THE MESSAGE 76, MARCH, 2008
A CYBER FAN'S SERIES,
THE DON TURMAN EDITION
WHAT STRIKES TED MILES
ON NEW YEAR'S DAY 2008
In the towns and cities people welcomed the New Year with a bang! In fact they did it with many bangs!!
Fireworks were let off to usher in the New Year 2008. It was a normal day for our mentor. He went to bed as usual
surrounded by mosquito nettings in his bungalow.
HIS FACE INCREASES
When he woke up to face the New Year Day, he felt stiffness on his face. The size of one side of his face had
increased. Now locals would interpret that as a sign of prosperity! Why? An increase should indicate prosperity.
"Fatt Choy lor" say the locals according to our folklores.
IT COULD BE A BEE
He searched for a reason for the swelling, but found nothing! There was no bite, nor any mark made by a bug or a
mite! When he went into the bathroom he found a bee! That must be the culprit, he guessed suspiciously.
A GOOD OMEN
A bee! Now it sure is a welcome guest on New Year's Day, as we locals see! The very sound of calling a bee a bee
among the Chinese already means luck and prosperity! What more with an increase! That means an increase in
in health and in wealth!! That is a good omen; a propitious incidence, as far as we locals are concern!!!
TO THE E & R ON NEW YEAR'S DAY!
But for our mentor he had to limp to the hospital to the E & R room for an emergency! Why the limp? You have to
read the next story..... But to the hospital on New Year's Day! What some locals would say is: "tai kat lie see!"
(sorry it means good things come you may, bad things go away)
A BEE GOT ALL THE BLAME
Again, the hospital people searched and searched for the mark of an insect sting, but they found nothing. They
too suspected that it must be a bee sting! Therefore that bee found in the washroom got all the blame. But it was
strange how it got through the wire netting where even mosquitoes could not squeeze in!
PAIN FROM A SYRINGE
Our mentor got a bigger and more painful sting from a syringe. He was given an injection to reduce the swelling
and antibiotics to swallow to cure the pains. That was how his New Year 2008 begins - with a bee sting!
A NOW THE OTHER STORY
The day before Christmas, I phoned our mentor saying I will go and pick him up for lunch. He requested me to
drive right up to his house to get him. Now, on many occasions he would say he would take a short walk down
wait for me by the roadside. But this time, he told me to drive up to pick him up. Why? Suspicion was in my mind.
Something was afoot; something was not right!
Sure enough, when I arrived I saw him limping out of the doorway. "Why?" enquired I. "It's a dog bite,"
he replied. "Bitten by your own canine?" in curiosity I enquired.
"Yes, they got into a fight, and I went to stop the fight. In the process I got the bite." He continued.
"It was a holiday then, and I did not go to see a doctoR", he said, "it had got infected when I went to see the
HE LIMPS AS PEOPLE COME IN
That dog bite took our mentor quite a considerable time to nurse back to normal. So he was limping through
Christmas and the New Year too. It also caused him a lot of inconvenience for that was the time when his son's
family came all the way from Canada to visit him. Other guests too were pouring in. For he had to limp and limp!
THE PAINFUL INFECTED WOUND
When finally he visited the doctor, the wound was infected. He had to take a course of antibiotics and pain
killers too. But the infected wound took time to cure. On a few occasions I went to visit him, he had to lie down
and raised his injured left foot on the couch. I noticed that his facial expressions indicated pains too.It was
not until at least a month later that his gait got back to normal.
There is a saying that goes like this: let a sleeping dog lie. Now I think after that incident, we should also
add this saying: let fighting dogs fight. Never mediate in a dog fight. Otherwise you will get the bite. Isn't
that good and wise advice?
WHAT HAPPENED THIS MONTH 50 YEARS AGO?
Our mentor was very busy with the hostel that in his diary he had not many other things to tell. The school was
running well. There was a mention of another teacher teaching short-hand. I remember only Mr. Miles taught us
shorthand. That was a very innovative subject in a place upcountry. It was only taught in some of the commercial
schools in the city.
For those who knew shorthand then, they were in great demand in the big European firms that employ
to take down notes dictated by the busy or rather bossy boss. I think nowadays stenographers had all lost their
jobs with the popularity of tape or video recorders.
We must not forget that Mr. Miles also taught us typewriting, a very popular subject that no government schools
in the country did ever do. The feeling of learning typewriting was wonderful for that was the preserve of the
government office. And many of the government servants of the day clacked away on the then office icon, the
typewriter, with two index fingers on the more than 40 keys! And in MES we were taught to use ten fingers to type
with our eyes away from the keyboard!!
