Monday, 15 November 2021

My First Job as a Teacher

 (Photos: Sixth Form, Anderson School, Ipoh, circa 1963/64)

After my studies I applied for a teaching post to the Ministry of Education Malaysia and was posted to Anderson School, Ipoh, as a science teacher. I would have preferred a posting to one of the schools in my home state, Johore. On making enquiries I was encouraged to accept this posting. I drove all the way to Ipoh with mixed feelings. As I drove into Ipoh I noticed that the streets were clean and the town had a prosperous look. In fact it was the cleanest town in the peninsula then. Ipoh was a rich town due to the high demand for tin at that time. It became clear that this was good place to be in.

Anderson School Ipoh, was one of the established education institutions in the country. Its then principal, Mr. Martin Ogle M.A.Oxon welcomed me warmly. There were a few other British expatriate teachers as well. Set in spacious grounds the school provided excellent study facilities for students. Most of the students did well in their studies and moved on to higher education in various subjects and became distinguished personalities in their respective fields. 

But I noticed there were some students who did not seem to be able to cope. As a teacher I felt that all students should benefit from their education and took a special interest in such students. How could I help these students?   This question kept hounding me. What I noticed about them was that they lacked self-confidence and generally tended to withdraw from activities. I reasoned that if they were able to do well and gain confidence in one activity then they would be able to transfer that confidence to another field, with the teacher’s help. Using games and sports as a starting point, my students were made to run a fixed distance and were timed by a stop watch. Their timings were recorded. With repeated runs they began to improve on their timings. It was explained that they were not doing this to become champion runners but to improve upon their own performance.

This is what exactly happened. They began to gain confidence as their timings improved. My assumption was that if they gained this confidence it could be transferred to the learning of academic subjects. But this needed the help of the teacher who has to be a friend and help to the student. The role of the teacher was so important to achieve this transfer. It was one of my greatest pleasures to see my students making progress in this way. It also opened my eyes to the role of the teacher. Self- confidence first, followed by knowledge is called for here.

Anderson School gave me this start in my career. An assumption became a reality. A second initiative that I looked into was to improve students` critical thinking. My subjects, biology, botany and zoology demanded some deep thinking by the students. Identifying specimen and slides with reasons gave the students a firsthand experience in such thinking. It provided a good foundation for higher level thinking and thinking out of the box. Self- confidence combined with thinking skills provided formidable tools for mastery and progress.

This was almost a spiritual experience for me as a new teacher. The teacher was the magic maker. Not everyone agreed with my assumptions at first until it was proven. I was put in charge of a House for extracurricular activities. Through gaining self –confidence Whitfield House became champion house in that year. 

These insights I was able to use later as a headmaster at SMSS. I had briefing sessions with my teachers to impress upon them the connection between self- confidence and success. Indeed the school put this to practice by having a rugby team that reached great heights under guidance of a British expatriate rugby coach, Ian Gordon. The rugby team was an inspiration to all the students in the school and I saw my students excel in their studies. Sports games and studies went together with the help of teachers.     

Thursday, 4 November 2021

Moving Goalposts


When one is in the middle of something
A task, project, program anything
When rules change suddenly
Without warning, surprisingly.
The target gets blurred, too wide
What you wanted to do set aside
One has to recoup, reposition
Start again renew action.
Happens in all places
To trip an opponent in a race
Gaining an advantage for name and fame
Moving goalposts not a fair game.

Blessings are not valued

Blessings are not valued till they are gone
Unnoticed they adorn
Our blessings we don`t acknowledge
Pushed along in their passage.

Blinded to what we have
Nor able to save
We look for things beyond
Beyond our reach, never found.

When sight and hearing have faded
Taken so long for granted
When gone for ever
We remember they gave us much power.

Thursday, 7 October 2021

Kelana Jaya

Kelana Jaya, kawasan yang indah

Pokok pokok tepi jalan, hijau, berbunga, teduh

Kempen bersih sangat berjaya

Kawasan selamat tiada ancaman merbahaya


Kenal satu sama lain bermesra tinggi

Ikut peraturan dengan teliti

Langkah langkah mencegah Covid selamat di ikuti

Bantu membantu sentiasa di amali


Ada pun hitam mata

Di manakah boleh bercerai dengan putihnya

Kita bersama melindung kawasan indah sabegini kaya

Orang lama tahu kekayaan dan kedamaian Kelana Jaya. 

Too Many Tigers

When there are too many tigers on a hill

Beasts ready for the kill

Not a safe place to be in

Even when beating loud a tin.

Tigers need not be beasts

They can just as well be humans

Aggressive blood thirsty

In their actions hasty.

The tiger culture rules

In any human endeavor looms

Kill or be killed

With this attitude filled

Friday, 1 October 2021

An Artist Lives Everywhere

 It doesn`t matter where

An artist lives anywhere

Grandeur, bleakness are the same

Both are fair game


Anywhere one looks is nature’s showcase

In its full grace

Bright and colorful sometimes

Plain and colorless at other times


To the artist it makes no difference

Of things and their appearance

The artist turns a bleak landscape

Into one where the mind can escape

Apa Sudah Jadi?

 Apa sudah jadi

Dari satu sama lain kami berlari

Jangan rapat

Jaga jarak tempat


Elakkan himpunan dan kenduri

Jangan dekat dekat berdiri

Manusia menghadapi ancaman teruk

Siapa lagi, Covid 19 semua tempat di sekitar duduk


Adakah pada masa depan

Ancaman ini dapat dihapuskan?

Jaga diri masing masing

Berdoalah untuk kesejahteraan keluarga Malaysia