THE MESIAN-MESSAGE NO. 124, MARCH, 2012.
THE ANNONYMOUS LADY'S SERIES
THREE CLASSMATES FROM THE 1950S MET FOR AN OLD-TIMES-SAKE CHITCHAT
Friday, March 23, 2012
TWO LADIES FROM THE 1950S
Today I brought somebody to visit someone. Who is that somebody? None other than our newly discovered Mesian, Lem Foong Tee. Who was that someone. Yes, she is Wong Lang Chan. The duo had not met since 1955. Oh mine! 2012-1955 = 57 years. It is a lapse of 50 (half a century) and 7 years. What a long time. Only after that long I made them see each other again!!
When Wong Lan Chan saw Lem Foong Tee, she shockingly said, "I won't recognize you when I meet you in the streets." That expression of Lan Chan, Foong Tee repeated.
We were invited to sit down at the round dining table in Wong Lan Chan's spic and span house. I have arranged to bring Foong Tee there. Lan Chan and her hubby Mr. Loh played hosts. We were treated to a feast of stuffed bean curd, stuffed aubergine (locally known as brinjals), stuffed oka aka ladies fingers and others.
WHAT THOUGHTFUL SERVINGS
Our hosts seemed to understand not to include stuffed bitter gourd in the menu. Wonderful for being so mindful. Culturally, serving bitter gourd is a way of saying that our lives in the past and probably the future would be full of bitterness. I remember once, the in-laws family members visited a newly-wedded couple (the wife's family members) the son-in-law unknowingly ordered bitter gourd. The restaurateur advised him to drop that dish. Else, it might indicate to his wife's family members, that the newly-weds would lead a life of miseries and hardship! That is the taboo for the Chinese!!
For Lan Chan of course excluding that item of food signified that all this while her family life has been wonderfully good. It also augurs well for the three of us that our future would also be sweet. So would it be out of courtesies: do not serve bitter gourd to guests nor include it in the menu in feasts of any sort. If you crave for bitter gourd consume it secretly in the confines of your own family when there is no festivities!
TALKING OF THE GOOD OLD DAYS
As we ate we chatted. Lan Chan and Foong Tee were schoolmates in the Khai Mun School in Chui Yin Street. On mentioning that Lan Chan suddenly recalled her former very closed classmate Lem Foong Ngoh. Excuse me, I should refer the latter as the late. From her story, Wong Lan Chan thought she could not study. She could not even pronounce letters of the English alphabet like h, s and x correctly as taught in the Chinese school. So she voluntarily dropped out of Khai Mun and did nothing. But she found it boring as she saw other children schooling and playing.
SHE LEARNS AND GRADUATES
And at that time, Lan Chan heard of an American headmaster had come to run the Methodist English School. So she enrolled in MES. She found that school was interesting especially the American teacher also taught singing. Lan Chan found that she liked schooling. In MES she studied for four years. Finally she took the Lower Certificate of Education or LCE examinations the equivalent of the present day PMR. There was a mass recruitment of trainee teachers with that qualification. Lan Chan applied and was accepted as a teacher trainee. She entered the DTC in federal capital. There I met her again as I was renting a room with Yip Fook Khim and the latter and I were studying in form five. There she also met her future Mr. Loh. her partner for life. Is Mr. Loh also a teacher? He comes from Malacca and the duo somehow got acquainted and decided to get the knot tied.
EE SAI KAN WE ARE LOOKING FOR YOU
Lan Chan had served in various schools in various scattered places after she qualified as a teacher. She had even taught in Jerantut. There she met our classmate Lee Sai Kan. Even on that day, I was supposed to bring along Lee Sai Kan for the gathering. Days before I have drove up and rode up to Sai Kan's condo on the 9th floor. I knocked at his door but there was no answer. A neighbour informed me that he had left to live somewhere else. I have dialed his mobile phone, but I was informed that it was no more in use. That was why I could not bundle up Lee Sai Kan to visit his classmate Wong Lan Chan and also to glimpse at Lem Foong Tee after a lapse of more than half a century!
FOONG TEE MOVES TO THE CITY
Oh! Now about our lady Lem Foong Tee. She left Bentong in the mid 1950s to continue her study in the capital city. She went to complete her schooling at the Covent Bukit Nenas. Then she paired off with her hubby to raise a family. Some members of her family are doing fine in the city and some are overseas. What about other members of the Lem family in Bentong? Yes, there were still some siblings and their offsprings there. However, most of the properties had been disposed off after the demise of the prominent Lem Sui Wing. I learnt something about the late Mr. Lem Sui Wing. He bought and bought properties but he never sold any! That was how he accumulated his wealth!!
