Once I was a tiger!
That was my ‘painful’ remembrance during my initial year as ‘anak Gayong‘. The year was 1987 and I just started my new life chapter in the ivory tower surrounded by lifeless concrete jungles. I was hundred miles away from my beloved family for the first time. The year was a restless one for me and puberty hormones was already started to kick in. At that time, my teropong iman was still in its infancy and not well developed to take care of the hormonal imbalance.
I then got myself involved with Persatuan Silat Seni Gayong Malaysia (PSSGM) at my first alma mater, UKM. There was no special reason for choosing this martial art practice but merely a gut feeling. There were few other martial art clubs as well, but for me PSSGM somehow made me feel and look cool!
From there, I became a very devoted disciple, unraveling the mystery of Gayong. Rain of shine, there I was with my other anak Gayong in the open field and enclosed building to practise this ancient form of art. One of the reasons why I felt so obliged and dedicated was because of my first Gayong master, Cikgu Selamat. He came twice a week to Bangi all the way from Kelang on his really old kapcai just to make sure we got to learn all the bunga, buah, kunci and other syllabus. Despite many punctured tyres in the Federal highway in the middle of the night, that never become his stumbling block to roar together with us, his faithful disciples. His sheer spirit and utmost devotion really touched me. He later became my inspiration to move on and continue my quest to become an invulnerable.
Year in, year out – masters come and go. the late Cikgu Mat Khir, Pak Ngah and Cikgu Nazri were among the many that came to teach at our gelanggang. Occasionally, we went to visit other gelanggang and met other masters to learn special Gayong moves and tricks. They had their own touch and styles, but still the first one really made a lasting impression. I lost touch with the group after I left my alma mater and the tiger remained tamed inside. But the demon never died.
Last weekend however, I almost awakened the sleeping tiger in me and brought back all the wonderful memories in Gayong. This time though, the memory became a painful one. After so many years, I visited Pusat Latihan Tertinggi PSSGM Air Kuning, Taiping and the sight before me was really a shocking reality. My heart broke to see the sorry state of the place. Once the place where so many Gayong warriors practised and received personal attention from the founder himself, the late Dato‘ Meor Abdul Rahman, is now a dilapidated ruin waiting to bit the dust. The place is now ghostly eerie and almost unrecognizable to me. It was abandoned and lying vulnerable for a new development. A legacy is there no more.
It was believed anak Gayong numbered more than 100 000 and scattered roaming the globe. We should all weep and cry for being so helpless. The least is feeling ashamed to ourselves. Tiger is now becoming an endangered species. Is the tiger going to roar one more time? I keep asking myself. Only time will tell.
Anak harimau tak dapat menyusu,
Janganglah pecah rahsia hulubalang,
Nanti harimau hilang kuku.
Jikalau ada dulang di tangan,
Jangan biar jatuh terhempas,
Jikalau ada senjata di tangan,
Jangan biar orang rampas.
Pecah gayung di dalam dulang,
Dulang hayut di lautan tujuh,
Pecah Gayong perpecahan sayang,
Di satu masa balik berpadu teguh.
Biduk berlalu kiambang bertaut,
Kata bersahut Gayong bersambut.