Friday, 9 September 2011

Welcome to the Amazon!

This poem was written and recited by 5 Arts 4 who won the Senior Choral Speaking Competition in 1987. They were conducted by Tomasina Oh, who has since gone on to earn a PhD in Linguistics from Cambridge University. The girls did superb rendition complete with sound effects, humour and all-round entertainment! Even as a losing finalist, I happily applauded 5A4's success that year as they clearly deserved to win the trophy.

(Sound Effects: Jungle Sounds)

The fleet of 21 canoes travelled down
The muddy waters of the Madeira
A prominent tributary of the immortal Amazon
42 unique individuals (that's us!)
All set to conquer the force that looms over
The mysterious Amazon

What lies beyond, we know not
As the curtain of mystery slowly unveils...
To reveal its awesome splendour
We behold with wonder the gigantic trees
Majestically guarding their territory
Snake-like creepers trailing from their boughs
Chattering monkeys protesting the intrusion
As our canoes disturbed the calm waters
"Fish!" Forty-two eager hands reached out...
"Piranha!" And our hands shot back at lightning speed

"I'm getting hungry"
"I'm frightened"
"I'm hungry"
"Besides, it's getting dark"
"I'm VERY hungry"
And so, we decided to camp
But that was easier said than done
The tents seemed to have minds of their own
They just refused to stay up!
Our dismal attempts at starting a fire
Ended up with
Frayed tempers
Red faces
Burnt hair...AND...
No fire.

What's that? It can't be! But it is!

We've been beseiged by a horde of savages!
Immediately we turned to our martial arts expert
(She got her yellow belt just last week)
Unfortunately martial art does not really help
When you're surrounded by savages with long spears.

The battle has ended
(There wasn't even a struggle)
Soon forty-two wriggling forms
Were slung over the backs of savages
Curiosity got the better of us
We strained our necks to look at our captors
(Hoping they'd be as handsome as Tarzan)
But we didn't like what we saw,
Flat-flaring nostrils, Evil-looking eyes
Gggrrr.....grinding teeth
Waiting impatiently for our juicy, tender, human flesh

Then they stopped
And we were thrown into a dark and creepy pit
What would happen next?
Were we doomed to die at such a tender age?
Or was rescue at hand?

"Girls! Are you listening?"
The familiar voice of our Geography teacher
Brought us back to reality
"Do you have any idea how important this chapter
on the Amazon Jungle is for the exam?"
"Of course we do! But we think we'd be able
to handle this chapter pretty well;
...Don't you?

Saturday, 3 September 2011

My Alma Mater

This poem was written by Ruth Hew (5 Science 4) and taken from the 1985 School Magazine. Ruth was Head of the Literary Department for the School Magazine that year, and I remember being in awe of her deportment and writing skills when she asked me to join the department. Reading this poem again today definitely brought a catch to my throat.

There are no high, cloistered halls,
no wide, bay windows,
no tall, stately buildings.

There are no towering spires,
no imposing gates,
no chiming bells.

There are no rolling lawns,
no immaculate courts,
no cobblestone roadways.

There are no stern professors,
no musty book lined rooms,
no hushed atmosphere.

There are no gowned students,
no teas of cheese and wine,
no muted whispers.

But there are sprawling colonial styled buildings,
scattered shrubs and trim grass,
majestic palm tree guardians.

There are strong, upright morals,
time-tried traditions
far more than book knowledge.

There are dedicated teachers,
gatekeepers of wisdom's portals,
lovingly nurturing young minds.

There are bright young girls,
chattering, giggling, irrepressible,
energetic, determined, fun loving.

There are binges in the canteen,
antics in the classrooms,
action on the playing fields.

There is a living, growing entity
pulsing, throbbing with life,
and the joy of living.

This is my alma mater
second home for 11 years,
surrogate mother, teacher, refuge, friend.

BBGS, I am proud to own thee,
thy name, traditions, principles
for my own.


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!

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Limericks for English lessons

Now, we didn't just write poems for Choral Speaking, we wrote limericks during English class too! Here are some written by my classmates, and published in the 1984 school magazine.

