Sleepless in Setiawangsa VIII

It’s raining cats and dogs in Bukit Setiawangsa tonight. KLCC looks gloomy from a distance adding to the somber mood of the night. I glance at my laptop which stains of Ribena left by Luqman a moment ago. Luqman is in deep slumber after a day of running and jumping without a care in the world. My mind drifts away to one rainy afternoon in Maktab Rendah Sains Mara (MRSM) Kuala Terengganu. I was in a boarding school, about to sit for my SPM, and going through growing-up pains. Ah, you remember those days…

It was a Thursday; which is the end of the week in East Coast states. Back then, everybody loved Thursday because they look forward to the weekend (Friday & Saturday) – a much-needed break to enjoy themselves. It was raining heavily that day. As usual, the month of November is the beginning of monsoon season on this side of the peninsula. With nothing much to do, I lazed around my room – Cempaka 54 – staring at Ninja Turtle poster on the brown make-shift wall. Other “inmates” of Cempaka Hostel were loitering around the building to while away their time.

From a distance, I heard hurried footsteps pounding on the wooden floor from the common area heading towards my room. My comrade-in-arm, Ms. Harita, was shouting at me, “Hoi! Hujan! Jom main bola selipar!” Without further ado, I jumped at her irresistible offer. We quickly roped in few more people and in no time we were down at the small field between our hostel and the dining hall playing the game in the torrential rain.

Bola Selipar is a game played by two opposing teams; let’s name them Team A and Team B. Team A will build a triangle tower using three selipar jepun (flip-flops/thongs). A Team A’s member will then stand few metres from the tower while other members from both teams are scattered around the small field.

At the word “get-go”, the Team A’s member who is standing few metres away from the tower will utilise three attempts to bring down the tower by throwing a tennis ball at it. If she fails to bring down the tower after the third attempt, the turn now shifts to Team B. However, once the tower collapses, members from Team B must “kill” the opposing team members by throwing the tennis ball around until it hits their bodies.

Meanwhile, Team A’s members must make sure that they can rebuild the tower before the “demise” of all their team members. In the event Team A fails to rebuild the tower, the turn now shifts to Team B. If they manage to rebuild it in time, they keep their turn and gain one point simultaneously. Now, let the game begins!

Our drenched clothes and the flowing-water blocked our views and prevented us from hitting the opposing team members on target. Our loud voices could be heard as far as the Cenderawasih hostel, where the boys were boarding. I remember my teammate, Aya, (whom I haven’t met since we left MRSM) shouting, “Tuh! Tuh! Kat belakang mung!” Aya repeatedly pointed her index finger to the elusive Salmah (the opposing team member) for me to strike down.

I hurriedly spun my heels around and threw the ball with all my might only to hit my own teammate! “Adooohhhhh!” Saket lah bodo!” If my memory serves me well, I think, I hit Rozila with the ball. So sorry friend…

I still remember, Aya, in her desperation to avoid being hit by the ball, climbed the tree next to the clothes’ line. Oh! she can climb like a monkey that Terengganu girl. Our laughter punctured the incessant sound of the rain. It was…FUN! We were not bothered about the thunder and the lightening. We just wanted to have fun in the rain!

The game was on full swing when we heard our warden, Cikgu Zuriati, shouting at us to from the adjacent corridor to stop whatever nonsense we were doing. Busted! With the infamous thin rotan in her right hand, her face grimaced, lips pursed and eyes almost popping out, she came towards us, her undisciplined 16-year-olds, who now stood frozen in the rain, too terrified to move. Cikgu Zuriati – I must say – sent the fear of God inside me throughout my stay in the boarding school.

Our joy was short-lived. Cikgu Zuriati instructed us to stand in line along the corridors which connect the five hostels – Mawar (where good girls reside), Kenanga, Cempaka (where the outlaws live), Melati and Anggerik. “Ah, there was no escaping this one,” I silently muttered to myself.

Swosh! Swosh! Swosh!” The rotan hit our then-tender hands. I grimaced in pain but I wasn’t repentant. The coldness went two folds up now that we were no longer under the rain. The only coherent sound that could be heard was the chattering of our teeth. We were sent back to our hostel after the public canning, a punishment we faced bravely and which left us feeling like defeated warriors. Seriously, we were just having fun and what’s wrong with that?

Here I am – 16 years down the road – reminiscing about my blissfully ignorant youth. Of all the things I remember most from this episode is that, I laughed so loudly without a single care in the world, just like Luqman did today. Apart from passing my SPM I didn’t have any real concern back then. Ah, the folly of youth…

Good night Sleepless in Setiawangsa.


