December 12, 2009

1953-1955 Methodist School Students' Reunion in 1997

Digging for information and historical records can lead one to surprises and even recovery of long lost friendship. This has happened to me more often than just one off occasion.

Ann Chin and I for example. She has blogged about it...and today I am using two of her photos pay tribute to our teachers and seniors who have gone before us....

Miss Hii and Miss Wong Hie Ding had contributed to the mental and academic development of thousands of students they taught selflessly throughout their life in Sibu Methodist School. They were "angels in cheongsam" (My school magazine essay).

Mrs. Deng has taught chemistry in all three languages - Chinese England and then Bahasa....Fantastic for a China born lady. She could have been one of the earliest research scientists in China but she chose to come to Sibu and to be a teacher.

I will write about Mr. William Hsu in another post.

Here's the "blast from the past" in the words of Ann Chin (New Zealand):.....

Seated on the front row : Miss Hii Siew Ding - Miss Wong Hie Ding - Mrs. Deng Yuk Chi - Mr. John Chan
The banner reads : Sibu Methodist School Senior Middle Three 1953-55 Same Class Mates
42 nd Anniversary/Reunion (after leaving school). 12.12.1997

This is the Senior Middle Three Class which graduated in 1955. They held a reunion in 1997 - 42 years after they graduated.

Amongst the students were
Tang Nguk Mui
Hung Nguk Sieng
Ting Yuk Yuung
Sia Yuung Mang
Wong Siong Ting (Police Commissioner)
Lau Siew Ding
Lau Poh Ging
Lau Ai Hua
Yii Siew Hiong
Yuan Suok Ding
Yao Yee Yaw
Wong Kwong Sii
Ling Tiing Choong
Ling Haw Seng
Tiong Hua Yong
Ngo Ging Choon
Tiong Swee Yew
Chong Sik Ming
Ting Ing Hoo
Wong Teck Sing
Hii Chik Huat
Wong Pang  Chiew
Ling Yew Sing
Ho Tai Siew
Ling Tiing Huah
Ho Ung Hua
Chee Siong Ming
Wong Soon Tiong
Lau  Pik Swee
Hii Hing Mui
Lau Hieng Siik
Siew Nguong Chuong
Ting Ung Leong
Tiong Cheng King
Lau Kwong Swee
Lu Yieng Sieng
Chiew Chung Yu
Tang Tuong Kai
Ngo Teck Hee
Tiong Chiong Hing
Chai Yew Sing
Ling Wei Dieng
Hu Yuk Hiong
Tiong Hua Kwong

(source : Methodist Secondary School Magazine - The Hornbill Vol 10 1979)

The late Mr. John Chan taught in the school before he left on a scholarship to study in England. He retired as DEO of Sibu and passed away in 2006 at a ripe age of 84. He is survived by 9 children who are now living in Kuching Australia and New Zealand. Amongst them I know three personally. Ann went to the Methodist School and took part in musicals like "Gypsy Baron". Elisabeth Chan played good hockey with me. Charles was a budding orator in school and is now a lawyer. The Chan children had a strong foundation in English "as they were asked by Mr. Chan to write an English composition every day and he would mark them himself....."

 This is an old photo of Mr. John Chan when he was DEO in Sarikei giving away a trophy.

 Miss Wong Hie Ding and Miss Hii Siew Ding passed away a few years ago.

In the photo is also the Late Mr. William Hsu who was my Princpal when I taught in the school (1976-1987)

Mrs. Deng still lives in Sibu.

Any further information from you dear readers is always welcome.

And I hope that all of you can have school reunions 45 years or even 50 years after you have graduated from the school.....Cheers!

Thanks Ann.


Jay said...

A great moments to remember. Have a nice weekend.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Hi...having a great holiday?

Yes when I think of how these seniors in the school must have studied under difficult conditions I also wonder how children of today complain so much and don't do well too...affluence doesn't guarrantee good learning.


Superman said...

I am from this school too! All my senior then. Hehe.

Uncle Lee said...

Hello Sarawakania, wow! You sure know your history....and the names too. Can see the fashion or outfits of that period in time. The hairstyles too, ha ha.
Nothing like school days, though I for one know my teachers were glad to see me go, ha ha.
I love your eloquence, you should be a journalist....
Have a pleasant weekend and keep well. Lee.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Superman
Thanks for dropping by. Certain groups of students are very united and they share their lives together in their journey towards the twilight years.

I think today only small groups get together. I was very happy last night to hear a report from a very young man that his group of about 15 got together. Perhaps this is the seeds of a good school group - soon they will get married and have children and the circle widens....and they kind of look out for each other....

What are school mates and friends for?

Cheers to friendship.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Uncle Lee

thanks for visiting and the compliments. But I am pretty sure you teachers loved your sense of humour and feel proud of you. Teachers do.

It is Sunday morning over here. So have have a good Sunday....and a good week ahead. Catch a snowflake?


Ann said...

