Dear Friends,

Happy New Year, Kong Hi Far Chai, and Selamat Tahun Baru Hijrah to you all.

As I mentioned to you in our last Newsletter that I have received quite a number of articles, so much so I have to leave some for the future issues. So in this issue you may read some articles which were sent to me a few months ago..

However I do receive new articles which I think are very interesting to read and to ponder the idea suggested by the writers. It will make a good platform for us to give our views and suggestions.

So my dear friends happy reading.

Zainal Abidin Manaf

 

Third Batch Kirkby – 1953-55

Feb. 2006, 24th Series

c/o 1018 Lorong Gunung Rapat 2

31350 Ipoh, Perak

Tel: 05-3127411

H/phone: 019-7412535

E-mail: haji02@pd.jaring.my

 

 

                                  

 

I am sure you still remember part of the article written by Michael Shum which was printed in our last Newsletter. The following is the continuation of the article. Hope you enjoy reading

 

Summer holidays

After all the agony and mental torture attending lectures and teaching practice, the most refreshing activity was going away for our summer vacations and depending on where one was heading for and also on one’s financial position, the mode of traveling varied. Some preferred to go on group tours and a few less financially endowed (yours truly included ) took up hitch-hiking with knapsacks on backs and standing by the roadside thumbing lifts from place and staying at youth hostels to rest our weary legs after a hard day’s journey traveling in whatever forms of internal combustion engines that sopped by to transport us along the journey into the great unknown and at times even of impending dangers. On one of the hitch-hiking trips to central Europe covering Belgium, Luxemburg, Holland, France, Germany, Switzerland & Italy, I had Ahmad Omar for my partner. We started off fantastically well until the time I tried to take advantage by not doing my part in asking for water or directions and my good friend also did not butch but stood his ground – and so for some time we just looked stupid without getting anywhere. .However, in the end common sense prevailed and somehow we continued with our cooperation to just get moving. We survived mainly on bread and sardine and fruits. On one occasion we befriended a young man who even offered us accommodation in the East End of London but on arriving at his place he got a note which we had no idea what it was about. He immediately told us to leave him with a very worried look on his face and so we did. Subsequently, we had no news of him as we had no idea what might have happened to him and all we could do was to pray that that nothing dreadful had fallen on him. We were equally thankful to God Almighty for our being still alive. Hitch –hiking was considered safe and economical for those who wished to be adventurous and thus got to see and experience more than the usual conducted tours. It was fun but could be very exhausting and frustrating at times when after long hours of waiting no one bothered to stop and those were the motorists whom we let fly whatever holy words that came to mind. Those were the days when hippies and flower people were non-existence and there were no drug problems or other such negative and harmful indulgences. So we always returned to college unscathed and ready to continue our training except one year when one of our juniors was involved in a car accident and was called to Lord. It was indeed a very sad day for all of us on hearing the news. Whatever will be will be.

 

Friendly bashings

Living together in out barrack style of domicile had its ups and downs. As we were allotted each an individual room, privacy was no problem but at times a few of us would like to gather in one room to hone our debating skills on whatever topics of interest and needless to say top on the agenda were the techniques of courting the fairer sex and in particular the more passionate ones would drool over the prospect of having some ‘fun’ with the local lassies @ the naughty teddy girls who usually came round the other side of the fencing to tease us and of course some lucky blokes would end up dating them after lecture hours at great risks for the cardinal rule was that no ‘unnecessary accident’ should occur during those passionate affairs under the hot atmosphere of the English summer. We were often reminded of a particular senior who got sent home on dishonorable discharge because he unwittingly fathered a child  from one of his passionate encounters with those local damsels.

On one of those gatherings in my room, 3 Taiping chaps – Chong Ah Teng, Liew Pek Siew & Choo Ewe Kiat were in the midst of some heated debate and since I was the host I tried to intervene by calling the meeting to order but instead Chong Ah Teng let go a super duper upper cut which caught squarely on my chin and that was the first time in my born years I saw myriads of stars floating in my vision and at the same time I could or seemed to have heard some tweety little birdies tweeting that they saw a pussy cat. Immediately after the knock-out blow, thousands of apologies and back slapping& body hugging were showered on me. When I finally recovered Chong Ah Teng looked very miserable but as a true Kirkbyite I extended my hand for a hand shake. From then on I developed a very strong bond of friendship with that Taiping gentleman who today is still my best of friend though he has migrated to the land down under. After that incident I took up boxing lessons to insulate myself from further attacks and so I found myself facing an opponent of almost the same physic and he is none other than one of the Pillay brothers from Negri Sembilan. We had our bouts in the block 9 recreation room in front of a few spectators. After putting on the over-sized boxing gloves I tried a few fancy steps and instead of ‘floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee’ ( famous Mohd Ali’s boxing technique ) I ended up floating like a bee and stinging like a butterfly. Fortunately my worthy opponent was no better. There were a couple of body punches and a little bit of head butting but no ear biting ( Mike Tyson was not born yet at that time ). In the end a fair draw was the result.

