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THE MESIAN MESSAGE NO.87 - FEBRUARY 2009 -
THE LADY ANON. SERIES
THE WONG LAN CHAN EDITION


FROM PAUL IN FAR AWAY TORONTO

There is a lot of white snow on the ground this year. It is pretty to see the landscape but to dig out is another story. Sorry I could not attend the "OPEN HOUSES" at our mentor's bungalow. However I believe one of these days I will be there (just you wait).

You should have told me about the "mok yee" herbs earlier and I would not have to go for the open heart operation. (I am just kidding) Well, the blockages of my two arteries were 80% and 99%. The most surprising thing was I passed the thread-mill test during the check-up. The only test that showed the abnormality was the ultra-sound of the heart and the blood flow was reduced by half, the doctor then recommended me for the angioplasty and it was confirmed the blockages.



Please let the people know that passing the tread-mill test does not mean you are as fit as fiddle. In my case I was sitting on the time bomb (mind you I climbed the Yellow mountain in China in year 2000 and I was okay, as I did not know the arteries were blocked that much).

Do get into this website and you might help to save some lives, www.zijiu.org I am learning the art of breathing and it is not easy. Do tell others about this self help (zijiu).

ROAMING ABOUT BEIJING


Well, Beijing has many places to go besides the great wall and the Forbidden City. You can go for the show, which is performed by all the handicaps. These performers have been to many countries which we have not been. They have been to Malaysia in the year 1997 and 2001.

In fact one of the rich men in Malaysia fell in love with the director and proposed to her but she did not take the offer. (Hey, may I quip in here? Wealth seems to make a man a Romeo. - Editor). I believe one of the dances was "Kite Dance" and it was all in the Malaysian style.

The subways in Beijing are new and high-ways are always congested. Blue sky in China is the thing of the past. It is sad to see the global warming is affecting the whole world.

(Hey Paul, what sky now, or has the sky fallen down? - Editor)

Regards to all of you folks.

Paul fong.



STORY 2: GUESS WHO?

REMINISCENCE OF A TEACHER AND EX-STUDENT


I read Mesian-Message No.80 that was sent to my wife and it was like a throwback to more than half a century of my life.

MES was the first English school that I attended in Bentong. It was there that I enrolled after having spent a full year at St. Anthony's, Telok Anson (now Teluk Intan).

Like many families after the Japanese Occupation, destitute circumstances had delayed my education by a couple of years. My mother and eldest brother had decided that studying in an English school would offer a better future for me. The principal of St. Anthony's advised that I joined Standard 2 when the new term began. After finishing Standard 1 at San Min Chinese Primary School, I joined St. Anthony's, still a complete stranger to the English alphabet.

In the first two days at St. Anthony's, answering the teacher's call for attendance was a stressful moment. Some pupils shouted "present Sir" but a few others shouted "absent Sir". Old dear, what should I say? It was a good thing that my surname began with a "V" and my name was called out at the tail-end of the list. Being extremely self-conscious (read "shy"), it would be rather embarrassing not to know the words "present" or "absent" in Standard 2! When my turn came, I gambled and blurted out "present Sir". Nobody laughed. Passed!

Moving back to my beloved Bentong after the first term in Standard 3 in Telok Anson, I was already over-aged to join the government-run Sulaiman School. Blessed was I that MES, a private school, extended a helping hand in time of need. The alternative would have been Khai Mun School and life could have taken a different turn. Who knows, I might even be a Towkay by now!

1951 saw me as a Standard 3 pupil in MES. The school then consisted of the old block of about four classrooms. I cannot recall if there was anything on the higher slope. The tuck-shop stood near the brook behind the school. It was run by Ah Jim, whose son Michael Tan was an enthusiastic scout.

The early 1950s were the dark days of the Emergency in Bentong. Poverty was the order of the day. The morning meal was a bowl of rice that sister-in-law had prepared before leaving to work in the rubber holding. Visiting the tuck-shop during recess was an unaffordable luxury. To quench my thirst, I would join some friends to look for a "clean" spot along the brook to have a few mouthfuls of water. Fresh water it was not, as the brook was also a site to satisfy "the call of nature". My friends and I had to be extra careful to choose a spot away from where nasty stuffs were present. On one occasion, we avoided one such spot and began to drink, only to discover later on a similar one farther upstream! Such was the risk of taking advantage of freely available water.

