Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Tanjong, 1963/64

In December 1962 my sister, Rose finished sixth form and she won a scholarship to go for further studies in Australia. She came back from Kuching and she was not very sure whether she should go out to find a job to support her younger brother and sister or should she continue with her own education. She consulted my uncle and guardian, Lucas Thien about her dilemma. He was not pleased at all with her scholarship award for some strange reasons because I remember even now what he said to Rose. It made her cry.

“What about your brother and sister? Don’t be selfish, Rose. Go out; find a job and work to support your own brother and sister!” This almost resulted in Rose giving up her Colombo Plan scholarship! Fortunately she didn’t. The next thing I knew she took me to see the district officer in Miri and arranged for me to enter Tanjong Lobang School as a boarder. I was the only local boarder from Miri town. All the other boarders came from remote parts of Sarawak like Bintulu, Sarikei and Kanowit. The day scholars were Paul Lee, Hata Solhi and Lucas Chua. They were my classmates in St. Joseph's Miri. As soon as I was settled into boarding school, Rose left for Australia. She attended the University of New England in Armidale, a small town north of Sydney.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

First 6th form class


First sixth form class of 1964:
Standing l to r (back row):

Timothy Liaw Aik Hon, Lankie Simbas*, Lucas Chua*, Richard Lau*, Thomas Lin. Thaddeous Demong, Anthony Najod.

Second row, l to r:
Sie Yuan Seng, Hatta Solhi, Paul Lee, Lee Ting Leong, Chih Ching Ping, Alphonsus Sia,Ting Huat Tung, David Chin, Innocent Wong, Paul Ling Hwa Ing, Dominic Wong.

Front row, l to r:
Joseph Nuing, Arbie Zainuddin, Matnor Daim, Denys Lang*, Leong Mei Kim,Jolhi Sa'ar, Tony Hung, Peter Hati, Jampong Seliong* (* diseased)

The first form 6 class was made up of students mainly from the ulu parts of Sarawak. They have come to Miri because their schools did not have sixth form. There were the St. Anthony’s boys from Sarikei: Ting Huat Tung, Paul Ling, Innocent and Dominic Wong, Thomas Lin and Lee Ting Leong. Tony Hung and Arbie Zainnudin came from Sacred Heart, Sibu. Danys Lang, Lankie Simbas, Anthony Najod, Thaddeous Demong and Mosko Ruben were from Kanowit. Chih Ching Ping came from Marudi. The Miri boys were Lucas Chua, Paul Lee, David Chin, Hatta Solhi and Jolhi Sa'ar. From Bintulu came Leong Mei Kim, the only girl in sixth form science. She later married Ting Huat Tung. They now live happily in Melbourne.

Most of these people later on won Colombo Plan, Sarawak Foundation or other scholarships and when they graduated from oversea universities and returned to work in Sarawak. They became heads of government departments and business leaders. A few stayed on overseas and never returned to Sarawak after they finished their courses.  I chose to return to Miri in 1972 because my guarantor would go to jail otherwise.

On the whole, the Colombo Plan scheme back-fired. Instead of helping us, it began a brain drain from the developing countries to the donor countries which continued to this day. I am living in New Zealand. I know at least 20 other school mates living now in Canada, America and Australia. Two of my own children have again migrated from NZ to Australia. Where their children will go next is any one's guess. My grand father Chin Yu, a Haka ngin (gypsy) left Kwangtung province in 1905 during a famine. He migrated to Sabah and worked a rubber garden, tapping rubber. My father [migrated] to Sarawak in order to finish high school. I was born in Miri and know the place very well because I lived there for 45 years. I took my family to NZ in 1995. My sons are living in Australia and so it continues for the Chin family.

Hakas hold no allegiance to any one country because we have become world citizens. Other Haka ngin have migrated to all the famous gold fields all over the world. Some became farmers working on market gardens, planting vegetables. Others operated laundries and take-away restaurants. Their descendants attended universities and are now working as doctors, lawyers and engineers. A few became  datuks, mayors and members of parliaments. One became prime minister of Singapore for many years.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

School prefects 1964


school prefects 1964.
(Standing l to r): Jampong Seliong*, Timothy Liaw Aik Hon,
Chih Ching Ping, David Chin, Tony Hung, Jolhi Sa'ar.
(Seated l to r): Lankie Simbas*, Mabel Chiew, Denys Lang*,
Leong Mei Kim, Mohd. Matasan*

Tanjong Lobang School was built by the New Zealand Government under the Colombo Plan scheme. It was completely built, staffed and funded by them. There was another school, Dragon school in Kuching funded by the Australians. These two countries were trying to outdo one another in providing education in Sarawak. It was good that developed nations helped the under developed countries in this way. I believe in giving a starving man a fishing rod; teach him how to catch a fish instead of giving him a fish! This way he and his children are still eating fish today (long after the foreign aid is discontinued).