WE LEFT AFTER A LONG CHIT-CHAT
As is my habit I lent them my ears, though those auditory appendages of mine are getting more and more weary to take in all and sundry. A more than two hours of chit-chatting stealthily slipped away very quickly. We left on our separate ways. Whither are we going to see one another again? Maybe some other auspicious and convenient days.
For Your Heart Vein Opening
Ingredients For Making Heart Vein Opening Drink Ingredients:
1 cup Lemon juice
1 cup Ginger juice
1 cup Garlic juice
1 cup Apple cider vinegar
Mix all above and simmer in low heat for about 60 minutes or till solution reduces to 3 cups.
Remove solution to cool, then mix 3 cups of natural honey and store it in a jar.
Drink one tablespoon daily before breakfast. Your vein’s blockage will open in most cases.
Enjoy your drink. Taste good too.
THE ABOVE SIMPLE TREATMENT IS A REPEAT. I HAVE SEEN IT AGAIN AND AGAIN AND THOUGHT THAT IT MIGHT REMIND YOU TO GO FOR IT. THERE IS NOTHING TO LOSE BUT EVERYTHING TO GAIN.
WHAT HAPPENED THIS MONTH,
50 YEARS AGO MARCH 1962
A terrible storm broke out one night. Torrential rain pounded over the mountains around Bentong. Flood waters rushed down the mountain slopes from all directions and filled up all the valleys and ravines. Cascades of rainwater surged into the rivers. The latter overflowed. Bridges along the rivers gave way. They were swept away. Together eight bridges were damaged. Even the biggest bridge connecting Bentong town and Kuala Lumpur came crashing down. This cut off Bentong town. They isolated all the new villages surrounding the town. From Ketari came nobody because the bridge on the main road snapped and tumbled down into the river. The authorities quickly got hold of boats, sampans and even bamboo rafts to ferry people across. The natural disaster became the front page report of the national newspapers.
Names that appeared in Dato' Ted Miles diary named Past Notes Volume II were: Samah, Boon Tan, Sofyan, Khalil, Razlan, Fakhruddin, Zulkifli, Zamri, Tengku Ismail, Mohd Noor Mohammad, Dzulkifli, Janan, Ah Chai, Siew Hock, Rahman Umat, Hassan Long, Yahya Arshad, Othman Hj Mat Noor, Hilda, Don, Michael Tan, Wan Ali, Latif, Ahmad, Shamsuddin, Nor Safian, Ainun, Hamidah.
Bentong was bustling with goings-on of celebrating the National Language month. There was a frenzy of preparation activities in the school to prepare students to participate. The principal was all for promoting the Malay language as the national language. Wonder 50 years on, what has the enthusiasm done? Has the zeal gone! Try conversing in Malay with him when the next time you meet him.
THE SECRET OF SUCCESS
PRACTICAL LESSON FROM SCRATES
A young man asked Socrates the secret to success. Socrates told the young man to meet him near the river the next morning. They met. Socrates asked the young man to walk with him towards the river. When the water got up to their neck, Socrates took the young man by surprise and ducked him into the water. The boy struggled to get out but Socrates was strong and kept him there until the boy started turning blue. Socrates pulled his head out of the water and the first thing the young man did was to gasp and take a deep breath of air. Socrates asked, 'What did you want the most when you were there?" The boy replied, "Air." Socrates said, "That is the secret to success. When you want success as badly as you wanted the air, then you will get it." There is no other secret.
Moral of the story
A burning desire is the starting point of all accomplishment. Just like a small fire cannot give much heat, a weak desire cannot produce great results. The motivation to succeed comes from the burning desire to achieve a purpose.
A TRIP TO SEREMBAN TO MEET MOHD KHALID FOR LUNCH
William Joo Shek Phin and I had planned and planned to visit Seremban. But the plan was postponed and postponed again due to various exigencies particularly personal convenience. So one day three Mesians converged at KL Sentral, the hub of the railways and light rail transit of the country. William and I were there at the appointed time waiting and waiting for the third Mesian to appear.
