Monday, August 27, 2007

Philip Assan and Retirement

1966. I saw a tall lanky boy checking into the school. I did not think very much of him at that moment. He could be cool and aloof - the type of Iban boys from the town. But I could not be more wrong.

Philip and I were mates in Tanjong Lobang School in Sixth Form. And we have been the very best of friends since then,or true brothers. He has always been warm and understanding towards me, even though I am a bit older. In Tanjong we shared our lean (both in terms of money and body shape) days. We seldom had two cents to rub together. But sometimes when he had a windfall, all of us in the hostel would have a treat. When my father sent me a registered mail, it could be a $15 gift. What a fortune at that time. And what joy I had to share with friends.

We studied hard because that was the only way for us to get out of the vicious cycle of poverty. (Royal Professor Ungku Aziz is one of the best economists of the world. He understood poverty like nobody did. He was my Vice Chancellor and mentor at the University of Malaya 1970-1973, Unfortunately Philip never went to my university otherwise he and Ungku, as we all called him then, would have been the best of friends and the two could have talked philosophy non-stop)

I did not realize that at that time Philip was struggling with his English! He had taken an 8 in Form Five and that was why he did not get a Grade One. But he persevered. He has that trait to persevere until today. I have never quite met an Iban who could struggle for life and death so much as Philip. He struggled for his life, he struggled for his education and he struggled for his family. He did struggle for his position and even his claims as a civil servant. Very few people understood him and his suffering as much as I did. Sometimes life deals out lemons to Philip too often.

But he did he manage to gain a scholarship to go to England, and his English was more than excellent and he read everything he could lay his hands on from Machiavelli, The Prince to Cicero, from Shakespeare to Sun Tzu,from the Greek Mythologies to All Men are Brothers. He reread all those classics when he was working in the civil service and now in his retirement, he is reading more than ever. He has become a philosopher.

Philip worked hard and was both proactive and innovative. His methods of surveying are still being practised in Sarawak these days. He thought good thoughts. But most of the time they remained in the boardroom.

Anyway he was happy to be able to travel the lengths of Sarawak and rub shoulders with the drivers,the low ranking staff. Today after his retirement, he could still call them and they would happily and respectfully tag along their "tuan" all over Sarawak again. You cannot find this kind of boss-staff relationship any more.

These days he has a chicken farm (200-300 ) somewhere along Mile 32 in Kuching. He gets up early when the birds start singing. He feeds the chickens and then goes for his coffee in the bazaar which would be teeming with folks of all races. Chickens,a pig or two, barbequed fish, vegetables both imported and local, would be seen every where. And Philip would take all these in with his coffee and roti kaya as he chats with his acquaintances and fellow farmers.

As if by magic by 10 o'clock all these activities will come to an end. Plastic bags,empty bamboos,and the remains of the day will be strewn everywhere. It would be time for Philip to go back to his farm. Once back in the farm, he can laze around again, basking in the sun so to speak. Then he would take his pipe out and have a good smoke.

Occasionally he will doze off - his afternoon siesta if he has no company. He will wake up to feed his chickens and soon it will be time to cook his dinner.

Well, he chuckled when he talked about all these. when you are retired you wonder if you have a true friend. Where are all his friends? Perhaps they are still busy with their board meetings,conferences, seminars.

A few days ago, he was told to go and receive his KMN. He found it too much of a hassle to present himself to the Agong. What would the badge do for him now? He is not applying for another job! And it is not a cash reward either. He still can do with a few cents more.

He has left all his computer technology behind and he carries an old Nokia which he finds still serviceable.