There was once a dog from Liverpool
Who loved to swim in the mining pool
One day he jumped in
Thinking he could find tin
But he nearly lost his life, poor fool

- Ling Hua Peng /2C1

There was an old lady from KL
Who one day for no reason fell
When helped to her feet
She got back on her seat
Why she fell, she never would tell

- Chen May Yee / 2S

In the Himalayas there once was a guru
Who by nature was a proper dungu
It was his karma
To live with a Llama
And spend his days, making bubu after bubu.

- Mok Mei Ling/2C1

There was an owl called Toot
Who lived in a very old boot
But sad to say
He cried everyday
For he didn't know how to toot.

- Mas Aryani Mohd Khalil / 2S

There was a man who came from China
He got lost in the jungles of Africa
He was caught in a trap
By the cannibal's net
And was stewed in the pot for supper

- Tan Lu Meng / 2C1

Monday, 25 July 2011

World of Women Drivers

I'm having so much fun discovering original poems composed by our clever BBGSians for the annual Choral Speaking Competitions! Here's another gem by Five Science Three, who took home the shield for the Senior Category in 1984. This poem is taken from the 1984 School Magazine.

Five Science Three Explores the World of Women Drivers

Women drivers can be found everywhere!


Up the curb!

In the ditch!

Up the tree!

In the lake! Tsk...tsk...

According to men,
Women drivers are atrocious!
Not so!
Inconsiderate and incompetent!
But, according to women,
Lady motorists are cautious, civic-minded and skilled!
"I mean, it's not easy driving up a tree, you know!"

After a minor mishap,
You can hear the famous last words of an enraged husband:
"How can you do such a thing! It's impossible!"
"You're just jealous because you can't do it!"
Informs his wife coolly
The car, sorry to say, is a total wreck,
Its wheels move in a crab-like motion,
And the vehicle is transformed
From a stately sedan
To a sports convertible...without the roof.

Ad we approach the age of seventeen,
Most of us crave for a driving license.
Driving instructors cringe,
When they see GIRLS at the driving office,
They cling desperately to the handbrakes when the lesson is in progress
---just in case.
Our monitor's first driving lesson.
"Let me guess, she drove into the drain!"
"Don't be so mean. I only hit the traffic lights. That's all!!"

Our wisdom bringers in BBGS
Comprise of a skilled lot.
See Miss Yeap gliding gracefully into the school compound,
Screeching to an abrupt halt
Missing the palm tree by centimetres. Phew.
We have the ideal woman driver, right here in BBGS.
Our very own Mrs Cheong,
Who swerves right, left, back and front,
Barely missing Mrs Thanen's pride and joy
Every single morning.
Hear the laughter upstairs in 5 Sc 3,
And the screams in 5 Sc 2,
Whenever Mrs Choe Ling
Laboriously manoeuvres her faithful Ford through the school gate.
Monday mornings can be hazardous to one's health.
For instance,
"Mrs Choe Ling, look out for that, BANG, CRASH, CHOKE........tree."

Adventurous women on race tracks,
Have caused sensations in newspapers.
Adventurous women on roads,
Have also been a source of headlines.
"Lack of trees in the city....fault of women drivers!"
Accident rates increse...women drivers on the prowl!"
Typical remarks of chauvinistic men.
These ignorant ones ind it astounding
How women change a tiny Volkswagen
Into a power-charged sports car!
If we drive slow
They sit seething with discontent, muttering imprecations, tinged with annoyance.

Yet, think of how uneventful
The world would be without us
Lovely, innocent, wonderful,
Charming, witty, enchanting,
And last but not least....modest women drivers,
Who add a little spice to your lives.
Looking gorgeous in an expensive Porsche.
A delightful sight for sore eyes,
Driving with awareness,
Every molecule in their body filled with confidence

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Courtship through our very own eyes

If your idea of a typical BBGSian is that of a strait-laced Victorian schoolma'm, think again. Here's a delightful original poem presented by 5 Arts 3, who emerged as Choral Speaking Champions for the Senior section in 1983. This poem was taken from the 1983 School Magazine.

