Hurray, we have hit the century. The Mesian-message is one hundred number old. When we started in 2001, some were skeptical as to how this newsletter would fare. In fact, there were suggestions of asking for subscription to continue its publication. Others had greater perceptions like asking everybody to pay for the newsletter by piece. However, I hit upon the sponsorship idea and it had been very successful. Only lately sponsors had been slow in coming in. That led me to inform everybody a question raised by somebody, a royalty, saying:

What would happen to the Mesian-message after reaching the 100 number?

Another member said of the Mesian-message: "I like reading it. Every month I wait for it in the mailbox. It is of subscription standard material, but we all got it free."

A third ardent read has the following to say:
"Thank you for your indefatigable effort to bring the message into existence. It is truly a stupendous feat of courage and tenacity on your part. As I recall all the stories you wrote, it brought back treasured memories of our past. The past that gives us a foundation in education, which stood the test of times. It brings us to the present of who we have become in whatever field and vocation we choose to undertake."

And a professional phoned and commended: "I like to read things you describe those days. I am fascinated by the way you present the facts and very appropriate choice of words." Thanks from this end.

And now our mentor and advisor says in his usual article:

 Smiley Love

I'm always amused by that advertisement on TV that asks the question, "What do you suppose travelers do in 2 1/2 million hotel rooms all over the world all day and every night?" We know what you're supposed to say, but it wouldn't surprise me if a lot of those 2 1/2 million people are engaged in activities other than "watching CNN", the correct answer to the question.

I'm amazed at how they managed to monitor that many people! On a much smaller scale, I've been wondering "What do you suppose 200 Old Boys and Old Girls of M.E.S. do all day when the "Mesian" arrives? (You're supposed to say, "They drop everything and read every page of it, of course.")

Well, actually, I know that to be a fact in a few cases. One telephone call, for example, from Lahad Datu in Sabah confirmed that the arrival of the newsletter the first week of every month provides an excuse to close the office door and discourage visitors so that it can be read without disturbance.

Another avid "fan" rings me without fail just as soon as the paper has been thoroughly scrutinized to comment on certain articles, often critically, and sometimes to make suggestions.

One of those suggestions resulted in the recent columns of reminiscences contributed by former students and teachers, anxious to tell their stories. What a fantastic suggestion that was!

One reader I know of photostats copies to send to friends who may or may not have any relation to M.E.S. but who can relate to some of the articles, particularly those about the "old days".

Maybe every one of the 200 or so recipients don't drop everything when the "Mesian" arrives and sit down and go through it word for word, but you can be sure that most of them will get around to reading it in due course. And when they do, mention of those old familiar names and places will give meaning to the words of another advertisement that has been appearing lately on TV: "What the heart cherishes, there its home will be."
- Ted Miles.

From the previous issue and this, you will notice that we are in no way short of writers. I have also spotted someone who would be a prospective successor as editor. Maybe the contents would change or do we need change? Just call me to express your views, please.

I think we all will contribute either in articles and finances. More thanks to all of you friends.

Hello It's Me From Sydney

by Tham Foo Sam via e-mail

Tham Foo Sam 1960. It seems such a long time ago but something still stays vivid in my memory. My first day at MES was the beginning of a shock transition in language. In the 50's and 60's young people were shut out from the opportunity of further education if they happened to be in one of the unfortunate categories of (a) failed public examinations in the then standard six or form three year, or (b) over-aged. Many of them were from the Chinese schools. I missed my then standard - six examination the previous year at Khai Mun primary school due to a sporting mishap and repeat was not an option for me. Thank God MES was there to give me the alternative opportunity.

Being young and abased I quickly made new friends and started communicating in whatever single English syllabus I could manage. Failing that I threw in the Bahasa. Made-do sign language often saved the day. I still remember the Sri Lankan boy whom I sat next to was Ganesan and his brother Vicknesan was sitting at my back.

It was a great set up for me to practice communicating in English. I would pronounce English words as though they were in Bahasa and quickly find out if my pronunciation was correct. My feedback was based on the volume of the laughter and how low the Ganesan brothers bent holding their bellies. They pulled tricks on me knowing my handicap. But I learned very quickly and they soon stopped their tricks. They were my unofficial English teachers and I have them to thank for.

The real teacher, a young Indian lady whose name I have forgotten, would give us test everyday. My method of passing these daily tests was by sheer memory. I could regurgitate the whole chapter without missing a word, in my Bahasa English format of course, and I did very well irrespective of if I really understood what I was saying or writing.

My transition continued in that fashion throughout the first term. From second term I was able to string words of English to make proper sentences. Since then I never looked back in my academic pursuit.

