How do we explain the enduring passion (some would say obsession!) amongst former students of the Malay College Kuala Kangsar (MCKK) to return to their alma mater?
During my travels, I’ve often thought about the answer to that question. And in my case at least, the answer can be found in the tagline for this year’s Old Boys Weekend which was ‘Back home at last’.
There are many definitions of home, but the one I like the most is this one:
Someone’s or something’s place of origin, or the place where a person feels they belong.
The place where a person feels they belong. That’s my relationship with my alma mater. No matter how far I’ve travelled, or how long I’ve been away, arriving in Kuala Kangsar immediately feels like coming home at long last.
This year’s OBW was a much-anticipated event, especially since the last one we had was way back in 2019 before the pandemic. I had originally wanted to play for the MCOBA volleyball team against the present boys, but was unable to make it to the match on Saturday morning. Nevertheless, it felt really good to be able to catch up with fellow MCOBs, both young and not-so-young, over the course of the weekend. I saw loads of familiar faces, and thanks to the magic of social media, I was even able to quickly look up people’s names before marching confidently towards them to exchange pleasantries!
Nasi Goreng Ayam
No trip to Kuala Kangsar is complete without trying the local delicacies. For some, it’s cendol or rojak pasembor in Lembah, others swear by the fluffy buns that is pau Yut Loy, but my comfort food has always been nasi goreng ayam (NGA). I wrote about the NGA at Restoran Saudiah (a.k.a So’od) previously here, but because I expected there to be a million people eating at So’od during OBW, I detoured to Restoran Shah Reena instead.
Alhamdulillah, the NGA there was just as good as the one at So’od. Incidentally, did you know that you can now order So’od’s NGA on foodpanda? Me neither, but there you have it, the times they are a-changin’…
Kuala Kangsar Town
I wish I had more time to wander around Kuala Kangsar, but I had to leave by Sunday noon. Still, I took the opportunity while I was there to snap some pictures of various locations around town. Places like Kuala Kangsar have their own beauty, history, and majesty. If you don’t believe me, check out the spectacular sunset over Kuala Kangsar, or Masjid Ubudiah with its Moorish architecture in the gallery below.
Last week, my son asked me what I was doing over the weekend. I replied that I will be going to Kuala Kangsar to see my brothers. He looked slightly puzzled, but I explained to him that I’m lucky to have not one or two, but a few hundred brothers scattered all over the world. We may not have the same mother and father, but we are brothers nevertheless.
That is another sense in which MCKK is my home; it’s where I first gained my band of brothers. Who knows, perhaps one day my sons will be able to go through the same life-changing experience too, inshaAllah.