5A3's presentation of Courtship Through Our Very Own Eyes

Courtship has played an important role in mankind for many, many years
And if 5A3 has it her way
it will continue to do so for many, many more years to come
Courtship has all the ingredients of a potential bestseller,
It has adventure, intrigue,
Humour, freshness
and not forgetting the most important ingredient of all
Besides, what is a marriage without courtship?
Nothing, AB-SO-LUTE-LY nothing.

Courtship is the period for memories to be cherished,
The days of red roses,
And gaily, coloured gifts.
Of opening of car doors
and candlelight dinners
Of posh hotels and smart restaurants
.....or perhaps
A walk int he thunderstorm in his best suit
and her best shoes.
A French menu that sounds Greek, exorbitant bills
And of getting up late for work the next morning.

According to the Oxford dictionary,
Courtship is the period during which
A person tries to win the affection of another
In view of marriage,
But, according to 5A3,
Courtship is the period for his bank balance to sink drastically
And her wardrobe to increase dramatically,
In view of a longer engagement.

The concept
of tall, dark and handsome men and their fair, petite counterparts
Is still predominant,
Unfortunately, there's a little snag to this,
You see,
"We aren't fair", "He isn't tall enough"
But as they say
Beauty is in the eye of the Beholder
So there's hope for us yet.

On a more serious note, ladies and gentlemen,
Courtship is not just the time for fun and lavish attention
It is like a bed of roses
A bed of roses with many thorns
It is the period when not only the virtues
But the faults surface.
It is the perfect opportunity for jealousy to rear its ugly head
For discontentment to set in,
For frayed tempers
And for settling differences once and for all.

Courtship can bring happiness
Let us take the case of modern day Romeo and Juliet
Happiness is when Juliet says
"Romeo, Romeo
Wherefore art thou?"
But tragedy when Romeo replies,
"I am here, you silly cow!"

Let us now deal with the before and after effects of courtship.
Before, she'll say
"Yes, dear
"Anything you say dear"
After, she'll say
"Do it yourself. I'm going back to mother's!"
Before, he'll say
"You look lovely tonight"
"Amazing what a woman looks like without her warpaint"
Before, she'll say,
"Oh, Thank you for the lovely flowers but you really shouldn't"
"You don't bring me flowers, anymore"
So much for happily-ever-after endings.

A slight twist to that famous Shakespeare phrase
More or less sums up the situation in general
It's just a matter of
To court or not to be court
To be courted or not to be courted
These are the questions
And 5A3's aswers are
To court and to be courted!

Note: I can't help thinking that these girls could have graduated to become scriptwriters for "Winter Sonata" and other Korean dramas...haha!

Monday, 18 July 2011


One thing I've realized about Choral Speaking at BBGS is that it wasn't always about Shakespeare, Keats or Tennyson. In fact, some of the best poems were often written by the girls themselves!

Here's a fine example by Form 3A, who were the Intermediate Choral Speaking Champions in 1984. Till today, I still remember how entertaining and engaging the poem was because we could all identify with the distinctly Malaysian scenes, characters and flavours contained therein.


As dawn breaks over the tenement houses
Life begins in the heart of Petaling Street
The carts rumble into the market square
And the cries of hawkers (Rumble Mumble Hustle Bustle)

Ka ma lun pheng koh, yau pheng yau leng, hoong toh-toh, Aunty, aunty, ai beh cai boh... Ham yee ah (2x) Sam Khow yat ma (3x) Mai yat cek soong yat cek, cin-cin, cai-cai, mai toh soong toh,
Mingled with those of early shoppers

The morning sun rses
The shops are ready for business
The big bully jaga with his beard neatly curled
Grins as a Mercedes pulls up, eek....booom
It disgorges an opulent lady
Making her weekly pilgrimage to the jewellery store.

The Chinese medicine halls display their strange products
Guaranteed to cure every ill.
The sinseh by the corner picks his teeth as he awaits his firs client
The joss stick seller is busy fashioning a paper limousine complete with number plates.
While two shops away in the eerie darkness,
A coffin lies waiting for the same customers.

"You ain't nothing but a hound dog"
Hot rock music blares from the cassette players
While metal smiths and cobbles, beat in time.
Girls in the latest fashion
Strut among the hawkers
Selling platform shoes and handbags

A shout is heard, "Hoi!"
A wiry youngster wheels among the cars
He disappears into the lane
Clutching a gold necklace
No one goes after him
No one dares, it's wiser not to be involved.