Going to school meant trudging from Repas New Village to the end of town where MES was situated. The headmaster was an Indian gentleman by the name of Mr. Henry, if I remember right. The class teacher was Mr. Wong, a tough-task master and a stern-looking man who lived in Chui Yin Street. Those days when teachers were disciplinarians, the show of graciousness to pupils was not their forte. Mr. Wong taught arithmetic and other subjects. He could penalize pupils by using his fearsome finger-crushing punishment with the ruler. If you forgot to bring your school fees on time, he would send you home to fetch them. Once I had to dash home to look for RM2.50 to pay up.

He once asked a group of pupils to clean up a section of the school drain during recess. When they returned to the class late, he was furious and asked for an explanation. He had forgotten that he had assigned them the sweaty task of clearing the drain. Nobody dared to speak up, possibly also because nobody knew how to explain in English. He then meted out punishment to the group. When the team leader, innocent as all children were those days, told him that the drain was already cleaned up, he graciously offered his apologies.

Those were also tough days when many pupils were outright rough and tough. There was a bully or two to terrorize others, especially the meek and under-sized ones. A big-sized fellow by the name of Bakery was a terror. Each day, without fail, he would get hold of a little chap, the son of the goldsmith shop in town, and would said, "Hey, I have not slapped you today"! "Pup!" with lightning speed he would let go. The poor chap would just take it. Nobody dared to do anything.

I joined MES during the second term of Standard 3. I had come first in Standard 2 at St. Anthony's, thanks to the strict regime of study devised by elder brother. When he left for China and let me off the hook, I relished my new-found freedom and disaster struck! I failed the second term. My widowed mother noticed red marks on the report card. Although a complete illiterate, I was acutely aware that she was in great distress. In silence she wiped and I felt painfully sorry. I redeemed myself in the final term and earned a promotion to Standard 4 in 1952. Eventually, I got a place in Standard 5 in Sulaiman School and left MES after less than two rather uneventful years.

Ten years later, in January 1961, I was back in MES, this time as a teacher. The head master was Mr. Miles, the tall American, always in impeccable white. After completing Form 6 at the Victoria Institution in Kuala Lumpur, my friend Seet Chee Hong and I were taken in as teachers while we waited for the HSC results. I was made Form teacher of Form 4, teaching Geography and English Literature, and did the same for Form 5. Among the students were Tong Ah Tai, Mong Yong, the late Chin Sak Min (my cousin), Yap Chai Meng and many others. Besides Seet, other colleagues were Shamsudin and a few others. I left MES after just one enjoyable term as a teacher, to enter the University of Malaya in May 1962 and majored in Geography. The term at MES turned out to be my baptism as a teacher. I continued with this profession for 34 years in the University until the end of 1999.

MES, I salute you!

Voon Phin Keong



TABLE MANNERS - WESTERN STYLE



One day while visiting our mentor, we had a long discussion. We were discussing manners while consuming food at the table. We started off to talk about how to lay out the spoon, knife and fork. It was knife and spoon on the right and fork on the left of the plate.



When cutting a piece of meat like steak, hold down the meat with the fork, then cut a piece. If you are British, just bring the fork to your mouth to eat it.

But if you are American, put down the knife from your right hand, then pick up your fork with the right hand. That is, you shift hand to hold the fork from your left hand to the right hand. Then bring the morsel of meat up to your mouth to eat it.

I asked our mentor why American should change hands, isn't using the left hand to shove the food into your mouth more convenient? "Sure it is, but Americans always do things differently from the British!"



"And, the meat should be cut a small piece and eat it?" I asked. "Yes, cut a piece and eat it. Never cut the meat into several pieces, then eat." He entreated. Reason none. That is the way it is done!

However, in my mind, that could be because if the diner cannot finish eating the whole piece, he could still leave a big portion for somebody else or maybe he would eat it later!

Oh yes, in a proper meal even eating bread has to follow some etiquette. We are used to spread jam and butter on a piece of bread. Then probably slap another piece over it and yum it. Biting on the big piece and tearing a huge chunk into our mouth to munch. "That is not the way to eat bread," our mentor said.



Here is how. Put a piece of bread on your plate. Break a small piece with your fingers, remember break not cut! Butter and jam the small piece. Then shove it into your mouth. Chew it with your mouth close till the bread is soft then swallow. Do that, unless you are tucking into and tearing chunks from a big Mac.

After finished eating, we should put the fork and spoon and knife on the plate. "Is it because that is easier for the butler or waiter to pick up all plate, fork, spoon and knife altogether?" I inquired. "There's no other reason for it." He said. "But that also looks neater isn't it?" I quipped. "Yes, certainly, it is." He said. If everyone at the dining table does just that, there would not appear on the table a scene like after a battle!