Two hours past by and there was no sign of our friend. We phoned him, but the calls were not answered. What had happened to our buddy who only needed to travel as far as from Bentong to Ketari? And our purpose that day was to get the Golden Citizen commuter railway travel cards. That plastic piece would allow us to travel at half-price fares. There was also a surprise there. The card enables us to travel on the commuter trains f.o.c. for a long six months between KL city, to Seremban, to Port Klang and to as far as Tanjong Malim. Of course the return journeys are also free! Wow, What a wonderful country!! So……many……freebies……!!!
WHERE WAS HE?
William and I got our Golden Citizen cards. Then we departed to answer the natural call of our stomachs to be refueled. Later we received a call from the other Mesian who said he was at the country's railway hub. However, he was waylaid by a retired VVIP whom he happened to bumped into and engaged him in a lengthy conversation. No wonder he bypassed us. He might have been whisked off to some secluded spot for heart to heart talks!!
WE MADE THE JOURNEY
Finally on Saturday, March 24th, we made it. What was it? It was our visit to see Mohd. Khalid. We took the commuter train from the Kuala Lumpur railway station. Remember that old colonial structure that was forever busy and noisy from the people and the incoming and outgoing trains. It is now for the commuter trains. So nowadays, it looks very spacious and empty. William Joo showed his Golden Citizen card together with a RM10 note. He was charged RM3.00 for his ticket. Why not free? Wait and see. I flipped my Golden Card but with no money, I was issued a ticket f.o.c.! See, see money take money. No money, actually it is free!! That was how we concluded after discussing that little discrepancy!!!
WE MET AND CHIT-CHAT
We arrived at the Seremban railway station early. William Joo called his buddy Mohd. Khalid. Ten minutes passed, we were picked up. William Joo still recognized his buddy and so his buddy he. Yet they have not seen each other for half a century. I am a total stranger to Khalid and he to me. But Mesians are Mesians we got to understand each other at once due to the common educational institution we have come. Mohd. Khalid chauffeured us to his modest yet tiptop residence just in the outskirt of Seremban town. He introduced us to his charming spouse and so amicable other members of his family. Khalid had been working in the Labour office and now retired. He was very grateful to have studied in MES because it was there he picked up typewriting. His biggest achievement in school was his top typing speed: 80 words per minute! When he started work he impressed his bosses as his nimble fingers danced on the keyboard. Results: typing was so fast and good that it was also error proof.
WE CHIT-CHAT AND ATE
After a short conversation, Khalid cruised us off to an out of town plus very spacious restaurant. The eatery was only a small part of the land, because the boss had built it on a forty acres farm. He has his fish ponds where he rears African carps, siakap and prawns. All the food was so fresh because it is a place where you order and they just catch or get. Behind the restaurant is his chicken farm, his orchard that supplies fresh fruits like papayas, mangoes and when in season durians and rambutans. Of course, vegetables and other greens, you name it, are also readily available. We feasted on palatably done fried rice, mixed vegetables and butter cooked prawns. It was a most delectable and filling tucking in. Thanks to Mohd. Khalid and his missus who treated us to such an enjoyable meal. I repeat: MANY THANKS TO BOTH OF YOU.
ROUND AND ROUND SEREMBAN TOWN
Mohd. Khalid drove us round Seremban town to help William to spot his relatives' shop. It was not found. William even called another of his buddy who had chosen to drop out of the gathering, to help spotting the specific itinerary in Seremban town. That Mesian told William he had a pre-arranged appointment in Bentong on. Through the phone he informed, "I'm on the train, now". "To Bentong?!" was our surprised response! Only if you have commuted to and from Bentong, you will realise the pun is on.
HIS RELATIVES WE FOUND
In the end we all gave up looking for William's kin. William just requested Khalid to drop us on the main street. But just as we were turning the corner, William spotted the shop. So by the side of the highway we got off. With quick "Thank you" and quips of "bye,bye," we bade Khalid and his spouse goodbye.
A BUDDY TREATED US TO TEA
We met William's relatives and had a chit-chat of this and that. I called my buddy out to have a drink. He drove all the way from Kuala Sawah and treated us to tea. After a short visit and some talks my buddy Yen ferried us to the railway station in his Mercedes. We boarded the commuter train bound for the city - both travelled f.o.c.!
FROM MES KUANTAN SURGED IN SOMEBODY
Somebody, someone got into the Mesian-message website by accident. On reading about our mentor Dato' Ted Miles, he immediately e-mailed me. Here he proceeds and cuts in:
First, let me say 'Hello' to you with a short introduction.