He gives his pipe another puff and he is ready to speak on The Golden Lotus and its implications. Be always ready to have time in your hands. He will take you on a journey of learning.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

1973 students

Bolhassan bin Bujang
Awangku Meralie
Ashaari Rosli
Ayub bin Ali
Abdul Samat Md Ali

Christina Chin
Chong Siew Pui
Choo Sin Lee
Chai Shoon
Chaili Bolhassan

Deli Sharari
Irene Jong Kuie Moi
Julaihi Narawi
Jumastapha Lamat

Jamulludin Hj Ibrahim
Jamil Julaihi
Jamali Hussain
Lawrence Rining Selutan
Leon Terence Joseph

Michael Lisa Kaya
Masta bt Edris
Mat Zain Masli
Mohd Trudin
Mohd Ibrahim

Noriyati Zaini
Nelson Kadir
Paulus Mering
Peginal Edward Mleda
Roslie Sahran

Sukhvindu Singh
Sarudu bin Hoklai
Suni Ahmad
Tony Anis
Zaidi Mat

Zaidi Omar
Zalil Karim
Sainuddin Kuan
Amin Ramlee
Abg Yamin bin Abang Syaries

Bujang Poli
Carter Ballang
Dominic Lusat Sagan
Helen Ilai
HermanJolly Udan

Hamisah Kana
Hamka Othman
Hamden Salleh
Ishak bin Hashim
Juliah bt Sabri

Jemat bin Lihi
Kassim Bujang
Lo Sing
Luk Tak King
Leong Ha Mui

Lim Kian Lam
Mary bt Saradum
Matang Paturan
Nelly Aren Wan
Radazil Alision

Saini bin Bohari
Sulaiman Shari
Shukarimin Chaseman
Salbiah Ibrahim
Sylvestrer Jengi Jemat

Wan Bustaman Lain
Wan Mahli Syhed
Aziz Davidson
Awang Draup Pgn Dee
Bolhassan Dee

Chan Kat Leong
Chin anakLubi
Chen Nang Kwang
Chai Seng Hiong
Chong Yuen Kheng

Chong Ei Choo
Danien ak Ranggu
Goh Hai Chuan
Ho Sze Min
Kok Pui Leong

Kueh Lip Piang
Kong Chian Sein
Kueh Lak Tee
Liew Say Fah
Lu Lei Chin

Leong Wei Chong
Lo Jim Ping
Law Kung Teng
loh Leh Goh
Mu Ah Choi

Phang Chun Yow
Pan Kim Yuk
Redit Ak Robert
Steel ak Sindku
Sim Hoi Chuan

Sandim binBesar
Sharkawie bin Zain
Sim Siau Huat
Ting Kong Yu
Tan Gek Lian

Wong Kuek Yuong
Wong Chii King
Yong Chin Hieng
Wong ai Seng
Abdul Kadir

Abot ak Naros
Chiam Tou Ping
Chia Nyat Fatt
Idris Hj Suhaili
Ibrahim b Hj Abdullah

Isaali Hj Wasli
Jemat Bujang
James Kulleh Ajan
Kumbang Tuggnag
Kuek Yong Kwang

Law Ing Tuang
Lai Siew Ching
Lee Suan choo
Lee Jook Mui
Lungah ak Jayan

Lim Chong Sit
Ling Hau Ching
Likot Tomis
Lim Guan Pheng
Mordiah bt Sani

Moses ak Agat
Michael Wong
Rahman Kasat
Phang Liang Kiak
Robin Lusong

Ting Ming Dai
Tiong Tack Kieng
Vincent Huang Huat Choon
Wong Leun Heng
Yong Wei Ding

Zamahari Talip
Ngui Kwong Chuan
Li Liong Ching
Su Sai Lung
Awang Abd Karim

Awang Ko Badar
Boniface Bait
Bong Chin Tzin
Bowi Mayot
Babu ak Suwen

Charles Tera Jolly
Chua Pheng Khoon
Chua Siong Sieng
David Kusir
Eden Ann Foo Thiang Eng

George ak Anung
Hii Tow Peck
Intan Gudom
Ling Teck Seng
Ling Liong Ming

Lo Ling
Liew Jiu Ming
Leong Yung Chen
Mahili Saabe
Ngu Koh Hee

Ong Gee Tiong
Peter Chu
Philip Goh
Roki Sabu
Stanley Ajang Bato

Teh Shiok Guat
Teng Lung Fong
Wong Ing Yung
Wong Siew Ming
Wong Siew Ping

Tay Boon Huat
Teo Yang Tuan
Sim Kian Tze
Yong Mie Ling
Pui Chow Eik

Mohamad Zain bin Relly
Hamimah bt Haji Dollah
Andrew Wong Hieng Hock
Awg. Kasmunmarjaya b Awag Mahran
Chua Sung Hua

