Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Happy New Year

Dear Friends,

As 2008 draws to a close, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for your support throughout the year, and to wish you all the very best for 2009.

We have seen many reunions this year, reconnected with old friends while making new ones. We have laughed over old memories and made new ones. We've grown up and surrounded ourselves with kids, family, work, travels and new experiences. There's so much to be grateful for. Economic cycles may come and go but true friendships last a lifetime.

So until we meet again in the new year, let's count our blessings and enjoy the celebration!

Warmest regards,

Monday, 8 December 2008

Our first award

Today, I received a delightful email from Sujatha Rajagopal, a BBGSian who lives in San Jose CA. It reads:

Joanna, I just wanted to let you know that I am passing on the "Butterfly Award for the coolest blog I know" to you. My humble way of showing how thankful I am for Back2BBGS. Details here:

My heartfelt thanks to Suji for this honour :-) Now, apparently this award works like a chain-mail where I have to link to Suji's blog, which is easily done. The next part is a bit trickier and that's why I'm seeking your help. I'd like to find 10 blogs written by BBGSians to nominate for this honour. No doubt, these will have to meet the usual BB standards. So please hurry and send me your nominations for best blogs by BBGSians!

Cheers, Joanna

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Welcome to Singapore

Joanna with Betsy Li and her husband, Ken Wong

Visitors to Singapore are a rare thing for me but today, I happily welcomed Ms Betsy Li and her husband, Ken Wong to a lunch at Wheelock Place. They're here for a short holiday and since I was in Orchard Rd for some meetings, we had a delightful lunch of Japanese bento.

Many of us who remember Betsy as "Miss Li" will probably be curious about Mr Ken Wong. Sigh...I was so curious that I shamelessly gate-crashed their wedding tea ceremony as Betsy reminded me today (haiyo.. so malu). Ken is also in the field of education and was a former Inspector of Schools. Intellectual, soft-spoken and loving is how I would describe him. Rest assured, he's taking good care of our "Miss Li". They've been married for over 17 years now and make a lovely couple.

Not surprisingly, we talked a lot about BBGS. Ken mentioned how impressed he is with BBGS girls who never fail to walk up to Betsy anywhere in KL and greet her affectionately. Unlike students from other schools (that will remained unnamed) who slink away and hide ;-) He even shared a story of how he was asked to host an Inspector of Schools from England and he insisted on taking him to BBGS because he wanted to show off the best school in Malaysia. What else can I say, the man has excellent taste!

Can't wait to catch up with them again when I'm back in KL later this month. Hopefully, I'll be able to see Miss Yeap and Mrs Abraham as well so stay tuned...

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Girls, look what I found!

Spring cleaning is a chore that not many people enjoy. But sometimes, we find lovely surprises like old school photos. Cheong May Yee (Class of 1991) recently found some real gems and posted them on Facebook. Thanks for sharing them, May Yee. I'm glad we're back in touch.

So, dive into those dusty old cupboards, drawers and boxes and share those good ol' BBGS memories with us!

Note: Photos and captions by Cheong May Yee

Std 6B - 1986 (School 1)

5A3 - 1991

Merdeka - 1990

Ahhh lepakking in front of the netball court (sick bay wing) hmmm which is now....Christian Dior or is it Prada?!? (Pavilion)

Moira (L) and May Yee (R) at a recent reunion

Monday, 3 November 2008

Calling all Cheerleaders

Hi everyone,
Greetings from sunny California! I'm finally on vacation after completing annual budgeting meetings at corporate HQ in Texas. It's been good fun spending time with my sister Julie, shopping at COACH factory outlets and watching TV. I happened to be watching American football over the weekend when I was reminded of cheerleading. I never had the looks to qualify as a cheerleader (still don't ;-) but had the VOICE of one.

It's good to know that cheerleading is one of the few traditions that have carried over to SBU. Does anyone remember any of the old cheers? Here are some that I recall...

"BBGS Dynamite, don't play with dynamites - yeay, yeay, yeay"

"2-4-6-8 Who do we appreciate? BBGS! (replace with whomever you're cheering for that day)

"Have you got that spirit? Yeay man. Let me see it in your hands. Ooh ah ooh ah ah"

Oh dear...I know these sound really dated so if you remember any more cheers, please share them with me and it will be posted on the blog.

Until next time then, cheerio!

