Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Malaysia Berjaya

In the mid 1980s, a wave of patriotism (aided by a directive from the Ministry of Education) swept through the school and we started every morning session with a rendering of "Negaraku" and "Malaysia Berjaya". Today, I thought it would be apt to share lyrics of the song we sang on so many mornings.

Happy 54th Birthday Malaysia!

Listen to the song on You Tube:

Malaysia kita sudah berjaya

Aman makmur bahagia

Malaysia abadi selamanya

Berjaya dan berjaya

Berbagai kaum sudah berikrar

Menuju cita-cita

Satu bangsa satu negara

Malaysia berjaya

Dari Perlis sampailah ke Sabah

Kita sudah merdeka

Negara makmur rakyat mewah

Kita sudah berjaya

Dengan semboyan kita berjaya

Gemuruh ke angkasa

Satu bangsa satu negara

Malaysia berjaya

Monday, 29 August 2011

Pre-Exam Jitters

This cartoon was published in the 1987 School Magazine.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Bubbly Bunch @ Modestos SG

Reporting another Singapore reunion last weekend on 20th August at Modesto's Orchard Road, where we welcomed two more long-lost BBGSians to the fold - Shelly Lim from the Class of 1986 and Gong Siok Chu from Class of 1987! And not forgetting our beautiful be-wigged Poesy Liang who joined us fresh from her Bald Empathy adventures. The regular crowd included Tan Lu Meng, Patricia Chang, Lee Kiew Puan and yours truly from Class of 1987, and Moonlake Lee from Class of 1986.

The obligatory group photo taken by an obliging (despite being coerced) Modesto's waiter

(L-R) The purple-wigged Poesy, Joanna, Lu Meng & Siok Chu

As for the stories... yes...Lu Meng told the Hockey and Bintang 3 drama stories again! Siok Chu contributed a new story about how we were passing sweets around the class during lesson time (a big no! no!) and while everyone just popped it into their mouths to consume the evidence as quickly as possible, Kiew Puan, the model student, tucked it into her handkerchief and kept it in her pocket till recess time! :-D

Standing (L-R): Siok Chu and Lu Meng, Seated (L-R) Patricia, Kiew Puan and her little girl

(L-R): Shelly, Lu Meng & Moonlake

We spent quite some time brainstorming ideas for our next reunion. Ideas included a barbecue at Joanna's, picnic at the Botanic Gardens, sunset cruise on a yacht and a Botox party! And no, the last idea didn't emerge from a drunken stupor as we were only drinking ginger beer. We'll definitely keep you all posted on the next reunion.

Photos courtesy of Jaclyn Tan Lu Meng

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

90th Anniversary Message from Miss Mary Glasgow

As we enter the Merdeka week, let's pause to remember our school history. BBGS started as a missionary school, and we were led and taught by many teachers who left their home shores to come to Malaya, a British colony, to educate young girls. Many of them spent their entire adult lives teaching local girls, preparing them for nationhood - to become "loyal women with their race".

This message was sent by Miss Mary Glasgow (BBGS Principal, 1946 - 1957) who helmed BBGS until 1957 when she befittingly handed the baton of leadership to Miss Elena M Cooke, our first Malaysian headmistress. Miss Glasgow's message was read out during the BBGS Annual Speech Day in 1983, which commemorated the 90th anniversary of the school.

Dear pupils, staff and friends of the school,

It is a great privilege and pleasure to be able to speak to you today and give you my warmest greetings and congratulations on this auspicious occasion.

It reminds me of my first arrival in 1930 and the welcome I received. From then on, I have had the happiest possible memories of those 31 years with BBGS and I thank God for such a wonderful experience. You made teaching a real pleasure and you taught me more valuable lessons than I gave you. I shall never forget the sincerity and warmth of your approach and the help that was always available in any kind of need. Indeed, after 22 years of absence, I still find myself referring to Malaysia and BBGS as home.

Miss Glasgow (fourth from the right) with some of her former students

The 9oth anniversary! What a long way we have come from that little gathering I remember in the Fook Yam Tong on Davidson Road with your marvellous buildings and playing fields in BBGS today.

