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June 2018

Sports Day, at the Anglo-Chinese Girls’ School

By |2018-06-11T15:25:12+08:00June 11th, 2018|Categories: childhood, history, Identify Photographs, Memories, People, Sports|Tags: , , |

Yes, you read it right – Anglo-Chinese Girls’ School. Maybe you’re more familiar with its current name – Methodist Girls’ School (MGS).

Anyway, here is a nostalgic photograph taken during the sports day. The guest of honour is none other than Mrs Florence Kesselring.


photo courtesy of: Ann Hamon (nee Kesselring)

April 2012

The MGS Mural

By |2012-04-11T08:31:27+08:00April 11th, 2012|Categories: childhood, Identify Photographs, Memories, People|Tags: , , , , |

Lam Lai Meng sent us this 1967 picture of some MGS girls painting a 3-panel mosaic like mural, on the wall above the Principal’s office. The mural is said to depict women in various occupations. The Teacher standing on the far left is none other than Mrs Vivian Chong.

To the MGS Alumni reading this: Recognise yourself in the picture? For those who have not seen the aforementioned mural, here’s a preview (picture below).

February 2012

The ‘Singout’, Organised by MGS

By |2012-02-15T14:48:51+08:00February 15th, 2012|Categories: childhood, concerts, Identify Photographs, ipoh, Memories, People|Tags: , , , , |

We received these interesting pictures from Ralph Khaw (from Perth, Australia). He also emailed us a short explanation for the above pictures:

“I can’t remember the date of the singout organised in MGS , involving students from MGS,ACS,SMI. I played a small part as a member of Choir. The teacher singing is Eddie Chin,teacher of MGS. One of female lead singer is Lim Siok Kim.( who later became my
sister-in-law and now residing in St Albans,UK). Miss Devi was the teacher and conductor/director of the musical “Sing-out”. A few months later it was performed in KL, due to its popularity but can’t remember the hall /venue. I can’t remember the name of the other female lead singer. The songs were from Oklahoma, and a few musical plays.

According to Ralph, he was also in this choir (back row, top from right). Anyone remember this singout? It couldn’t have been that long ago. Perhaps, some of the singers are reading this now? DO tell us MORE about this singout 🙂

October 2011

Teaching In and Around Ipoh – Episode 2

By |2011-11-02T09:01:09+08:00October 10th, 2011|Categories: Identify Photographs, ipoh, Memories, People|Tags: , , |

This was sent to us by UV, as part of his Teaching in Ipoh series. In the above picture, seated in the centre, is Mr Teh Chin Seong (mentioned in the story below). This picture was taken in 1968 and published in The Argosy 1968 (the school magazine). The lovely lasses in the picture are members of the St John’s Ambulance Brigade from MGS Ipoh.

Episode 2

Teaching is a vocation where those taking it up must be prepared to sacrifice.  However, it can also be a vocation where those who are not really dedicated can exploit.  I would like to deal with the negative aspects of some teachers as many today can only see this dark side of the noble profession.  I want to deal with it now and put it to rest and in the rest of my story, I would want readers to put aside the image of a bad teacher and concentrate on teachers who have dedicated their lives to teaching pupils.

The teaching profession was at the time I joined it, a vocation you work for half a day only.  Most schools would end at the latest by 1.50 p.m.  Some lower secondary classes ended even as early as 12.30 p.m. and of course Primary classes ended around that time most days.  This enabled the teacher to have the rest of the day free.  Many would take this opportunity to give extra tuition for a fee.  Others would mend their homes or used it for social events (usually a game of mahjong at home or in a club.  To the detriment of the students and the profession, such activities usually result in neglect of the much needed correction of assignments given or better preparations that should have been made before a teacher teaches the next day.

Teaching provides a teacher with long vacation.  In those days there were three terms per year and normally at the end of the first and second terms, a two week vacation is given and at the end of the final term, a four to five weeks vacation is in the offering.  Of course, self-centered teachers would spend such vacations for their own purposes whereas those who love their students may organize special educational outings or provide remedial classes for the weaker ones.

When I joined MGS Ipoh in 1968 I was most impressed by the caliber of students there.  Classes were streamed according to academic excellence but they were also divided into Science, Arts and Domestic Science streams from Form Four onwards.  There were very little differences in academic performances between the best of the Science classes and that of the Arts.

When I was in school in ACS Ipoh, one can see a mark difference between the Science Stream and the Arts Stream with a few individuals in the Arts Stream showing equal academic abilities to those in the Science Stream and these were usually those who chose to take up Arts subjects even though they qualify for the Science Stream.

I was given the best Arts class in Form Five.  I thought Geography there.  I was really taken up by the diligence of the girls not only in doing their assignments, following the lessons as you teach but also the amount of extra time they are willing to put in after school to create and produce charts and models with me to enable the teaching and learning of the subject to be easier.  To these girls, a big handful of them, the learning process was not restricted to the classroom alone but in extra activities related to each subject they can garner outside the classroom.  They were keen on outings, to visit Geographical features on actual ground.  We climb up waterfalls in nearby Buntung.  We walked along the Kinta River banks, we visited caves and limestone hills and we went to nearby factories to see how things were made and took trips outside the town to study production of rubber and palm oil as well as tin ore.  Such then was Geography taught and learned that year and years to follow in MGS.  It is not the teacher alone that can give rise to this form of teaching and learning.  It takes interested students to want to follow the teacher around to see for themselves what is actually happening in real life.