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Shamini Flint

Is it just my imagination or has BBGS produced inordinately large numbers of lawyers and writers? Thanks to Facebook, I was recently re-introduced to Shamini Flint, who is a poster child for both professions. Sham, a lawyer-turned-author, shares her story with us.

When were you at BBGS?
From Standard 5 to Form 5 - I left in 1986 to go to St. John's to do science subjects for my A-Levels (that was a waste of time!). It seems like a very long time ago.

What are some of your fondest BBGS memories?
My favourite memories ...the biology teacher who lost all our exam sheets when her car got stolen, English classes with Mrs. Aziz and Mrs. Abraham, lots of friends including a few I am still in touch with like Sharon Kaur and Valerie Kuan, the beautiful old building (I can't believe they knocked it down), choral speaking (although in retrospect I am not so sure), those polyglot days when were were fined for speaking the wrong language...

What did you do after you left school?
I studied law in the UK, did a Masters, worked in KL for a few years and then for Linklaters in Singapore. I finally quit the law when the first of my two children was born (yes, I have children! It is a shock to me too!) and took up writing...

What are you currently doing?
I started writing children's picture books, expanded into Asian crime fiction and now write children's novels as well. My breakthrough came when Little, Brown, UK bought the rights to the first three crime fiction novels - look out for Inspector Singh Investigates - A Most Peculiar Malaysian Mystery! due out in May 2009. The website has further details...

As a successful published author, do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Advice for new writers - don't do it!! Seriously, it is hard work and success is not guaranteed. However, if you have a story to tell and faith in your own abilities, the the most important assets are perseverance and perseverance.

What are some of the BBGS values/lessons that you still treasure today?
BBGS values or universal values? The importance of friends, loyalty, self-discipline, hard work, personal integrity and the conviction that every single one of us has something valuable to offer society - once we stop shopping!

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Surprises in the mail

Writing a blog is not the easiest job in the world. Especially when your audience comprises passionate women who live up to the highest ideals.

Sometimes, I really have to rack my brain to come up with memories worthy of our beloved school. To do that, I dip into old school magazines and the Centenary publication. An idea forms and is slowly nurtured into a story that is acceptable by BBGS standards. It is a slow and often painful process.

But you know, all the hard work pays off when I start receiving emails from readers far and wide, who tell me how much these blog entries mean to them. Take for example this recent email from Mr. Eric Gray -


Thank you very much for putting Lalitha's poem in the BBGS "blog" site. I am the late Lalitha Gray’s husband. I was very moved to read the poem (also Miss Cooke's words) as it is years since I had seen it.

Reading an account of a Phyllis Thom/Briggs, who was imprisoned by the Japanese during WW2 and recently died at 100 ys:-

Someone reminded me that Miss Glasgow, former Head of BBGS, was likewise imprisoned, and lived to be 100 too. It appears, she also wrote an account of her war imprisonment, for a few friends. I wonder if anyone who reads this site has a copy, which they would not mind sharing (maybe by scanning)?

I see you were one of Soosila and John Hillman's guests in Brisbane. I forwarded the poem to them.

Eric Gray
Bedworth, Warwicks., England

Monday, 6 October 2008

A beautiful woman

For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.
For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
For beautiful hair, let a child his or her fingers through it once a day.
For poise, walk in the knowledge that you never walk alone.
People, even more than things have to be renewed, restored, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone.
Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms.
As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands; one for helping yourself and another for helping others.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

SBU - A Perspective

Some time ago, I posed a question on the BBGS Facebook group asking SBU students what it was like to belong to the new school. Here's an interesting perspective from Nik Hizwa Jasmin, who's currently studying in Australia. This feature does contain some strong opinions(and sad developments) but then again, BBGSians are known for being forthright, so let's keep an open mind and hear what she has to say...

I was fortunate enough to be a part of both schools, BBGS and SMKSBU. Unfortunately, even though they are still considered as the same school, I look at it as 2 different schools. I did my entire high school in the new BBGS building in Cheras but, when people ask me , "Where did you go to school?", I say BBGS, not SBU simply because SBU has no culture and nobody knew what SBU even means. I did primary school in BBGS so, I knew the culture very very well and had great respect for the school.Unfortunately, when we moved to Cheras, I felt like the building looked like a shoe factory and had no resemblance at all to BBGS itself. The hallways were so dark and the classes were so rigid. To me, from my own 6 years of experience in Taman Shameline, the inside and outside of SMKSBU is literally like a factory. But the museum is great though.

