Schooling in Ipoh – Episode 1
We have here a contribution by one of our readers – UV -ValiantKnight. He would like to share with us his childhood memories, especially from his schooling days at the Primary branch of ACS (in Ulu Kinta). Below is his story, together with a couple of pictures. Happy reading!
S.K. Methodist, Tanjong Rambutan
T.R. Methodist Church
Schooling in Ipoh
Would you believe it if I told you that I started schooling in ACS Ipoh’s branch primary school in Tanjung Rambutan (Ulu Kinta)? Yes, there is such a place as ACS Ipoh’s branch primacy school then in the early 50s. This school is now a full fledge primary school. However, back then, it was only a branch school housed in a church building (TR’s Methodist Church (Chinese) but used by all congregations – Chinese, Tamil and English).
I went to that school because my mother was a nurse (the first Mental Trained Nurse certified by the Registrar of Nursing, England) in Central Mental Hospital, Tanjung Rambutan (now renamed Hospital Bahagia Ulu Kinta). Yes, my siblings and their school going friends were object of teasing and ridicule when they were dropped at their respective schools in Ipoh by the CMH bus! However, many from this unsavoury place associated with mental disease became famous Malaysians.
I never had the experience of travelling to Ipoh by this bus. I was registered in the ACS Ipoh Branch Primary School and my father who was a temporary teacher there took me to school on his bicycle every morning until he left to join the Home Guards during the height of the Emergency. From that time on, I had to walk about 2 Km from my mother’s nursing quarters to school and I usually take a short cut along the railway track that ran from just behind my house to the front of the school.
It was safe then to let a 6+ walk alone along a railway track then. If this happened today, I would not be here to write about it. I would be joined by a young friend who was the brother of a famous radio announcer later in life.
There were not too many pupils in the school and there were only 3 classes, Primary One, Primary Two and Standard One (that was how classes were graded then, it later became Standard One to Standard Six and now it is Year One to Year Six.
What I remembered about this school most was its horrible toilet! It was a small outhouse away from the main building and a huge jar (I could barely pee into it being rather short then) where all the boys had to urinate into (to be used by vegetable farmers). The stench was horrible and flies were in the hundreds. I refused to go (if possible) and so cultivated the ability to hold on with my bladder full until I reached home each day. One day, I could not and wet myself and that was a day to remember! I think my classmates also cannot forget that day to my peril. However, it taught me a lesson in life.
When I became a teacher and should a pupil ask me for permission to go to the levorotary I would never deny him or her! It also taught me that one cannot be in full control all the time and that nature has its way to let us know that it is in control. A few years later, a friend in class did something worse; he could not hold back ‘the big one’. I was sitting next to him and one could imagine the stench! I helped clean up the chair and floor because I was next to him and also I remembered what happened to me a few years before that day. Of course everyone nicknamed him “Lai See Poh” (a lady that dirtied her pants with excreta) from that day onwards, but he was OK in life despite that name!
I am sure many of you did experience this when in school, either as the one performing these acts or had friends in class doing them. Care to share?