There were activities the school offered which allowed students to develop in parallel outside the class room. There were sports which MES excelled in. It was the football and hockey teams that I believe brought the school together. I don't recollect MES ever won that elusive Bakar Cup but the effort, hope and agony that I witnessed year after year (at least when I was there) really made me proud to be an Messian. The closest we came to winning the coveted Cup was the 1963 final (or was it 1962?) when we played the Abu Bakar School team from Temerloh at the Tras Road Padang. The whole school was there. Unfortunately we lost 2-1. I was in mourning the next few days.

I enjoyed the inter-class debates held. I was very proud of the achievement in 1963 when the four of us from Form 2A, Nashari, Fan Choon, Samuel and yours truly, beat every other class in the school on route to challenge Form 5 in the final. Of course we lost to the school seniors, led by Tong Ah Tai, but we made Ah Tai, Mong Yong and their team earned every point. Unlike the footballers we tried to "winĄ¨"through our quick wits and eloquent persuasion.

I also participated in debates and public speaking in Bahasa at district level and managed to win a few prizes for MES.

The religious study provided did not mean anything to me at that time but now that I have more time to ponder on life in general, it was a gift for life to me. I am learning to be a Christian again. I hope I will make it this time. Those were the formative years that shaped my character and values in life. The fortitude I cultivated at MES later helped me through my uni days in New Zealand and later in Australia.

In Form One I already developed the ambition to go to university to pursuit a professional career. By the time I got to Form Two I knew I wanted to pursue a career in the technical fields even though I did not know precisely what it was yet. So in my LCE I had to drop Art so I could sit for Mathematics II. Being a private school in a small town was a disadvantage, resource wise, in the pursuit of academic excellence. It was with a heavy heart that I left MES after Form 3 to continue my studies in Seremban where I completed my School Certificate and HSC.

After gaining my first degree in Chemical and Material Engineering I worked in Singapore, Penang and KL for about ten years. In 1983 I migrated to Australia with my wife and three young children. I went back to university at night to complete my Master's Degree.

I am now semi-retired and spend my time with my wife and children. I am a keen gardener and practiced tai-chi every morning. I am in the process of getting fit again so I can resume playing badminton with the oldies. The spectacular sport I enjoyed watching now is rugby and the only football game I watch every year is the FA Cup final. I have wished on many occasions that I was watching the MES versus Abu Bakar final instead.

MES serves as the safety net for many young people like myself not only from and around Bentong but from all over the country. There were students from Trengganu, Kelantan, KL, as far south as Singapore and as far north as Perlis. I salute you, Ted C Miles, for delivering MES to us. You deserve a medal in humanitarian of the highest honour.

Thank you MES for giving me that alternative in 1960 and for nurturing me to be a successful human being. That bond of loyalty formed I will cherish for ever.

- Sam Tham

MARCH 1960

The nagging problem of the private school students when studied up to form 4 and 5 were highlighted in his March diary. Private school students had to sit and passed the qualifying test before they could sit for the school certificate examinations. It was a test of English and Mathematics. Many did not sit for the test and many more flunk the tests. If they continued studying in form 5 they could not sit for the public school certificate examination which was the passport to jobs. I wonder what would be the situation if all private schools students have to sit for a qualifying test before they could sit for their SPM!

The killed a cobra in the hostel that had taken up residence in the cook Ah Chiam's room. It was decapitated. There were some excitement in about winning a game at state level.

The following names appeared in his diary: Goon Ting, Zahid, Kamarulzaman Yaakub, Tengku Nizan, Tengku Rahim, Dzulkifli, Samad, Bala, Fakhruddin, Cheng Yoong, Tengku Puji, Chen Yen, How Seng, Sohan, Sharif, Ah Sui, Mohd. Nor, Zamri, Amiruddin, Mr. Lem Swee Weng, Nor Safian, Latiff.

There was a mention of how the police were catching those who wore drain-pipe tight Yankee pants. If they could not slip a bottle into the wearer's pants from the bottom, they would slit the pants with a pair of scissors! Those days we were scared of the police and in fact anybody who wore some sort of military uniforms.

10 Guests

Front row (L to R): Selvaraj Daniel, Tham Foo Sam, John Chinniah, Mrs. Tham, Mr. Miles, Lee Kim Thye.
Back row (L to R) Ramalingam Patharaja, Harbans Singh, Bahari Shafie, Liew Fook Choy, Chan Suy San

The above photograph was taken on the 16th of January 2010 in John Chinniah's house. There was a get together from 12.00 noon to three in the afternoon. Even Mr. Ted Miles came down with Foo Sam and his entourage from Bentong. John's missus cooked us a very appetizing lunch of curry mutton, chicken, veggies plus plenty of rice of the strain called briyani.

