Feb 9, 2007

tribute to MGS, my alma mater - part 1

Now even in my early 30s, I still love to reminisce the good old days I had when I was still studying in MGPS (Methodist Girls' Primary School, 1983-1988) and MGSS (Methodist Girls' Secondary School, 1989-1993). I did my Form 6 in SMART (Sek Men Abdul Rahman Talib, 1994-1995) and it was nothing like my previous schools. Hence, I would like to pay a tribute to my alma mater here. For easier reading, I'll present all those memories in a Q&A format.

Q1: Tell me about your school.

A1: Back in those years, MGS, both primary and secondary schools were top schools in the district of Kuantan. We had two very respected and dedicated headmaster and principal, Ms Yap and Mrs Judith Quah respectively. I think we were one of the very few schools that emphasized not only on academic excellence but also encouraged students participation in co-curricular activities. MGSS was (I use past tense because I believe the management is very different now) a school that run not only by the principal and teachers but also the students. Students played active roles in making events such as sports day, special tuck shop, teachers' day, etc a success. In terms of discipline, there was no doubt that my school was the best.

Q2. What about the teachers?

A2: I don't have any particular teacher that I really like though. Perhaps there was this teacher, Cik Jarina. I remember she was the only Sejarah teacher that didn't just read notes to us. In fact, I still remember her lecture (more like a storytelling) on the Renaissance topic. She even reminded us to watch a movie set in the Renaissance era on TV2. The movie actually helped me to understand the topic even more.

There were a few good teachers like Sister Susan, Ms Wong and Mrs Cheah too. I must say Sister Susan was a good English teacher. She actually taught us an Abba's song called Fernando!

Well, there was one particular teacher that I hate. I don't even remember her name. She was transferred from another school, and knew nothing about me. I was in Form 4 then. She punished me for not bringing a new exercise book without listening to my reason. Well, I was on MC the day before and nobody informed me or had a spare copy for me. So, this bloody teacher asked me to stand outside the toilet for the entire period. Damn malu because I always had good reputation in school. When my form teacher, Ms Wong saw that, she told that bloody teacher that she shouldn't be doing that to me especially when the class was on (I was in front of them listening to their conversation). I was thankful for Ms Wong not because she defended me but the fact that she knew my character.

Oh, by the way, have you guys ever made your teachers cry? Well, my class, despite being the top class in our form, we made a few teachers cried because they couldn't stand our noisiness, stubborness and laziness. One of the teachers who became our victim was Encik Azman.

Q3. What were the nicknames that you most remember?

A3: MGS was popularly known as Monkey Girls' School (my Sis told me it's Monyet Gigi Satu). And yes, the girls were like monkeys, making noises, hyperactive, etc. I had a nickname too. My friend, Elena started calling me Aboo when we were in Form 2. The nickname actually came from my surname, Foo. As for my fellow schoolmates, I still remember a few nicknames like SuperG (G means ganas), OTC (otak tak centre, ooops), Mr Chew, and.... (getting old, can't remember). As for the teachers, I remember we disliked an agama cum counselling teacher. We called her Doraemon.

Q4. Who were your best friends?

A4: When I was in Standard 1, I don't have to worry about not having friends during the first day of school because most of my kindergarten friends were there. And I still have a few friends from the kindergarten whom I still meet up once in awhile now. When I was in the lower secondary level, I had two best friends, Norzana and Neela. The three of us were like representing the three main races in Malaysia. I also became good friends to Shu Fen, Cindy and Shuh Yong, whom I still keep in touch until today. In fact I still meet up with Shuh Yong every week as we stay nearby.

Q5. What were your favourite subjects? What subjects were you good or bad at?

A5: My favourite subjects were also the subjects I'm good in. I particularly love History and Bahasa Melayu. I did have a couple of Bahasa Melayu teachers who liked my writing. I even remember a trainee teacher who praised my sajak.


I love science subjects but most of the time I had no idea what my science teachers taught in class. When I asked my friend Shuh Yong recently, why most of our classmates did so well in their exams eventhough they did not know what our teachers taught in class. She told me it was because our friends attended tuition classes and I didn't. So I ended up struggling in my pure science subjects.

Q6: Were you active in extra curricular activities?

A6: One good thing about my school was all students were compulsory to take part in at least three associations and one sports club. For your information, Persatuan Bahasa Malaysia (PBM) and Persatuan Bahasa Inggeris (PBI) were compulsory for all and we had to go back to school every Saturday for that. I think our teachers were very committed because they had to sacrifice their Saturdays and went back to school to assist us in our extra curricular activities. I love PBM and PBI because every classes had to perform depending on the theme that week. We had to act, sing, debate, etc. I particularly love acting and I always got the male lead roles. Perhaps it was because I was tomboyish and tall.

I joined a lot of activities throughout my secondary years: PBM, PBI, Persatuan Sains, Sidang Redaksi (school magazine), ping pong, volleyball. I was also a library prefect and had some minor leadership roles in sports. I was a shy kid back then and being a leader was the last thing on my mind. I think the highest leadership role I got back then was as the class assistant monitor. Even that also was like a burden to me. Perhaps, it was because I had a tough time dealing with some personal issues it affected my self esteem.

Q7: Any unforgettable memories when studying in MGS?

A7: Wow, I'm not sure if can list everything here. I think the best time I had was during the Sports Day and the Special Tuck Shop. MGS had the best Sports Day event compare to other schools in the entire Malaysia, I guess. We had cheerleading, house decoration, marching and the usual race and telematch. Each year we would choose different activity to take part in the Sports Day. I'd tried everything except cheerleading (:D hey I did wrote a rap piece for my Schleman house to be incorporated in the cheerleading session) In my humble opinion, MGS students were the most independent students I ever knew. For example, when I took part in the house decoration for my Schleman house, we had to walk about 1km to search for bamboos. We brought our parang, chopped the bamboo trees and dragged them back to school all by ourselves without any help from adults. As for marching, we had to practise months before the event. We practised almost every evening until all of us became so dark (very, very dark).

Gosh, I love Special Tuck Shop. Each Tuesday, a class would take turn to run the school's canteen. We would stay back after school the day before the tuck shop to do some preparation; fill up the tong with water, boil water, prepare syrup, get the utensils ready, etc. There were a lot of things to buy too. Students and class teacher would go out and buy stuff using the fund we had collected since the beginning of the year. Aside from complicated food like laksa or nasi lemak which we normally order from parents or supplier, everything else were cooked and prepared by students with the help from our class teacher. I loved to prepare drinks, selling food and drinks and go to the supermarket during school hour to buy extra materials (of course with the permission from our class teacher). Even the cleaning part after the tuck shop was fun! At the end of the day, we got our share of profits. Recently I heard the Special Tuck Shop is no longer allowed in my school. What a stupid move. How could they rob away the tradition and learning experience from the students?

I think most of us were afraid of Monday because we had Spot Talk during assembly. The principal would choose a class randomly and then a student from the class (randomly as well) must go on stage and began her speech about the topic given to us on the previous week. Even if we were not chosen, we had to write an essay about the topic and submit to our form teacher after the assembly. We wrote in Bahasa Malaysia and English on alternate basis and it was an every week task. I'm not sure if my school still practice it today. It's a shame if they don't.

There were a lot more to say but I guess that's it for now. I'll go back to my hometown this CNY holiday and I will search my closet for some old photos and school magazines so that I can include them in the next post.

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