1961-63 : The Girls' Relay Team
When we were in junior secondary school in TLS, the boys, especially the native boys formed a very strong and unbeatable athletic team which "conquered" almost all the trophies of local school and open amateur athletic events. We were the golden boys.
But Mr. Sia, our sports master, found it a little challenging to get a girls' team together. He had to scrounge amongst the pitiful small number of girls who might just be able to run and last, more importantly, a few fifty meters or more.
So with a great effort and in the end, he was able to assemble Ngik Koon, Kamariah,Chellenga and Alice Darieng. They were the most unusual looking bunch of girls to be on the sports field. Both Ngik Koon and Kamariah were still having their puppy fat and looked at the most plump and not at all lithe to beat the flying girls looks of the Chung Hua school team.
Only Chellenga and Alice looked a little more promising.
Come sports day, we boys got all excited, knowing that we could be the champions of the day. But we were a little more than apprehensive about the girls. When it was the girls' relay event, we boys were all ready to do all the cheering and shouting by the side. Hoping that at least by our shouts they could just run a little faster.
"Come on, Ngik Koon!!" we all shouted, over and over again.
She ran like a boxer, with her hands pounding the air from her face. Her steps were firm and small. But she was able to finish her part to our delight.
Kamariah , in her sporting best, trotted on but nevertheless finished her part of 100x4 to the glee of all the TLS support team. Her smile was good enough at the end.
Alice ran with all her heart and brought the team forward a little.
Chellenga was light and she managed slightly better.
But in the end our girls' team came in a delightful last.
Our team, especially the girls' team ,happily took part in the athletic meets for three years. We raised and shook our TLS flag high and with the highest of morale. Later the dynamics of the runners and events changed and the four girls delightfully took their places away from the tracks.
The Olympics Games said, "Participation is more important than winning."
But the girls' sportsmanship will always be remembered by us.
Ngik Koon , now in Miri, continues to be charming, helpful and friendly. She has never changed in her attitude towards her fellow school mates. Her warm nature and permanent smile have made her a winner in life.
Kamariah is now a success as an educationist in Brunei. Still the same Karmariah - kind and cheerful. But extremely trim and healthy.
Chellenga is still the same - helpful and caring. She has good words for her friends and relatives and teaches Aborigines students in a school in Katherine, near Darwin, Australia.
Alice is retired from her teaching in St. James, Brunei and now owns a native craft shop in Miri. Always charming, cheerful and a good conversationalist, you will never feel rejected by a charmer like her.
But the years of the Girls' Relay Team would always fill my heart with warmth and laughter.
Those were indeed happy days.