"With all these etiquette and rules eating with all these tools, it's better we forget them and just eat with our fingers." Our mentor announced.

Oh no, even eating with your fingers, there are rules and manners to be followed. Next number, I will try to tell you.

And, could you my Malay and Indian friends tell me to save me from any blunders of eating with our fingers? Table manners I mean eating Malay and Indian styles. I am waiting for your precious replies.



HISTORY
REELING BACK HALF A CENTURY:
BACK TO 1959 - FEBRUARY


Names appeared again in his diary. Charles Benjamin who was a sort of delinquent. He tried to escape from the hostel by playing truants. But he was caught. Then he started a fire trying to burn down the hostel, but the smell of smoke was detected by someone. The blaze was smouldered before it developed into a conflagration.

Then there was Kanagaraj who threw a softball that accidentally hit our mentor. Where? Right on the nose! What a misnomer. The softball was not soft at all but very hard!! It hit Mr. Miles and sent him to the ground. He was literally knocked out. That landed him in the hospital which could do nothing for him. He was in pain and bleeding!

The next day, he went down to Kuala Lumpur and they suggested that he should go to Singapore to straighten his bleeding crooked nose! But an orthopaedic surgeon at the KLGH anaesthetized him and repaired the damage on the nose.

It was quite an experience for him trying to get treatment that made him ran from one department to another department. That was how things were done, and many a time nothing was done!

More names: Tengku Abdullah, Tengku Hashim, Tengku Nizan, Bala, Ng Boon Lan, beauty queen Moo Chun, Ahmad Awang, Zubir, Ismail, Rajoo, Victor, Samuel, Hock Sek, Shafie, Sunny, Tengku Ahmad, Hong Chai, Tengku Jamil, Goon Ting, Yeng Kee, Munzir. These were all mentioned in his diary. You recall anybody?

There was also mentioned one R. Doraisamy the son of the gardener Ramasamy who got married that February! He had just left school to take a wife!! What a coincidence, just last month in year 2009, that guy appeared before Mr. Miles! Doraisamy is now roped in to join our MES fraternity!!

And during that month of February, Chinese New Year was celebrated.



Oh that last sentence reminds me! I shall hereby wish all Mesians concern, their spouses, children and grandchildren

HAPPY SPRING FESTIVAL

This greeting is belated, but we are in the midst of celebrating it, aren't we? Why the late greeting? The Ox was delayed by all his admirers the cows! In fact all the oxen, calves and cows were having a reunion dinner. When the dinner was over, there was a terrible cattle jam on the ranch! I just hope you bear me no grunt!! Ha, ha, ha, this only a little laughter to straighten out an inadvertent omission. Gaga!!!

Next

HAPPY CHAP NGOH MEH
HAPPY VALENTINE
CHINESE STYLE


AND COMES FEBRUARY 14,

HAPPY VALENTINE.

COMES FEBRUARY 15
WE WILL HOLD THE BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS FOR MR.TED MILES


Our mentor has agreed to a pot luck party again. Bring some mouth-watering goodies, some special cooking, some titbits and anything you can think of so that a party would materialize. Nothing to bring, don't be shy; just come with a smile!




HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE FOLLOWING IN FEBRUARY

Birthday Cake - Green



No.
NAME
BIRTHDAY
1
YAM TG .KAMIL B. TG. IDRIS SH
FEB 1
2
G.P. KUMARASAMY
FEB 5
3
CHEE YEW TUCK / AH HEONG
FEB 7
4
ABDUL RAHMAN UMAT
FEB 8
5
KEE LAI WOH
FEB 10
6
CHRISTINE LOW CHOY YONG
FEB 14
7
TED C. MILES (PRINCIPAL)
FEB 16
8
SARJEET SINGH
FEB 16
9
LOH PEK YIN
FEB 21
10
DATUK MUARAD ABD. RANI
FEB 22





IN EVER LOVING MEMORY
OF THE FIRST ANNIVERSARY
OF THE PASSING AWAY
THE LATE ROSALIND DARLINGTON


Inserted by husband: Selvaraj Daniel, all her children, their spouses and grandchildren.





IN EVER LOVING MEMORY OF
THE LATES. SUBRAMANIAM


WHO LEFT HIS FAMILY AND THE M.E.S. FRATERNITY IN THE MONTH OF FEBRUARY EIGHT YEARS AGO

Inserted by :
Wife: W. Thanalechumy
Sons: Pukalenthi, Padmarajah
Son-in-law: Sivakumar
Daughter: Hema Latha




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Edited and written by Chan Suy Sang
http://www.mesian-message.com


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