Geography, Social Studies etc.
We spent 3
magic years '83 to late '85 in Penang.(Youngets turned 2 the day we arrived 26th
Jan. Eldest was going into Yr 3.) Lived at York Rd. Our kids playground was the
Polo Ground. I taught on the Secondary staff (geography, social studies etc).
Conscripted (Oh the pain!) from NSW.
Memories - Oh so many. Documented? Yes. In many photos & videos. Samples? OK The great flood - SNOWS club almost inaccessible.
Golf. Tuesday afternoons on the base. (I hate golf) I thinkI was taken along to entertain by swimming in the airfield monnies for my ball after every shot.Malcolm Fraser. Why? He was responsible for ensuring that all Aussies drove around in "Hillside Heaps" . I purchased mine from a Reverend McLeod. I soon learned how far Christian Truth could be stretched in the name of dollars. And him a good Scotsman as well! Mind you it never actually stopped running although the wheels (both front ones) fell off at the same time. School Excursions: Cameron Highlands (from memory '84) Lorraine Mottershead, Dave Berry and myself with Y9. Stayed in Catholic Girls School dorms. Climbed very high mountain through tea gardens etc. Lost only one child on way. Very proud group of kids. Also each year to "Rajans" rubber plantation with Y8. Deepavaali festival at his house.
Learned more than books ever taught me about the social issues affecting the wives and children on plantations from Rajan's wonderful and so hospitable wife and family.
We lived next to a Kampung. My children will never forget the three or four nights when the place went mad looking for the strange evil spirits (Bomohs everywhere) who came in the night to do all manner of terrible things. The local young blades on their new Hondas and their one protector with his legal single barrel shotgun stopping traffic and making terible threats and noises all night. Next morning all is back to normal. My 4 yr old is on the back of a Honda for a ride to the Polo ground to watch the radio controlled enthusiasts and their craft. I could go on with 'flashbacks" like Kim Beazley in green safari suit joining us in the staffroom just after the Roti man's delivery (Thursdays I think). The "local" staff. Without them few people who had come straight from Australia, many of them young boys (RAAF) and girls just out of school, would not have survived. Even for those of us who had travelled, the local staff and their knowledge, welcome, support and loyalty remain an enduring highlight of the experience.
Your site is primarily about the school but if there is room for expansion the Amahs who did so much to smooth the lives of so many in often unrecognised ways deserve a place. Negotiations with local stores were often a new experience for many. The tales of "being ripped off" were legion at social gatherings. Many young people had no experience of travelling country butchers, greengrocers, etc. The Amahs smoothed the way. How many children, especially very young ones, refused to eat what Mum & Dad put on the table back in Australia "because I only like Mary's (or Fong's, or Alice's ) food".. There are so many memories worth recording and cherishing which go beyond the facts of the school and school life. I often wonder what happened to the rudest boy I have ever met in my 30 year teaching career. He was a loveable rogue but imbued with a cultural view that a suntan was a sign of suspect heredity and motive. Can you imagine how he treated workers on Rajan's estate? I still have the video. I just hope he's not in politics. Mind you he might have made a success of Public Relations.
There are so many memories locked away in so many peoples records that it is worth bombarding anyone who was associated with the school with messages of request for anything and everything that is relevant. (Who has the "Wakka of the Week" trophy? I'll bet it's not the young lady who won it for stepping out of her favourite dressmakers stright down into the arms of the Monnie Monster) The social life was so important - formal and informal- Friday night Chook runs at SNOWS - then on to the islanders. The drama club which put on so many shows at the Hostie. Saturday morning at Little Aths.then for a feed to Pulau Tikus. Sunday morning Soccer at the school fields (always hot steamy but oh so beneficial after Saturday night) Bowls competitions v the Sergeants Mess. Wonderful hosts. Penang Turf Club and the curry pot downstairs after the races.