21 thoughts on “Sleepless in Setiawangsa VIII

  1. Sis Elviza,

    I thot schoolgirls were well-behaved. You broke the myth which I held long after I left school.

    To your credit, you seem to have a streak to test boundaries. Rules are made to be broken.

    Your childhood game is very innovative and interesting.

    Salute you, battle-scarred warrior.

    My dearest friend Hi&Lo,

    Ohhh, there are plenty of naughty school girls. I am sorry to have been the one to burst your myth so far 🙂

    The game is just something we can play with minimal of tools but loads of fun. Dont you think so?

    Your battle-scarred warrior is now waging war in the office, which looks like tonkang pecah as we speak my friend!

  2. Kak El,
    Ooooh, a variation of Pekkong Selipar! Cool! Instead of using selipar jepun as weapon, you used ball.
    Wahh, you were quite a naughty girl eh? My secondary school days were in boys-only school, so I don’t know about naughty young ladies hehehe. But I know mischievous youn man. I am! We once had a crazy time back then, like street soccer at 2 am. But the even-crazier part, the discipline teacher-cum-warden played striker! Hehehe. That was a not-schooling day, which explains a lot why he didn’t get mad. But, you know…it is kinda crazy, don’t you think so?
    Have a nice evening 🙂

    Akmal little bro,

    Yes yes yes, it is also called Pekkong Selipar if you use the selipar jepun to throw instead of the tennis bal. You have a nice day to ya hear?

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  4. Elviza,
    Now I know why you wanted the English word for selipar jepun.
    Find a way to let Cikgu Zuriati read this and she will laugh on the reflections of such naughty girls. If you were my own daughter, I won’t mind you being caned for such misdeeds. The expereinece of playing such games in the rain is something to cherish throughout yor life. Thanks to blogging, you are able to share all this.
    Anyway correct the spelling for sombre and climbed. This post will be highlighted in The Stories from the blogs.

    Dearest Pak,

    I stand corrected on the “climbed” spelling but as to “somber” it is only a variation in spelling between US and UK. Thus, further discussion or amendment on the spelling of “somber” will be rendered academic from this point on.

    Of course I was a naughty girl! Live life to its fullest I must say. Motherhood has toned me down a lot too. Thank you for featuring this story in your menu!

  5. Elviza,
    Now I know why you wanted the English word for selipar jepun.
    Find a way to let Cikgu Zuriati read this and she will laugh on the reflections of such naughty girls. If you were my own daughter, I won’t mind you being caned for such misdeeds. The experience of playing such games in the rain is something to be cherish throughout your life. Thanks to blogging, you are able to share all this.
    Anyway correct the spelling for sombre and climbed. This post will be highlighted in The Stories from the blogs.

  6. The only time I reminisce “the good ole daze” is when today is not that good.

    I used to wish that I could skip those studying days and go straight to the future when I would be working, earning my money and boys…

    Now that I am here, oh boy, how I wish I could jump into a time machine and accelerate forward and get all these over with! I had just found out that working, earning my money and boys all came with strings attached. It is called responsibility.

    I guess that is why “the good ole daze” is so nice. That was when responsibilities belong to mom and dad and I had the fun.


    Yep, I miss the time when the responsibilities were shouldered by my parents. We now have strings attached hey? The bills, the tax, the bla bla bla bla

  7. Salam sis Elviza:

    So,this is the reason why you wanted to know about selipar jepun.
    And I thought only we boys were ‘brutal’ and got caned by warden or cikgu disiplin.
    With this recollection of yours, I can imagine there are many doctors,lawyers,accountants,CEO,teachers who were ‘brutal giler’ girls in their respective schools.

    That game sounded very entertaining,like the Roman Arena.Maybe you could play it during MRT at Tok Mommy’s.LOL!

    Dear TA,

    I tell you, some of them are now investment banker, doctor, academic advisor, and of course yours truly lah… LOL

    Cannot play the game at Tok Mommy’s, abis garden dia yang cantek2 tuh…

  8. “I hurriedly spun my heels around and threw the ball with all my might only to hit my own teammate! “Adooohhhhh!” Saket lah bodo!” If my memory serves me well, I think, I hit Rozila with the ball. So sorry friend…”

    My sis, WAH! Kena mana? Hahaha. I love to play football (the real soccer) and was hit by the balls directly on my groin area and the pain was so abysmal that I was laying in a quasi-unconscious state. Pity isn’t it?