In that month it was recorded in his diary that a bandit was shot.Talking of such incidents, we in Bentong had
seen countless bandits (communist terrorists as they were called) shot by the security forces. The soldiers would
carry the corpses with hands and legs tied dangling from a pole! The bodies were taken to the police station
compound and then be exposed. I think they were buried in the government burial ground. No relatives dare go
near and claim the bodies though we knew many of them were around.
From reports about the hostel, we read records of water rationing in Bentong. The hostel boys walked up to the
stream behind the school for a bath or two. It was a distance of about two to 3 km to and fro.
Water supply was so bad in Bentong those days, that we could only get trickles from the standpipes. Nobody in
the new villages where I resided had water supply in their homes. Water was collected from the few standpipes
scattered around the villages. Even the shop houses in town were equipped with long dug and frequently used
The hostel boys were not angels. They did commit some misdemeanours. One boy urinated regularly on an orchid
plant. Because of over concentrated fertilization the orchid plant wilted and died. When caught the culprit was
asked to collect the concentrates from all the rest, diluted it and poured the pungent liquid on all the plants
around. Our mentor thought that a new method of nourishing plants was found.
Oh! He also knew that all the vegetables sold in the local market were fertilized with urine and "big manure"
(human feces). Thus, in those good old days all vegetables were actually organic. Nowadays we hear of and
value most organic vegetables. How organic the vegetables are now we do not know!
The princes also wanted to quit the hostel and stay somewhere. But the hostel master bombarded them with such
questions and cautions that they decided to stay.
Our mentor respected the hostel lodgers' religious practices and obligations. The Muslim students fasted during
the month of Ramadan. He made all the arrangements to expedite their other religious obligations.
The first bank in Bentong was opened. it was the Lee Wah Bank. Now it has changed to the Oversea Union Bank.
The big news of the month, March 1958, was the results of Senior Cambridge. Yours truly and a number of his
friends passed with surprisingly good results. Our performance made our mentor felt proud though we were his
ex-students then. My results prompted me to seek other employment and opportunities for further studies. I almost
landed myself with the police had they not given me just a rank and file vacancy with a RM60 monthly salary!
Was a first grade Senior Cambridge certificate just worth that much? I strongly disagreed. Then, I tried to enter
the Agriculture College. But from the interview, I realized that academic qualifications did not help one to land
in a good vocation.
Only very much later I was told that getting a job or study opportunity depended on who you know and not
know! So those were the days, when pulling strings and cables were rife for all we know!! One job interview I
went to, I was told I was over-qualified. Another said I did not appear before the interviewers in complete
lounge suit and tie. Sorry, I must say I had not earned enough money to be able to afford such formal attire.
What hypocrites! So I stuck on teaching ABC as my line.
Rubber price was a low as it could be. So, the inhabitants in this upcountry town irked out a most difficult
period of living. Those were the days when owning a bicycle was a luxury.
PLEASE TAKE PRECAUTIONS....
effects of drinking cold water after meals!!
For those who like to drink cold water, this article is applicable to you. It is nice to have a cup of cold drink
after a meal. However, the cold water will solidify the oily stuff that you have just consumed. It will slow down
Once this 'sludge' reacts with the acid, it will break down and be absorbed by the intestine faster than the
solid food. It will line the intestine. Very soon, this will turn into fats and lead to cancer.
It is best to drink hot soup or warm water after a meal.
DON TURMAN MEETS MORE MESIANS
When Don Turman came to Bentong, he also called on an old boy in Sungai Marong. Who was he and what is
Yes, he visited Munzir bin Abas. Don and his entourage including and our mentor, Peter Chong and company,
entertained to tea and coffee. They feasted on a variety of Malay tidbits and delicacies. And, they hand plucked
and consumed fresh fruit from Munzir's rambutan trees. That hairy fruit was as sweet as it could be which
refreshed Don's memory.
On their way back to our mentor's bungalow they saw and bought that spiky, pungent, so infamous and to-be
fruit among Europeans - the durians. They, including the orang putih, partook of the feast on the sticky mess of
durian flesh. Ommm..... they felt the kick of that sweet and messy stuff. For Don is also an orang putih durian
eater too like our mentor!
After leaving Bentong, Don stayed for a few days in Kuala Lumpur. Then Bahari Shafie sensed that he was around
in town. I tipped him off as to whom he should contact to see Don Turman. Sure enough, he called Peter Chong.
