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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Old St. Elizabeth Convent - School Rivalry



 


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In the 1960's and 70's St. Elizabeth Convent school was a "rival" school of the Methodist School. The girls wore a special maroon skirt and pink blouse. So they were called Red Ants.

Most of the girls were prettier and daintier (generalisation) than the girls of Methodist School I remember from the gossips. On sports days we would meet in the padang and glare at each other for no reason at all - just because we were wearing different school uniforms or just the different badges I supppose.

But then I had cousins studying in St. Elizabeth and that toned down the rivalry in my family. My aunt Carrie studied in that school too. So in this way as a family we did not have such an intense feeling against the School.

We cousins and aunts get together we talked about general things and not what school we went to. We might have compared principals and what we learned but we would not strangle each other over differences.

My boy cousins who went to Sacred Heart often told us how they amused themselves by waiting for the girls to come out of the school giggling and shaking their luscious hair. Sitting on their bicycles wearing their all white school uniform these boys were really conspicuous. And of course they loved whistling at them. It was just the boy thing then. But the girls felt good about themselves. Perhaps in a co-ed school like ours the boys and girls did not really notice each other in that way. Life was just so normal we often forgot our gender differences.

Later many of us studied Romeo and Juliet and related the situation to our school rivalries. The Capulets and Montagues fought hard but ended up losers.

And soon many of the girls from St. Elizabeth came over to Methodist School's Sixth Form Arts(1967-1987). This helped to dilute any fierce fighting amongst the youngsters of Sibu.( I was later a sixth form teacher to many of the brilliant St. Elizabeth girls who came over to the Methodist School for Sixth Form Science.)

My sixth form life went on to be one of the happiest parts of my life. We all did well in life thanks to the great teachers we had. The friendship formed during those years lasted until today. And I am sure many school mates (and those from St. Elizabeth and Sacred Heart) would agree that friendship formed in the school is the best kind of friendship we will ever have in life.

Today I do not think such fierce school rivalries exist any more. If it does it could be just a passing phase to strength certain competitions or feed the pyschological needs of certain teachers and school heads. School rivalry remains a very amusing part of my life.

15 memories:

Greenspot said...

Sarawakiana,

This is the first time I have seen photo of St E School which I suppose was still at Mission Road then. By the time I was born, the school has shifted to Oya Road.

Greenspot

Superman said...

Now Methodist and St. Elizabeth is still rivaling in many aspect. Not only student but even the headmaster and headmistress are doing it. :) Maybe passed down from the past the tradition.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Greenspot
The school was shifted sometime in the 80's...the Convent had a special place in my heart because I can always remember the rows of the nuns marching towards the Sacred Heart Church for the evening mass. I used to admire them for their discipline etc. With each nun going home during the Communist era I felt a little sad. Some aura of dedication and commitment also went off with them it seemed.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Superman
I presume that school rivalry will continue in one way or another....May be competition is good for performance and achievement.

Greenspot said...

Sarawakiana,

I thought the school was shifted in the 1960's? There was a Sister Louisa who was the headmistress of the school. Later she moved to Kanowit but she continue to give one of my aunts
lessons by correspondence. That was before the 2nd World war. And my aunt later become one of the teachers at St Elizabeth's Primary School (now renamed St Rita Primary School). Very little is written about those nuns but I understand the last 'white' nun to be the headmistress is still alive in England -Sister Cecily.

Greenspot.


Greenspot

sarawakiana said...

Yes Sister Cecily has been a beloved Principal of St.E for many years. And I believed she returned to the UK during the Insurgency years. She subsequently returned perhaps twice and the last time was not too long ago.
There is a Chinese sister (Barbara) who used to work in Kanowit and is now often a short term missionary to China.
Sister Cecily I am sure has much of the history of Sibu and its education in mind. She was principal to my aunt and cousins. So I know something by hearsay as I never knew her personally.
The school was shifted when Mission Road and Long Bridge were redeveloped.

Greenspot said...

Sarawakiana,

Kanowit was a more important town than Sibu before the turn of the 20th Century. As a comparison,
Fort Emma was built in 1859 by Rajah James Brooke but Fort Brooke in Sibu was only built in 1862.
Shortly after their arrival in Sarawak, the Catholic missionaries built its first mission outside Kuching at Kanowit. St. Francis Xavier was founded in 1883-the oldest primary school in Sarawak. Sacred Heart School in Sibu was only built in 1902.

Greenspot


Sibu continues to fulfill this role today. Sibu Fort, which was built by Rajah Brooke in 1862,

Greenspot said...

Sarawakiana,

There was a Eurasian staying at Lanang Road-Lily Chapman. Do you know her?

Greenspot

sarawakiana said...

Yes Greenspot.
The St. Francis Xavier of Kanowit was for a long time a great dispensary serving the Chinese and the Ibans of the area. I remember many of my students were given treatment in the middle of the night by the sisters there.
Kanowit was actually first settled by the Hokkiens who later moved to Sibu when the Foochows started the pasar and trade boomed. It was also because the lower Rajang was then populated and rubber began to flourish that Kanowit started to wane and lose its lustre.

Greenspot said...

Sarawakiana,

Sister Celestine Ho who replaced Sister Cecily after she left is now retired in Miri. I have cousins who studied at St E when she was principal and I have heard them talking very fondly of her.

Greenspot

Greenspot said...

Sarawakiana,

I found something related which should be an interesting read.

http://sungaienseluai.com/blog/?page_id=9

Greenspot

sarawakiana said...

Dear Greenspot
I have met Sister Celestine several times and I do go and visit the convent in Krokop. I have the intention to visit them again when Sister Barbara comes in the future.
They live a simple yet happy life in the convent. May God bless them.

Greenspot said...

Sarawakiana,

Please do interview Sister celestine and Sister Barbara and write postings about them and Sibu in the past. as they are very old now, it is good to document the oral history of Sibu from them.

Greenspot

Greenspot said...

Sarawakiana,

I have found the following:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/daddysloft/3398795850/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/daddysloft/3398795870/in/photostream/

I Am Sarawakiana said...

thanks Greenspot.

Will look at it....

 

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