Lunch time in Madras Lane
For the adventurous gourmets they are
Monkey brains, served fresh from the skull
With a dash of pepper
Or, if you prefer less exotic fare
Try: turtle soup, fried lizard tongue, mouth watering eels.

The sun has set
The market is closed
And shops will be shut
But wait, more carts rumble in and kerosene lamps are lit
The pasar malam has begun
The hawkers advertise their goods in the road now devoid of traffic
There is food galore!
Char Siew Pau, Chin Toi Chai, See Ham Chow Fun, Loh Mai Kai, Hoong Tau Sah

Customers stream in from the nearby cinema
Jostling and pushing, oblivious of the pick pockets
At midnight the carnival is over
Silence and darkness descend once more
A naked light bulb swings in one of the windows
A dustbin clatter, "Meeoooww..." as the cats begin their nightly haunt
An old beggar huddles to sleep on the cold sidewalk
All is quiet and still.....until tomorrow.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Ode to Garfield

The School Magazine has been an endless source of material for this blog. Going through the magazines recently, I've been so impressed by the quality of writing that I'm starting a category dedicated to the writing of our teenage Bards.

Here's one our finest writers, Irene Teo, my classmate, and her "Ode to Garfield", taken from the 1985 School Magazine.

from an admirer

Thou exalted cat!
Thy rolls of fat
o'er feline frame that
slinks (or heaves) through
midnight dark
in home or park.

Thy ever peaceful mien
by sun or moonlight seen
betrays not cunning deeds
performed by thee, who heeds
not lordly man, nor lowly beast.

Thy many escapades
through garden trowels ad spades,
and screen doors low or high
though foe be lurking by,
never fail to amaze
and leave in a daze
thy humble followers.

O cunning, cruel cat!
Mark of thy claw does mat
the hides of foes forlorn,
now wiser than to test
thy anger, whether thou
be at play, or rest.

O Cat!
We remain,
through sun or rain,
thy everlasting admirers.

By Irene Teo, 3C1

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Remember these cheers?

Just found a whole heap of cheerleading songs from the 1984 School Magazine and couldn't wait to share them with you...

Gimme a V, V, V, I, C
Gimme a C, C, C, T, O
Gimme a O, O, O, R, Y
VICTORY, VICTORY is our cry.

We're all leaders of Maclay team,
We're gonna show you how to win,
Just feel the beat and follow the team,
C'mon Maclay we're gonna win.

Prouse House is dynamite,
Don't play with dynamite,
Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!

Anything that they can do,
Green House girls can do it too,
Am I right or wrong?
You're right!
Tell me if I'm wrong,
You're right!
Sound of
1, 2
Sound of
3, 4
Sound of 1, 2, 3....FOUR!

5, 6, 7, 8
What do we see?
What do we hear?
Shirtliff is the house to cheer!
if we lose,
Please don't jeer
Coz we will win next year!

Friday, 15 July 2011

Secrets of Cheerleading Success

This article was written by Salwah Shukor (5 Science 4) and taken from the 1985 School Magazine, detailing the success of Prouse House cheerleading team, which enjoyed a string of championships in the 1980s.

What's the secret of success?

"Goreng pisang!" came the unanimous vote. Now what could this 267 calorie delicacy that scored and instant hit with BBGSians' taste buds since its January introduction, possibly have to do with Prouse's enviable success?

The captain, Ho Ching Yee, described its crisp outside and contrasting interior as having a startling effect on the team. In fact, when things just did not seem to be working out, she was even heard to be frantically saying "OK guys, you can take a 10-minute break and I insist that you take 2 goreng pisang(s) each." Talk about prescriptions!

Farah, the VOLUME of Prouse, chips in, "We also owe it to our 10-second pep sessions..." and the team deafeningly breaks into "HAVE YOU GOT THAT SPIRIT? YEAH MAN!!...." - guaranteed to lift even pit-low spirits.

