Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Year After And The Sovereign’s Parade 1961

Image:1  The 'G' Coy 1961. The Company Commander Capt Jim Bradley and Company Tutor En Azman (seated from left 4th and 6th respectively)

Image:2 The DYMM the Deputy Yang DiPertuan Agong ( the then DYMM Sultan of Trengganu ) inspecting the Guard of Honour

Image:3 The DYMM the Dy Yang DiPertuan Agong taking the Royal Salute

Image:4 March Past in Slow March by the Junior Cadets

Image:5 The March Past by the Boys Following Closely behind the Cadets

Image:6 March Past in Quick Time by the Senior Cadets followed closely by the Junior Cadets

Image:7 March Past in Quick Time by the F, G, and H Coys

Image: 8 The Senior Cadets Marched Off as commissioned officers to the strains of the Auld Lang Syne

Image: 9 The DYMM the Dy Yang DiPertuan Agong being taken around the Boy's Wing complex upon completion of the Parade. The entourage was just getting out of the Dining Hall (foreground on the right). In the background is seen the Classroom Block with the QM's office on the ground floor.

Image:10 Some of the guests in front of D Coy.

The Big Move

The Big Move to Sg Besi ( SB ) from Port Dickson ( PD ) went off smoothly without a hitch in April 1961. It was then the First Term school holidays. On the Big Day we found ourselves already up and about in the wee hours of the morning, overly excited bent on the Big Move, the Big Shift to our new home.

The convoy of 3-tonners (the Military lorries) left early in the morning. Heavily ladened these lorries went on a pleasant and somewhat reasonable speed. It must have taken us about 2 hrs, maybe more,,I could not quite recollect. We approached SB town along the old winding Sg Besi road from the south, thus avoiding the city.

There was a tinge of sadness upon realizing that we were going to miss the fresh air and the breeze of the sea in PD. We were earlier briefed that SB was not that much different from what we were used to. The new FMC ( later RMC) was to be at the far end of the huge Field Command of the Armed forces just outside SB town ( a modest tiny town comprising a few rows of shophouses ) We conjured a picture of smog and din, typical of an industrial environment but not so. Industrial SB was there but only along both sides of the road from K. Lumpur before reaching the SB town.

While our new complex was quiet and peaceful it was small consolation as we missed the tranquillity of the seaside and the sea breeze. There were attempts to equate the sea that we missed to the old mining pools that were dotted around but it was futile. We had some semblance of the sea breeze though only because we were situated atop a hill and we had a fair share of a light breeze most times.

Physically the Boy’s Wing was isolated up the hill away from the Cadet Wing down below. We shared some facilities ( the Dewan Templer, the Covered Concourse and the sports field) but otherwise we did not bump into them as often as before ( when we shared also the faculty teaching staff ) Even when we came down to the Administrative Block ( next to the Cadet Wing) to have our hair-cut or encash our cheques we did not get to meet them either.Aside from that, all our other facilities were within easy reach atop the hill

Incidentally, each one of us received a monthly allowance of between RM30 to RM60 (depending on age ). This was the quantum 50 years ago and it was big money then. Some of the more frugal ones were known to regularly send small monthly sums to their parents. There were some moving stories that we knew of poor parents who successfully managed to see through their other siblings with such help.

We could withdraw the stipend through cheques drawn against our accounts at the Paymaster’s Office at our own time ( as long as we had a credit balance) Our cheques styled like any other bank cheque-books were valid at the Paymaster’s Office and nowhere else. It was most convenient as we did not have to queue up every payday to get our money.

Unlike in PD where we were housed in single-storey wooden barracks, in SB we were in 2 blocks of a 4-storey building. The A Block housed the A,B,C, and D Coys (Coy stands for Company) with the A Coy at the top. The B Block housed the remaining 4 Coys ie the E, F, G and H Coys with E Coy at the top. The Dining-Hall and canteen were just in front of the A Block. There were 2 other blocks which housed the Class-rooms, Library, Science Labs, the Administration and the Q ( Quarter Master which supplied the uniforms and military equipment).

