Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Looking for Leong Kit Lan

Announcing the launch of Lost and Found - another service community project for this blog. This is inspired by emails from girls who are looking for their long lost friends. So if you can help someone re-connect, do a good deed today by leaving a comment or sending me an email. We start today with a note from Christine Goh, who's looking for Leong Kit Lan.

Update on 2 August 2009

Hi Joanna,
Just to let you know that someone saw the post in the L & F section and told Kit Lan about it. We're now reconnected. Thanks so much! - Christine

Hi, Joanna,

My name is Christine Goh and I came upon your contact details when I was looking for a long lost friend. Her name is Leong Kit Lan, the BBGS school captain of 1977. We went to University Malaya together and were very good friends. When she left for Canada to complete her undergarduate studies, we eventually lost contact.

I remembered she was from BBGSKL and so after failing to get anything from Google and Facebook, I decided to try the BBGS blog. Would you happen to have Kit Lan's details? I'd appreciate it very much if you coud send me some information of her, as a group of us (her old 'gang') would love to get in touch with her again after all these years.


Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Candle 10: Moira Ainun

Hooray..we're got 10 candles lit to remember BBGS! This story and pictures were sent in by Moira Ainun, who started up a quarterly reunion gathering for classmates from her batch. Knowing how much work goes into planning reunions, I take my hat off to her. That's what we call commitment - enjoy her tale...

It all started with a Standard 6 class photo brought by May Yee to my Raya Open House last year. Both of us tried to recall as many girls as we could. All excited, we thought of how wonderful it would be to catch up with these girls. Since both May Yee and I met on Facebook and contacted quite a few girls from there, we started a group for our batch (called BBGS batch 1974) and began arrangements to meet up.

Our first meet was on 16 November 2008, a week before I was due to deliver my 3rd child. Although only ten girls turned up, it was great catching up. It was a nice trip down memory lane talking about what we bought in the canteen, the teachers as well as finding out more about other schoolmates. Old friendships were re-kindled and some new ones made (especially for me since I left in Form 1) Realising that there are quite a few girls are in our batch, we decided to hold meet ups every other month to allow more girls to meet up and catch up. Two more meets have happened since the first meet, one on 28th December 08 and another on the 15th of February 09. Although the groups have been small so far we hope that more girls will join our coming meets. We have scheduled another meet this April, June (two schoolmates that are in the US will be in Malaysia then), September and December.

Monday, 16 February 2009

Candle 9: Cheong May Yee

A friend dropped by for coffee last night, and she is none other than Cheong May Yee from the class of 1991. She is also fondly remembered as Minah Bunga or The Flower Girl because her family owns and operates My Fair Lady - the famous florist shop in KL. Today, May Yee has taken over the flower shop and is a successful business owner. She is married to an entrepreneur and they have a beautiful 20-month old son.

May Yee (in black) was delighted to find a copy of the 1991 school magazine at Joanna's place

Align CenterThe tete-a-tete lasted way past midnight especially after May Yee found a copy of her yearbook in Joanna's collection. She was tickled pink by photos of herself in the St. John's Ambulance uniform, teachers and other classmates as well. We caught up about each other's lives and told dozens of silly stories. So did her class always win the Floral Arrangement shield? Of course they did, at least once a month :-)

After that confession, May Yee agreed to extend a 20% discount to all BBGSians who would like to buy bouquets & arrangements from My Fair Lady. Contact her at and mention the school motto.

So there you have it, the first product tie-in for this blog. Any other girls want to offer products or services to fellow BBGSians? Just write in and let me know.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Candle 8: Poesy Liang

Poesy Liang has been described as the "girl who just wouldn't give up".

Wikipedia entry is equally inspiring : Founder of Helping Angels. A Malaysian-Taiwanese artist, writer, poet, architectural interior designer, jeweller, entrepreneur, philanthropist and television personality who survived 3 spinal surgeries and battled paralysis caused by a rare case of benign tumour that kept recurring within her spinal cord.

With her supermodel looks and a resume like that, you would think that she was the "perfect BBGS girl". Here's a candid account of her years at BB.

Hi Joanna,

It seems that I missed the teachers reunion in Lake Club! Wish I had known about it as I really want to thank all the teachers who taught me. There is one particular teacher in primary school 1 (6BIRU) whom I want to find, for giving me confidence in my artwork back when I was a very unsure kid in Standard 6. Her name is GE Tan (I think), can you help me locate her since you are in the loop with everyone else. My other favourite is Betsy Li who signed all my sick leave (I was not very attentive in class and was always looking for valid excuses to get out of school, there were numerous reasons) and I assured her that I'd get a distinction for Prinsip of Akauns!