I have the good fortune of meeting these students after 40 odd years recently in Kuala Lumpur and these were the same group that took special interest in my subject as well as those of other teachers.  They did very well in their SPM and went on to do well in life.  Many were top civil servants and some captains in the commercial sectors.  Yes, they were girls turned top ladies.  When we talked of school days, what do they remember most, the extra-curricular activities we had.  I felt very happy and satisfied that what I did was not in vain.

MGS Ipoh in 1968 had a small collection of male teachers.  They were usually involved in the teaching of Science and Mathematics.  I was the only Arts male graduate.  The other men teachers were the Bahasa Malaysia teachers.  Men teachers are very popular with girls’ students.  They tend to take advantage of the men teachers but some of us were rather stern and many students learned the hard way when they do not put in enough effort.

Men teachers of course could not lay hands on a girl pupil in anger nor in affection but there are various methods well established in MGS Ipoh for them to take to punish recalcitrant girls.  There’s a lady discipline teacher to deal with such girls.  MGS Ipoh is also famous for detention classes where girls are detained after school or had to come back on Saturdays to perform some duties.  In this manner, girls are kept in line.

The men teachers are also useful in providing transport for girls when they fall ill or when they need to go somewhere for an activity.  Of course some lady teachers do likewise.  The men are expected to handle the heavier duties of physically shifting furniture (with the help of men manual workers) and are responsible for many games.  The Sports Secretary when I was there was a man teacher and he did a wonderful job all those years.

Mr. Teh Chin Seong was a male icon that no MGS student can forget.  He was there before I joined MGS Ipoh and he remained there until he retired many years after I left MGS Ipoh.  Not only was he a very efficient Sports Secretary who ran the Annual Athletics Meet every year without a hitch, but he was also good in coaching volleyball, basketball, and many other games MGS was involved in.  In addition he was also the Band Teacher.

Is that all?  No, Mr. Teh was also an officer in the St. John’s Ambulance Brigade and was in-charge of the MGS Ipoh Company.  Many girls became nurses after joining this movement.  Some of them went to England to take up nursing and continued working there.  I had the good fortune of meeting one Operation Theatre Sister from my batch of 1968 Form Five during the last reunion of this class.

Mr. Teh Chin Seong passed away last year (2010) leaving much fond memories in the hearts of many who had served with him and who were his students.  He was an excellent Mathematics teacher too despite all the extra-curricular activities he had to handle and any girl having gone through the LCE or SPM Mathematics papers would have him to thank.

To round up the appreciation of a well rounded teacher, I would like to add that Mr. Teh was a wonderful ballroom dancer and on many occasions he demonstrated his skill to the school in our Prize Giving Day Concert and Teachers Day Celebrations.  He really added colour to MGS Ipoh.

August 2011

Teaching In and Around Ipoh – Episode 1

By |2011-08-22T13:20:23+08:00August 22nd, 2011|Categories: ipoh, Memories, People|Tags: |

Here’s a short tale, from a Teacher’s point-of-view! Special thanks to UV for sharing his story with us 🙂

MGS Staff, 1968

Teaching in and Around Ipoh – Episode 1 


There are many major schools in Ipoh.  The famous ones being the Anglo-Chinese School, Ipoh, The Saint Michael’s Institution, Ipoh, Anderson School, Ipoh, Methodist Girls’ School, Ipoh, the Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus and Raja Perumpuan, Ipoh.  In addition, there were numerous National Type Secondary Schools such as Sam Tet, Ipoh, Yuk Choy, Ipoh and Poi Lam, Ipoh.  The oldest school that taught using English as a medium of instruction is the Anglo-Chinese School, Ipoh and its sister school, Anglo-Chinese Girls’ School (later both changed names to become Methodist Boys’ and Methodist Girls’ Schools respectively).

In 1895, the ACS Ipoh was established.  In those early years, schools ran classes from primary to secondary levels under one administration and in one compound.  It was only later that schools divided themselves into primary and secondary schools.  Most Mission Schools and even government schools kept to the same compound whereas Malay primary schools were usually separate as in the early years of education in Malaya, there were hardly any Malay Medium Secondary school in Ipoh!  Chinese educationists started many Chinese primary schools in Chinese enclaves and the town of Ipoh but through major dialectic associations, established the three secondary schools which initially used Mandarin as the medium of instruction but changed to using Malay after conforming to the wishes of the government after Independence.


Being a Teacher

To be a teacher, one has to be accepted by the school’s administration as in those early years, the schools had the right of hiring and firing (with the exception of government schools).  Even after Independence, Mission schools could still hire teachers under the Unified Teaching Service which differ from the Government Teaching Service.  I do not intend in these series of articles to go into the historical development of the teaching services but rather concentrate on a personal perspective of being a teacher from the day I joined it till the day I retired.

