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.