Of course, I have many many fond memories of school or not being in school.. the teachers, the school grounds, the school cats, the times I got away with mischief and the times I got caught.. I am not sure how to start and where to start..

How did my little story reach you? I am perpetually amazed where my life events are bringing me and am truly honoured to be asked (let alone recognised) to be part of old BBGS!! Back then I always felt kinda voiceless.. I was and still am quite the loner!

I was quite oblivious in school as towards Form 3 -5, I had only 50% attendance. It drove my class teacher mad while I was in 3S as she has never experienced a student so unfit to be in her class. Mrs. Mak I believe, she called me at home one time at 11am and I picked up the phone in half daze. I asked her what's wrong and she flipped, it was my SRP home science practical exams that day and it completely slipped my mind. She had to tell me what I was supposed to cook and was so upset that in the end, she rescheduled me with 3A on the very last day of the practical exam. I cooked Char Kuey Teow for the first time and barely passed!!

While the rest of the 3S class were full of very studious girls and had the most number of prefects (including the junior head), so several times when I got reported for playing truant or late, it was because my own classmates had turned me in too. It was crazy how I got through it. I used to slip out of classes when I did not like a subject and take a cab home. Sometimes I would come in for just 2 subjects. Out of pure madness I even went to my friends school in her uniform and attended some classes with her in the international school, until today some kids from GIS think I was their ex-classmate!! I am not a very good example in my school days so I am not sure if these stories are really that worth posting. It was only after I got tired of my life in the tv industry that I starting to get really serious about studying and started with the MBA and then the LLB. Throughout architectural school, I was hardly attending classes.

Maybe it was because I started in TV at 14 and found that paper accolades were not important. However when I left TV (after 12 years), I became a strong advocate of education and I wanted to pass on the message to young teenage girls out there that the dream of being on TV is an empty one without the back-up of education and practical skills. One ends up attracting the wrong things in life. I believe I was lucky and that my experience of paralysis at age 17 was a blessing because it gave me a spiritual experience that pulled me out of depression in my early 20s. Pulling myself out of the entertainment industry and putting myself back in school was part of the process of helping myself.

Joanna says: I love Poesy's story because it proves that BBGS taught us timeless values and produced outstanding young women - regardless of whether we were models or rebels at school. Just look at what Poesy has done with her life and the impact she has on the lives of others. I look forward to receiving more of these inspiring stories for Project Kindle.

Update: Poesy is offering BBGSians special prices for her jewellery designs. Check out her website.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Candle 7: Wong Mew Sum

What do 9 girls + 33 teachers add up to? One AMAZING reunion. A big Thank You to Wong Mew Sum (Class of 1987) who attended the Chinese New Year lunch at Lake Club last Saturday and sharing her photos and story with us. Our heartfelt thanks also goes out to Ms. Betsy Li who organised the gathering and invited the girls.

It was a mixture of anxiety and excitement for me; meeting the teachers for the first time after almost two decades. Mentally, I was trying to recall which teacher taught me which subject over the span of 5 years, as I made my way to the restaurant. And the thought of "Would I remember them? Would they at least place me in the year 1987?"

There were some whose faces I could remember, but could not quite recall their names. Most have not changed. They were all utterly surprised to see us, a pleasant surprise they all said. Some of us students had to do a quick check with each other-"the lady in red, what did she teach?" "Is that Mrs Chia or Mrs Chew?". "Modern Maths or Chemistry?". "Hey, Mrs Choe Ling - the glamourous Sejarah teacher!" "Mrs Mak -Form teacher of 3C1..she is still so poised!" . "What were some of the songs Mrs Abraham taught us?" "Mrs Betty Wong-telling us amazingly just how each vertebra fit into one another" "Mrs Chia-you taught me Modern Maths, I am sorry -I always failed Maths..

It was really so much fun! There were 9 of us who took up the invitation, 7 who graduated in the 80's and there were 2 from the year 1995. We had Ms Yeap to keep us company at the table-imagine the honour we had! We gossiped and gossiped, living out our hey days, letting out our many secrets from school... We all went home happy and elated that we had come and met one another. The bond that is BBGS lives on...

Wouldn't you have loved to be there? Maybe we can coordinate a mega reunion next year.