Bahari took Don and his spouse to lunch in a top restaurant. It was a real top eatery because it is situated on
top of a hill. From there the guests also feasted their eyes on the city's panoramic view. Of course, they were
feted with a variety of local delicacies.
How do you know all these? One evening Bahari gave me a treat. As we tucked into several dishes, we had a
chitchat over all that. I am amazed to find that Bahari still remembers so much about the life and times during
the 1960s. Thanks buddy for the treat and all those captivating stories!
Certainly Don Turman and Ramona had enjoyed meeting some of us when they were around. It was so nice and
meaningful to meet you again Don, after some fifty years on! Thanks for visiting us. Hope by now you are back in
HOW WE CELEBRATE MR. MILES'S BIRTHDAY
Yes, this year we celebrated our mentor's birthday with a potluck party. There were pots after pots of luck
brought in by the gentlemen and ladies. When I called him the next day, he said he had food left for the next few
days! Luckily he has two fridges to keep them.
Those who called upon him on the 17th of February included the group from Taylor's College made up of Mary
her hubby Garry plus their budding daughter Stephanie. There also came Choo Oi May, Wendy, Tung Lye Hock,
Thum, Devi Ganasegaran and Uma Umayavalli.
Then in came Lee Yew Kwong and his spouse. Yew Kwong's entourage of family members followed later together
Salena Lee and her spouse Yong. Then checked in also Anthea, Sar Kim Len, Foo Yook Yoon, Foo Chin Fong, Wong
Seong and his spouse Mrs. Wong followed by Lee Kim Thye and Peter Chong.
Later drove in Munzir bin Abas and his wife Zainon who doubled the number of birthday cakes.
Just minutes before we called it a day Wong Yeng Kee was on his way. In fact, Yeng Kee had intended to be
but was forced to come up by virtue of circumstance.
Earlier, while I was driving in town rushing around to get this, that and sundry, Yeng Kee phoned me. He wanted
me to drive up to his station to pick up something, probably a birthday present to hand it over to Mr. Miles. So
I hurried to his gas station to pick up the thing. Omg, I had "crashed against the plank". Excuse me for using a
local slang that means that I had hit a dead end. After Yeng Kee had just been let off his job, he had
immediately hit the Gent'S.
Someone said, he would take half an hour to do his very private business. What! I have to wait for 30 long
minutes, until he finishes his so private business and flush? Nay, I was in a rush to ferry a lady and her
cooking specialties for the party. So I shot off heading for our mentor's bungalow.
As late as three o'clock in the afternoon, Yeng Kee rang me again. He asked why I have not driven up. I told him
what had come to past. "I am with friends at Mr. Miles's house now", I explained. Meekly he said, "I think I will
drive up there."
"Ok, you better come fast to bid farewell to the rest of us." I said. That was why Yeng Kee raced up to make it
to the party just before we packed up! Hurray Yeng Kee, finally you have come to pick up the crumbs!
Someone also had come from far away to brighten up his big day. Loh Kok Keong emerged from the vast palm
estate in Sabah, and took the flight back to celebrate our mentor's birthday. Kok Keong stayed in Bentong for a
number of days during which he visited Mr. Miles several times. Our mentor was very please to this faithful and
most loyal student! Bravo, Kok Keong you are a great Mesian!! Next: Come March 6:
HAPPY BIRTHDAY LOH KOK KEONG
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE FOLLOWING IN MARCH
||TEH BOON TAN
||LOH KOK KEONG
||JOHAR B. ZABIDIN
||NG SHUI CHUAN
||LOH FOOK CHENG
||HJ. TENGKU PUJI
||LIEW CHOW YIN
||TAN SI HOOI
||ABU HANIPAH MOHD
||ZULKIFLY M. ESA
From impromptu and informal bits and pieces of his conversation, we all gathered that Mr. Miles was full of
appreciation, praises and satisfaction for this his 81st birthday celebration.
Our joy & felicitations!
OUT GOES LOW TECK HOI
We wish to register our deep heart-felt condolences and sympathies to the family of Low Teck Hoi of Great Wall
Photo Studio Bentong, who passed away on the 8th of January, 2008. May his soul rest in peace.
Many of us could remember Teck Hoi being our in-house photographer, his jokes, his cynicism, and his adventures
among humans of the fairer gender. Most of all his stories and laughter. Ha, ha, ha, that has ended another
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