During my time, we still had inter-class Choral Speaking competitions and cheerleading. I took great pride when my class won the inter-class Choral Speaking competitions and we were so proud to win national cheerleading competitions. These are the things that made BBGS a well-known school. The students are normally the loudest people cheering in the hall because we have the BBGS spirit.

Of course, recently we won the 2008 national cheerleading competition and I could not have been happier because it has been years since we won. Congratulation girls! But I also heard that the new headmistress thinks that Choral Speaking, and celebrations in school are a waste of time and they no longer have Choral Speaking competitions, Teacher's Day celebration, Hari Raya celebration, etc in school. I feel saddened by this as I remember the best times during these events in school.

Honestly, as an alumni, I feel outraged by the decision. Why are they totally demolishing the BBGS culture? Now, not only is the heritage building of BBGS gone, but the culture that was supposed to be brought over to the new generation has also been demolished with time. Not to mention taking boys in and making it a co-ed school.

When I started Form 1 at the new building in Cheras, we had an amazing headmistress who was determined to keep the culture and she had the same BBGS spirit as the students. We loved and had great respect for Pn Noor Rizan Bapoo Hashim. In 2003, I personally think the school started to crumble slowly when she got promoted to a higher post in the Education Ministry and left the school to a headmistress who had no clue what the school was about. Of course, we're happy for her as now, she has become a highly regarded member in the Education Ministry, but we certainly felt a great loss.

As students, we can feel the lack of the BBGS spirit and it breaks my heart. But I do hope that the heritage of BBGS continues and grows with every new generation in SBU.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Nostalgic images

Thanks to the generosity of Salmi Azira and her sisters, we have more old photos of the school! I'm especially pleased with photos of the Junior Library and the Prefects' Room (which was my home away from home for too many years). We just love the nostalgia don't we?

Do keep sending in more photos and stories, and together we can keep the memories flowing and our spirits soaring!

Office Block & Clinic Block

Junior Library & Staff Room

Dear Joanna,

I enjoy reading your blog at
Recently, I flipped through my old photo album and found these pictures.
These pictures were taken in 1998-1999. I thought of sharing it with you :)

Thank you.

Salmi Azira (Batch 1998)

and sisters
Salmi Azrina (Batch 1992)
Salmi Azuriza (Batch 2000)
Salmi Azuhani (Batch 2006)

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

The Drama of Days Gone By

Do any of you BBGSians remember the dramas put up by the seniors at BBGS? Along with choral speaking, food sales, group singing and classroom chores, one of my fondest memories of BBGS was its strong tradition of staging musicals and other dramas. Mrs Thanen was one of the driving forces for this.

As a primary school kid, I remember climbing up the little slope that separated the primary school from the secondary school and hanging on to the fence to watch the entertaining dramas and musical performances put up by the "big sisters" next door. The hall where most of the special events and assemblies took place, was next to the primary school and due to poor ventilation, the folding doors to the hall were usually left open. Thus, the primary kids were able to catch a glimpse of what life would be like when they went to the school next door.

When I was in Form 3, the school staged the musical, "The Boyfriend" to raise funds for charity. Needless to say, since we were an all-girls' school, we did not have boys around to play the part of the boyfriends...thus, some of the braver souls among us (myself included!) were roped in to play the male roles. It was a pretty big production, running for several days. Other schools and members of the public were also invited. I remember almost freezing from stage fright one performance when I peeked out of the curtains and saw a whole row of familiar faces - the boys from my Sunday School coming to see me play a boy! Once the curtains went up, however, it was show time and we did our best to entertain those who come to see us. Some of us "boys" even began accumulating "fans" when red roses, cards and gifts begain coming our way from secret admirers in school............

We were also encouraged to be creative in English class and I also remember Puan Rohani's class where each small group put up a little skit. My group performed a scene from Alice in Wonderland and I played a crazy old knight..... We also later did a murder mystery play and it was fun to get dressed up.

My last memory of a big BBGS drama was the play 'The Taming of the Shrew". Mrs Thanen was director and producer. As usual, I played a male role (I was typecast in BBGS!!!) - but by then, I had graduated to the lead role of Petrucchio. Here's a page from the BBGS Yearbook of 1986 of a write-up about the play.....