Friday, 6 February 2009

BB girls are everywhere

Hi Everyone,

Gong Xi Fa Cai and Happy Lunar New Year to all who are celebrating this occasion. As I've been making my rounds in KL and Singapore, I've been pleasantly surprised by the number of BBGS girls who are popping up in the most random fashion.

  • the Property Manager in my KL condominium suddenly realises why I look so familiar
  • one of my sister's guests who stayed with us in Singapore declares that his sister (ex-BB)was shocked to learn that he was staying at "Joanna Yeoh's house"
  • housemate of another friend living close by is also surprised that "Joanna Yeoh" lives next door
That's not all. I've also run into BB girls in the unlikeliest places on my travels.

  • as my mom & I are buying a sandwich at Gardenia's in Cambridge (UK), someone yells "Mrs Yeoh! Joanna Yeoh! Fancy seeing you here?"
  • as I'm testing out a used car in Sydney (Australia), the potential seller looks at me and asks "Excuse me, aren't you Joanna Yeoh from BBGS?"
  • or how about the girl who dangled from the top bunk at the Mt. Kinabalu Rest House (Sabah) in the middle of the night and asked "Is that you, Joanna Yeoh?"

Have you experienced something similar? Let's hear about it.

Kind regards,


P/S: Please excuse the accidental bout of narcissim. I've just realised that my name appears 6 times in this short post.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Candle 6: Suriani Sanusi

Hooray...we're lighting our 6th candle for Project Kindle today! Keep those stories and photos pouring in. We can't wait to see all the stuff that's been collecting dust in your albums and cupboards. It's time to give them an airing.

Suriani Sanusi left BBGS in 1989 and she'd like to share these photos with us. Thanks for the memories.

A sad old sign to many, a thing of beauty to all BB

Suriani in her Std 6 classroom

Watching our little primary school sisters performing during Sports Day. Interesting view of secondary school hall from primary school field.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Candle 5: Sujatha Rajagopal

My name is Sujatha Rajagopal or Suji for short. I entered BBGS (Primary School One) as a shy 7-year-old in 1980 and left at 19 after Upper 6 in 1992. The highlights of my life in BB were from Forms 3 to Upper 6.

Anyone remember The Croakers? 8 madcap girls belting out acapella versions of Silent Night and Starmaker and winning The Rotary Club's Annual Talentime in 1988? I amaze myself when I say I was one of them. Another memorable moment was in Lower 6 when we performed an eleventh hour hash-up of nursery rhymes for the Choral Speaking quarter finals. If I remember correctly, you were one of the judges Joanna! We didn't get through of course but boy did we have the time of our lives!

There are just so many things I love and remember about BB...choral speaking of course, using rafia string to get the straightest rows of desks possible, sharing one plate of chee cheong fun or nasi lemak during recess time with the other Croakers, and practising behind the Hall or Gym for our performances (if we cracked glass doors in the process, we never found out about it). Participating in Interact Club activities. Enjoying those "floating" Form 4 classes when we lingered for as long as possible on our walks from one classroom to another. The delightful Sr and Jr libraries that regularly quenched my thirst for books. The beautiful Prouse Wing. And trading dog stories with Ms Yeap in her office.

I miss everyone so terribly...wonderful 3S 1988, 4Sc2 1989 and 5Sc5 1990 and Lower 6/ Upper 6 1991-92 classmates, Julie Yeoh (who I'm so happy to report, I bump into now and then) and the rest of The Croakers scattered around the world. Plus teachers like Mrs Kangeson and Mrs Singham (primary school), Ms Mani, Mrs Abraham, Mrs Lai, and my beloved, beloved Ms Yeap.

Between 1992 and 1993 I had the opportunity to return to BB to help my younger sister Sumitha's class with choral speaking (that's her -in a t-shirt- in the photo with me). But after enrolling at Universiti Sains Malaysia in Penang, my only sojourn with BB was in my heart. I was very saddened to hear that the building is no more. So sad that I avoid going to Jalan Bukit Bintang whenever I visit my folks in KL.

After USM, I got married to a varsity mate, worked as a copywriter for a while in Penang and then moved to Singapore where my son was born. I now live in San Jose, California and am a freelance writer. Despite our own wonderful school experiences, my hubby and I have decided to homeschool our 6 year old boy. Believe me, public schools here in California are as unlike BBGS and Penang Free as you can imagine (LOL). You can read about our homeschooling adventures on my blog: I would like to end by thanking Joanna for writing a fabulous blog like back2bbgs and starting Project Kindle. It's almost like visiting BB again at the click of a mouse :)