Sunday, June 27, 2010

A fatality at the RMC

I’m saddened to hear of the untimely demise of Mohd Naim on June 24, 2010 at the RMC, my alma mater. He died as a result of ragging that went awry. Ragging the universal terminology now conveniently termed ‘orientation’ (which seemed more acceptable) has always been there.

In mild a form it helps facilitate lifelong friendships. It should not, however develop into plain bullying prompted by revenge or some misguided mob reaction by a few seniors.

During our time in 1960 at P. Dickson it was all done in good fun and innocence. It was called ‘dumping’. We, as new boys were forcibly carried by the seniors in the wee hours of the morning from our beds and dumped into the ‘tub’. The tub then was a concrete 3’x4’x15’ of icy cold water. We were dumped in one by one.

We were awakened by the shuffling of feet when the next bed was done in. We just waited for our turn silently ( I did not hear of anyone who escaped by running away to hide in all the years!) It was all done in fun.

When they came I just played dead, 4 seniors physically carried me, while 2 (1 on each side) applied the army supplied shoe-shine material all over our body. The dark and black material served no other purpose as it would not shine as well as a ‘kiwi’ did. So it was put to good use just for ‘dumping’ We would then spend a good part of the early morning to wash off the messy material.

There was no physical violence, no beatings and nobody got hurt. Every one of the new boys was given the same treatment. In fact, we anticipated it and plainly enjoyed being carried to the ‘loo’ for once. This only happened once or twice on a weekend in the First Term. It could be termed as a ‘mischief’ an outlet to let off steam in a fun way and I emphasized again ‘nobody got hurt’

I remember we did it to the new boys in 1961 (when we became seniors) in a similar way that ‘we were taught’. It was all in good fun ‘and again nobody got hurt’

When we shifted to Sg Besi, the utility facilities were very much improved. There were showers. But there was still a small tub (?3’x4’x5’) to cater for those who prefer to use a dipper to splurge water over them instead of the shower. For ‘dumping’ purposes it was just too small, and ‘dumping’ was conveniently forgotten. It would have been dangerous as the mosaic flooring was still very much slippery compared to the cement floor of old in PD. I don’t remember of any ‘dumping’ in Sg Besi.

When one person was singled out by a group and subjected to torture and beatings as what happened in the late Mohd Naim’s case then this was just plain gangsterism. When a person was doing ‘push-ups’ he was in a most vulnerable position. Apparently the late Mohd Naim was made to do push-ups. He could be easily kicked from any direction, and he could be stomped on. The stomach, kidneys and spleen were very easily hurt without much efforts even with a bare foot and with a reasonably strong force.  Internal injuries could not be known or seen until it was too late.

The TUDM trainee in Kepala Batas Alor Star and the boy in a Seremban school went through such severe punishments. Both did not survive, just as the late Mohd Naim.

The 5 or so boys from the Seremban school were charged with murder and were now languishing in Kajang Prison (I stand corrected) The 5 RMC boys on remand if found guilty may share the same fate, and held at the Ruler’s pleasure. Since there was a precedent and this was now a police case we could only wait for the outcome and expect the worst.Those involved in the TUDM case were similarly dealt with.

It was a waste of good talents. It was just a pity. I would not wish to delve too much into this. The less said the better.

Contrary to what some bloggers had said about the future of RMC, however, I believe it is very relevant still. There’s no 2 ways about it. It is everything a residential school is PLUS the military training acquired. That is unique! There are some black sheep but they can be dealt with in what designated ways that are appropriate.

The RMC stays!


abdulhalimshah said...

Dear Hank,
The so-called "ragging" has been converted to "hazing" for the last fifteen years or so and it goes on for the whole year. It is really demeaning and some just quit and went back to their former school. One of them was my wife's nephew (cousin's son) who had to become a virtual "batman" who had to do everything for the senior everyday apart from having to do his chores, from the moment he wakes up till lights out.

What I just cannot comprehend is the College authorities just condoned this practice and hardly issued a standing order of the do's and dont's and even if any action is taken, it was just an eyewash. I suspect the good traditions of which we went through from the PD days had been superseded by sadistic practices by the seniors and the values which we were brought up had been obliterated by the later generations of Budak Boys. If this idiotic "hazing" does not stop forthwith, then the RMC should drop its honorific "Royal" from the crest and perhaps be substituted by "Ragging".

kaykuala said...

Dear Hal,
This is something new. When we were there, it was just for about the first 3 months or so. After that we were buddies with everyone and it remained to this day. The mutual respect, wanting to and giving the helping hand whenever needed and expected were always there.

The esprit de corps and expected comradeship should be more apparent as we were exposed to the presence of military tradition from day one.

I hope these were isolated cases, otherwise, the leadership has its hands full. With things in the open, public scrutiny is obvious.

abdulhalimshah said...

Dear Hank,
We should not become a nation governed by " Public Opinion" but we should have a government consisting of individuals who are enlightened and imbued with the noble values of fairness and justice but at the same time rational and able to lead the country to excellence and with dignity. The hollow slogan of "People First" and "Performance Now" are misleading and confusing the people. The Govt must not back down to unreasonable and illogical demands from people who are out to destroy and wreck the Nation by their insatiable greed and avarice. If you are going to be dictated by idiots and fools, then you should not be leading but just remain as followers. Leaders are made of sterner stuff and lend your ear to the ground but make decisions not based on irrational emotions and expediency rather than on sound principles of good governance.