When I was a little girl, I studied at SRK Marian Convent, Tambun, Ipoh. I enrolled into my standard one, Darjah Satu Mawar, and my class teacher is Puan Loo. It was in 1991, a staggering 23 years ago. I still remember vividly, the day I went to school. I remember feeling very scared, anxious, and curious. Hordes of parents accompanied their children, but not me. My mom put me on the bus, and asked me to recognize the uncle bus plate number and his face. I did not cry, but I watched many kids cried.
Every morning, I will be the first few to reach the school and pupils were to line up according to our classes in a row. Prefects will monitor the students, and humiliating punishments such as stand up, stand outside the hall and or stand on the stage will be carried out to those who are noisy, did not sit straight according to classrow, or eating in the hall. Drinking is allowed if you ask permission and you have to walk outside of the hall to drink. Yes, that was how strict the pengawas then. The rules and regulations were absurd but from a young age, we were thought to obey and follow the rules. No negotiation, no questions asked.
My first friend was Muna Nadiah. I remembered her very well because she has a frizzy beehive hair. Then after some time, she donned a tudung to school and she was my first Malay friend who taught me what's a tudung. She says, tudung is to menutup aurat. Aurat is something that you can't show others except ur family members. Being 7 years old, I did not question her, or ridicule her. Respect was something we have instilled during our childhood. Muna also taught me about the fasting month of Ramadhan, and she says it's OK if I want to eat or drink just don't do it in front of her.
Besides the Muna, the crying kids, and the illogical prefects that I have been fearful of, there were portraits on the wall that I remembered- a pakcik and makcik wearing yellow. I stared so strong at the portrait, I wondered, who was this man and woman, why are we putting their faces on the wall. Then it stroke me! These two must be the founders of the school!
I had that in mind, and until someone told me the man in the portrait was Sultan Azlan Shah, the sultan of the state, Perak Darul Ridzuan. The woman, was his wife. At the same time, Sultan Azlan Shah was the reigning King of Malaysia, and I thought Perak was so invincible that our Sultan was The King! And funny part is, everytime I sang negaraku in school, the lyrics that said,
"Rahmat bahagia, Tuhan kurniakan, Raja kita selamat bertakhta", Sultan Azlan Shah's image will pop into my head. Same applies to the Lagu Negeri Perak. Today I can't believe that Sultan Azlan Shah has gone to meet with his maker.
I may not know him personally, but I'm sad. Perak is such a lovely state to love in, and throughout my stay there, never once any Perakians that I know complained or criticised our ruler (Except the MB Zambry vs MB Nizar case). For me, he will always be immortalized as the man in the portrait of my childhood.
Thank You Sultan Azlan Shah!