Cheong Kim Wah
Edmund Daging
George Ling
Geraldine Lim
Hj Juni b Hj Lee
Henry Teo Huat Hin

Abdul Rahman hj Pozan
Hjjah Fatimah Hj Hadzran
Japar Sidik Bujang
Kiu Cheong Kin
Lily Hii Chiu Sieng

Loh Moi Moi
Lau Lang Chu
Loh Eng Kee
Liew Khim Lan
Lucy Tang

Lau Boon Lai
Ling Chai Kua
Mary Tong Yew
Nelson Kolony
Nicholas Chin Shen Kong

Phyllis Pan Chee Hua
Ting Ngiik Kiong
Tan Kee Choon
Voon Chun Siong
Zarina Sauni

Yong Ser Vui
Ling Hung Cheng
Adrian ak Nyaoi
Ahmad bin Fadzil
Akam bin Tah

Alias bin Sam
Ardi bin Spawi
Arek ak Tuen
Ahmad Saktian
Akit Sebli

Abd.Razak Ihi
Ahat bin Baha
Abg Sallehhuddin
Abg Badwie Ibrahim
Gupang bin Yet

Damien Dilang ak Jantan
Emang Oyo
Elisabeth Daisy Dom
Gasah Ringkai

Hanapi Anyut
'Hj Mohd Bedrie
Hashim W Shurkran
Ibrahim Hj Mohd Sheriff Sahbab
Jungan ak Antas

Jumaat bin Adam'
John Wan Usong
Kron Mide ak Aken
Kijam ak Datu
Liman ak Sujang

Lee Lei Yung
Lim Khian Cheng
Mohd Nerodin Majais
Migel ak Gumbek
Mengga Mikui

Robert Ranau
Ting Sai Ming (Datin Fatimah Abdullah)
Wan Othman Wan Hamid
Zaman bin Hamdan
Morshidi bin Sirat

Jalil Jack

(According to the records , Jalil Jack 's admission number was 2025 - and he was admitted by Mr. Uning on 12.7.73. Interestingly, Jalil was the only student ever accepted by TLC from Rejang English Secondary School, Sibu)

1966 - Waiting for the Cambridge Examination Results

Three significant incidents happened to me in 1966.

Upon finishing Form Five and the Cambridge examination I went home very happy that I was recommended to attend Sixth Form in the new year. That was an extremely great achievement for me as I had been inspired by all my TLS teachers to do well academically, especially Mr. Nicholl whom I admired a great deal.

So I took the good news home to my long house in Limbang. After a two day journey by land I reached home to let my father know that I was going to study for two more years.

Now unknown to me then, he had already arranged a marriage for me, to a girl who had failed her primary six. My father thought that now that I had finished Form Five, and as the most well educated person, I was to have a marriage as was expected from the long house relatives.

I was really shocked to learn that and I almost threw a fit. I had my dreams and I was not going to be persuaded into an arranged marriage and especially to my own cousin! And on top of that my father had not in the least discussed the matter with me. Marriage was not a joke.

So I did the dirty deed and cancelled the engagement. A few people were amused but my father was very disturbed. My escape plan was very simple. And all I had to do was to tell him that I had to go back to my school in Miri to collect my pillow and my tikar (mat). An Iban would never leave his pillow and mat any where because it would mean that he had left his spirit behind.

Thus I got my father to let me go off again. And that was how I came back to Tanjong Lobang school and I never went back home for the entire two years of my Sixth Form! I believe very few of my school mates knew how much mental torture I was was having at that time.

But later I was terribly glad and also overwhelmly relieved that my ex-fiancee and my cousin married a Chinese and is now a happy grandmother. I had wished her well in life and indeed she has been well blessed. I did not break her heart or cause any bitterness on her part. We still have a good laugh today over what happened so many years ago.

Another situation which caused great distress to me was how many of my great friends in school had to leave TLS after getting poor examination results in March 1966.