I would love to hear about your memories of BBGS drama activities - you can either send them to me at: or to Joanna :)

Sunday, 17 August 2008

She sat by the window

Looks like this blog has reached beyond the usual crowd of middle-aged BBGSians who miss their school. I received a lovely email from Mr. Robert Blair of Victoria, Australia who found this blog while looking for some scouting songs from the '50s and '60s. Well, since BBGS was pioneered by English missionaries with Victorian-era ideals, it's not an unusual connection. I'll let you hear from him in his own words...

Dear Joanna,

You may find this communication odd. I am not a member of your school community. I am a 60+ man from near Melbourne in Victoria Australia. I came across your web site when I goggled the above song and I found your site and no complete list of the verses of this fun song. I learned it as a kid in the scouts in the 1950s and 1960s.
Chui Yen, 5Sc4 (1993) remembered some of the verses.

In case your readers are interested most of the others are:

She sat by the window and played her guitar
He sat down beside her and smoked his cigar
He told her he loved her, but oh how he lied
She told him she loved him but she did not lie
And when they were married some cooking she tried
The onions she boiled and the taters she fried
She got indigestion and poor thing she died
He went to the funeral but just for the ride
He sat on her tombstone and laughed till he cried
He caught consumption and he also died
She went to heaven and flip flop she flied
He went to hades and frizzled and fried
She leaned out of heaven and spat in his eye
The moral of this story is don't tell a lie

Of course this sort of song lends itself to modification and additions - that's half the fun.
I have included a couple of verses that were never in our scout song books published from 1948 till 1960s. Also words were replaced with actions and non word sounds, etc.

Thanks for your time,
Robert Blair

The email he was referring to from Chui Yen, 5Sc4 (1993) is re-produced below...

Joanna, I applaud your efforts and written flair in keeping up the BBGS spirit and memories.

Going through the various list of songs, another popped into my head which goes something like this:

" ...She sat by the window and played the guitar
Played the guitar, played the guitar
She sat by the window and played the guitar
Played the guitar, played the guitar
Plaaaayyyeed the guitar hahaha.

He sat down beside her and....(missing lyrics)

He told her he loved her but oh how he lied
Oh how he lied, oh how he lied
He told her he loved her but oh how he lied
Oh how he lied, oh how he lied
Ohhhh how he lied hahaha ..."

I don't think I can remember the rest and I'm sure there was something amiss in the middle.

Best regards
Chui Yen, 5Sc4 (1993)

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Taking toilet cleanliness too far?

In my last post, I was curious to find out what BBGS values you're passing on to your kids. The votes have come in and I'm amazed! Toilet cleanliness has been mentioned in every single letter received so far.

Mae Lu has even sent us some pictures of her little boy hard at work...haiyo so cute....

Mae says...

Dear Joanna,

Please do not be deceived by the "hardworking" look on his face. He is having fun. To my surprise, he enjoyed it more than it looks so I guess I can scratch the Toilet Washing task from my weekend chores. I just have to ensure that he continues to like it.

Mae - Class of 1996.

Friday, 8 August 2008

What do you tell your kids?

There have been so many reunions recently and one of the inevitable questions is "How many kids do you have?" Well, truth be told, I have 5 god-kids but none of my own.

So, I'm just curious to find out what BBGS values you're passing to your kids?

One girl told me that she makes her kids only speak proper English on weekends (as opposed to Mondays @ BB). Another girl tells her daughter that she must sit properly with knees together - BBGS style. Yet another has taught the school song to her children and they have family sing-a-longs :-)

What do you tell your kids? Send me your responses by posting a comment or emailing to And I'll start a new section called "Next Generation" to share your tips and photos of BBGSians' kids.

Ida from Melbourne says...

I make my son clean the toilet. Started him since he was 5 as he was tall enough to scrub the toilet bowl. Hubby thought this was harsh but stopped complaining until he realized how clean the toilets were.

I have also started to instill in him the love of reading and the respect for books.

I have not started choral speaking. I have only 2 kids at the moment. I would think I need to populate a village in order to start this project so I think I'll shelve it.

Jeanne from Perth says...

Remember the times we had to stand within the square outside the classroom while lining up? Well, I apply the same strict disciplinarian principles. When the kids are punished they have to face the wall with hands down on their side, facing the wall at all times and no movement. The time starts only when they have followed strictly to the rules.

