What a nostalgic journey it was. I did not really plan it but got suck into it as I was driving home from Kulim that Sunday. I already made up my mind to stop at Ipoh after our usual sojourned to Kuala Kangsar Sunday Market as I was driving on the highway. The reason for stopping at Ipoh was just to kill time as I did not want to be home too early. When I was nearing Ipoh I remembered Bro Azahar mentioned to me where the old Ulu Kinta Police Field Force Camp was and I decided to find it after we had our time and lunch at the Kinta City Center.
I took the Tambun road and drove ahead expecting to see the signage of the camp any minute. But I knew it was not that soon but my eagerness was overwhelming me. I seriously thought it would be soon. What do you expect coming from somebody that half of his brain had gone nostalgic. I drove on until I saw the signage that says Kem PGA Briged Utara, Ulu Kinta and turned right into a junction. I knew I was at the right place the moment we arrived at the gate. Imagine how I felt when I stared for a while at the surrounding trying to remember the details. I could still remember the small waterfall aka stream that we frequent just outside the gate on the left. From the Ranger my view did not register anything but deep down I knew I was at the same place. We moved out of the camp to Galing Camp, Kuantan almost 40 years ago. I was just going to be standard 2 primary school student then. I just could not believe most of the buildings were still standing.
As we drove in
A lot of trees now then I was like an x-mining area
The end of the blocks I seriously thought there were more
During our second passing
Our Block D. My Mum told me our flat was Level 6 Flat number 2 (Tngkat 6, Pintu n 2)
I walked towards the guard house and explained to the officer there my intention. I told him that I used to stay there when I was small and wished to go inside to see the place. He asked for my IC and registered me in. When I asked him he told me all the original buildings were still intact and none was taken down. I was really surprise to hear that but still when I drove in I did not know what to expect. I strained my eyes as well as my rusty brain to remember the place but the only thing that I could register was the Padang Kawad. The buildings seemed to me were less from what they were used to be. I remember when I was small there were rows of high-rise buildings. But what I had in front of me was row and row of unrecognizable ten story buildings. I was trying very hard to identify our block but I just could not remember which one it was. In the effort to really remember it I even asked Baqir to be the cameraman. Still in the end I could only guess guided by my instinct and decided our block to be Block D. I drove around the camp slowly attracting onlookers by the roadside. My second past around was even slower and I stopped at Block D again to take few shots of the building. In the end having exhausted my memory I tried to locate my old school that I knew just outside the camp. I still remember I used to walk towards the parameter and exit through one of the gate to school but during my driving around I could not identify the route. So when I was at the guard house to collect my IC and thank the officer I asked him about the school. I was very glad and excited when he told me the school was still there at its original place and I could go there by driving around along the camp’s parameter. I just could not wait and be there fast enough.
They have added two new blocks since then but other than that the school just remained as it was when I left it in 1968. There it was in front of me Sekolah Kebangsaan Pasukan Polis Hutan, Ulu Kinta. Standing and looking inside through a locked gate I could see myself walking through the gate to my classroom which was that the bottom and the end of the one classroom block building nearest to the gate. A term before all of us went to the Tg Rambutan Primary which was few kilometers away from the camp. So we knew each other when we were there on our first day at the school. I could also see myself running around the building playing police sentry loudly with my friends. There I was pushing and shoving to buy food at the school canteen. How in the classroom we were seated in a cluster of four according to our last academic performance and the last thing that I remember clearly was during our end of the year school performance day that I was dressed by my class teacher as an Arab for the whole day. For that I won second place. All these it seems to me just like they happened just yesterday. To be honest that was how I felt when I stood there staring at the empty school. In actual fact it had been almost 40 years. I like it so much if I could meet some of my old school mates there but my big problem is I do not even remember any one of them.
The school gate. Of course this was not the original
This was the only block then and my class was the first one on the lower floor
Our school canteen
The view as we drove out pf the school gate
The old school field and of course it was earth brown then
View of the school entrance as we walked in
The other gate at the side of the Camp that we used when we walked to school
My first school - Sek Keb Tg Rambutan. It is at the back of the old wooden structure. It is now Sek Keb Tamil Tg Rambutan :)