Today as a just reward, the donor countries are harvesting in a hundred fold what the scheme has cost them originally. Returns came to the host country now in the form of good will and other immeasurable benefits like foreign tourists income from overseas students of previous recipient countries. Even our chief minister of Sarawak today, Taib Mahmud, was a law graduate from Adelaide, Australia. The finance minister, Dr. George Chan, was a medical graduate from Sydney U. Both of them were Colombo Plan scholarship students.  Dr. Chan’s mother is Lukoo, who is a good friend of Mrs. Thien, my guardian. Lukoo was also James Thien’s guardian in Brunei in 1958.
The head master of Tanjong Lobang School in 1963, was Mr. Alan Ruthe. With him were kiwi teachers: Mr Dewhurst, Mr. Wanty and matron, Mrs Cosby. Local teachers were Sargunam, Lillian Loke, Roger Ong, Lulu Ong, Mrs. Philips, James Foh and Miss Ellen Liaw. Later on, Mr Ruthe left Tanjong and he was replaced by Mr. Henderson who taught us General paper in 1964. He also taught us how to play Rugby football, sing Maori  songs ( Pokarekare Ana) and performing the Hakka, a Maori war dance! Mr. Theodore Sargunam was our Chemistry teacher and Mrs. Philips taught Biology. Mr. Wanty was our Mathematics and Physics teacher. I enjoyed most of all, the applied mechanics lessons. 
I can still recall the formula for the horizontal component of a gravitational force P acting down a slope. It is Fh=P.cosine theta. The vertical component Fv=P.sine theta where theta is the angle of the slope in radians. My proudest achievement is being able to remember even now the cosine rule:

a square = b square + c square - 2bc.cosine theta!!

I learned this algebra formula in additional maths in 1963. It was over 40 years since I first heard of the cosine rule and function of a function in calculus. Mr. Wanty was certainly a good teacher; but some times I wonder what good was algebra and calculus to my life during the previous 40+ years?!

Later at Swinburne Technical College, Melbourne in 1966, I also learned about the workings of imaginary numbers i, matrices, entropy-enthalpy diagrams, lamina flow theory, carbon steel equilibrium diagrams, eutectic temperatures for various carbon and alloy steels. I learned Fortran 4 programming language, graphics, vernier callipers, inert gas welding techniques, machining and also how to read a bamboo slide rule. All this technical knowledge had very little use during my working life with Shell Lutong. They trained me further in supervisory and computer skills which were not covered in any of my academic courses in school. After retirement, I took up blogging as a hobby to help me pass the time. It was time well spent because now I have a very active presence on the internet! I have not less than 60 blogs.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

A well rounded education

Brunei Shell visit

Today, my brain is now crammed so full of a wide variety of information that I have become a Jack of all trades and master of none! I notice that my general knowledge is very good compared to most of my peers. I know a little about many things. I play golf (handicap 16), tennis, sail a trailer yacht, surf the internet, send e-mails and own 72 blogs. I know how to drill oil wells, service oil wells, analyse stocks, control spare parts inventory using mesc codes and a software programme (EMA3000), write books and now teaching English to new immigrants in New Zealand.

I have lived overseas in Melbourne for over 6 years, Hamilton for 14 years, previously lived in The Hague, Holland for 5 weeks (drilling course) and in Malaysia for 46 years! I have visited London, Belgium, France, Germany, Thailand, the Philippines, Beijing and Shanghai. Climbed the Great Wall of China and visited the Forbidden city.

At Tanjong, we were exposed to many things including English literature, Oliver Goldsmith and Shakespeare’s plays like Twelfth Night and The Pirates of Penzance who were poor orphan boys surrounded by water with not a drop to drink!

Science fair
I learned to play rugby; but I hated to be in the scrum. Every time I came out of the scrum, all my pimples and acnes burst and were bleeding! Those native students were really strong. Marcus, Henry, Gerawat Nulun and Lankie Simbas* were huge in stature compared to poor scrawny me. We also learned to do the hakka and sing Maori songs, Pokarekare Ana. A net was pulled across one of the basketball courts by Sargunam, our chemistry teacher. He taught us lawn tennis. His wife, Lillian Loke (Lai Lan) was the eldest daughter of Loke Yi Wai a friend of tai-yi and Lukoo in Seria.