All told, the various facilities were within a 50m radius, except for the Dhoby ( Laundry ) which was way down near the sporting field. We sent to the Dhoby all those items supplied to us, our uniforms, comprising the PD Green shirts, long pants, shorts, long green stockings and socks ( what we heard in the later years the Puteras had to do their own washings)

At the Dorm, we were given a Dunlopillo mattress each instead of the ‘coconut husk’ types as in PD before. We had a wardrobe each but no more the 3’x2x1.5’ ‘ heavy green boxes’ to keep our ‘knick-knacks’. In its place, we had a 2-tiered plywood box which was smaller in size but served the same purpose.

The utilities (bathing and toilet facilities) were an improvement in that we now had showers unlike before ( where we used dippers from a big and long cement tub) For those who still preferred ‘dippers’ a smaller tub was still made available for them.

Another big change was in the Prep facility accorded to us.Prep was from 1915hrs(7.15pm) till 2100hrs. In PD Prep was done in the Class-rooms at our own desks and separated from each other. In SB however, Prep was in a big room at the end of the corridor where we had to sit on long benches next to each other with the desks attached to the wall. We got into each other’s way initially but somehow we managed.

In a way the change of location also meant that we had to make a number of adjustments. This was particularly so for those who had experienced PD with its luxury of ‘space’ but found some ‘restrictive’ changes in SB.

We somehow could adjust better as our military training every Saturdays kept us fit and alert. Our week-end and Annual Camps further taught us that adversities and harshness experienced in a jungle environment strengthened our resolve that given any others were considered a luxury. So SB was a luxury, no doubt about it!

The Sovereign’s Parade 1961

The Sovereign’s Parade was to be the closing event every year where the Senior Cadets would receive their commissions from the King, the DYMM Yang DiPertuan Agong in a Passing-Out Parade. It marked their entry into the Armed Forces as a young subaltern officer for a full-time career in the Army, Navy or Air Force. In 1961, the Sovereign's Parade was graced however with the royal presence of the DYMM, the Deputy Yang DiPertuan Agong, the Sultan of Trengganu.


mood@yemen said...

OP Hank Sir,

So nostalgic, the good old days, even when I was a Boy in 75-77 we still received RM40 - RM70 based on year, being 40 ringgit for the form 4s, the first allowance I received I used 20 ringgit to purchase my first jean, a saddleking, in 1976 when I was in form 5 we organised a trip to PD, but the old barracks were gone, but Sebatang Kara was still there.

OP Mood 7577

kaykuala said...

Dear OP Mood,
Nice of you to drop by, buddy! Was the allowance given according to year and not age? When we came in 1960 ( at Form 3 ) there were those still ‘under fifteen’. I thought they got less than others already ‘over fifteen’ even though we were all in the same class. I don’t quite remember now.

Are you stationed in Yemen. What are you doing there? If you are, tell us something about Yemen. I guess not many have been to Yemen.
OP Hank G60-64

mood@yemen said...

OP Hank Sir,

During my years in RMC we received based on our year, i.e. 40 ringgit for the form 4s, 50 ringgit form5, 60 ringgit L6, & 70 ringgit U6. I have never had so much money before joing RMC, so I managed to give some to my siblings everytime I went home. Starting last year everbody received 100 ringgit.

For the past 3 1/2 years I have been working with state-own O&G company in the desert of Yemen. The poorest Arab country. Many Malaysian students, privately sponsored studying in the madrasahs, but I never got the chance to visit them, the security concern being the number one issue. Even while at work, I remain in the central production facilities & camp, and monitor the field work by assigning local subordinates. Prior to 2007 I was with OGP, a Petronas subsidiary, Sudan project.

OP Mood 7577

kaykuala said...

Dear OP Mood,
Great! Yes, That is true. Me too and a lot of other OPs were like that. We felt we had it so good that we wanted to share as much with our other siblings at home.

I see u are doing fine. Just a little bit of sacrifice now in the desert. We've been thru worst in the jungles. Keep it up!

Btw, try go to 'dalu dalu'
OP Halim has 4 OPs on his blogroll (OP Stupe, OP Zam, OP Azudin & myself) You'll be connected to 5 OP bloggers plus Datuk Norzah, Pak Cik Hassan Al-Manar & a few others. Stay in touch! Salam