Total Pageviews

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Remembering My Teachers

I was a student at Telok Kurau English School (TKES) from 1945 to 1950. The primary education system then was seven years starting from primary one to two and standard one to five. Because of the war I was overage for school and had to start from primary two. I had a few form teachers but three of them were unique  and I remembered them all the time.

Miss Boey was my form teacher in standard one. She was in her late twenties and a very dedicated teacher. She took home our exercise books for marking when she could not finished marking them in class. There was a student in the class who came from a poor family. His grade in class was very bad. Miss Boey did her best to teach him. She always spent more time with the backward students. One morning she returned our excercise books after marking. The last book belonged to the poor student. He went to her but remained standing by her side. I was sitting at the front row and I saw many red ink circles and crosses in his book. Miss Boey went through the exercises in the book with him over and over again but he did not reponse. Finally I saw her broke down and cried. There were tears on her pretty face. It must be very stressful to teach such students. When I was in the secondary school, one of my school-mate who was her cousin told me that she had passed away. As the saying goes "the good dies young".

Mr Lee Keng Yew - Our paths first crossed during the Japanese Occupation. He was teaching Japanese in Choon Guan School aka Presbeterian Boys School and I was his student. Every morning he arrived in school dressed in all white. He went to the wash room to wash his hands each time after writing on the blackboard. He went there to wash away the chalks in his hands. So during his lesson he could visit the wash room more than once. He also washed his hands after handling school fees.

Our paths crossed the second time after the war when I attended the Telok Kurau English School. He was my form teacher in Standard III. As usual he put on white shirt and white trousers everyday to school. Again I noticed his peculiar habits of washing his hands. Then I realised that he paid special attention to personal hygiene. He owned a car Austin A40 S6002 which was parked in the void deck under the school office.

During our August school holidays in TKES he took his class students to Botanical Garden for an outing. His wife and a son were with us. The class excursion was his own idea and at his expense as it was not part of the school curriculum.

In the early 1960s he was the Principal of Haig Boys School. My wife, then my fiancé was one of his school staff. I saw him in his school as well as at public places and it was always the same Mr Lee Keng Yew.

Mr Marica aka Taraboosh was an Indian Muslim teacher. He was my form teacher in standard four and five. He came to school always wearing on his head a red cap with black tassel or taraboosh. We nick named him 'Taraboosh'. He never put it on his head when teaching in class. When we saw him approaching the class, some of the boys would shout 'taraboosh! taraboosh!' and the class was quickly in order as everybody was in at his desk. Towards midday he would feel sleepy and dozed off. It was beyond his control. I observed a few times that he tried to wake up but in vain. We took this opportunity play and whisper but always on the look out in case he woke up. Except for his habit to doze off, he was a good teacher. He too became the principal of a primary school.

No comments: