A Fire Fighting Squad Indeed
Yes, in 1974, our Sultan Sulaiman Secondary School had a Fire Fighting Squad.Probably we were the only school that had such a squad then. We even have the squad’s photo in that year’s school magazine. But many did not know about the squad – even for those who were in that photo.
We had several obstacles and delays toward forming a fully operational committee. Together with my close buddy, Syed Fattah (we were also then among the prime mover with the Scout movement – taking over from our seniors such as Ghafar Mohd Nor, Bukhari (Bob) and “Cacho” – who were then slowing down their scouting activities) – we discussed and discussed with the appointed teacher in-charge then, Cikgu Arifin Wahab, it just does not proceed.
Then came the photo taking session day. From the early morning, one after another group had their photo taken. Despite the official committee was not formed yet, I approached our Cikgu, that we need to have our squad photo taken too (even though just with the current pro-tem committee). He agreed. I grouped a few that I can recall and happened to be around there – who had at least been interested with the squad.
But we only had about five people, thus we grab in a few more of our friends just to be in the photo and pretend to be the squad members.At least we have eleven – reasonable number for a committee.
With others having something to show. The prefects have their tie and jacket. The scouts in their uniform. Hockey team would have a pair of hockey stick crossed. Or some would show off their medals. What do we have? No uniform.
I grabbed Fattah to follow me to the nearby Administration Block, pulled down two heavy fire extinguishers and placed it one in front him and the other in front of me. Old and rusty pair indeed. Well, those are the only ones available nearby. Anyway, we would never find a better one even if we run around the school looking. All were rusty from the nearby salty sea breeze.
Thirty four years had passed, I cannot remember many of the names in the photo and who were really “in the squad” or those that I just grabbed for the photo session.
Obviously that Fattah and myself were seated next to Cikgu Arifin. Seated next to Fattah was a close friend but memory of his name had eroded from me at this moment. Far left is Razali, from the Arts stream of our batch – now a teacher in Kuala Terengganu – but had not met him for more than 10 years.
On my left is Arwah Chacho (who had passed away a few years after that while studying in ITM Shah Alam [UiTM now]) and far right is Tg. Zailan, our class monitor then. The last time I met him was when he was serving as an ASP at Bukit Aman almost 20 years ago.
Standing, from right, Fattah Alias (from TB School, came to SS for Sixth form – also active with scout). Even though I heard that he stays near my mum’s house in Taman Jaya (Jalan Pusara), but I had not met him whenever I pray at the surau there – as if I am a regular!
Next from the back row that I can recall is Jamil (Upper Six Science then), second from left. Dr. Jamil is now with MARDI. He is married to his junior at SS, Norheini Bakar (I hope I got the spelling correct) who lived just two houses from my mum’s house. The last I met him was when I delivered “Growing Up in Trengganu” to his office in Serdang.
As for the rest in the photo – I have to apologise. I just cannot recall the name even though their faces are still fresh in my memory.
Well, back to our fire-fighting squad, we never had a follow up meeting after that photo session. And the squad just did not take off at all after that and the subsequent two years I was at SS. But, yes, we had a fire-fighting squad just for the school magazine in 1974.
note: please write to me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you can identify those in the photo
p.s. [23 Feb 2009]:
A senior reminded me that there was indeed a fire fighting squad already the year before. Yes, it was and we even had a fire drill once in 1973 and I was also in that fire fighting squad that year too. But that was it. Unlike other uniform bodies or society, our squad did not really have the regular activities. The teachers in charge were Mr Han and Ustaz Ibrahim.
As for the names in the 1974 photo above, here is the complete list:
Sitting [L-R]: Razali Yahya, Ariffin, Syed Abd. Fattah, Cikgu Ariffin Wahab, Karim Omar (me), arwah Nor Azaharuddin (Chacho), Tg. Mohd Zailan
Standing [L-R]: Khalid Ambak, Jamil, Fadli Muda, Zulkifli, Abdul Fattah Alias
The photo was taken on 16 July 1974.