Reminiscing Aden College days
by alumnus Ahmed Bahabeeb (1958-1962)
I have tried to create a website called Aden College.com about 4 years before you registered
the ".net" domain.
I registered a ".com" domain called adencollege.com on October 23, 2005. The only and big difference between us is that I did nothing about it while you ran with it and created a real
website for our beloved Aden College.
Congratulations and thank you on behalf of all Aden College alumni.
I attended Aden College between September 1958 and October 1962.
I finished the Ordinary Level and then attended the Advance level for 2 months.
I come from a very poor family. But, when the principal Abdul Rahim Luqman mentioned that I could become an apprentice trainee and study Electrical Engineering at the Maalla Technical Institute with the goal of getting the Ordinary National Certificate (ONC) and at the same time get paid 610 shillings per month by the Water Authority, I jumped at the opportunity. Of course, I hoped I shall later study for Higher National Certificate (HNC) in Britain.
Things did not work as planned. I did take and pass the final exams for ONC while detained in the Mansoora Detention Center. But by the time I was released the British were about to leave. Later I studied in the USSR and life came full circle. I returned to Maalla Technical Institute to teach and helped to establish the College of Technology at the Maalla Technical Institute campus.
As I mentioned above I come from a very poor family. My Father, a police man, in self-defence, cut open with a fisherman's huge knife the head of his officer Ibrahim Ramadhan. As a result he spent 4 years in prison and we were kicked out of the police lane house. My mother moved us into a hut at the foot of Gabal Shamsan. Nevertheless, both my brother Muhammad and I passed the entrance examination for Aden College in the year 1958.
Due to our poverty we kept a low profile. For example I have no pictures while at Aden College. Neither did I participate in any extracurricular activities. I am ashamed to say I have very few memories. I remember Rafael, my Jewish "friend", rejecting my hospitality. At that time I had no idea about "Kosher" and "Halal". I remember watching Al-Qutti (Advanced level) run so fast with his strange legs. I remember an article that Hisham Basharahil wrote about his visit to Asmara. I remember Ibn Al-Turki walking around in very white pants. I remember his , later, brother-in-law Suhail Yafee. I remember Abdul-Habib Ramadah. I remember students always trying to get into the library to look at the librarian, Mrs. Miller. I remember her husband Mr. Miller who was my Chemistry teacher and that he died of cancer.
I remember talking about Gamal Abdul Nasser with a British teacher who admired Nasser's nose. I don't remember the name of the teacher. I think he was an Intern. I also remember the very tall military school principal who if we failed to memorize the 20 English words a day, he would pick us up like little children and spank us in front of everybody to shame us. He never spanked me. I spent the time in the school bus to the College to memorize words in order not to get spanked.
I remember Mr. Chaterjee, the lab. technician turned teacher, and us harrassing him by repeating in chorus his favorite expression said in an Indian accent, "It is nothing but". It sounded funny to us and we would wait until he started saying it to roar laughing. I also remember making fun of the History teacher Saleh Zoqari because he said,
انتشر الاسلام انتشارا فظيعاً
And of course I remember the Arabic language teacher , Hashem Abdulla Bahr, the Iraqi. Later on came Adeni teachers Alqirshi (Math) and Ali Awadh Bamatraf (Social Studies) who had no problem talking to us about masturbation.
I also remember taking the final test in Arabic in preparation for the GCE, but I noticed there was a mistake and I should have been given 5 points more. When I complained to Mr. Luqman he laughed and said you already have the highest grade in school. I also remember how he, once, forced me to bring my father to the school because Mr. Miller, whom I respected and loved very much, accused me of throwing a rubber at his back. It was not me. I guess he thought it was me because I was innocently looking at him and everybody else, including the culprit, were acting innocently by looking into their books.
Of the students, other than the ones I mentioned above, I remember Nasr Nasser Yafee, Muhammad Saleh Aulaqi who had difficulty pronouncing "G". He pronounced it "Ghee" instead of "jee". I also remember Fadhle Mohsen and Al-Sallami. Al-Sallami sat next to me in class but I can't even remember his first name. I am terrible with names. Of course I don't remember the names of the Hindu students.
I remember I miserably failed the military training while my brother Muhammad was one of the best.
Ah, I also remember the girls from the girls Secondary School coming to the college to join us in demonstrations. They were sitting on the stairs, blocking the way. When a British police officer passed carefully amongst them, one naughty girl moved her foot towards his feet causing him to fall. As a real gentleman he got up and said I am sorry.
Finally, I am useless for your purpose; have unclear memories , few relationships, and no pictures. I guess that is why I dropped the idea of creating the Aden College.com website.
It was nice reminiscing about the good old days.