Low spirits? Bubbly Janet remarks that it's the most fatal disease that could beset any cheerleading team. The cause? "When it suddenly dawns on you that other teams are just as good, if not better than you are," states Sok Feng solemnly. "...but it simply has marvellous side effects," interrupts optimistic Suzanna, "it's just what we need to make us work!"

So how do catchy chants with pulsating beats coordinated by original steps materialise? The touch of expertise required in choreographing was supplied by the team's pair of twinkle-toes, Tan Foong and Kiren (the only two known to show the slightest mercy to the ground after a star-jump or a reindeer-leap)...whilst the credit for adapting jingles into suitable cheers goes to Muzeena. Given a tune, she has been known to complete the intricate task in a matter of seconds.

A swift glance at the Prouse scream team would not fail to pint out the mixed-up lot they are. Tall, lanky Carol and demure, petite Premalatha convey the long and short of the story.

And what kept them going and supplied the much needed drive?

Inevitably, the incentive of...SUCCESS!

We Had A Hippopotamus

Back in 1985, my class, 3C1, had won the Choral Speaking competition for two successive years and we were desperate to make it a hattrick. We valiantly combed all the poetry books in the library and came up with this gem!

The poem may appear simple, or even inane to the unenlightened mind, but don't be fooled. There are plenty of clever tongue twisters that make it a very challenging choral speaking poem. But the best thing is - WE WON!

We Had A Hippopotamus

We had a hippopotamus, we kept him in a shed.
And fed him upon vitamins, and vegetable bread.
We made him our companion,
On many cheery walks,
And had his portrait done, by a celebrity in chalks.

His charming eccentricities, were known on every side,
The creature's popularity was wonderfully wide,
He frolicked with the Rector in a dozen friendly tussles,
Who could not but remark upon his hippopotamuscles,
If he should be afflicted by deppression or the dumps,
By hippopotameasles or the hippopotamumps,
We never knew a particle of peace,
Till it was plain,
He was hippopotamasticating properly again.

We had a hippopotamus, we loved him as a friend
But beautiful relationships are bound to have an end.
Time takes, alas, our joys from us
And robs us of our blisses.
Our hippopotamus turned out to be a hippopotamissus!

Our housekeeper regarded him with jaundice in her eye,
She did not want a colony of hippopotami,
She borrowed a machine gun,
From her soldier nephew, Percy,
And showed our hippopotamus, no hippopotamercy.

Our house now lacks the glamour, that the charming creature gave,
The garage where we kept him is as silent as a grave.
No longer he displays among the motor tyres and spanners,
His hippopotamastery of hippopotamanners.

No longer now he gambols, in the orchards in the spring.
No longer do we lead him through the village on a string.
No longer in the mornings does the neighbourhood rejoice
To his hippopotamusically-modulated voice.

We had a hippopotamus, but nothing upon earth
Is constant in its happiness, or lasting in its mirth,
No joy that life can give us,
Can be strong enough to smother
Our sorrow for that might have been a hippopotamother.

3C1, the Intermediate Choral Speaking Champions of 1985

Old friends with new names

(L-R) Mok Mei Ling, Lau Pei Shan, Chua Siew Hwa (aka Terri Lim), Ng Wye Wye

Facebook has become my window to the world for all my friends, both old and new. Sometimes, new names pop up on familiar faces, and that's what happened recently with Chua Siew Hwa, now known as Terri Lim. I rejected her request twice before receiving her note of explanation...persistance pays!

She's back in KL and caught up some classmates (Class of 1987) recently and here's a quick snapshot of what everyone's been up to. Thanks to Wye Wye for the photo and update.

Ng Wye Wye says:
"Mok and Pei Shan are leading very exciting lives in the fashion and retail industries. Going international hehe. Siew Hwa and family have been jet-setting the globe for the last 20 years! She's now based in Moscow, having resided in the States and Bangkok previously. As for me, I am now serving the Lord full time in church as a pastor. I left my workplace of 16 years last year. Loving my life now! :)"

Siew Hwa adds:
"Ha ha Jo, thanks for clearing the confusion over my "new name" and "old name" I will answer to both, of course. Wye, u did good in summarizing where I hv been in the last 20 yrs except that I only started the jetsetting part abt 14-15 yrs ag...o:) 20 yrs ago, I was still in MU with Joanna Yeoh:) here's a little more update on me- I joined KPMG Consulting for a few years after I graduated. Then I got married and moved overseas. My husband works in an oil and gas co, So we relocate every few years or so. Moscow is our sixth home, we have lived in Bangkok (twice), Dubai, Houston and Perth. I have 2 boys, 13 and 8. I have been mostly a full time stay at home mom and a part time research analyst with an US based firm."