In the 1960's all good students would be recommended to join Form Six classes by the Principal and the senior teachers. However as the Sixth Form would start in early January, the students would be jittery because they did not have their Form Five or Cambridge results yet. The Cambridge exam results would only be known sometime in March at the earliest.

Therefore for three months many students would only be half hearted in their studies. We were all highly anxious about our results and oftentimes we could not sleep. However we did have a fun time too, making new friends with those coming to Tanjong just for the Sixth Form and getting to know our learned teachers, many of whom were fresh graduates from overseas.

So when the results came out, some who failed actually screamed and cried for the whole day. It was very heart breaking and I thought that it was extremely unfair for them to leave Sixth Form just like that. After that having received the results, they had to pack up and leave the hostel to find a job or get married eventually. Those of us who stayed on considered ourselves lucky to be properly reinstated in Sixth Form and journeyed on for another two years of hard work and good education.

While in Lower Sixth, I still remembered what my father asked me to do. That was to find a job as an SAO or Sarawak Administrative Officer.

To the Ibans to get a job as an SAO then was like becoming the local king or ruler. Whenever an SAO visited a longhouse, chickens or even a pig would be slaughtered in honour of his visit. That was the accolade an Iban would enjoy. So my father, being a very simple man, had wanted me to become an SAO. Thus as I did not forget his wishes, I told Mr. Nicholl about this and I wanted to apply for a post in the government service.

Mr. Nicholl was very sporting and supporting so he made arrangements for me to be interviewed for the job in Kuching.

The account of this interview will be in a future posting.

In a way, all these remarkable incidents in 1966,even though they happened so long ago, today ,often bring a smile to my face.

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Legend of Henry Lian

Have you ever thought out loud what it would be to be Henry Lian when you were a school boy?

I checked out with a number of boys in the school when I was still in school and most of them said that, (if they have known Henry Lian at school), they would have loved to be him...what a legend! What a lucky guy!

Perhaps what I am going to write might not be the real truth. But it was the legend of Henry Lian of TLS.

Henry came to TLS like most of us. Poor back ground, specially selected because he was bright, and a native boy of the Fourth Division. And the Education officers who chose him could not be wrong at all. He was indeed a good choice as we all know until now.

In school as far as I know, he was good in the field of sports, good to teachers, and excellent in work parties. He was excellent with the girls too, being such a handsome, Greek God like young man!! His success as a student in both academics and extra-curricular was crowned by his appointment as Head Prefect in 1961-62. He was given a place in Lower sixth, which was a mark of academic achievement at that time. But the lucky Henry was given a scholarship to study in the United States. So he missed out Form Six in Tanjong Lobang. And as records stand today, they tell us of his impact in the school.

His public relations has always been very good as he is soft spoken and he can move people to do things in a quiet way. Perhaps it is this particular trait that made him such a success in school and at work later, as Human Resource Manager of Shell, Miri.

Perhaps also, his basic Christian values helped him along to give that trustworthy feeling whenever one was around him.

He was also very brotherly and would always have a lot of good things to say about others.

Later, in life, I met him again and I found that he has a wonderful memory of things in the past,especially of TLS which he loves as much as any one.

I first met him again when I had had just come back from London and I was with Philip. I must have changed a lot since my young, thin scrawny days at TLS. He asked, "Are you that Sawan Jiram?" He was already quite a big guy in Shell then. Philip Assan was a young officer with Lands and Survey Miri and knowing Philip , he was then travelling a lot to make that extra for his growing family. I was too in some desperate need looking for something better in life like a good firm which could take in an indigenous legal assistant, and I too had a wife and a child to look after.

Henry has done well. He had completed his Form Five, won an Asian Foundation Scholarship to the US and came back to jobs which were placed on his lap literally. He has done well for himself and for his people. He has helped so many to achieve in their lives some kind of success in Shell and elsewhere.

But one amusing tale about him was the legendary romance that he had in school. A certain lady teacher fell in love with him and the whole boys' hostel took the gossip like fans of a rock star!! I heard that she was not the only one. When he was in the United States, he had a huge fan club of young ladies and perhaps many would have followed him to Sarawak if only he had asked for their hand in marriage.

