December 10, 2011

Limbang Government Secondary School 1974

My first year of government teaching service was in Limbang in 1974.

There were many firsts for that year. And I am dedicating this post to the students of SMK Limbang who will be having their reunion in Limbang on 20th Dec 2011. I would like to thank Lanie Belayong (my Form 4 C student in 1974) for without his photos I would not be able to write this article. He is working in Belaga now and thanks to FB we have re-connected after more than 36 years!!

The students were amazing and my colleagues fairly exceptional in many cases.

Let me count the blessings of that year.
1. A remarkable Head and his equally brilliant wife..Mr. and Mrs. Phang.
2. A smart team of teachers from all over the world and from Malaysia. It was a mini United Nations.
3. A beautiful crop of students who were hardworking and focussed in learning.
Non-academic staff - cooks- gardeners and matron with the late Datuk Mustapha Besar (this is a 1973 photo)
4. A very humble team of non-academic staff who worked beyond their office hours ...walking the extra mile.

Photo courtesy of Lanie Belayong (@Belaga)
(The school had a special Boarders' Prefectorial Team to help run the hostels 24/7 very effectively). And I truly believe that they would never forget their experiences staying in the hostels.

5. The students were mainly all-rounders - active in sports - attentive in class - and willing to be leaders and followers.
6. We had a horse called Puteh.
7. The late Balang Lasung became our good friend!!
8. There were three American Peace Corps teaching in the school and they were very fond of the students. Most teachers would hit town at about 4.30p.m. and waited for the hot buns from the kedai kopi next to the cinema.

9. We did everything BY HAND - cyclostyled notes...(getting our hands dirty) - typed our own notes - (no photostating machines) - drew our own teaching diagrams on manila cards etc.- cut grass with parangs - washed toilets every day with the students - and planted peanuts on the school hill slopes!! Vaccum cleaners were not heard of at that time. Below is a photograph by Lanie Belayong - he said "In those days exchange of photos was a must to remember friends and colleagues..." A perfect sample of handwritten messages at the back of black and white photos!!" Poignant moments in our lives in Limbang.

Form 4 C 1974......each individual student had already formed their strong and independent personality and ready to take on the world!! It was never a difficulty to get them to learn!

Lanie Belayong, George Mathias,Balang Rining Mathew Sultan & Martin Labo. Taken in 1974, akademi limbang
Our work party - the building was our main staff room which included the Principal's office. A poignant incident - an Ulu parent came to visit Mr. Principal and he took of his shoes at the door. You would never see this kind of humility and courtesy in any town in Malaysia. I teared up immediately!!

10. We worked in the staff room until past midnight sometimes...with almost all the teachers who lived in the school campus. Even the Principal and his wife came to work at night!
A class photo...the boys wore all white and looking so clean. With the late Mrs. Kumar. Photo from Lim Lee.(You would notice that today students do not sit down on the floor like this any more...) 1975.

The school prefects and the Principal and Assistant Principal - The prefects practically helped the two to run the school!! They were very effective leaders!!
the school badge was designed by the late Datuk Mustapha Besar who was Principal of SMK Limbang in 1973.

1974 was a great year indeed. the batch graduated in 1975 and remained best of friends ....and I too remember them well for they taught me about teaching and learning in a real and unique Sarawakian environment more than I had learnt at a university!! I was really blessed!

May God bless you all and your reunion!! Happy Memories always...


Uncle Lee said...

Hi Sarawakania, wow! You have all these beautiful memories.....yes, as we look back at years gone by, memories will come flooding back, the fun, the worries, now all making footprints in the world, because of you, their teacher. And I'm sure each and everyone remembers you well.

A very noble profession.
I enjoyed looking thru the pics, very interesting.
You have a pleasant weekend, keep well.

angrybirds0515 said...

A perfect place for vacation with family and friends especially this coming holiday season, Christmas!

Pousadas Em Natal

William said...

I left in 1973.You brought back sweet memories. I went back to the school twice while I was in Limbang looking at the familiar places.
My worse memory was the serious accident at the sharp corner below Bukit Mas. Her head was crashed by a lorry while cycling home at 1PM after school. I have no idea how it happened but I suspect that she either fell down due to suction cos the lorry was too close or someone push her out because of reflex action. They love to cycle side by side.

Ann said...


toilets were always an issue, In Kai Chung, no water closets, only a trench. YUKS!!!!!!
In Kuching High, the principal decided to shut off water during the day, flush only at the end. one form 4 class was a transfer from other ANG MO school, their class was next to the toilets, I was their Commerce teacher. I revolted with them. i drafted a letter, the kids all signed. Happened to be all Ah Mois. This Miss Chan freshly back from Canada left a revolt in a Chinese school, a reverse of the 1950s when the first batch of Chinese students were considered as Communists. The school back off, and the toilets were happily flushed again.
What abt MSS? Water came from the gutter, gutter full of leaves and blocked the flow of water. Mr. Lay couldn't understand why the toilet didn't flush.

LOL, no wonder toilet humour is always interesting.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Uncle Lee...Thanks for visiting!! The students have great opportunities and amongst them a few Yang Berhormats...a few university professors..doctors . But I must also include all those who have played excellent roles as fathers and mothers. One I know is already a grandmother!! Congratulations to her. She is in one of the photos...The one year I spent with them was truly memorable...I am eternally grateful.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Angrybird..yes the upper river of Limbang is excellent place of holiday with family...thanks.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

William..thanks for visiting the blog!! Yes cyclists were in real danger in narrow roads in Limbang and elsewhere in the world.

Actually I have another horrible tragedy to a later post..I am sure you will visit Limbang again and again...

Sarawakiana@2 said...

I don't remember many horrid stories about toilets in Limbang although we had dry season during the year. The students were great because they went to the fish pond to carry water in their buckets to flush the toilets..That's a good safety strategy..always have fish ponds in the school. The JKR brought their water trucks to the school..And many students enjoyed bathing in a small stream nearby..It was like a picnic!! Not a tragic incident for them.

William said...

CY, I do visit your blog quite often. Just that I don't leave comment. I think it is similar to visitors to my blog. They also didn't leave comment.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

thanks William for letting me know that..Most people read and don't leave comments...God bless. I just came back from Limbang from a funeral...relative passed away suddenly. Drove allthe way there and then came back today.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I enjoy reading your blog, tho of different class/year, i feel sad cos many of my very good friends/teachers in SMKL have passed on....

christabella watson said...

im nurshila binti abdullah(christabella watsonn
was glad i wass able to read ur blog.hope someday
wil be able to contact some of my old friend from limbang,missing my art teacher mr goh teck hua english teacher Mr chin and many more.......

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