way who is Man as appeared on 04 Jan 2013. tq


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