I called many more to come for the gathering, but many did not answer at all. However, the eleven of us including the host had a very nice and meaningful lunch to talk and talk about the past and exchanged views and news about our present.

John Chinniah and Selvaraj Daniel were Foo Sam's teachers. Kim Thye and Foo Sam bear-hugged each other in broad view of the latter's missus. They were closed classmates; 50 years on before again they met!

Bahari was the guy who played ghost during the drama headlined by the national press on the story of "Ghost sighted in MES". The whole town was rocked by the report.

Liew Fook Choy travelled by train all the way from Klang. He dragged along Harbans aka Harwan Singh. This was the only best chance for Singh to tag along someone to meet our mentor and indulged in a long overdue tete- a-tete binge. Else, Harbans would not step out of his house in Klang. Even Fook Choy who is still a workolic kind of guy, took a day off his tight working schedule to chat with some old friends for old time sake.

Pathmaraja, came over to Sentul from Subang Jaya. Selvaraj took the LRT from Kelana Jaya. Suy Sang was there because he was on his way. To where? Back to Bentong of course and he avoided the highway! How? I travelled down memory lane over the hills and snaking along the rocky terrains of the Main Range.

Everybody was well-fed and well-informed fifty years on! Hurray, we had a great day.

You should have been there!!


From his travels in the United States, Shamsuddin made the following observations that was back in 1956:

I came across a whole lot of good, friendly and helpful Americans. A good example was Charles Miles and his wife Jane Miles. There was also a family in Montana who took care of me while I was sick on our stopover during our journey in a station wagon across Washington, Montana and Idaho.

A lot more of African Americans, and Americans who had migrated from Norway, Sweden, Ireland and other European countries were fine, friendly and wonderful Americans.

Not a single American (except the Miles family and friends) knew what nationality nor what country I came from. The wildest guesses were that: I was/am
a. an American Indian from some tribe
b. a south American Indian from Ecuador
c. a Hawaiian
d. a Pilipino
e. an Indonesian (the closest)

None guessed that I was a Malayan from Malaya.

When I showed them where Malaya was/is the first words that came out of their mouths were: "So small". I believe they are more knowledgeable today as far as world geography is concern given the wide information through ICT.

Travelling in a train and by car, I noticed as I passed by numerous junk yards of discarded cars. Cars of all made were stacked up one upon another as high as two storied buildings. Some of the cars looked to be new and still usable. The people who threw them away must be very rich! (I have heard that Tanjung Malim has a car cemetery in our country, eh!)

In some of the houses that I visited or stayed there is a basement that is a room underground. In these rooms were found tools of all trades, carpentry, plumbing and gardening and preserved foods such as home-made jams, pickled fruits and veggies. I spent quite a lot of time browsing through these rooms.

5. THE 4TH OF JULY 1956
I had the opportunity to witness the splendid celebration of the 4th of July, the American Independence Day personally. Larry and friends took me to Spokane in Washington State to witness the glory. I was awe-struck by the fireworks display. The loud booms were deafening and the colourful fireworks were sights that I would never forget!

The ship anchored offshore at Port Swettenham. A boat took me to the wharf. There I was met by several Malay men. They told me that Malaya was to be independent next year - 1957.

They shouted: "Merdeka, merdeka, merdeka." I joined them and blasted out: "merdeka, merdeka, merdeka" louder and louder.

By Shamsuddin Salleh.


It was a low-key birthday celebrations for Mr. Ted Miles right on the 16th of February 2010, also the third day of the Lunar New Year. Munzir and Shamsuddin brought in a birthday cake to kick off the celebrations. Then came Lee Kim Thye and her brother bearing gifts and some egg-yolks. What egg-yolks! No. They are fruits from China but they are shaped like an egg and when you cut it open you could find the flesh is like the yolk of an egg. Thus the name egg-yolk.

Then later in the afternoon I brought in my family entourage to visit and wish him HAPPY BIRTHDAY. They were so happy to visit him as they also received red-packets from our mentor a practice he has adopted from the Malaysians of ethnic Sino.

Of course, many others who could not show their presence on that day wished him HAPPY BIRTHDAY the remote control way. From as far as Vancuour in Canada Kim Miles and his family called to wish their dad and granddad a VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY.

Many of his former colleagues, friends and students called or text-messaged him birthday greetings and felicitations. Even after his actual birthday, people came to visit him and expressed their belated birthday greetings.

Birthday Cake - Green


 Book and Quill
Edited by Chan Suy Sang

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