Then the pupils were rather shy and were accompanied to and from school, often by rickshaws. Many parents preferred to keep daughters at home. So numbers were small. However, time marches on and after the war, there was tremendous pressure to get girls admitted. The buildings could not rise fast enough and even yet I hear the enrollments continue to soar,

It is delightful to see how the school maintains its character and high standards. May it ever be so and continue to go from strength to strength in humility and trust in the living God who giveth us richly all things to enjoy.

Are we aware of Satan's greatest weapon. Self-pity? Never succumb to that or you are lost! Forget yourself, put others first, avoid hasty words and criticism, grumbling and complaining.

Dwell deep! There is a depth in life which is too seldom used. We live too much on the surface and do not dig down to the riches beneath. Let us take a look at a verse of Amy Carmichael:

From prayer that asks that I may be,
Sheltered from winds that beat on Thee,
From fearing when I should aspire,
From faltering when I should climb higher,
From silken self, O Captain, free
Thy soldier who would follow Thee.

Give me the love that leads the way,
The faith that nothing can dismay,
The hope no disappointments tire,
The passion that will burn like fire,
Let me not sink to be a clod:
Make me Thy fuel, Flame of God.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

The Complexities of the English Language

This poem was written by Lim Poh Lian and recited by 5 Science 5 who emerged as Senior Choral Speaking Champions in 1986. It's another fine example of the superior grasp and love of the English Language inculcated by our amazing teachers at BBGS! A point to note though, this poem is much easier to appreciate in its oral rather than written form.

The English Language is a polyglot of French, German, Italian and what not,
But as far as we are concerned, English can go pot!
The subtleties of the English Language:
Awful pronunciation,
Tricky grammar,
Unfathomable ambiguities,
Misleading spellings!

Choose your words carefully when describing your hostess:
You can call her a kitten,
But not a cat.
Call her a mouse,
But not a rat.
Call her a chicken,
But not a hen,
Or, you will never be her caller again.
If she burns you up, say she sets you on fire,
And you'll be most welcome, you tricky little liar.

In most languages, pronunciation follows predictable rules,
But not in English!
Because of its peculiarities and idiosyncrasies, its easy to sound gibberish!
For example, words ending in INE are pronounced in several ways;
Long (i) as in ALKALINE, and short (i) as in HEROINE
What would happen if we say ALKALINE and HEROINE?

Likewise, CH can be "tsh" as in ARCHBISHOP
It would be chaotic if we say, chaotic!

Ah, English! What a language!
Confusing, perplexing, exasperating
It spins the head, tires the tongue, boggles the mind, juggles the brain!
Consider the difficulties of a foreigner learning English.
The Indians, with the characteristic roll of the tongue, say,
"The ragged rascal runs over the rugged rock"
The Chinese just can't pronounce the 'r'
"Fried rice" becomes 'flied lice'
For the Malays, they end words with the classic 'lah' and 'dah'
For instance, they always say 'yeslah', 'nolah'

Certain words have double, triple, quadruple, multiple meanings,
Although we lament its irregularities and complexities,
English can also be clear, concise and simple!
We give up,
The English Language is madly paradoxical, irrational and capricious,
But sometimes, while frantically trying to puzzle out the verbs, grammar,
Syntax, pronunciation and spelling,
We fall under its bewitching, magical, utterly inexplicable spell
Our hearts are warmed, minds moved, senses stirred, spirits awakened!
Its very complexities make it unique.
Its very complexities make it beautiful.

In conclusion, we have this to say,
Dilemma that we are in, enigma as it seems,
This we confess, it's not as bad as we profess,
It can be very nonsensical, but the nonsensical can be musical.
The nonsnsical and musical make it comical,
Altogether, the nonsensical, musical, comical makes us positively HYSTERICAL!

Friday, 19 August 2011

Advice to Parents

Here's another Choral Speaking poem that holds a special place in my heart. It was performed by 2C1, who emerged as Junior Champions in 1986, and I had the pleasure of teaching and conducting a class for the very first time! Thanks to Mrs Abraham for giving me the opportunity and encouragement.

