Sunday, February 14, 2010

All Round Education at Tanjong Lobang School

It was in 1966 when we were all gathered together at the school assembly hall to listen to something which was quite new to us.

A young Dr. Chan was to introduce a very important topic to us : Family Planning.

Most of us did not know what that was.

Dr. George Chan was then very young and he had just come to Miri and we all knew that he had a beautiful American wife. That also amazed most of us at the school.

What I remember most was Dr. Chan introduced us the Loop and he told us how it was to be inserted into a woman's body. A friend tried it in his clenched fist and decided that it was
To this day I still remember that statement.

It could really be ticklish I thought.

When it was Dr. Sulaiman's turn to give a career talk he took all of us Form Six students to his quarters at the Peninsular next to the old Miri Hospital.

He and his wife entertained us to what I considered as one of the most impressive career talk I had ever attended in my life.

His pretty wife served us a smashing and delicious iced fruit juice. And to this day I have never forgotten that particular drink too.

But I have forgotten most of what Dr. Sulaiman told us.

I believe that most of my school mates have to this day very lasting memories of what these two men brought into our lives. Poor students like us often needed that little inspiration and that little human touch to make us feel that our minds could be moulded.

And both of them inspired us to use the English language.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Miss Sylvester

Photos are courtesy of my school mate Ahmad Rony Assim.

Below is Miss Sylvester at the Subang Airport in 1970.

Miss Sylvester with her class in Tanjong Lobang.
We as students would never ask Miss Sylvester her first name. It was not the done thing. So I do not know her name until now.

As I have said previously most of my school photos were burnt by the fire which razed my long house in 1978. So thanks Rony.

Miss Sylvester was one of our favourite teachers. She taught us Geography and helped our imagination to extend beyond our limited hills and rivers.

A little on the shy and quiet side she was never one to raise her voice or say anything untoward. We all liked her in her special elderly ways. She was petite and slim and was always very upright . We would of course never try to upset her in any way. So it was politeness all around us whenever she was present. Our native instincts so to speak were suppressed by middle class values learned in the class rooms.

I remember very fondly for a few encounters I had with her.

One day my friends Reggie and Alec and I were waiting for the bus to go to attend a concert and dance. We heard that Eugene Cox and his brother Sonny were going to play in their band in the Youth Centre. The bus took a long time to come. Miss Sylvester stopped by and asked where we were going.

I was kind of desparate at that moment because I so wanted to see the band and I also knew that a dance would follow. So I blurted out "Miss Sylvester do you think you could take us down to the youth centre? We would really love to watch the band playing."

that was my request in the most polite English I knew .

To our shock and pleasant surprise she turned her little car around and took us down the five kilometres of road!!

Just as we stopped at the entrance of the youth centre I again asked her if she would like to join the dance with us!!

To our greatest surprise she consented and did a few dances with us. We Iban boys were really short of dance partners. But we really wanted to dance very much.

And of all people Miss Sylvester understood us. She did!!

A teacher from Heaven. I will never forget how happy we were to be able to dance in the hall with our very own teacher. We remain forever grateful to her for those precious moments of our lives.