Even after sixty years, the air of excitement within what used to be the halls of Kirkby Malayan Teachers’ Training College in Liverpool can still be felt by many of the 1,500 students sent there.
Recently, in conjunction with Malaysia’s 60th year of Independence, a group of these former students took a trip to Liverpool and indulged in a stroll down memory lane.
Also part of the former students was activist and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Advisory Board chairman Tunku Abdul Aziz Tunku Ibrahim.
On Feb 7 in 1956, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra al-Haj met the students in Kirkby and announced the nation’s independence set to take place the following year.
Tunku Abdul Aziz was among the group of students who were privileged to listen to the announcement of Merdeka first hand following Tunku Abdul Rahman’s meeting in London.
Now in their 80s, the students recently gathered at the spot where the Kirkby College used to be, and now a plaque stood there to mark the presence of the college and the Malaysians who used to study there.
The following is a video of their journey down memory lane:
In a previous interview by The Star, Kirkbyite Zainal Arshad said he could have been too young to realise the significance of that day in 1956 but knew it was a happy occasion and had reason to be proud.
He said he could recall the euphoric energy when the Tunku met the students in Kirkby.
“When I heard Tunku repeat the Merdeka cry in front of thousands in Kuala Lumpur, then it struck me emotionally.
“Especially recalling the incident in Kirkby, over a year and a half earlier. Then I knew what independence meant,” Zainal had said. – MO