Education wise, I encourage them to read. Hence, we have been participating in the Reading Challenge held every year in Australia during the end of year school holidays.

I constantly remind the kids that 'Without God All Is In Vain'. Encourage them to pray during mealtimes and whenever they are sad or scared. We say bedtime prayers to them as well.

Toilet-wise, I have never encouraged them to help wash but I have caught hubby and all 3 kids squashed in the bathroom/toilet when he finally took the initiative to help me wash the toilet. It sure was a disaster as the 3 yr old started bawling when he slipped and fell. Don't think hubby's main priority was to train the kids early BUT he simply was lazy and wanted more help !

On a lighter note, we bought a sandwich maker the other day as I was craving toasted sardine sandwiches from BBGS food sale days. Kept telling my kids, these sandwiches are going to be the best they have ever eaten. Sadly, my kids not being brought up on sardines, preferred toasted ham and cheese sandwiches instead.

Azween says...

Hello...I've got 5 kids. The first two are boys and they are old enough to definitely CLEAN the toilet...of course with the finishing touch of DETTOL! The other value is to sit properly and do not rock the chair.

So sad that I missed the reunion. I only discovered this group recently i.e. this morning while browsing through Facebook. Hopefully there will be another session:)

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Video montages

We've had quite a few reunions this year, and in return for free advertising on this blog, the girls have kindly agreed for me to post their slideshows for all to enjoy.

Click on the links below for the montage shown at the Class of 88 reunion. Thanks Belle!

Sunday, 3 August 2008

On the shoulders of giants

It's a rainy Sunday morning in Shanghai, and I've had to abandon plans to wander around the colourful, crowded, humid streets of Puxi and stay home in Pudong instead, to enjoy the air-conditioned comforts of a home. And I began to wonder:

Why does Puxi feel so different compared to Pudong?

While it's fun to wonder around the lively atmosperic streets of Puxi, would I really want to live there permanently?

Old Shanghai alley house vs. Modern apartments in Pudong

Many lament the loss of old shikumen (stone terrace houses) as the city modernises, and I understand their frustrations. After all, my beloved Bukit Bintang Girls' School, a beautiful century-old colonial building is now a spanking new shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur. We watched helpless as our classrooms and corridors came crashing down in 2000, to make way for commercial development.

Romantic idealism aside however, I also identify with the aspirations of many local Chinese who want to better their lives and living conditions. After all, many of these old structures are dark, damp, musty and often not very hygienic. Why wouldn't they aspire to live in a modern apartment with electricity, running water, wireless broadband and a swimming pool? Every parent works to better the lives of their children and next generation. It's the energy that fuels evolution.

The heart-wrenching transformation of the face of Jalan Bukit Bintang

As with all things however, there is a need for balance. In our rush to modernisation, we must not lose our cultural identities and links to our roots. So, let's build our comfortable new homes and shopping malls, but let's also conserve areas of historical value so that we won't forget the sacrifice of the generations past. So here's my plea to all city planners, government officials, business investors and commercial developers. Before you give orders to swing the wrecking ball, please consider the historical and aesthetic value of a site, for it may bring inspiration to your children.

After all wasn't it Sir Isaac Newton who said, "
If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants?"

Warmest regards,

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

When will I see you again?

The Class of 87 had a blast at their reunion last Friday, 25 July 2008 at Concorde Hotel. And because I'm currently based in Shanghai, I missed it...aarrrrgghh! Thank goodness for kind souls like Farah Meor who has sent in these pictures and story so we can all pretend we were there...

Hello....long time no see!

Dear Joanna,
The reunion was great and I would like to believe that everyone had a good time.. wished it could be longer.

Are you sure it's been 21 years? Everyone still looks so young!

After almost 21 years of separation for some of us, it was great to see that we could actually pick up where we left and everyone was enjoying each other's company trying to catch up with each other. It was also a bit odd to see how some have changed in how they look and how others relatively look the same after all these years....

Happy days are here again...

Old cliques die hard ;-)

We sang the school song with pride and I think when we were in school we didn't sing it as heartfelt and with much enthusiasm as we did last Friday.. Another example of how we took things for granted..

Forever friends - bound by love that time can't take away

Yan adds...