The most important thing we've learned,
As far as children are concerned,
Is never, never, NEVER let
Them near your television set -
Or better still, just don't install
The idiotic thing at all.

In almost every house we've been,
We've watched them gaping at the screen.
They loll and slop and lounge about,
And stare until their eye pop out.

They sit and stare and stare and sit,
Until they are hypnotised by it,
Until they're absolutely drunk
With all that shocking ghastly junk.

Oh yes, we know it keeps them still,
They don't climb out the window sill,
They never fight or kick or punch,
They leave you free to cook the lunch
And wash the dishes in the sink-
But, did you ever stop to think
To wonder, just exactly what
This does to your beloved tot?


"All right!" you cry. "All right!" you say,
"But if we take the set away,
What shall we do to entertain
Our darling children? Please explain!"

We'll answer this by asking you,
"What used the darling ones to do?
How used they to keep themselves contented
Before this monster was invented?"

Have you forgotten? Don't you know?
We'll say it very loud and slow!

THEY...USED...TO...READ! They'd READ and READ,
And READ and READ, and then proceed
To READ some more. Great Scott! Gadzooks!
One half of their lives was reading books!

The nursery shelves held books galore!
Books cluttered up the nursery floor!
And in the bedroom, by the bed,
More books were waiting to be read!

Such wondrous, fine, fantastic tales,
Of dragons, gypsies, queens and whales,
And treasure isles and distant shores
Where smugglers rowed with muffled oars,
And pirates wearing purple pants,
And sailing ships and elephants,
And cannibals crouching round the pot,
Stirring away at something hot.

Oh, books, what books they used to know
Those children living long ago!
So please, oh please, we beg, we pray,
Go throw your TV set away,
And in its place you can install
A lovely bookshelf on the wall.

And once they start - boy, oh boy!
You watch the slowly growing joy
That fills their hearts. They'll grow so keen,
They'll wonder what they'd ever seen,
In that ridiculous machine,
That nauseating, foul, unclean,
Repulsive television screen!

And later, each and every kid,
Will love you more for what you did.

This poem was published in the 1986 School Magazine.

Thursday, 11 August 2011


This article was written by Mrs Yeoh nee Chong Shing Choo (Class of 1961) and featured in the 1986 School Magazine.

Kua Siew Lian (left) and Chong Shing Choo (right) reunited at the BBGS Mega Reunion at the Pavilion in August 2009. Both of them served faithfully as teachers in BBGS Primary School for many years.

The year 1961 - twenty five years ago...

With an anxious glance, I looked back at my Alma Mater and my friends - the girls whom I had known for so long. What did the future hold for us? Goodbyes were quickly uttered, faces perhaps trying to hide a tear or two, we went each on our own way.

Since then, the girls of 1961 have not lost track of each other. Through the untiring efforts of Miss Kua Siew Lian, we have been meeting at least once a year. What is said? What is shared? If our spouses or children would care to listen to our conversation, what would they think? Fortunately or not, they usually do the vanishing act when the girls of 1961 get together!

Let me tell you what goes on in a get-together of the old girls. During our first tete-a-tete session which was held so long ago (so long ago that I cannot recall the date), the first question was on marital status. Several of us have chosen to remain single, while others were brave enough to take the plunge. Job experiences were exchanged, the whereabouts of other classmates and our experiences at BBGS were the hot topics. The girls of '61 are dispersed all over the globe!

I remember very well Miss Cooke and her Geography lessons. Oh, how she used to drum into us the many Geographical facts which I still remember till today. Speech Day..."BBGS, we pledge to thee..." We were not let off until we had sung it the way she wanted it to sound.

Many of us will not readily forget the late Miss Too Tong Mei. Her Art lessons were a time of testing the grit and nerve of all concerned. Will I forget the day she made us paint WITHOUT water - only to use dry powder paint on newsprint! This is an incident few of us forget, even after 25 years!

Other dear "grown-ups" we remember fondly are Miss Mary Glasgow, Mrs Isobel Wee and Catherine Angus. In more than one, these dear teachers have carved a niche in our lives.

