Monday, March 30, 2009
This is a very old photo of my Koo Poh (Madam Tiong Yuk Ging) teaching her kindergarten class in the old Methodist Kindergarten Building in Island Road. The building is long gone and my grand aunt passed away in 1997 after serving God for a long long time.
The chairs if you notice lasted a long time. I remember sitting on them when I was
5. By the time my eldest and second daughters went to this kindergarten they too sat on these actual chairs. And after many years when I returned to visit the school and kindergarten they were still there!! The carpenter who made them must have been very very good. I am wondering where these chairs are now. Are they still in the best of conditions?
The kindergarten children learned to carry their chairs quietly to the front so that they could have a very close session with their teacher (Goo Poh) and they learn their singing and listening and speaking. Then they would carry their chairs back to their tables where they would carry out their own individual work or group work. They would share the colour pencils put in the middle of the table or take out their own colours in colour their masterpieces.
I still remember the children going to the toilets and they would pretend that they were butterflies winging to the wash rooms. Boys would be in one team and the girls in another. Every one would be smiling and the teachers-in-charge beaming away.
Later they would enjoy the lovely biscuits which they would dip into their plastic cups of milo. They would so systematically return the empty cups to the rack!! Happy that they had a share in the magnificient tiffin!!
Sometimes the teachers would have the towels ready to mop any spills or dry any tearful child.
And then the beautiful angels would be singing their kindergarten songs to the accompaniment of the organ music played by a teacher like Madam Tiong Ai Lan also a grand aunt of mine.
Both these Goo Poh taught "two generations" or may be even a third generation of kindergarten children from 1950's until 1980's!! They were never transferred any where else. such was the stability of the teaching profession then. And salaries were a meagre $200.00 (They probably started with 60 or even less)
The chairs always remind me of the First Carpenter. Love of your craft must bring about long lasting work!! Today most chairs which we can buy from furniture shop last only a few months. What a pity we do not have our olden days carpenters.
Take another look at the photo.... - two boys and one girl were obviously not listening to the teacher!! They prefer talking to their own friends.
"All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten". (A very thought provoking book by Robert Fulghum)
Memoir by I Am Sarawakiana at 7:55 AM