Tony Wong is my name, and I did a very short but memorable stay at MES Kuantan where I stayed at the hostel. I remember some great names, in particular Mr Ted Miles who was then the Headmaster back in 1968. I was there simply because I almost failed my LCE and because I was a playful boy, my mum thought it would be a great idea to let me stay in Kuantan with my second brother who was then posted to RMAF Kuantan so that he can 'discipline' me.
I was enrolled to the MES early in 1968, but almost soon after i got there, my brother got a transfer to his next posting out of Kuantan. So reluctantly he decided to put me up to live in the MES hostel, and I got to know people like Liew Fook Choy, 'David' Sulaiman Das and a few others that I am still trying to recall their names. So to put long story short, I was at MES for a short while and find your column interesting.
I am now Singapore based, still working over there, and as you can guess, I will be 60 next month. I am not sure if we ever crossed each other when studying at MES, but would be great to know.
It is good to know that you had the privilege of meeting up with Ted, after all these years. I remember having read his articles in the Sunday Times some time ago when I return to Seremban occasionally. I am a Perakian by the way.
Do you know Mary Sam or Alice Chong, by any chance? We used to write after I left Kuantan, but lost contact sometime in the late 70s.
Thanks for up keeping your wonderful column (website), and hope to hear from you if I am not boring you?
Sent from my iPad
Tony Wong Sin Futt is actually better known as commander Wong. He is in the shipbuilding industry as he later e-mailed me. He is very very busy.
STEPHEN CHEW HAILS FROM SYDNEY
Another Mesian also comes in with some sketchy details. He is now residing in Sydney Australia. His name is Stephen Chew. He was moving around with William Joo and the late Peter Cheong Sang Fah while in school. When he read about the demise of Peter, he was saddened. Now he is in contact with William, phoning in occasionally.
Quiz for Bright People
This is a quiz for people who know everything and, I found out in a hurry that I didn't. These are not trick questions. They are straight questions with straight answers...
1. Name the one sport in which neither the spectators nor the participants know the score or the leader until the contest ends.
2. What famous North American landmark is constantly moving backward?
3. Of all vegetables, only two can live to produce on their own for several growing seasons. All other vegetables must be replanted every year. What are the only two perennial vegetables?
4. What fruit has its seeds on the outside?
5. In many liquor stores, you can buy pear brandy, with a real pear inside the bottle. The pear is whole and ripe, and the bottle is genuine; it hasn't been cut in any way. How did the pear get inside the bottle?
6. Only three words in standard English begin with the letters 'dw' and they are all common words. Name two of them.
7. There are 14 punctuation marks in English grammar. Can you name at least half of them?
8. Name the only vegetable or fruit that is never sold frozen, canned, processed, cooked, or in any other form except fresh.
9. Name 6 or more things that you can wear on your feet beginning with the letter 'S.'
Answers To Quiz:
1. The one sport in which neither the spectators nor the participants know the score or the leader until the contest ends: Boxing.
2. North American landmark constantly moving backward: Niagara Falls… The rim is worn down about two and a half feet each year because of the millions of gallons of water and sand that rush over it every minute.
3. Only two vegetables that can live to produce on their own for several growing seasons: Asparagus and rhubarb.
4. The fruit with its seeds on the outside: Strawberry.
5. How did the pear get inside the brandy bottle? It grew inside the bottle. The bottles are placed over pear buds when they are small, and are wired in place on the tree. The bottle is left in place for the entire growing season. When the pears are ripe, they are snipped off at the stems.
6. Three English words beginning with dw: Dwarf, dwell and dwindle...
7. Fourteen punctuation marks in English grammar: Period, comma, colon, semicolon, dash, hyphen, apostrophe, question mark, exclamation point, quotation mark, brackets, parenthesis, braces, and ellipses.
8. The only vegetable or fruit never sold frozen, canned, processed, cooked, or in any other form but fresh: Lettuce.
9. Six or more things you can wear on your feet beginning with 'S': Shoes, socks, sandals, sneakers, slippers, skis, skates, snowshoes, stockings, stilts.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE FOLLOWING IN APRIL
||LEE KIM THYE
||CHAN SIEW MUN
||CHIN AH SANG
||LEONG AH SUI
||YAP YOKE CHIN
||LAI MEI YIN (MRS TEH)
||YAP YOKE NGOH
||CHOI THIAM EWE
||BAHARI SHAFIE (HAJI)
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