Lulu Ong taught the sixth form class how to dance the cha-cha. She claimed that we would need to know how to dance properly if we were going overseas for our degrees. Little did she know that Waltz and Foxtrots were no longer the most popular dance steps any more. The twist, jive and rock n roll were more appropriate in the mid 60's when most of my class mates were attending uni overseas.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Dormitory

contributed by Sam Teo

Our boarding houses where we stayed had names like: Kiwi, Hornbill , Clarke and Dearnley hostels. We have showers in the open air with just a towel or sarong around us. Meals were served in a huge dining room. We lived like kings and had corn flakes with milk for breakfast! What luxury! We thought we were in paradise.  I realised now that this corn flakes and milk powder, although delicious to starving boys in the boarding schools, were probably supplied in bulk from UNESCO as overseas aid to under developed countries and they had most likely gone past their used-by date. I hope that they were not also genetically engineered!
Kiwi hostel, my home 1963/64

However, during the long school holidays, I noticed that not all the native students went home because some were so poor that they could not afford the boat fares to go home more than once a year. These bumiputras were land rich but cash poor! Being a town boy, used to having at least some pocket money, it was a shock to me that some other students who had parents were actually poorer than me! It was an overwhelming discovery for me. I have won a Shell Bursary of $750 per year. After paying boarding fees of $50 per month I still had some pocket money. Very often during the weekends, I joined some boarders clandestinely cooking and eating Maggi mee in the kitchen! Richard Lau and Paul Ling Hwa Ing were always hungry!

Friday, October 28, 2005

Rural poverty

Tanjong Lobang beach

My sister Rose, during her teaching practice and supervisions of trainee teachers in later years, travelled the length and breadth of Sarawak. She came across a great deal of real poverty, especially in the ulu areas. All her stories confirmed my inner most fears and have made me very hard and unforgiving in my dealings with people for a long time, especially strangers. I was convinced that soft people go hungry and perish in this world! So, I had better be tough! Although I am really a softie at heart, I did not intend to perish! I have never allowed anyone to come close enough to see the real me. All the while I had to have a wall built around me for protection and putting up a tough front for the whole world to see. For a long time, I was convinced that I needed that wall for my survival.

I am also a racist, a pessimist and a bigot. My strongest weakness is being constantly too judgemental and negative in my thinking. For some strange reasons, I am unable to look on the brighter side of things and have become more cynical with age. It is also a constant battle for me to stop talking and start  listening to people.  My sister Rose also has this same weakness. The Chin family trait, so to speak! Only now as I grow older and mellow with age, that I slowly realized that no man is an island really. I have lately become much more tolerant and friendly in my dealings with people, friends or otherwise.

I am starting to listen to people. I found that some times they do have something worthwhile to contribute to the conversation. Hey! I don’t know everything, after all! Give it time; I am sure I can become a good listener! I am also afraid to make new friends, perhaps for fear of losing them too, like my parents. Otherwise, I am perfect! Ha-ha!

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Where are the ex-Tanjongs now?

Most ex-tanjongs are still living in Malaysia, mainly in KL, Miri or Kuching.

Samuel Teo in Missouri USA (previously Orlando, Florida)
Andrew Lau  in England

Canada
Edward Bol Assim (PJ in winter)
Thaddeus Demong
Moi Lap Kun, Larry
Helena Zukowski (Helen Wooldridge)
Paul Ling Hwa Ing

China
She Joo Chin in Hong Kong
Yeo Geok Hoe in Shanghai (previously Auckland, NZ)

New Zealand
Lisa and Teng Wang Khiew,
Linda Ruthe,
Dominic Wong,
Lee Ting Leong,
Tam Chi Kim
David Chin


Melbourne
Ting Huat Tung and Leong Mei Kim,
David Wong,
Mabel Chiew
Chung Sie Hiung


Perth
Timothy, Liaw Aik Hon
Chih Ching Ping,
Frank Voon Siew Nam
(and children of Chang Yi, KCL, David Chin.)