That was quite something but I would not write too much about it.

For whenever we TLS think of Henry Lian,four things would stand out : he was so good looking that a young teacher fell head over heels in love with him, he was a good student, and a kind brother in school and he was one of the earliest native boys to win a scholarship to study in the US!

(Note" Henry, hope that this is not offensive to you!!hehehehe)

Mr.Robert Nicholl and Three Fives

Mr. Robert Nicholl is the most unforgetable man I have ever met.

He was my teacher, my Principal, my mentor and my friend.

One incident would always come to my mind whenever my TLS friends and I get together.

I remember Mr.Nicholl fondly as I enjoyed most of all, a great school and a great system. How did he lead a school which had no discipline problem. today this kind of school might not exist anymore, especially if we pay attention to what is written in the papers, tabloids and weeklies,or what we hear from the grapevine.

We had a school rules and we had lots of students. And we were from all walks of life,all kinds of backgrounds, and all kinds of racial groups. We were really a great kettle of different fishes and yet Mr. Nicholl had all of us in the best of behaviour.

I will tell you how he gained the respect of heavy smokers in our school and how teachers would never find a cigarette butt in the dormitories or toilets.

Mr. Nicholl announced in the school assembly that no one should smoke in the school but all the gentlemen could smoke like chimneys if they wanted, outside school.

So one day, he must have felt that he needed to teach Benjamin Angki and Gramong Juna a lesson for these two were heavy smokers.

He invited them to have a good dinner in Gymkyhna Club (GCM), then the province of white colonials and Shell White staff only. It must have been an excellent dinner,knowing the generosity of Mr.Nicholl, with Angki and Gramong all dressed up properly in their well starched shirts and navy blue trousers.

"What about a beer after dinner, Angki and Gramong? Mr. Nicholl asked the two.

"Sure, sir, that would be nice," Angki answered in his best English.

"Sure, definitely, I would like a beer. Thank you,sir," Gramong answered demurely.

So they had beer and it was quite merrry really. The after dinner small talk was quite good Angki remembered.

"Now, Angki and Gramong, how about some cigarettes?" Mr. Nicholl carefully asked the two.

Angki and GRamong almost froze with their beer in mid air. They were trapped!

"No, sir, we don't smoke!" Angki answered a little too quickly.

"For goodness sakes, Angki! I know you smoke! What's the brand that you like? Three Fives?"

Angki gave Gramong a weak smile and Gramong was not too sure what he should say. They were lost for words.

"Okay, then, barkeeper, give my two friends here a packet each of Three Fives." Mr. Nicholl ordered the barman, who soon produced two packets of Three Fives.

Very carefully the two fingered their packets of cigarettes and they looked down on the floor, crossing their legs and uncrossing their legs again. The atmosphere was electrifying.

Slowly, Mr.Nicholl tried to put them at ease.

"Smoke, as much as you want,boys. Because when you reach the school, you can't smoke any more. Remember that." Mr. Nicholl must have ended that with a chuckle.

I will always remember how Mr. Nicholl would chuckle in amusement whenever we were caught for being naughty. But he really did have a great sense of humour and a heart of gold.

Angki and GRamong told us that their embarrassment knew no end. From that time onwards, out of respect and love for Mr. Nicholl the two never smoked in the school premises anymore.

There would be lots of other anecdotes...and I can only love and respect Mr.Nicholl more. I am sure all ex tanjongers would echo that.

Yes, I can still hear that chuckle.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

New Name

There has been lots of mysteries about the change of name of our beloved TLS.

And now that I have landed on a very official piece of writing by Leonard Martin Uning, I am happy to share some statements lifted from it. So it is very, very official. Perhaps only a few would have legal documents (or no documents) to prove otherwise. In our developing world, names change for two cents or less. Whether that is good or not,our future history will tell.