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Happy 4th Birthday Back2BBGS!

WOW...we're 4 today!!

I started this blog back in 2007, with the first post being lyrics of our beloved school song, and am so grateful to still be here today sharing this celebration post with you.

Writing and maintaining this blog has been a labour of love from Day One. From a young age, I have always been attracted to the power of the written word and secretly nursed a desire to become a writer to change the world. This humble blog has proven just how powerful and evocative words can be in galvanizing people to action. Some examples that spring to mind include:-

And the one thing that has given me the most satisfaction is the honour of connecting with BBGSians from all ages and walks of life. I can't begin to describe the thrill that runs up my spine every time I receive an email that begins with, "Dear Joanna, I attended BBGS from 19..."!

So I want to take this opportunity to thank ALL of you for making this possible. Thank you for your generosity in sharing your stories, memories and friendships with me. I have had a wonderful time crafting this treasure chest for BBGSians and will cherish your continued support and love for all the things we hold dear.

In closing, I'd like to leave you with the words of our beloved Miss Cooke:-

"Girls of BBGS - you have a rich heritage. I challenge you to live a wholesome, vibrant life totally committed to giving nothing less than your best while always remembering our school motto - Nisi Dominus Frustra. Without God all is in vain."

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Note to Sri Bintang Utara students

Dear Friends,

I've been receiving emails and Facebook requests from some of you requesting information for your school history project. Please feel free to use the information and photos contained in this blog. There's only one condition - please quote my name and the name of this blog as your source of information. All copyright still belongs to Joanna Yeoh.

Here are some useful links you may like to refer to:

All the best for projects and keep the BBGS flag flying high!

Kind regards,

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Food Sale Reunion @ SG

Yesterday afternoon, twelve sophisticated ladies trooped into an apartment in the heart of Singapore and were greeted by this sign...

As shouts of "Cooke!", "Green!", "Maclay!", "Shirtliff!" and "Prouse!" rang around the entrance, the door opened and pandemonium ensued - shrieks of delight, raucous laughter and big bear hugs were the order of the day! Some amused husbands and wide-eyed children were also in tow but they excused themselves quite quickly. No one was brave enough to get in the way of our annual BBGS@SG reunion.

Lynette introduced us to her teenage kids, while Kiew Puan had her lovely 4 year old princess in tow.
Most of us were from the class of 86, 87 and 88 and after a quick round of introductions, we quickly settled into the order of the day: the Food Sale themed high tea. Everyone was so excited about the menu that volunteers to prepare food were signed up within two days of the invitation:-

  • Joanna - toasted sambal sandwiches

  • Lu Meng- curry puffs (from Old Chang Kee)

  • Moonlake - rojak (store bought and very popular)

  • Jeanette - cincau (which her mother made - thank you Aunty!)

  • Lynette - fried mee hoon (home made and full of flavour)

  • Charlotte - kacang putih (she didn't turn up but her kacang putih about accountability!)

  • Gek Lin - ice cream float (so refreshingly decadent)

  • Tomasina - banana cake (home baked and so yummy!)

  • Patricia - BBQ chicken wings (by Kak Yanti which were delicious)

  • Yee Git - cheese platter (the most "atas" item on offer)

  • Suet Poh - fruit platter (lots of variety and the most healthy item on the menu)

  • Kiew Puan - sotong balls (super yummy and gone in a flash)

The"girls" busily preparing and presenting their dishes

And then it was time to chat and catch up on 20 years worth of news! That's how long some of us hadn't seen each other. University, jobs, husbands, kids, years in Singapore, PSLE, plastic surgery, learning Mandarin, insurance, best infant formula were just some of the many topics talked about and laughed over. This was interspersed with school stories about teachers, school rules and food sales! We compared the abundant fillings of our toasted sandwiches to the miserable smear of sambal in our original food sale toasties. And debated the finer points of sandwich making - "Where got cucumber one?" or "Wah..the edges also got filling!"
And finally, the happy clappy group photo. Thanks to the combined efforts of everyone present, we arranged ourselves carefully around the sofa and got the camera timer to work. And voila! Even then, we managed to find something to laugh about when taking this photo with comments like: "Those of you who can still kneel, please kneel." "Hurry up lah! My knees are giving way..." Haha...until our next gathering girls, take care and God bless!

