Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Candle 27: Rose and Sunitha

Candle 27 is a special joint-effort by two BBGSians, who are separated by half a century in years but strongly united in family spirit. Rose Ponnudurai, from the Class of 1941 (yes, you read that right!) is our most senior contributor to date, and her grand-niece, Sunitha Priscilla Arthur, is from the class of 1992. We thank them both for adding such richness and depth to our treasured archive of BBGS stories.
Sunitha with her Aunty Rose
Rose Ponnudurai (class of 1941) Imagine sitting for exams with warplanes flying overhead…. Or waiting 4 years for your results. That’s what Rose Ponnudurai experienced. An ex-BBGSian from the class of 1941, she sat for her CSC (Cambridge School Certificate) just before WW2 broke out. Here are some of her stories: “Miss Glasgow - I remember her for teaching me English. She took the trouble to personally coach me. You’d never think of a person holding such a high position like a principal, coming to your house at a low level. Real affection to help out, not just talking. I believe that is true Christianity, not just talking about (the Lord) Jesus, but doing the work that Jesus did. I remember this humorous incident: one time, Miss Gibson stopped by our house because she said “I get the smell (of fresh cow’s milk) just like in Ireland.” So I asked “Would you like a cup of milk” and she replied “Yes why not?” So I got her some milk and she was so happy. Because the smell reminded her of her homeland. When sitting for the CSC, we heard planes flying over the school. Some of my classmates started saying we’re going to be bombed. But we weren’t. Immediately after the exams the war broke out, so I had to go and stay in the estate with my parents. For the next four years we didn’t hear anything and I thought well, that’s the end of the exam results. I didn’t mind that actually! But after the war, my brother informed me that the results were going to be released. And I became so afraid, I kept telling my mother “Don’t know if I’ll pass, don’t know if I’ll pass.” I was not keen that my brother was going to get the results for me, but anyway I passed, and that made me happy.” Aunty Rose just celebrated her 87th birthday. Thank God for her alertness & strength till this day. She is an encouragement to many by her love, sense of humour and “mirth that has no bitter strings”. Widowed at a young age, she had to single-handedly raise 5 children (at the time ranging in ages 2 to 12). Aunty Rose credits the lives of the missionary teachers in BBGS for moulding her character. Sunitha Priscilla Arthur (class of 1992) As for me, I joined BBGS primary School 1 in Std 6 after moving from Melaka. I remember being totally miserable the first few months because I missed my old school, friends, old house…. Also my former school was coed & my first impression of BBGS (& KL) girls were that these girls are wild! (No offense intended :-). In a coed school, we girls tend to be a bit more, ahem,… well-behaved, we sit nicely (not like the boys), we’re soft-spoken, etc . And everything about BBGS just felt so strange & intimidating. But after some time, I grew to really love BBGS. And I’m grateful for the friends who made the effort to get to know me, reserved as I was. I remember Marina Ramli asking me questions about me, my family, former school, etc etc etc., felt almost like interrogation, but she really took time to make me feel at home. And Yap Lee Pheng who insisted I join in a game of “Bisik-bisik”, Yung Mei (Mei Purcell) who always cheered me with her jolly sense of humour, Mui Teng who showed me the canteen & insisted that I must eat (‘cause I was reluctant to go there, didn’t like crowds). Also my class teacher & other classmates from Std 6 Kuning 1987 who were so nice to me (if any of you are reading this-THANK YOU, it’s the little things that matter). Secondary school (1988-1992) were truly years of moulding & shaping. I’m grateful to my principal Miss Yeap & teachers: Mrs Abraham (she managed to make me actually LIKE Geography), Puan Sharifah, & others & also those who taught at the Christian Union meetings and camps (esp Miss Cooke, Miss Moey, Miss Siew, Mrs Kok, etc). Also am grateful for the many friends. It’s so nice to be reconnected again because of the Back2BBGS event - thanks again Joanna & the whole committee! But the most important thing that happened to me in BBGS was the divine encounter I had in Dec 89, in the school hall. Experienced the tangible warmth, love & reality of the Lord Jesus & realised for the first time that God is really REAL. This totally changed my life. Looking back, I know it was not by chance that I came to BBGS. God had everything planned. Indeed at the end of the day, this truth remains: NISI DOMINUS FRUSTRA.

Update:  Rose Ponnudurai went home to be with the Lord on 20th April 2021, aged 98.  May she rest in peace.

1 comment:

Moonlake Lee said...

great heart warming post.... so delighted to read the story of a BBGSian from 1941... truly something special!