Dear fellow mcobs,
With permission granted by the author of the following article, who was my dorm mate in Ahmad House, I am delighted to share his thoughts on FSV with fellow mcobs. FSV, throughout the decades, can be interpreted and/or deliberately “misimplemented” differently in accordance to the environment then. Those in Class 2000 up to now would not be able to visualise, maybe, for example, what the author meant by: (had to be on duty to pull out the signal light on the left side of the car when it malfunctioned more than once), in sync with my dad’s commands.
Happy reading guys; signing of as one of the many nostalgic wise men, already balding .. tapi bila cerita bab nak kawin lagi satu, the eyes glint with sexcitement, just like the first time falling in love “konon lah” with err “Miss” Jam Junior; sigh
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In Form 1 (1967), when I first came into contact with the MCKK logo and wording, what struck me immediately was the word FIAT. To a 13-year old, a car came to mind, and mind you, Italian makes were more common than Japanese in the 60s. In fact, my father used to own a Fiat which had doors opening from the front side of the door panels, and a funny yellow signal light that stuck out insolently like a tongue on either side of the car when my dad presses the signal switch (had to be on duty to pull out the signal light on the left side of the car when it malfunctioned more than once), in sync with my dad’s commands. The car, sadly, had a watery ending when my grandfather borrowed it to go to the market, and forgot to pull up the brakes; it slid down the slope into the Terusan Wan Mat Saman).
Fiat? What has Kolej got to do with a car? Are we supposed to be associated with motoring, and a foreign one at that? Later as I grew up in MCKK’s hallowed surroundings, it did cross my mind that maybe this has something to do with driving or being driven. Perhaps Budak Kolej should be in the driver’s seat, or are so driven in whatever that they do later on in life. But why Fiat and not Holden or Toyopet?
The Italian Job, the exciting movie screened in Hargreaves Hall where Alfa Romeos driven by policemen had to chase after sleek crooks in sleek Mini Coopers, also got me thinking; this Italian connection, maybe it has to do with the Mafia, the secret brotherhood of Italians in Sicily that spawned its tentacles across the USA. MCKK with its brotherhood of budak kolej in the all boys network could be a kind of Mafia: working for the common good sometimes using not so good means (read: dropping names/wearing kolej tie on Wednesdays and at interviews), at the expense of lesser mortals like those in Clifford, KE or SDAR (sorry, could not resist).
Sapienta? Sapienta sounds serpentine, and dark thoughts of secret brotherhood with snake symbols (like the one you find on the Alfa logo) started to form. Shades of Da Vinci Code!
But Virtus? This has something to do with good: virtue/virtuous.
So how can a secret brotherhood with snake symbols be virtuous or good?
It was much, much later that the meaning of the college logo dawned on me. Fiat Sapienta Virtus is Latin for ‘ Let manliness come through wisdom’. But even the translation did not elucidate much about the real meaning.
Manliness? The first image conjured up then in those early years was that of Charles Bronson, the rugged, macho hero in many Hollywood movies. One can never imagine Mr Bronson donning a frock like John Travolta in Shampoo, or Robin Williams in Mrs. Doubtfire. Poor Mr Bronson was even unkindly compared to another Hollywood hero famous for his handsome profile: ‘ Charles Bronson is Robert Redford left too long in the sun!’
Wisdom? We normally associate this word with the elder section of society, never with the young and brash.
So how can one attain manliness through wisdom?
Can one be a man just by being wise?
It took years to register but it did, later rather than sooner. A Budak Kolej can be a man if he is wise. ‘ Manliness’ here refers to the emotional traits of courage and conviction. ‘ Wisdom’ is the ability to hold back, assess and take the harder option even though the softer one, the path of least resistance, seems more appealing. It is the state of the heart rather than of the mind, when one is able to gauge from the guts that to deliberately not act when acting would be wrong, is the preferred choice. A wise person is he or she who chooses the live and let live option, an acknowledgment of the other person’s rights while not compromising one’s own. (lakum di nukum waliyadin). It is very difficult to define wisdom but there is a saying that was interpreted to mean that wisdom is the lost jewel of the Muslims; find it if one wants to be a good Muslim.
Courage and conviction are hard acts to perform but important nonetheless. It is courageous to own up to a spouse than to try and manufacture a white lie as a lie is color-free. And conviction allows one to grow old gracefully and with gratitude for all that’s blessed in one’s life to date (including a dutiful spouse), the heart at peace and convinced it is on the right track, never mind the occasional non sequitur.
And to be a man is sexless and not gender-biased: a woman tumbling out of a plane on her 100th sky jump is every bit a man, just as a husband who does the household chores, cooks and changes diapers is every bit a woman of the house without loss of dignity or having the effect of diminishing his manhood (pun intended) whatsoever.
This is why the greatest leader in history (per Hart’s 100 Great Leaders) did not feel inadequate doing household chores in order to lessen the burden on his wives, and died not long after his Farewell Sermon on Mt Arafat which sought to remind his followers to treat women well as those who do not ‘ are not of my flock’. It was he who wisely said: the strongest among you is he, or she, who could hold back and not react, when in anger.
(Isra’ Mi’raj just passed, but as we move towards Ramadan al Mubarak, let us read his seerah and be humbled by his achievements, a real man who overcame his fears and surmounted intolerable odds just by being wise).
That is how I relate our logo to the sunnah.
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