The most unforgettable moment is of course the slide show....all our friends, the school building, pictures of Miss Yeap, all the prefects.....(with the background music) Oh my goodness, some of us really shed tears. It was very recall all those moments.

We survived - in more ways than one :-)

CONGRATULATIONS to the organising committee - you girls did a great job to keep the flag flying high!

Monday, 14 July 2008

A plea to the new generation

UPDATE: For those of you following this saga, I'm now Facebook friends with this SBU student, and we've agreed to keep the flag flying high - so do turn up at the alumni gathering on 6 September 2008. Cheers, Joanna


I've just received a note from a SBU student, asking me to announce the formation of an alumni association on 6 September 2008 at the new school premises.

It made me very happy and sad at the same time. I'm thrilled to know that the new generation cares enough to organise an alumni and reach out to the "older" generation. Yet, I am a little disappointed at the quality of English in the note, quoted in full below without edits.

(From SBUian to me)

hi. first of all, i know tat you are one of the ex of bbgs rite,? I think you have heard tat there will be an alumni going on in our school on 6 Sept. For more info, you can go to There'll ber an application form and hopefully you will be able to make it. Oh ya, can help to inform your other friends too ? Soory because i don't realli know them but hopefully can know them when they attend the alumni. Please reply if you have seen this msg.

(From me to SBUian)

Hi, I'd be happy to help you publish this information and I commend your efforts in setting up the alumni network. However, in keeping with the traditions of BBGS excellence, I'd appreciate if we could use proper English in terms of grammar, spelling and punctuation. Let's keep the flag flying high!

Come on girls...good English is the hallmark of a BBGS girl and some of us have gone on to become Pulitzer prize winning journalists. I encourage you to live up to the highest standards.

- From your super super senior


In less than 24 hours, this blog entry has drawn some interesting responses. I'd like to share some of these comments with you....

CW said...
Hi super super senior, I am quite amused with SBUian's enthusiasm in organising the alumni. It is this type of spirit & initiative that SBUian has, which is so lacking nowadays. And probably this girl wrote the email in a jiffy, hence the short forms & lack of grammar correctness? Whatever it is, let's admit it. BBGS indeed has instilled the best values in us. But not everyone graduated from BBGS with superb language skill. Not everyone will win a Pulitzer prize. But all of us have a talent or two or maybe more, to make BBGS stand proud still. Ok, so what is your plea again?

Joanna Yeoh said...
My plea? Simple sentences, proper English. That's all. You're right, not all of us will win a Pulitzer prize but we can still try to maintain some basic standards, don't you think?

Ade said...
Joanna, I do agree with you. This issue also happens to be one of my pet peeves so I feel that I really have to give my two cents' worth. It's the era of sms and internet chats that is contributing to these 'abbreviated' spellings and grammar.

Although it may be 'acceptable' when sms-ing, or in the chat forums, but it just does not come across well in writing.From SBU-ian's writing, it seems that she was 'chatting' with you but in the written form, rather than writing, which is really a no-no.And yes, not everyone is blessed with good grammar and spelling, but we can always T-R-Y.

That said, "Pulitzer prize winning journalists" is rather far-reaching for most of us mortals lah (ok so we are Malaysians, we can add some 'lah' here and there when giving comments Heh). Maybe "good blog writers" is nearer to earth? :-)

Hamizah said...

Hi Joanna..

It's great that you've created some brouhaha over good english.. It was in BBGS that I first got a big knock on my head over using perfect english... remembered when my class mates laughed at my inappropriate "did" or "done".. or the lack of it! It was hard... BUT, I learnt from the hardest way.. (remember the all english speaking day -- MONDAY? Duh.. that's when Monday Blues was created..) and now, I'm doing the same for my children.. During weekend, it's all english day.. It's imperative that the younger generations are taught & use proper english, because after school years, it'll be too late.. Believe me.. And yea, I'm not into abrreviation either.. It's lck feelng if x prpr wrds r usd..dnt u tnhk..?? :))

Concerned SBU-an said...

Dear super super senior,

I am equally appalled at the quality of the e-mail. As a concerned SBU-ian, I would like to apologise on behalf of the author. I myself am a former BBGS girl, albeit a young one. I only completed my Tahap 1 in primary school before we were kicked out of our plot of land. Haha!