Our beloved college is situated/sited on a delightful 50 acre (proof of size,land title?) parkland on the headland overlooking the south China Sea at Tanjong Lobang, about 4 miles outside Miri, in Sarawak's Fourth Division. It started as the first Government Secondary School in Sarawak in 1957 and has grown to become one of the most distinguished. Rebuilding and reconstruction of this premier college began only in 2007 as part of Malaysia's Ninth Development Plan, almost 50 years later. In the last 50 years, its wooden sheds, its small homes for teachers, and bicycle sheds, windblown hostels housed and educated almost all the most senior government leaders,educationists,doctors,lawyers of Sarawak. Foremost,perhaps being Tan Sri Alfred Jabu and Tan Sri Leo Moggie and not to miss out all the other SAOs,DOs,and teachers who have been missed out in the brilliant limelights of the Sarawak scene.

The seed idea of having a government school to educate poor rural boys and girls actually was sown in Miri according to historians like Leonard Martin Uning. Four names stood out in the founding of this school. Mr. MG Dickson, then the Director of Education of Sarawak, Mr. Robert Nicoll, then the Divisional Education Officer, Fourth and Fifth Divisions,Rev
Fr Rawlins who was the first Principal and Captain DR Gribble of Sarawak Oilfields Limited for helping out with the many physical obstacles in the first year of the school's existence.

According to the records, Mr. Robert Nicholl was the man responsible for getting the huge tract of land for the school. As a learned man, he had the vision of having a wonderful college for great minds overlooking the sea. A cliff top school was always the ideal of an educationist with a western philosophy as a background. Grants were made available from the Colonial Development and Welfare Funds.

The first intake of the school included a Primary Five class of native boys selected from the ulu areas of fourth and Fifth Divisions, a Transition Class of Chinese pupils who had completed their Chinese Primary Six, a Form Four class and a class of student teachers.

It took two years for Tanjong Lobang School to shape up with active bull dozers in place, and grounds flattened to make way for the present football and hockey fields and lots of labourers under the hot sun putting up the main buildings. So by 1959, students, staff both academic and non academic moved into the premises. To many it was "heaven on earth". And today if you happen to meet any of the original students of TLS, it is indeed very true. You can never find such a school again they would say,where teachers were angels and the Principal, a god.

The new buildings were declared opened by Mr. RL Hutchens, the New Zealand High Commissioner on Sept 24 1959. This honour was given to him because of the generous assistance given by the New zealand government under the Colombo Plan in staffing and constructing the school from the beginning. Those of us who were there recognised the pomp and significance of the occasion. But very few realised that it would be one of the last few occasions to be graced by colonial officials.

By 1967, the school had become a senior secondary school, admitting students only for Form Iv and above. Sixth Form classes had been started in 1963, and sixth formers had begun to outnumber Fourth and Fifth Formers by 1968, the year I completed my Upper Sixth and started teaching as a temporary teacher.

The Government then decided that the school was to become entirely a Sixth Formj Institution. So in May 6th 1969, " Tanjong Lobang School was renamed as Tanjong Lobang College by the Honorable Chief Minister, Dato Penghulu Tawi ." (Uning)

"Then a singular honour attended Tanjong Lobang College. In January 1971, His Excellency the Governor, Tun Datu Tuanku Haji Bujang, graciously gave his name to the college. The famous Tanjong Lobang College thus became the prestigious Kolej Tun Datu Tuanku Haji Bujang," Uning wrote in his Handbook of Information 1973 of Kolej Tun Datu Tuanku Hj Bujang,Miri. The Handbook of Information was distributed to every student who was enrolled in the school that year with Mr. Uning as the Prinicpal.

This handbook consisted of 73 pages of very good information and may still be found in many school libraries in Sarawak. Today many colleges would give out this kind of booklet as a marketing tool when they go on educational roadshows to attract students.

In retrospect,I spent my greatest nine years of my life in the school, loving it and living every moment to the fullest. When I left in 1968 I knew I had to make it in life by all means. Life had been hard, and the hardest challenges were ahead of me. The friends I made have been life long. There are places I remember,
Some have gone,
some forever,
but I love them all. (Refer to Beatles' song.......)

I am wondering how it could be done, to change the name back again to TLS. How much would it take? Would it be all that worthwhile. Or would it be just...memories are just our second chance to happiness.......