Brunei
Haji Mohamad (Haji)
Hasmadi Mois
Abeng Lim
Christopher Sawan and Chang Yi
Dyg Feridahanam bt Hj Abg Zen


KK, Sabah
Chai Tze Ming

Kuala Lumpur
Andong Marzuki (Uki)
Zainal Abidin Matassan* (ZAM)
Ling Liang Wei (Smiley)
Zenorai Rambli (ZR)
Wayne Kalang
Baki Bakar
Dolly Chye,
Edward Bol (part time only)
Heng Hock Cheng (previously Bejing)
Abang Arabi bin Hj Abg Narudin (79-80) Form4 and 5
Dyg Fatimah bt Hj Abg Narudin (75-76) Form6
Baihiki bin Tepoli (77-78) KL/Kerteh
Margaret Greta (77-78)
Mariam Hj Vatsaloo(77-78)
Hajijah bt Jais(77-78)


Taiping Perak
Robert Madang (RM or Rizal Abdullah)


SARAWAK:

Kuching

Talib Zulpilip (TZ)
Henry Lian Aran
Lim Lian Hun
Patrick Panai and Anne
Anthony Belon
Reggie Tersan
Mahmud Yusuf
Peter Sie Yuan Seng
Chang Foh Soon
Joseph Nuing
Mohd Sabil
Abdul Rahman Abdullah (ARA)
Thomas Iboh
Ding Seling
Liaw Watt Chiaw(watt Chua)
Dyg Mordiah bt Hj Abg Narudin (72-73)
Rebecca Beka Bana (77-78) on/off Miri
Narawi Hussin (77-78)
Azizah Hj Abdullah (77-78)
Abg Azahari b Hj Abg Zen
Chai Min Sen
Margaret Dreba(77-78)
Jeffery Parang(Prisons Dept) 77-78
Baru Bian

Bintulu
Chong Tiong Liap (Song Liap)

Mukah
Kong Chiong Liing (Sebastian, Ah Long)

Bario
Gerawat Nulun
Martin Paul
Gerish Balang
Isaac Iboh
Philip Lakai Tuanaiee
Kalang Akup


Miri
Dr. Chong Hoi Hee, (CHH, owner of this Google group)
Sawan and Chang Yi (house in Miri)
Dr. Nuing Jeliung, (NJ)
Dom Mattu
Yeo Bee Chai working in Labuan
Dick Bala
Alex Isut ?
Katut Achong?
Dyg Hajijah bt Hj Abg Narudin(dina babe)
Abg Usop bin Hj Abg Narudin 77-79 (frm4-Lower 6)
Marcel Usop Pak
Dayang Lasung
Belon Assan (Labuan?)
Abd Aziz bin Taiee (77-78) - GB SK Riam Bt 2
Dyg Hashimah bt Hj Abg Zen (Pengetua KTDTHB)
Abg Affendi b Hj Abg Zen
Abd Sani(77-78)
Dara Yaakup (77-78)
Husniah Buang (77-78)
Hjh Serina Sauni(Pengetua SMSain)
Lily Morni
Lucy Aran Bulan (Pengetua SMK Baru)
Hjh Khatijah Hj Muip - Councillor Miri City Council
Fatimah Nawi (GB SK Pulau Melayu)(74-75)
Hjh Dyg Mariam Awg Sulaiman(GB SK Kpg Luak) 75-76
Christina Sio (GB SK St Joseph)


Limbang
Beda Agog(77-78) 
Laurentius Thomas

Sibu
William Baja Jap

 Indonesia
James Bedindang

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Teaching Among the Giants

by Bob Lynn,
a Peace Corps teacher

In early 1963, I was thinking that I needed to reconsider my career choice. I was at that time a graduate student in English at Yale University, preparing to teach literature for the rest of my life, and I began to think, “Is my whole career going to be just like graduate school? If so, I need to jump ship”. As an undergraduate, I’d had a wonderful time studying literature. You read masses and masses of the best works of the best writers, you and your classmates talk about all the things you’re reading, and then you write papers that say (you hope) deep things about life, literature, and wisdom in general. Ah, but that was undergraduate work. In graduate school, I’d found, you kept on reading, but now you filled in your knowledge by spending your time on the very minor works of major writers, or sometimes on the major works of very minor writers. And instead of tackling The Big Issues of Life, you wrote papers on tiny bite-size issues to show your professors that you were ready to be a “scholar”.Part of the trouble was that I was adjusting to being mole-like scholar, and I could really imagine myself becoming perfectly happy to be a dusty, safe professor wrapped in tweeds and tenure. So I figured it was time for a break. The biggest break I could see at the time was joining the Peace Corps, the volunteer service based in part on the British V.S.O. (Voluntary Service Overseas) that also had a New Zealand counterpart called Voluntary Service Abroad.

