Sunday, 7 October 2007

Miss Cooke's Story (Part 1)

This is the story of Miss Cooke, BBGS' Master Builder, taken from her article published in the School Centenary Magazine, May 1993.

Seeking Nothing But the Best

by Miss Elena M. Cooke

Ex-girl, ex-teacher and ex-headmistress (1958 - 1977)

Teach us delight in simple things...

As I look back to the days when I was a pupil of the Chinese Girls' School in Davidson Road, which later in 1930 moved to Bukit Bintang and became known as Bukit Bintang Girls' School, I realise more and more that those happy days were truly filled with delight in simple things. Miss Prouse and those early teachers enriched our lives by their dedication to their profession. While there was strict discipline, there was also real care and love. A cane was to be found in every classroom and I had my full share of its use. Today as I think back on those times I realise just how beneficial they proved to be.

But intermixed with learning were those carefree times dancing round the May Pole to music on Sports Day, picnics by the sea, badminton tournaments with other schools and the making of wonderful friendships which have lasted to this day.

Miss Prouse must have known what an over-active little pupil she had in Elena Cooke and I remember how thrilled I was when, one day, she singled me out and asked me whether I would like to read an interesting book she had. Furthermore, she said she had other books she would lend me when I had completed the one she was lending to me. And so began a life-long love of books.

There was Mrs Lim, my primary teacher, who constantly gave me two cents and sometimes the princely amount of five cents to spend at interval because I had lost my pocket money! There was Miss Too whose art lessons I found a delight because I could spin all kinds of stories for her and thus help her forget that she was almost completing my drawing for me.

Miss Ma will never forget my piece of embroidery which she and many others had a hand in finishing! Miss Glasgow introduced us to the wonderful world of English Literature and held us enthralled. She transported us to far-distant and fascinating places but at the same time was always on the ready to catch any mischievous imp seated right in front of her! I think of her deep concern for me when I lost all interest in living when my father suddenly passed away. I think of the challenge she put to me: "Your father was so proud of you. Do you think he would be happy if he saw your total lack of interest in anything, especially your studies?" That made me sit up and get on with my preparations for my School Certificate Examination.

Yes, those were the days when a good foundation for life was laid - days when I was taught by example simple kindnesses which meant so much, when I was taught true delight in simple things and mirth that has no bitter springs.

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