Thanks so much CY,

I guess more people in Sarawak read your site than mine. I am proud you wrote so highly of my dad. He was a well loved teacher. Just before he died, that first batch of students came to the hospital, and again at his wake. It was heartening to hear from them what a great teacher he was.

Mum had 8 pregnancies, and 9 kids. The number 7 & 8 are twins. You may know number 7, he is Dr. Henry Chan, an anthropologist. I tease him that he served his apprenticeship in the jungles with the Punans, Ibans and Kayans. He has many Apais.

Yes, we have quite and interesting family. If you decide to cool of and enjoy the nice climate of Bario, Elizabeth is often there with her Kelabit husband.

Ann said...

Hi CY,

I like to share about one of these two chinese teachers. I think it was the chubby face one. I think it was in form three when she was assigned to teach us our elective domestic science.

Some one made a mistake of doing this as there were about 7 or 8 Malay girls and an Iban boy in the class. This teacher comes from China and doesn't speak Chinese, and we girls and 2 boys were rather rude when she taught us to knit.

She was forever saying, "CHEK DIEU" aka undo. First of all, the Malay girls couldn't understand her, and couldn't really follow her instructions. The teacher was very strict, if we made one mistake, she would say," Chek DIEU"

By the end of the year, even before the Malay girls went to show her their work, they themselves would say, "CHEK DIEU"

We naughty kids started callinng her old maid out of disrespect and frustration.

Those you who know knitting, would know if you knitted to the back of the loop, you get a different pattern. I was knitting a dress (rather ambitious of me)

Round about at the waist area, my sister Elizabeth picked up my knitting and knitted one inch for me. I didn't pick it up, and lo and behold, after three inches, I presented it to the teacher.

May be she pitied me if I have to "CHEK DIEU 4 inches, or may be I am my father's daughter. she didn't me "CHEK DIEU" she said, treat it as a belt. LOL

I must thank her, because now I can knit.

Ann said...

sorry typo error in last comment.

The teacher didn't know English (mistake typed Chinese), the Malay and Iban students didn't know Chinese. You can imagine how hilarious it was.

And yes, we had two boys in the Domestic Science class. The boys normally do wood work, but that year, there was a surplus of two boys. These two boys volunteered because they thought they would be learning cookery from Miss Mamora.

Poor boys, not only they did NOT learn cookery, they were teased by the other "macho" boys to be ......... You know what I mean?

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Ann
I am sure I am not wrong in saying that older people from the early 50's have a great respect for their teachers. Hence the first batch of your father's students remained close to him all his life.

This kind of closeness is not easy to find nowadays when social distance in various kinds come into play. Values and expectations have changed. Even the quality of friendship also depends on certain factors! However this is just a general comment and it may not apply to every one.

What was significant was your father was one of the earliest Chinese to rise in the Education Department of Sarawak and he was a versatile and able educator and administrator.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Ann
It was Miss Wong I think because she was the knitter.
I did not know that she was given the task of teaching the elective subject!! Poor her. In those days the three ladies suffered a great deal during the "transitional" period of changing the mediums of teaching. It was very much the management's decision and the three were kept on. These gems contributed a great deal to the fabric of the society of Sibu in fact by "modelling".

I really enjoy the Chek Dieu in your class. Reminds me of how many teachers struggled with BM at the beginning.

Knitting is such an important skill! I do admire people who can knit!

Sarawakiana@2 said...

The TWO famous boys taught by Miss Mamora are Cheng Hua Kong and Tracey Mamora. CHK is an excellent baker and is a choir conductor of the Wesley Church. Tracey is a musician in Kuching.

What ever happened tothe two boys who learned to knit?

It would be interesting to know where they are!

It is always very challenging to turn situations around and come up as winners. Re : Jimmy Choo - Jackie Chang and Martin Yan.

Have a good week ahead.

Ann said...

My two "knitter" friends:

Stephen Nyagni ( spelling), he was with us to form three, was a scout, and went to Sarawak Civil Service. He was quite small in stature.

Robert Lai, he was in the police. He was also in the scouts. In 1977, my mum's uncle Kong was killed tragically in a truck v his car. Robert was the investigating police. He kept saying," the impact was so great. Quite a big news then, because my grand uncle was head man in Durin, and a SRDC counciler.

Poor Miss Wong, I really felt sorry for her, as we were from the English medium. Some of us esp me, struggled with our Chinese. She must have dreaded coming to our class.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Ann
I remember your Stephen vaguely.

But Robert Lai goes to my church!! What a small world. I must let him know that we are in touch.

I am sorry to hear about your Grand Uncle's tragic end. Truck drivers have always been ruthless (partly because they drive a big vehicle and partly because the road is really bad).

I am sure Miss Wong must have dreaded going to difficult classes. I had great pains in my heart and head when I headed for lower end classes with my poor BM for a few years until I went to the Teachers' College where I taught only English. But don't worry she had a heart of gold.

Ann, Chen Jie Xue 陈洁雪 said...

My daughter, a translator said she couldn't believe the school got a non English teacher to teach student to teach English Speaking students.

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