11 years and 3 days. That’s how many years AND days Teresa took me under her wings. I’m proud to be a part of Teresa’s life . Honestly speaking? She made me what I am today. A woman with her own mind and character, at least that’s what I want to think I am ;-). Thank YOU Teresa……… St. Teresa’s, my alma mater! Happy 125th Anniversary, my lady!
I called home last weekend and had a chat with my younger brother. Our conversation turned to, among others, on the grand reunion of the 125th anniversary of St. Teresa’s School, Kuching, Sarawak on 29th May. My brother was there as the company he works with was one of the sponsors of the grand reunion held at the Four Points by Sheraton Kuching. I wished I was there, but due to workload and other commitments here in Europe, I had to give that a miss, albeit with a heavy heart :-(. But hey, I am NOT going to let this slipped my mind just yet. I thought the best I could do is write something about my alma mater, and yes she meant the world to me!
First thing’s first, not much is said on the wiki about my old school, which is quite sad, really, but I found a pretty new website on my former school: http://www.smkst-teresa.edu.my/ . Well done to the “new” girls who have started this site.
By the way, St. Teresa’s is a girls’ school, highly acclaimed for her all-round achievements in the world of academics and extra-curricular activities. It is one of the elite girls’ schools in Sarawak.
Here is a nice and captivating with a touch of amusement write up of the history of my school, written by, none other than a former student: http://www.theborneopost.com/?p=31948 .
I picked the following excerpt from the editorial because I thought it was perky with a slight hint of piquantness. Things I didn’t know about my school recapitulated in two paragraphs……
“Many Catholic bachelors looked for ‘good brides’ at the Convent. They knew the convent girls made ‘excellent wives’ not only because they could read and write but also because they were taught social etiquettes by the Sisters and trained to do household chores.
These bachelors would take turns ringing the bell at the Convent to indicate their presence. If they agreed to take a bride, the future grooms would have to offer a certain amount of dowry to the Convent to prepare the bride’s trousseau”
I chuckled when I read the fragment. It reminded me of my parents!! My late dad (RIP) found his bride almost exactly for that reason ;-). And it worked!!! Until death do them part.
I started my line with “11 years and 3 days”. If you are wondering what the 3 days were for, well, it prompts as a livelong cue to my first days at St Teresa’s School. 3 “teary” days were what I lasted at kindergarten! Shame! Shame! I dreaded going to school. Every morning my mum walked with me to school. The moment she left, I wept and wept and wept. Three days in a row. Tsk! Tsk! Tsk! I’m really NOT sure about the saying, “Third time lucky”. It definitely did not work a charm for me or for my poor mum! My siblings know me well. I was a glue on to my mum. Sorry, mum!
For the next 362 days, I stayed home. Mum was a mother to 6 kids, a wife to my dad and a ‘teacher’, all rolled into one. And I LOVED the idea of staying home. How selfish could I be? Then came the turn of the new year, I HAD to go to Primary School (grade school). With much grief, agony and torment, I forced myself to like going to school.
Well, actually it was not bad at all. I was not choosy when making friends and almost immediately I had friends from all races as I could speak 3 of the major local languages/ dialects quite fluently. I enjoyed being a translator to several of the girls ;-).
Cool! St Teresa’s, here I come or came and the rest is HISTORY!
My vivid recollections of the Primary school days were the school tuck shop, annual teachers’ day, sports day and of course the teachers themselves.
We learnt the value of money when we were 6 years old. There was no school canteen or cafeteria but a tuck shop owned by one of the teachers. It was not only a candy shop but warm meals were also served with affordable prices. I remembered Mrs Lee (that’s what the teacher was called) serving her clients (that would be us :-D) at recesses and then she would head back to her class afterwards. The rest of the day, the tuck shop was manned by a helper, a friendly Ah Ee (aunty). My favourite dishes at Mrs Lee’s tuck shop were her belacan bee hoon and Sarawak Laksa. I remembered paying a bowl of laksa for 50 sen! Mrs Lee knew my family pretty well. Once in a while I would help both Mrs Lee and Ah Ee at their tuck shop. The end result? A free bowl of laksa! Yeah! That’s one contented client, alright 😀 !
I loved celebrating the annual sports day because I remember all the funny games that came with it. I remembered having had to borrow my dad’s shirt, pants and his pair of shoes. Right, I had to wear all those and ran as fast I could until I reached the finish line. Then there was the egg and spoon race, the gunny sack races, and the three legged race. There was nothing short of fun. Remember, memories were made from these…
We had some “special” teachers as well. One worth commenting on was Miss Chu, my Mathematics teacher in Primary 6. A rather small-statured lady with a fiery disposition. Everyone was as quiet as a church mouse when sitting in Miss Chu’s class. I really thought she had another pair of eyes at the back of her head! When some girls happened to be caught chatting in her class, Miss Chu would actually call out the names of the girls and told them to shut up and THAT while she was not even facing the class. She was writing on the blackboard!! Wow…. what intuition. A commendable sixth sense. I love you, Miss Chu!
My not so great memory was a fragment of my Primary school days in Primary 5. I am not sure why my Class teacher bore a certain grudge on me. I remember this teacher took away my story book I left on my desk and never returned it to me. It was Enid Blyton’s Storytime Book. It was this same teacher who called on the names of my classmates and not me (names not called had to leave the classroom temporarily) and I later found out that the names she called were the ones she invited to her birthday party! Er….was I a victim of a double standard rule at a tender age of 11? Believe you me, I still have not found Eureka.
By the way, my Secondary school days were awesome. I loved English Literature. Mr George was a great teacher. He taught us to appreciate Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Dickens’ Great Expectations and George Orwell’s Animal Farm. Probably one of the cutest things I experienced in Mr George’s class was that his daughter was in his class! I have never seen Mini so well-behaved :-D. Those were the days, my friends………. Sweet memories!
Primary school lasted 6 years from Primary 1 to Primary 6. Secondary school for 5 years from Form 1 to Form 5. Students in Malaysia wear uniforms, no matter which school he or she goes to, public or private.
There was no exception for St Teresa’s. St Teresa’s School had her own school uniform in the early years, meaning the uniform was uniquely designed specially for the school. The colours were brown and beige. I did not wear those colours. My older sisters did. These brown and beige V-yoke uniforms were replaced with a pink and white checked romper dress , rather shapeless and modest looking which did its best to cover every inch or shape of our body. I wore this uniform for just one year (Primary One) before it was immediately replaced with the national uniform of navy blue pinafore on a white collared shirt for the Primary School girls and a turquoise pinafore on a white collared shirt for the Secondary School ladies. These uniforms are worn to this day in every school in Malaysia.
I remembered the strict rules we had in abiding the colours of of our school uniform. Oh yes, Mrs Paul made sure that her girls were uniformed throughout :-D. Girls with long hair had to tie up their hair neatly with blue or white ribbon. No polished nails. No make-ups. No dangling ear-rings. Knee high socks were not allowed. Should these be worn accidentally, the girls had to roll the socks down. All these to avoid uneven high and low height socks, which were too UN-uniformed for the school! LOL!
Looking back at all these, I DID NOT mind a bit about the uniformity at all. Mrs Paul taught us that extra bit of discipline. Thank YOU, Mrs Paul!
One interesting thing I picked (or rather, nicked) from the new St Teresa’s website was the school badge.
Amare Et Servire. Love and Serve. That’s my school motto.
To all Teresians, past and present, here’s a song for you…
|Train – Hey, Soul Sister|
Cheers to good health, wealth and happiness. God bless xxx