After graduating from the University of Malaya with a  B.A.Hons. degree in Geography, I asked Miss Ruth Ho for a job in Methodist Girls School, Ipoh.  I knew her through church connection and she accepted me because there was a vacancy for a Geography Teacher.  I joined the school in early January as my Final Year Examinations just completed after the New Year.


MGS Ipoh

MGS Ipoh was a well noted school with over 1000 students from Form 1 to Form 5.  I knew many of the teachers there, too.  When I reported for duty, I was given three Form 5 classes to teach and another 2 classes of Form 4s.  Please note I had no professional teaching qualifications and I was a rather young graduate, barely twenty-two years old.  Some of my Form Five students were just five years my junior in age!  I taught them Geography and English.


Miss Ruth Ho

The Principal, Miss Ruth Ho was a frail looking lady but with a very friendly and attractive smile.  With this smile, she could get most of us to do anything she wished.  She is soft spoken, and in all the years I served with her, I have never heard her raise her voice.  She was very patient in giving out instructions and you can never go wrong if you follow her instructions.

The Principal of the school stayed in the compound of the school in a double storey bungalow named Kenyon Cottage.  It was a lovely, stately building with ivy covering the front porch pillars and arch.  From time to time, some of us would be invited over for morning coffee/tea or afternoon tea if we stayed back for some extra-mural activities.  The living room where we sat for tea overlooked the school field and we could get a panoramic view of the Main Building of the school (see photo).  It had polished wooden floor.  This building was designed and furnished like a typical American home as many American ladies were head of the school.  Miss Kenyon, the first principal after which this house took its name, right up to Miss Moriera (local) before Miss Ruth Ho, every Principal carved out a portion of the rich history of MGS Ipoh.

Miss Ruth Ho is the daughter of the illustrious Dr. Ho Seng Onn, a famous Chinese educationist in the Methodist Education Mission of Malaya and Singapore and sister of Mr. Robert Ho, a renowned author of Geography books for Malaysian schools.  It is no accident that such a person from such an important family should be there to guide MGS Ipoh.

Most of the time, her staff would meet her in the office located above the porch of the Main Building.  It would occupy half the area above the porch, while the general office would take up the other half.  The Principal’s office, like her is simple.  She would seat herself behind an outsized desk that has a glass top.  It would be covered with files, papers, etc.  Her chair is not like those well-padded, shriveled executive chairs but a small wooden one with an armrest that curved behind her in a semi-circle to form the backrest and the other part of the armrest.  It has a thinly padded cushion.  I am sure it was not very comfortable.

Miss Ho is simple in her manner of dressing too.  One would often, if not always find her in a dress that has not waistline.  It would spot a high collar and would reach to just below her knees, fitting her frail form loosely.  Usually, it would be of pestle colours with some floral motifs.   Call it a ‘Cheongsam’ of some sort if you like, but the slits would not be there.

One cannot expect to find any serious or distinct signs of make up on her face too.  Maybe there is a hint of powder to keep her face fresh and a gentle and faint perfume as she walks pass can be detected.  Her round steel-rimmed spectacles, which she removes from time to time to look up at you when you stand before her, suggests a middle age lady with long-sighted reading problems but a pair of eyes that is still 20-20 when looking at her staff and pupils.

It was my misfortune that I did not work for long with her but yet it was long enough for me to use her as a model in later years of my teaching career when I too became a principal.  She entrusted me not only with teaching her best Arts Students in Geography but also gave me the most challenging class to teach English in the Form Five year.  In addition, she made me take charge of Softball, when in that year MGS Ipoh was to chair this game in the Central Perak Sports Council (precedence of the Majlis Sukan Sekolah Perak, Zone Kinta).  During those days, it was not the Principal that was the Chairperson, it was the teacher-in-charge that chaired the game and sat with the Chairpersonof Central Perak Sports Council, then another imposing character, Mrs. Nadarajah of Raja Perumpuan School, Ipoh.

In addition to these responsibilities, that year I joined MGS Ipoh, they were planning a Fun Fair to raise funds.  Mission schools were always doing this or that to raise funds to finance new building projects or to run the school, like providing furniture and maintaining the buildings and utilities.  I was given the task of being the Chairperson in-charge of games for the Fun Fair!  What do I know of organizing games in a carnival?  Nothing except having participated in handling a game stall or two when I was in school and attending a few Fun Fairs in Ipoh.  However, with her guidance, we made a success of the whole activity.

These are the memories I have of Miss Ruth Ho.  She left MGS Ipoh for reasons only know to her and her close associates and served in Singapore for some time then eventually she landed up in Hawaii, got married to a Japanese American and settled there.  She is now alone, living in a senior citizen home under the name of Mrs. Ruth Lindley.  She would only be too pleased if any of her old girls or ex-teachers/staff would contact her.  If you are interested in contacting Miss Ruth Ho, please ask Ian to pass your email address to me and I would forward it to her.

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