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Sunday, March 02, 2008

The Methodist Girls' Hostel,Sibu

I have often toyed with the idea that a modern girls'hostel in Sibu would be an excellent memorial to Mrs. Mary Hoover. For I have personally experienced many good years of visiting friends staying in the old Methodist Girls' Hostel within the Methodist School Compound and then in its newer location in Archer Road.

A few personalities are brought to mind also as I type this article out and they have contributed to the lives of many girls by helping them mould their character and develop their Christian perspectives in their live. Whether the old Christian values did rub off at that time or not, I feel that staying in the Girls' Hostel then was already a good foundation for any girl's life as it helped her gain a good education to say the least.

What do I remember about the Methodist Girls' Hostel?

First of all, strict discipline . The girls were very quiet and well behaved. They were under the "control and discipline of Mrs. LU". Mrs. Lu had a vision and mission to bring up good Christian girls. She was very focussed in her dutyt. And in fact , although I was just a student and a frequent visitor I was petrified of her. She had only a small smile and we behaved very very well, by being quiet and mild mannered. All the girls studied hard in the hostel as they were all from outside of Sibu and perhaps their family expectations were very high, so they did indeed behave correctly, like my cousins Lau Kiing Dan and Lau Kiing Hoo, who parents lived in Kapit.

Secondly, the hostel also was home to several teachers like Miss Ida Mamora and her sister Miss Saroha Mamora. These were excellent teachers and role models. We liked their piano playing. So many of the girls picked up piano lessons and played very well. Wong Yuk Hee, another cousin of mine, learned to play the piano very well and later served the Methodist Church as a pianist. We had all been very envious of her and the others who could play the piano. Music became a very important part of our lives because of the life in the girls hostel. We did not realise at that time that music had a very great future. At that time, we only wanted to pass HSC and get into an univeristy. We did not realise that we could do so many other things in life.

Thirdly, the girls who lived in hostel excelled in the games like basketball, volleyball and badminton. The rest of the school girls did not have the opportunity to play these games so well. Because the hostel girls were good at these games, they immediately became the stars of the school, greatly admired and appreciated by the school. The best of them was Wong Yuk Hee who excelled in basketball. We went to watch her play most of the time. Sometimes by telling our mothers that we were going to watch our girls' team play was the only way we could get to do some night activities. Otherwise we were very much stay at home because of the political situation at that time.

fourthly, I remember that the girls had very simple food at meal times. But I thought that it was very interesting to live like them. As I was a day scholar, I did not have a chance to be a hostelite. Years later I was a hostelite at the university but it was definitely not the same. Somehow the cool cement floors, the ceiling fan, the wooden walls and the double bunks seem to be very romantic and even ethereal. I enjoyed watching my good friends Tiurida and Minar keep their rooms clean. I thought that they managed very well without their mother's control. But little did I know then that independence at such an early life would enable them to become excellent mothers and housekeepers.

Fifthly, I learned from my hostel friends that it was important to read the Bible on their own, and say their prayers all the time, at meals, and before their study time and their bed time. Today I am still in touch with Tiurida (in Indonesia) through the Internet, and meet up occasionally with her sister Rita who has become a real sister to me as she lived with us when her missionary parents moved back to Indonesia.

These are my memories of the old Girls' Hostel. It meant a lot to me because my true friends lived there and were brought up very properly by good Christian women like Mrs. Lu, Miss Ida, Miss Saroha and the others. If only all girls could have the chance to live together and be disciplined by such Christian ladies,we would have an excellent generation of good women.

2 memories:

Gaharuman said...

Sarawakiana,

There are a few publication worth having a look at to understand the history of Sibu better. Among them are:

1. Hornbill magazine of MSS. I remember they have feature articles. One of them is about the history of the old mosque in Sibu and maybe also the Sibu Muslim community. I remember it was mentioned that the mosque was started by an Indian Muslim.

2. Sacred Heart 75th Centennial Celebration Magazine. There are a lot of articles on the history of the school in particular and sibu in general. The was an article on Father Vincent Halder, whose body was intact after the exhumation for the relocaqtion of Sacred Heart School.

3. Magazine on the centennial celebration of Catholic Church in Sarawak. published in Kuching around 1988.

4. Magazine of St Elizabth centennial celebration.

5. Publications by methodist church.

6. Publications by Chinese associations.

Sarawakiana said...

thank you. But where I live, I have very little access to these good stuff.
Thank you.
I will try my best to read other sources

 

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