    When I was schooling, I was very very nauthty sis. I am truant. Strictly Private & Confidential between you and me. Pls do not tell anybody ok sis? Promise? 😀

    By the way, Happy (impending)Chinese New year to you. Oh dear, sorry u ain’t a Chink but looks like one. I mean it. 😀

    Dear Harrison,

    Wah… you sure got imagination one! Okay, I wont tell your secret to anybody… Gong Xi Fa Chai to you too

  9. Elviza,
    Please delete my earlier post. Too many spelling errors hahahaha.

    Alamak Pak, tak perasan pulak comment nih.. tak pe lah… biarlah kat situ, janji kita faham

  10. elviza, and i thought my toyol episode during my ITM days was bad enough!

    Kak Teh,

    Ohhhh brace yourself, I am about to write one more episode of our escapade in MRSM. As I said, the folly of youth…

  11. Aaaaaah! the good ole daysss. And yes, what’s wrong with playing in the rain. Fun what!!!!

    Dear Bapak,

    Precisely my point – what’s wrong with playing in the rain?

  12. Mich dear,

    Good old days…which I could turn back the clock…!! I’m smiling reading every part of your
    story…naughty girls we were back then ya!

    Dear Amy,

    We sure did plenty of unspeakable things! 🙂

  13. Beb,

    I took the liberty to leave my comment here coz’ You just made me famous la! Gile best those days. But I wonder where was I when you all enjoy the rotan. Aku nyorok la..ha-ha!

    I was so aghast when I found out you skipped the rotan! How dare you leaving your comrades to be punished without you! Kurang asam ko beb…

  14. ahhh… the good ole days…

    I told my bestfriend, an ex-maraKT to read your blog, and she got back to me saying “kakak tuuuuu… dulu aku takut dia wey, dia garanggg!”


    Dear Ubisetela,

    Seriously??? Saper dia tuh?? Cepat kasitau, I nak mintak maap banyak2 nih. Heh

  15. ‘Prep kat wisma pelajar jom?’


    ‘Bole dengar ombak…saya lukis nak tak?’

    “Tak nak, nanti saya kena dengar awak bercakap jer…’

    ‘Pukul tiga?’

    Dear Aku,

    I was about to ask “who’s this?” But then again, I think I know who you are. Take care. Thanks for reading. Perhaps, its best if we dont write certain things yeah?

  16. Hai Kak Michell,

    I was your junior in MRSMKT too. I bet I was in the same batch as ubistella’s bestfriend tu. Yes..we were afraid of you back in those days. Garang siot..and very brutal too. Anyway, we met again in Banting..where we did our a-level. I still keep our pictures on those nights in the block…one of them with us throwing flour on somebody’s birthday (can’t really remember). As for the rotan, I got a share of that too dulu…malas pegi prep.

  17. Elv,
    My elder sister also went to MRSM KT (SPM 88) and I still remember over the weekends (not every weekend of course) we paid her a visit and brought her to Pantai Batu Buruk.. and last month i happened to passed by that area (MRSM KT) when we were on our way back to KL (after almost 20 yrs)… and things changed a lot surely…

    The same game we used to call “bola kaki tiga”… even more fun when we replaced the selipar jepun kaki tiga with tin susu hahaha….

    those days… and our kids nowadays play at Tesco’s indoor funland, or carefour/McD’s playground… or worst watching cartoon @ Ceria. This reminds me of my 2yrs 8mo girl’s request yesterday “mommy, nak cartoon”.. next time maybe i can drop movies channels subscribtion.

  18. ish garang nya ur warden. during my time, no girls were caned, at least not tht i remember. i agree w u, she shudn have caned u and ur friends. denda cuci toilet pun dah cukup. 😉 lagipun wht else is there to do when u live in the hostel, right?

  19. Chelle,

    same like rits i was wondering where am i masa kena rotan but i still remember Jun expression that time tak nak kat tangan cikgu nak kat Bon*** sbb kat situ banyak daging sikit…hahaha…tapi aku ade gambar masa buat pyramid!! hehehe…idup CEMPAKA!

    Can I have the pic? Or at least can I borrow it for scanning purposes? Yeap yeap, hidup CEMPAKA!

  20. MRSM-kT? The only memory I have of this institution was conceding two goals during a friendly football match way back in 1984 or 1985.

    It rained during the match. Thus I was playing in the rain at MRSM-kT.

    Now we have something in common… hehehe…

    Did you really? Wow… the world is indeed small. I wish I could still play in the rain without raising eyebrows now that I am an adult…

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