Many of us are now either happy professional women or mothers. Whatever vocation we have chosen, we have done so to fulfill the verse of the School Song -
"When we are grown
And take our place
As loyal women with our race."

The girls of '61 are a cheerful lot, who have gone through much of life, which is not surprising as they are almost half a century old.

Children, husbands, work, funny episodes which take place from day to day are common topics when we get together. To me, the happiest time of my life is still the years I spent at BBGS. It was in this place, with the help of dedicated teachers who worked for the love of teaching and nurturing young minds that I have adopted many principles which I now hold dear in my role as a mother and teacher in a primary school.

To the new girls of BBGS, take this advice from an old girl, treasure your memories of your school days.

Though much has changed with time, you should still hold on steadfastly to the LIVING words of the School Song.

Be proud to have been a student of the School on the Starry Hill. I assure you that there is none that can compare.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Toilet Cleaning in BBGS

An article from the 1985 School Magazine by Yew Su Fong of 2S

"OK, Siew Ling and Shireen, it's your turn to clean the toilet."

Toilet cleaning is an everyday affair in BBGS and only the lucky prefects can escape this unpleasant task. Most of us groan and grumble when it's our turn to clean the toilet but there are some who say that they enjoy it. I for one do!

Toilet cleaning can be loads of fun. The first step is to collect lots of water. We have to wait for ages by the stand-pipe near Prouse Wing B because of the water shortage. The next step is to scrub and scrub the pink mosaic floor and the toilet bowl until it is sparkling clean. This part can be quite dangerous because if you are not careful, you can find yourself sitting down on the floor as it is quite slippery. Lastly, start flooding the toilet. Watch out or else you'll get wet! Also don't forget to clean the bin.

Now comes the nice part. Take a step back and see what a good job you have done. You probably feel hot and bothered but it is worth it. It's even better when your class wins the Toilet Cleanliness shield.

Toilet cleaning isn't that bad really.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Memories of Food Sales

This article was written by Valerie Kuan/4 Sc5 and published in the 1985 School Magazine.

"Oh! Here he comes, at last! Hey, the ice-cream man is heeerrree...". Screams of delight pierced the morning silence. Girls in school T-shirts started to bustle here and there. The canteen was in a mess. Biscuits, packets of mee, nasi lemak were arranged on the tables. Suddenly, a bell rang, destroying the quiet hum of the day. Just as suddenly as before, girls appeared here, there and everywhere. They rushed for the food-strewn table. A million noises seemed to fill the air, the chink of coins, the shrill laughter of girls, the splashing of water. Another typical BBGS foodsale had begun.

Foodsales were introduced over 30 years ago (1950s) by Miss E. Cooke, a former headmistress. Foodsales were begun not only to collect money, but also or a much more meaningful purpose. Foodsales, back then, were organised by the girls, teachers as well as the canteen people. Foodsales were to, little by little, forge a bond between the girls and the teachers, a bond of love and trust, an eternal bond.

Funfairs were also held way back in the "old days". It used to be day-long affairs, from about noon to six in the evening. Funfairs were also to promote the tie between student and teacher. They used to collect about RM40,000 a day. Sad to say, BBGS did not continue that tradition for very long.

Funfairs and foodsales alike made bundles of profits. These profits were achieved by the willingness of BBGS girls to work. The teachers' generous nature also insisted they helped in any way possible. Some of the proceeds from the foodsales and funfairs helped support BBGS financially. The rest went into a fund known as the Building Fund. It was from this fund, we built the Science Laboratory D and the staff-room. After 7 long years, we can now boast a gymnasium and a junior library. Our old school hall was renovated to become the School Library.

Unfortunately, funfairs are but fond memories now. Memories embedded in the age-old history of this school. True, foodsales lost some of their glitter through the years. BBGSians became less enthusiastic as they aged. Teachers are now burdened with heavier work loads. But the banning of foodsales has affected all of us in one way or the other.

Following the announcement of the ban, opinionated arguments arose. The pros and cons were weighed. Sound reasons were sought. Finally, BBGS girls reached a verdict. We want our foodsales back!