Friday, 25 March 2011

Candle 38: Ong Jin Kar

(L-R) Kevin, Joel, Daniel and Jin Kar

I knew it was going to be an interesting reunion when 8-year old Joel Chee rushed into the restaurant, plonked himself next to me and said "My mum says you were the Head Prefect and everyone was scared of you!" Haha...that's the story of my life in BBGS, dear boy...

Joel is the son of Ong Jin Kar from the class of 1986. Jin Kar, her husband Kevin and their two boys were on their way back to Perth from Bristol (UK) where Kevin has spent the last year completing his opthamologist specialist training. She even found time to co-found the European chapter of the BBGS alumni in the UK, together with Doreen Craig. They organised a successful reunion in London, which brought together a large number of BBGSians.

Jin Kar migrated to Perth shortly after secondary school, studied at the University of Western Australia and worked as an accountant before becoming a full-time mom. She enjoys living in the city which is idyllic for bringing up her kids. Her sister Jin Hui, whom I met while in Perth last year, is also based in Perth and the sisters catch up regularly.

We were joined by Moonlake Lee and her family and all 3 of us had a wonderful time chatting over dinner while the kids and husbands entertained themselves. We were amused at how some girls had glamourised themselves beyond recognition, while others have stayed exactly the same. Jin Kar was kind enough to place me in the "glamour" list! Haha... So you see little Joel, people aren't so scared of me anymore :-)

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Updates on Miss Yeap's condition

Please note that these updates are taken from the BBGS OGA website, and have been verified with members of Miss Yeap's immediate family.

UPDATE: 25 March (Friday), 10am
Good news! Miss Yeap is now recuperating and starting physiotherapy treatment in an extended care hospital in Shah Alam.

Venue: Room 95, Columbia Asia Extended Care Hospital, Lot 2, Jalan Baung, Shah Alam, Selangor

Visiting Hours: 7am - 9pm

Request: In order not to tax Miss Yeap's energy at this time, please go in a group and keep your visit short. Try not to ask Miss Yeap if she can recognise as it will put a strain on her memory. Simply identify yourself by telling Miss Yeap your name and the class you were in. Be positive! :-)

UPDATE: 4 March (Friday), 11.10 pm
Praise God that He has answered all our prayers for Miss Yeap. This morning, she was finally transferred out of ICU to the ward and was able to recognise her family members. However, Miss Yeap is still on antibiotics and has a tube in her throat so she is not able to talk yet.

The OGA will arrange to send a bouquet of flowers to Miss Yeap first. We will let you know when she is ready for visitors.

UPDATE: 17 FEB 2011 (THURS), 7.00 pm
Still having problem getting her breathing properly - she's not getting ideal levels of oxygen. Lots of phlegm that needs to be cleared - they've put her on medication for that. Heat is stable, as is BP. Eyes open every now and again, but she's not conscious enough for recognition nor speech. Still in ICU. Not shifted to ward yet.—Mei-Lyn, grandniece of Miss Yeap.

UPDATE: 8 FEB 2011 (TUES), 2.15pm
So excited to share this sms from Miss Yeap's grandniece, Mei-Lyn: “Encouraging news! They’re weaning her off the ventilator. She’s breathing on her own! 2hrs at a time so less stress to body, but still great news I think!”

This email, addressed to BBGSians, is written by Miss Yeap's grand-niece who has been staying with her.

My name is Mei Lyn and I'm Ms Yeap's grand niece. Thank you all forall your kind thoughts, comments and fervent prayers. We are all trying to stay positive about the whole situation.My grand aunt has yet to regain full consciousness, but the doctors say that upon prompting, she opens her eyes briefly and can process simple commands, so they are very positive about the condition of her brain.