My fellow ex-tanjongers out there....cheers and love always.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

pop culture in TLS

In my very first week in TLS I was introduced to pop personalities like Elvis Presley, Ricky Nelson, Paul Anka, Frankie Avalon and Fabian. Everyone sang songs like Don't Leave Me Now, My Hometown which was Paul Anka's hit song of the time, Ricky Nelson's Lonesome Cowboy, and Frankie Avalon's Venus. These were the pop idols of the day. Due to my ignorance, as an ulu boy,I did not know that they were Americans.

Every one tried their best to copy their hairstyles and never failed to keep a comb visibly jutting out of their trousers' back pocket. The beehive shaped hairdo jutting out of our forehead and a prominent side burn were the order of the day. I remember one boy went to the extremes trying to be Elvis Presley, that he shaved the hair off the sides of his temple and kept only curls in the front. He looked hilarious.

As for pop fashion of the day, we left our collars standing as high as possible to give that trendy look. When one wore short sleeved shirts, one would roll them up almost to the shoulder to have the Ricky Nelson muscular look. As for trousers, our pop idol introduced to us for the first time, Levi and other other branded jeans which I know now to be all American brands. The legs were tight, or drain pipe, and this trend lasted until 1962. It was considered almost uncultured and against the conservative norm of the time. But like James Dean, we were then rebels without a cause, in a sense.

But despite all these exterior expression of our need to conform with the pop culture. I do not believe that TLS had ever experienced any problems of indiscipline associated with it.

As I have stated in one of my earlier postings, this pop culture introduced me to English pop songs and guitar music. This in turn introduced a lot of us to British music and pop stars such as Cliff Richard and the Shadows. Sometime in mid 1962, we were introduced to the Beatles who had taken Britain by storm.

The Beatles changed everything in TLS. The mop top hairstyle of the Beatles demolished the beehive of the Americans. the Beatles also taught us that being muscular like James Dean and Elvis Presley, was not the only thing in life.

The comb disappeared from the back pocket of the boys' trousers because we only needed our fingers to create a mop top style. By this time the school administration was a bit concerned about the length of our hair. Suddenly the order of the day was being a little bit untidy on the top. I thought at that time,the mop top hairstyle was fairly girlish. But it did not stop me from having one. We had to comb our hair to the front to have that look.

during the same period,the Blue Hawaii of Elvis Presley and Summer Holiday of Cliff Richard became the craze of the day. So it was not uncommon to see boys coming to the Refrectory in the evening wearing Cliff Richard's Summer Holiday see through or transparent t-shirt which allowed someone to see through all that you had, or lack of it. Elvis Presley's Blue Hawaii brought back the rolled up sleeves fashion to the student population. I remember my friend Thomas sia having the best rolled up sleeves, showing his great muscles to the envy of the whole student population.

However, do not mistake the exterior look of his for in spite his bulky frame,Thomas was a gentle giant like the Hulk.

sometime in 1963, the navy cut trousers which was the forerunner of the flared trousers or the bell bottoms, came into our lives.

We looked neat and everyone saved to buy or tailor made for himself white flared trousers. We must have given lots of business to Nam Kong Tailor,which was situated opposite the then Cathay Theatre. It was owned by my classmate's father, who usually gave us a good discount.
Because of the flared trousers the school seemed cleaner as the trousers were obviously sweeping the floor.

then came the a-go-go music craze ,which unlike the music of Elvis and the others,did not have much following. But the music brought with it the a-go-go belt which was extremely popular with the boys.

The belt prominently graced the unpleated tight trousers with flared bottoms. For the boys,the tight trousers could not conceal the bulge in front so it was considered bad taste by the teachers.

I vividly remember Mr. Sargunam who was then acting Principal of TLS publicly denounced the fashion during one of the morning assemblies and said that the a-go-go belt must go!

I can't say that he was very popular for having said so. But the belt did go almost overnight. This indicated for us that we never lost sight of discipline of which TLS always upheld.

For the girls the mini skirt and beehive hairdo stayed for a long time. Freda Kedung was the perfect model for that fashion which became popular during the era of the Twist. I suppose the girls of those days may like to offer their comments: to wear or not to wear......