Regarding the comments, I would like to reassure our other super super seniors that the level of competant English may have degraded in popularity (let's face it, we are facing a global english crisis), there are still those who practice the international form of communication (ring a bell?)

There is still hope, I hope.

Moonlake Lee said...

Hey Joanna

I understand your dismay about the standard of English in the letter....but look on the positive side- the new generation is trying to build a bridge to the "mature" generation....and I think this effort should be applauded.

We really do not want to alienate them and should encourage them in a positive manner :)

I have noticed a trend, however, among the younger generation used to using abbreviations while SMS-ing..that the SMS-speak also gets carried over to emails. I hope that more awareness is brought to this issue....and that while it may be acceptable in SMSes, it certainly is not acceptable in a more formal or business context.

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Michelle & her school shoes

Whoopeee...I just found another classmate on the web! Michelle Leong and I were in 5Sc5 and she runs an interesting blog:, which is where I found her. She's re-discovered the joys of washing school shoes and shares some tips with us. BTW, I *hated* washing my shoes and paid my sister to do it every weekend, even though she kept raising the price.

I thought my days of washing school shoes were over and I was so dead wrong. Yes, since my children started schooling, the washing of school shoes has begun. At least until they can do it on their own.

My hubby and I have different ways of washing school shoes. Let me hear it from you how do you do it?

1. Do you soak the school shoes overnight before you wash it?
a. Yes
b. No, I washed it immediately

2. Do you immediately apply shoe white on the school shoe when it is wet?
a. Yes
b. No, I wait for it to dry

School shoes have brought back lots of school days memory. My school is known for the strict rules and our shoes have to be white every day. Here are some of the things I do to keep it white.

I would take the black board duster and dust it on my shoe to keep it white. One silly friend of mine forgot to check the duster and her shoes were multi color when she dusted it on her shoe. :wall:

I would take a white chalk and start working on the dirty area.

If I am at home, I will paint the white shoe polish on top of it. When it comes to washing, the pail of water is all white.

The last trick is to hang around the toilet or library until the prefect finished checking.

School Shoes II

After hearing comments from all of you, I am so glad that I am not an alien here. I soaked my school shoes on Friday and washed it on Saturday morning. I let it dry and apply the shoe white on Sunday.

When I was in school, I love playing netball on the muddy field. In fact I was the school netball player. After a good game, my shoe will covered with mud stain. If I do not soak my shoes, it will be difficult to get the dirty stain out. Anyway, it became a habit.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Who's in your clique?

Clique is defined as a small exclusive group of people, coterie or set. And rightly or wrongly, BBGS was full of them! All of us belonged to a clique that comprised friends with whom we felt most comfortable. Our ties were defined by year, class, societies, houses, games and in my case - prefects.

Best Pals (L-R) : Tomasina, Siew Ling, Lu Meng, May Yee, Joanna
Others not in the picture include Usha and Irene

I am so blessed to have grown up with these wonderful friends. We spent so many years together in primary and secondary school. From the everyday classroom to recess to science labs. Or the annual Speech Day, Sports Day and Teachers' Day. And even the occasional State Level debate or chess competition or choir competition. WE WERE TOGETHER.

These were the friends with whom I competed in exams or choral speaking, sang with in choirs, learnt the chemistry table of elements with. These were also the friends who laughed and joked with me as we prepared to play communists in a drama competition. Mourned with me when we started failing Add Maths and Physics. Encouraged me when my dad lost his job. WE WERE TOGETHER.

Today, this clique of mine has spread their wings far and wide. We're based in Australia, China, Malaysia, Singapore and South Africa. So even if we may not re-unite at the Class of 1987 reunion at the end of this month, I am content that we have shared our girlhoods and adolescent years and become loyal women with our race.

Who was in your clique? Are you still in touch? Have you dropped them a note recently? It's never too late...old friends will always have a place in their hearts for you.

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Join the Class of 87 reunion!

Wow...this is THE year for reunion parties!

I'm happy to announce another class reunion - this time for my own batch of 1987. Details are attached below:

Date: 25th July (Friday)
Venue: Concorde Hotel (Spices Restaurant)
Price: RM100
Time: 7:30 pm

Please spread the word to girls of 1987, and confirm your attendance by contacting Shazi Sultan at or Mai Farah at 019 3157788.

P/S: Sorry I can't make it back in time from Shanghai to attend this event, but maybe that's a good thing since so many people remember me as the "ultra-garang prefect" :-D LOL...