However, her body is not handling the stress of surgery well, and there are some complications with her heart & BP. She is being treatedfor that by a cardio, and was previously sedated again to stabilise. Today, they performed a minor procedure to insert a tube into the throat for better hookup to the ventilator. The procedure went smoothly, and she is resting again in ICU.

Thank you all for not insisting on visiting her in ICU. It is very obvious that she is much beloved. However, even the family has received stern advice from the doctors & nurses about the ease of infection, and how we all carry pathogens. She is so very vulnerable right now. I've heard that there is a lot of information flying about from various sources. Unfortunately, from one hand to the next, some are in danger of creating panic, etc. We are unable to curtail the spread of information, but we fear the spread of less than accurate details. Luckily Sow Yoong, has been more than considerate and checks with us to help correct the details.

Please don't rush to the hospital. We thank you for the flood of concern, but please do understand the need for a clean environment. Right now, she's sedated from today's procedure, stable but still on the critical list in ICU.

All prayers/positive energy/good thoughts are deeply appreciated.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

BBGS reunion in London

Mak Mei Ling (Class of 1983) gives us a peek at what happened when twelve BBGSians based in the UK got together at the Souk Restaurant in London on 27 February 2011. Enjoy!

At the end of each year, as I heave a sigh of relief that our family has survived another 365 days without too many upheavals, my thoughts turn to the year ahead. In thinking about New Year resolutions, the level of my ambition has gone down as the number of white hairs on my head has gone up. A list of 20 ostensibly achievable resolutions when I was 22 was reduced to 10 when I was 33. This has whittled down to just the one now I am 44. However it is a significant one, designed to stop boredom in its tracks and to add some joie de vivre in a world that is increasingly competitive, complicated and unpredictable. In 2011 my one resolution was to do something or to eat somewhere or to meet someone really interesting every week.

The advantage of living in London is that you are never at a loss for things to do, places to eat or people to meet. However, I did not imagine that this would take the form of a BBGS reunion.

BBGS we pledge to thee...

How I came to be invited to the first BBGS reunion in Europe was itself very interesting. I attend All Souls Church in Langham Place, and in January I was asked to give my testimony. Immediately after the service a member of the congregation came up to me and said, ‘are you by any chance from BBGS?’

There was no need for a particular type of walk, a wink of the eye or a funny handshake. The beauty, if I may say so, of being a BBGS girl is that you are almost instantly recognisable by another BBGSian. Boey Moo Ling introduced herself and informed me that there was a BBGS reunion taking place in February. I contacted Doreen Craig who organised the event to say I would be attending and asked if I should wear my old school badge!

On 27 February, 12 of us gathered in Central London where Doreen had hired a private room in a Moroccan restaurant. The dim lighting was perfect as we did not have to be under too much scrutiny (I was not the youngest there). Everyone was very chatty and found someone else to talk to. Bits of other people’s conversations drifted around - the ais kacang machine, toasted sambal sandwiches, Mrs Abraham and her tongue twisters. Declaring who your headmistresses was gave an indication of your age but no one cared because we were far too engrossed in talking about our present lives and what brought us to London and to Europe.

Smiles all round when BBGSians get together

The moment of reckoning came when we were asked to sing the school song. Not only to sing it, but to have it recorded and uploaded onto Facebook. I cannot imagine what my children will say when they find out. I left BBGS in 1983, but am very proud to say that I remembered the tune to the song. Since the lunch I have even managed to sing the first verse in my head without having to refer to the words.

In singing the school song again after such a long gap, I hope any BBGSian would agree with me that the words, once embedded in our memories if not our hearts, have made us who we are – loyal women, who are able to call on God for help, able to shoulder burdens and who delight in simple things. If I have gone this far in life, it is not due to my own efforts but the efforts of the school in instilling in me a sense of duty and responsibility in all that I undertake, and in underpinning that duty with the understanding that everything is sustained by God. As the year goes by whether we have one or 100 resolutions, the school motto still holds true: Nisi Dominus Frustra - without God all is in vain.

BBGS cupcakes brought by Alice Lian