SMS Kelantan as I Remember

This is a collection of stories and old photos of me, friends, teachers and events during my secondary school years (1975-79) at SMS Kelantan, which is now known as Sek Men Sains Tengku Muhammad Faris Putra. The school itself was started in 1973, and moved to the new campus in 1974 (you'll see grassless field in some pix!)

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Mr Lee Soon Ching

Mr Lee Soon Ching was a Chemistry teacher. Apart from that he was also the coach/advisor to the school basketball team.

Personally, I have to say that Mr Lee Soon Ching was one of the teachers who played an important role in my career path.

He was our Chemistry teacher for form 4 and form 5. Whe we started learning Chemistry as a subject (instead of part of Integrated Science when we were in form 1 - form 3), he really developed my interest for Chemistry. He was indeed a great Chemistry teacher. The covalent bonds, the ionic bonds, and the electron layers that he described with their orbitals involved, really got me into Chemistry that when I went to Australia, I decided to take up a degree in Chemistry. Even though I eventually got a degree in Applied Mathematics, my passion for Chemistry did not fade. I went on to do my 3rd yr Chemistry (Physical and Inorganic Chemistry, that is) together with Applied Mathematics until I got my BSc (general degree). It was only for the honours year that I had to be more realistic (I always did better in Maths than in Chemistry, no matter how hard I studied for Chemistry) and pursued my honours year in Applied Mathematics instead of P&I Chemistry, even though I was offered to do my honours by both departments.

Now, back to Mr Lee.... I remember how I impressed him when for his first test (form 4) i scored the highest mark of 96% (I got one mistake out of 25 MCQ). From then onwards, I was his favourite student, all the way to form 5, but not for too long....

Form 5 was not my good year. I was faced with so many personal problems that my academic performance started to decline. Chemistry was no exception :-(

I remember I paid less attention in class, and more often than not, I was caught dozing off in class (I couldn't explain myself... I thought I had enough sleep, but somehow I just couldn't focus in class, sigh...).

Then one day, Mr Lee caught me sleeping in class again. He was so angry with me that he threw the chalk towards me and hit my glasses. Everybody in the class went silent!!! Mr Lee actually did that to his favourite student, that was what many thought then.. I was so embarrassed! (But then again, if I was him, I might have done the same thing!). Since that day, I was no longer the model/favourite student ( I don't blame him..). I would try my best to stay away from him.... I don't think I did that badly in the subject, but I was never the smart student anymore.

In January 1986, I started teaching in Penang but in April when my husband was posted to Ipoh, I managed to get posted Sek Men Teknik, Persiaran Brash, Ipoh. Soon I found out that Mr Lee was teaching in the neighbouring Sek Tunku Abdul Rahman (STAR). For the 1987 Chinese New Year I sent Mr Lee a CNY card.

One day, right after school, I saw Mr Lee in my school!! He came to meet the x-student who sent him the greeting card!! I was so happy to be able to meet him again, and I was pretty sure he felt the same way.

I sent him a few more CNY cards, until I was too busy to send any greeting cards... Sadly, now we are no longer in touch. Once I googled his name and found out he was still teaching in Perak. I tried to google him again today, but I only managed to get links to information on the books that was written by him (or someone else of exactly the same name).

If anyone who's reading this blog knows his whereabout, please let me know. I would love to be in touch again with my greatest Chemistry teacher!

I will try to put up his pix later, if I can find any...

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Cikgu Anuar

Mr Anuar was our Moderm Mathematics teacher from form 1 until form 3. He's tall, fair and fairly handsome :-)

Like many teachers, I don't remember much about him, except that he hailed from Penang (or Georgetown). There was time when he was a warden but my fading memory can't really recall the exact period.

As a Maths teacher, he was very dedicated to his teaching. I enjoyed his Math classes very much (maybe partly because Maths was never a troublesome subject to me).

There actually IS one thing (or should I rather call it a skill) that I "inherited" from him, and that is on how to construct a magic square!! It was one of those days when he didn't have to teach us (maybe it was after the exam, or maybe after he had finished the syllabus with us). He taught us the rule on creating a magic square whose size is odd (e.g. 3X3, 5X5, 7X7, etc..). The magic squares have the sum of any row, column or diagonal the same (for any particular magic square). I enjoyed the lesson very much, and
I still remember the rules until now. I remember how I got so excited about it that I even went to construct those of 13X13. In those days there were no calculators, so adding up the numbers for each row and column was quite a task.

That particular skill remains with me until now. For the past 20+ years of teaching, I would try to find the time to pass the skill/knowledge down to my students.

I am very sure that Mr Anuar had paved the way for me to handle Maths with confidence, and eventually like the subject enough to have my degree in it!

At the end of our form 3 (1977) we were informed that Mr Anuar managed to get a transfer back to Penang. He was then posted to Sek Men Sains T Syed Shahabuddin, Bkt Mertajam.

So Mr Anuar started the new 1978 year as a teacher in his home state. At that time my school was well-known among the boarding schools for the Malay debate (having entered at least the semi-final in 1975 and 1977, and final in 1976 in the Prime Minister Trophy - all cases we were beated by Kolej Islam Klang).

His school had elected Mr Anuar (a Maths teacher!) to be one of the advisors of their Malay debating team!!! The top management figured out that coming from our school, Mr Anuar should know how our team prepared and practice for the tournament.

The Tournament was then known as Bahas Piala Perdana Menteri (or simply PPM). In 1978, for the first time, our school were chosen to be the host (only the final was telecast life from Angkasapuri). Mr Anuar came back to Pengkalan Chepas with his "new' team representing SMS TSShahabuddin (or simply SMSPPinang, then). I was in-charged of the accomodation of the female participants, while at the same time being a reserved (back up, Team B) debator. I think I will elaborate on the PPM in a different blog.

As for Mr Anuar, he introduced me to one of his debators, Rubiah Ab Rahman(Ruby). Since both of us were debators and both of us were in form 4, it was not difficult for us to get along well, especially when in that year we never saw SMSTPP as an arch-rival.. At the end of the year, when we went to Angkasapuri for the debate final, I met up Ruby and Mr Anuar again. Ruby became my closest penpal until I finished my MCE. There was one problem with Ruby - her hand writing, though very neat, looks like a boy's handwriting. The warden always thought that she was a boy, and many of my letters from her got censored , and I still believe (until now!!) that some of her letters din't get to me :-( Ruby, being her, she would normally write very long letters, about the happenings in her school, some of them were about her classmates (boys and girls, of course!). Anyway, a few years ago I managed to trace Ruby down, and have her HP no. However, we've yet to meet up! :-(