In 1964, I enrolled and attended the Methodist Primary School in Kuantan, Pahang. My class was the first room if you enter the school compound via the entrance opposite the Methodist Church. My classroom teacher then was Mrs. Mahalingam. However, I only spent one year there and I had to leave the school ‘cos I was selected to enter the Express Programme. So, in 1965 I enrolled and attended the Sultan Abdullah School. My class was called Express 2 and I only left the School in December 1968 from Express 6. What this meant is that the Express class students did their primary 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 in 4 years.
In January 1969, the girls from the Express class were enrolled at the Methodist Girls Secondary School in Kuantan. The boys went to a school that was in the vicinity of Sekolah Teruntum … the name totally escapes me at this point in time. I was placed in Form 1S and the group of us not only had to adjust to being in an all girls school but we had to learn how to sew and cook. The cooking classes were okay but I was rather traumatised in the sewing classes ‘cos my classmates from the MGS Primary School and the Assunta School could sew but not me and my friends from Sultan Abdullah School. We had to cut and sew our white apron and yours truly, to the horror of the homeroom teacher, drew her lines with a pencil instead of a tailor’s chalk. The first question the teacher asked me was “Are you from Abdullah School?” and when I said “Yes”, she smiled ever so sweetly and taught me how to use the tailor’s chalk. I think her name was Mrs. Heng … to me she was very tall and very fair and always wore beautifully coloured mini dresses … yes, the teachers do wear mini dresses then … no issue here.
I stayed in Form 1S, 2S and 3S and in 1971, whilst in Form 3, we all took the L.C.E. (Lower Certificate of Education) Examination. L.C.E. is a national examination and once the results are out, we were streamed into the Science or Arts stream. I opted not to do pure science but went for additional science instead. Pure science meant you had to do Biology, Chemistry and Physics as individual subjects. For additional science, we did Science and Additional Science as individual subjects and History. Both streams had to do Mathematics and Additional Mathematics also as individual subjects. I could not fathom Additional Mathematics, so I decided much earlier on to drop this subject and picked up Health Science instead. The streaming meant that the class of 3S was split up. Some opted for Pure Science and some opted for the Arts – a wise move when you think of it. We were not well guided then in our choice of which stream to follow. It was natural for us to accept whatever was given to us. A month later, I was offered a place at Sekolah Menengah Teknik, a school specialising in technical studies where most of the students end up in the engineering faculties. I did want to go but I had to get my priorities right – mathematics and physics were not my strong subjects and I would be a “late entry” student who needs to really catch up. So, I declined the offer and stayed in Forms 4 Science 2 and 5 Science 2. In 1973, all of us took another national examination, the M.C.E. (Malaysia Certificate of Education) and when the results were out in 1974, we said goodbye to our secondary school days.
From here, we began charting our career path. Some of us used the M.C.E. results to undertake diploma courses at local universities, some went on to Form 6 and some joined the workforce. I enrolled and attended Sultan Abu Bakar School in Kuantan in 1974 and here, the Express Class girls finally met-up with the Express Class boys. I definitely remember Wong Siew Kee, Lim Tian Siew, Mohd. Sabri and Azman Abas from my Express Class days. I was still in the company of my classmates and schoolmates from MGS Secondary School – Lim Lay Kin, Yap Chui Nyuk, Yap Shew Mee, Jayamalar, Radin Fatihah and others. I decided to do the Bio/Chem combination and was placed in Form Lower Six Science 2. I did enjoy my school days then but I had difficulties catching up and so applied to do Veterinary Science in UPM and Fisheries in ITM. I attended the interview for UPM but failed miserably when it comes to identifying seeds … yes, the panel gave me a whole bunch of seeds to identify and I think I only got one correct. So, it was instant rejection from UPM but I was accepted into ITM Shah Alam to do a 3-year Diploma in Fisheries. Why did I choose Fisheries? Well, it was a new programme and I wanted to try something new. So in July 1974, I registered in ITM Shah Alam and from then on I hardly kept in touch with my friends from school.
Some time in 2016, I managed to catch up with a few of my old school friends and finally on 26 August 2016, those who left MGSS Kuantan in 1973 met up in Kuantan at Zenith Hotel. Some of our teachers who taught us from way back were also present. We also found out that some of our teachers and friends have also left us. All in all, it was a memorable and happy occasion for me and we kept in touch through the various social media platforms.
On 18 March 2017, some of us met again at the Swiss Hotel Kuala Lumpur. We met again on 26 November 2017 at Cititel Hotel Kuala Lumpur and we met yet again on 23 July 2018 at Cititel Hotel Kuala Lumpur. Those present decided that whoever wants to meet up can always send us a message and whoever’s available can come.
Personally, I do treasure these meet-ups. These friends were an important part of our life – important ‘cos we were at that stage of our lives when we were adopting values and going thro’ the different phases of growing up. We spent so much time together then and these are the friends who rallied around us when we had our share of teenage problems and issues. We broke rank with them to pursue our education and career and take care of the family and now that we are free from those, we seek our friends from long ago to renew broken ties. There are some of us who did keep in touch and I truly value them. So, thank you to all my school mates being being there for me then and now.