Sunday, 29 June 2008

We are ONE

Dear Friends,

The Back to BBGS blog is celebrating its 1-year anniversary and what an amazing year it's been..

One year ago, I was sitting in a hotel in Singapore when I decided (on a whim) to resurrect BBGS online and see how much support we could drum up. Looks like I wasn't the only one missing our schooldays. So many of you have come forward to share your stories, photos and memories. THANK YOU SO MUCH!

Although it's been hard work, this blog has proven to be such a blessing, allowing me to enjoy:
  • re-connecting with classmates I haven't seen or heard from in 20 years!
  • meeting and speaking to some of my beloved teachers and knowing that they're happy and healthy in retirement
  • letters and emails from BBGSians of all ages who are living all over the globe
  • triggering reunion ideas for different generations of girls
  • 8186 online visits
  • 3843 visitors
  • readership from Malaysia, Singapore, UK, USA, Australia, Thailand, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and Hong Kong (that's just the top 10 countries)
  • emerging as No.1 on Google for "BBGS" related search
Being based in Shanghai for most of 2008 has proven to be a challenge in maintaining this blog. But dear friends, I am determined to persevere and will continue to tell your stories. Do feel free to write and share your stories and photos with me at I look forward to hearing from you.

May God continue to bless all of you as you strive to give nothing less than your best in every area of your lives.


Sunday, 15 June 2008

These things I give to BBGS

This poem was published in the 1993 Centenary Magazine. It was written by Lalitha Wong (Mrs Gray) who studied in BBGS from 1947 - 1956. She and her sister, Soosila Wong, were my mother's contemporaries. Lalitha lived with her family in England until her passing in 2006.

Aunty Soosila taught music in Primary School 2 until the 1980s. She now lives with her husband, John, in Queensland, Australia. My family had the privilege of staying with them during my 4 year stint Down Under.

For the finding of God's love
For the love of beautiful hymns
For the teaching and deepening knowledge of the Word of God
These things I owe to BBGS

For the love of poetry and drama
For the thrill and skill of debates
For the aesthetic pleasures of embroidery
These things I owe to BBGS

For the teachers who taught and the knowledge gained
For the development of character and mind
For the encouragement given and mistakes corrected
For the vision given and the aims to aspire

To serve and not be served
For the pride of doing everthing to the Lord and not to man
For the opportunities of responsibility and example expected of leadership
These things I owe to BBGS

Thirty-seven years as a pupil and twenty-four years as a teacher
Have passed since I left BBGS
And what are my thoughts still?
The experience of Nisi Dominus Frustra -
'Without God All Is in Vain'
This motto I've proved and owe to BBGS

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Today, my mailbox revealed a lovely surprise from a *real* writer and editor. Kathy Rowland's online magazine has published an article on BBGS and the Pavilion. She invites us to check it out and join the discussion. So girls - what are we waiting for? Let's all go to:

Dear Joanna,

I'm the editor of an online arts and cultural magazine, We ran an article about the demolition of BBGS and the construction of Pavilion in its place. Its a particularly considered piece, which looks back to our education system as being complicit in the kind of rampant destruction that's come to signify how we define progress in Malaysia. The discussion board has generated comments from BBGS students (the article itself is written by an exBBGS student).

I thought you, and perhaps other BBGS alumni might be interested in it, and joining the discussion. Visit it here :

Kathy Rowland
Managing Editor

Toasters & Food Sales

Over the weekend, I was browsing in my local Carrefour in Jinqiao (Shanghai) when I saw a sandwich toaster...and WHAM...I was instantly transported back to the days of food sales!

Isn't it funny how sandwich toasters always remind us of BBGS?

Toasties were a staple that featured in every single food sale. I don't think any class dared to leave it off the menu. Sadly though, we weren't very creative and only had 2 types of fillings: sambal ikan bilis and sardine. Sigh...what would Jamie Oliver think of us today?

My friend Lu Meng, loves to remind me of how the prefects sold the excess toasties. They used to pack all the soggy leftovers into plastic bags, load them onto a wooden tray and send Joanna Yeoh out to "encourage" girls to buy at a discount. Apparently, some girls were so "terrified", they just handed over their 50 cents and picked one off the tray.

Hmmm...that's not the way I remember it...but at least it was for charity :-)