I applied to the Peace Corps in March 1963 and was sent a letter in April asking me to report for training for service in Gabon, I think – or perhaps it was Togo. My training was to start in the middle of May.Very, very fortunately, I had a job teaching summer school for that summer, and I couldn’t get out of it. I asked the Peace Corps to take me off that assignment, explained why, and more or less begged them not to strike my name off their list, but to give me another chance.And that’s how I ended up being invited to report for training that October, and of course how I ended up in Sarawak, a place that I certainly knew even less about than Gabon or Togo.

My next lucky break came in Kuching, where the Education Office or whatever it was called then told me I was being sent to Tanjong Lobang School. I heard good things about Tanjong Lobang in Kuching, but of course I had no idea, when the Malaysia Airways Dakota hopped up the coast in late January, 1964 and dropped me off in the midst of Shell-land in Lutong, that this was going to be the most pleasant teaching experience of my life. I’ve had a couple of jobs that stretched me more, especially a job in the Singapore Civil Service that was far out of my usual range and kept me learning new things every day, but I’ve never had a more enjoyable time in a job.Many of the ex-Tanjong students who have written recently have said very kind things about the teachers there, so now it’s time for a teacher to say kind – but quite true – things about the students. 
In my view, and this is the view of all the teachers from that era that I know, the outstanding thing about teaching at TLS was the students, from the cheery little Form 1 kids whom Robert Nicholl used to refer to as “the tiny tots” to the generally noisy strong personalities of Form 6. The most obvious thing one can say about those Sixth Formers is that they were very bright. Think a bit about the winnowing process that occurred in Sarawak in the 50s and 60s, the process through which students worked their way up to the top forms. Many Sarawakians of school age in the 40s and 50s, of course, never had a chance to attend school. Of those who did have a chance and who completed Primary 6, roughly two thirds were dropped at that point. Of the one-third who entered Form 1, two-thirds were dropped after the Sarawak Junior. I don’t know for sure how many moved from School Certificate classes into Form Six, but I’ve always understood it to be closer to one-quarter than one-third.Do the calculations and you’ll find that if you were a Form Six student anywhere in Sarawak in those days, you were one of the top three or four percent of those who had started school so
many years before. Now of course it’s true that some of those who never even entered school may have been much more intelligent than any Tanjong students, and it’s also true that the ability to pass examinations and get promoted to a higher form isn’t the only ability one needs in life.Still, for teachers it was just heaven to be surrounded by so many very bright kids, all of whom had already learned the skills and attitudes that students need to have if they’re to succeed. Sometimes these splendid students were too good, at least for me. My most challenging class in my first year at TLS was General Paper, the make-or-break paper that tested for good writing skills, but also for clear and sophisticated thinking. Students in a writing course need above all things to write, so I started off having my students write an essay of about 500 words each week. There were lots of things we needed to do in class, so I had them write those essays as homework. Their 
essays were remarkably good, so good in fact that I was quite confident no examiner would ever fail anyone in the class. But then came the mid-year school exams, and I was shocked. Their writing was terrible! They would all pass their individual papers in other subjects, but they would fail GP and thus fail to get their precious HSC --and it would be all my fault!
Fortunately, they still had a year and a half before they faced the dread exam, so I had time to investigate a bit and wake up to the actual problem. As it turned out, the problem was simply that these students worked too hard. Quite unlike American students I had known, these kids really pushed themselves.
I’d given them something to write, so by golly they tried to come into class with something worth reading. I have no idea how many hours those students spent writing the homework essays I’d assigned, but it must have been about five times the time I thought they would put into the task. But of course the ability to write beautifully through several revisions, dictionary in hand, is quite different from the ability to impress an examiner by whipping off a good paper in something less than an hour, so I’d just been wasting their time. From then on, for my remaining three and a half years at TLS, all GP essay-writing in my classes was done in class under exam conditions, and they always were given, as they would be given later in the examination itself, six choices of essay topics so that each student could develop a sense of what sorts of questions worked well for him or her and what sorts didn’t. With that sort of preparation they began to produce essays that would warm the heart of any examiner and I continued to learn that these students were even better than I’d realized when I first encountered them.
So Tanjongers, not only in Form Six but throughout the school, were bright, and that made life very pleasant for their teachers. It also made life better for the students as a whole, of course. I’ve spent some time in third-rate educational institutions, and a lot of time in elite ones, and I can guarantee that a bright student benefits much more from being around other bright students than he or she does from spending a few hours a week with bright and capable teachers. Really capable students educate and challenge each other, and teachers aim higher and teach better when they’re stimulated by their students. What’s more, the energy of students like those at Tanjong generally spills over into all sorts of non-academic pursuits, so the place always seemed to be a hive of activity ranging from flute-playing and trying to get mice to thread their way through a maze to seining, weight-lifting and boat-building.
For a couple of years, the last part of most lunch periods featured an immensely noisy percussion band operating out of an upstairs classroom next to the library. As far as I know, the students at St. Thomas and St. Joseph, the other two secondary schools in Sarawak that had Sixth Forms in those days, were just as bright as Tanjong kids. I have a hunch, though, that the Tanjong kids had another secret weapon: they were nicer. Why were they nicer? I think the answer is that Tanjongers were poorer than those in the well-established Kuching schools, and that they were lucky enough, if poverty is ever a piece of good fortune, to be poor in a place and at a time when being poor was not likely to crush one’s spirit. I’ve recently been reading descriptions by Mabel Chiew and Henry
Lian of their earliest months at TLS. They and other members of the ex-Tanjong Google Group have emphasized time and again that money was scarce for them, both in their homes and while they were at Tanjong. Saving fifty cents or a dollar by denying oneself a luxury really made a difference to most Tanjongers. Finding a way of earning five dollars was a huge victory. Henry has pointed out that being poor was something that bumis and Chinese shared, a common ground for nearly all boarders, as well as for most day scholars. If you’re going to be poor, it’s a good idea to get yourself born in a place where you’re not seeing lots of rich people lording it over you, you’re not angry at the corruption and nepotism of the rich, and envy is not one of your chief emotions. Sarawak in general, and even the town of Miri, qualified as that sort of place in the 1960's.

There were very, very few people in Miri who were truly rich, and people in the middle class were not competing to display their good fortune. I can’t recall a single house that could remotely be described as a palace or as a temple dedicated to the pride of its owner. One could see people who were doing well, of course, but that was probably more of a stimulus to the Tanjong students of that time than a cause of resentment. My impression was that very few Tanjongers had clear ideas about what sort of career they wanted to get into – and of course that was a very sensible thing, since so much depended on what scholarship opportunities might come along – but all knew that it was reasonable to expect that their education would move them into the middle, or even the upper-middle class, and what more could one hope for?If you have a group of very bright kids who aren’t used to a pampered life, if those kids are generally inclined to be nice to one another, if they don’t have any reason to hold major grudges against the
society around them, and if they have good reason to be optimistic about their personal futures, of course they’re going to form a school community that any teacher would love.Terrible teachers and administrators might be able, in a year or two, to ruin the morale of kids like those at Tanjong, but fortunately the teachers and administrators in the 60s were adequate. Some of the former students writing recently have seemed to be remembering a staff that was superb, but I think they’re getting carried away by their generally happy memories of the school as a whole. For the years when I was there, I’d say the staff was about what teaching staffs everywhere tend to be. That is, we always had a reasonable number of excellent teachers, and we always had some teachers who were merely adequate, as well as some who were inadequate. It’s not even quite true that every teacher loved the school and its students. One, a Kiwi, decided that the syllabus laid out for Fifth
Form chemistry students didn’t really expose students to the spirit of science, so she spent weeks and weeks teaching totally off the syllabus, leading her students through the mysteries of the chemistry of a candle flame.  Her students, worried about passing their School Cert exams, were to say the least unenthusiastic, and after one term the teacher took off for Sabah. Her replacement, if I have my dates right, was Chen Cheng Mei, one of Tanjong’s great teachers in my estimation, so things worked out very well in the end. Another teacher, a Canadian, stayed for even less time. His time at Tanjong was so short that I can’t even recall what he was supposed to be teaching, but he stays in my memory because he essentially stole all the PWD furniture in the house he was living in. It was all crated up and sent home with his other belongings, so at least he gets high marks for audacity. Having mentioned Chen Cheng Mei, i'd love to
spend a few paragraphs listing and reminiscing about all the outstanding teachers I knew at Tanjong, but I’d certainly forget someone and then feel guilty for the rest of my life. My point, though, is that we were a reasonably good staff, but not the giants that some former students seem to remember. The students, taken as a whole, had far more giants among them than the staff ever did, and every former teacher at the school remembers the Tanjong students well and knows how lucky he or she was to spend a few years among them.