From boxing I then proceeded to ping-pong diplomacy. It happened in the great hall in front of most students who had gathered there for their cups of tea, billiards, and watching ITV black & white programs after their meals. There I was facing my formidable opponent – none other than my good turbaned friend Sukhdev Singh in his fiery red turban. How in the world a sikh gentleman could have graduated to the level of ping-pongship whereby he could take on a Chinaman like me in a ping-pong match is still a very hot topic of discussion in the sporting arena. Anyway the match started with the usual white ball been hit across the net, broken up with some occasional spinning of the ball and smashing forehand and backhand strokes plus lots of picking up the ball from the floor when those crucial strokes were not properly executed. To say that the match was very competitive is the mother of all understatements. We stared with killer instincts at each other across the table as we served and returned smashes after smashes and in the process of which we lost count of the actual score. It was then the flare up erupted. My opponent insisted that he was leading and being a thoroughbred Chinaman I had to disagree and soon a great shouting match began and fortunately there was the table length to prevent us from using our weapons of mini destruction ( WmD). Had the ex- president of the US - Nixon been there to watch the game, he would have thought a thousand times before venturing to China to establish US-SINO relationship through ping-pong diplomacy. Anyway, after all the hoha, both of us soon forgot about the incident and to this day our friendship has developed to almost brotherhood status. The Chinese have a saying: no fight no acquaintanceship ( butt da butt seong sik )

 

Shopping & eating out

Our first shopping expedition to the city of Liverpool was a conducted affair under the close supervision of our seniors who had to remind us that there was no such thing as bargaining over prices. It was also the first time that many of us who had hailed from ‘ulu’ or ‘kampong’ places back home in Malaysia had our maiden ride in a double-decker bus which at the beginning kept us wondering where the driver was sitting when we were on the upper deck. On reaching the city proper we were bewildered by the typical English departmental stores, the Salvation Army, the Burtons tailor, the fish & chips eateries and of course a number of Hokien restaurants selling typical Hong Kong food and one of our favorite was the Bluebird special fried noodles ( Cantonese style ). Needless to say we had to foot the bill for whatever food consumed by the seniors who accompanied us. As our pocket money given by the courtesy of the home government amounted to only 10 pound sterling ( rate of exchange at that time was 1 pound equaled to RM8.50 ) we had no interest in any form of shopping except window shopping, more at gazing the pretty salesgirls than the merchandise on display.

 

Spunik curry, fried salt fish & belachan

As full fledged government scholars we were provided with all the meals starting with breakfast, tea/coffee break, dinner, high tea & supper each day. Breakfast  was very tolerable with bacon/sausages & eggs, tea with biscuits, dinner (midday meal) with the usual rice, meat and occasional fried mee ( English style) ending with pudding and then supper which sometime came with the most dreaded sputnik curry ( a concoction of curry with hard boiled eggs ) and on such occasions more than half of the dining area would be empty. So we made a beeline back to our residential blocks and out came the treasured salt fish and belachan from our steel cabinets ( such items were specially flown to us by our beloved parents back home). The delightful aroma from the cooked salt fish & sambal belachan were like heavenly delicacies but when the smell of such cooking reached the nostrils of the residential ‘mat salleh lecturers’ all hell broke loose as they were so uncivilized not to recognize a good thing when they came across one – such is the great divide in the cultures between the East & West. Those whom were deprived of such food received from home had no choice but to make a trip to a nearby fish & chips store to survive another day. The drinkers would proceed to the pubs not so far away and had their sing song sessions ( karaoke was not invented yet) with the locals downing mugs after mugs of beer/bitter, apple cider and that was how we became so endeared with the locals who were ever so friendly and calling us ‘love’ in their typical dialect.

 

Dining out –Western Style

One of the great things about living and studying overseas is that we get the opportunity to put into practice the doctrine ‘when in Rome, do as the Romans do’. And so it came to past that one day I was invited along with other students by a well known shipping company called the Blue Funnel Line to have a first class western dinner aboard the majestic liner. Of course before we set out for the grand dining experience, we received valuable advice from our seniors on the art of using the array of eating utensils which are nicely laid out on the table and that we should use them starting from the outside and they usually come in the order of the little butter knife, followed by the soup spoon, fish knife, knife for meat, spoon for desert etc. We arrived punctually to show that we had mastered the most treasured trait of British culture and then we sat down in the most sophisticated manner in our best evening attire for the occasion and waited for the cuisine to arrive. There were the usual serving of  red /white wine to vet the appetite. We started off with the soup ( not the bak kat teh or shark fins soup kind ) and then we were shown a list of the main course dishes which ranged from fish, beef steak, chicken to lamb chops etc. I of course chose the fish after checking the cutlery that was still left after the soup spoon was taken away. The fish preparation was indeed out of this world and as I was extremely hungry I polished off the whole lot ( no bones – clever western way of cooking fish ) in record time and then the well mannered waiter came and asked me discretely if I had enough and of course being a very frank & honest guy, I shook my head and then pointed to the item marked ‘beef steak’ on the menu and the waiter gave me one kind of funny look which I can still visualize some time. By the time most of the rest had finished their fish, my sizzling beef steak arrived and of course a few colleagues followed my initiative to place the next order of chops to prolong the consumption of a near perfect dinner. Then only did I see that I was doing justice to the array of cutlery which was diminishing in number as we finally arrived to the cup of tea/coffee to end the mother of all dinners.

My next encounter of dining out was a more private affair when together with another student we were invited to spend a day & night with an English couple with a pretty daughter for Christmas. We were warmly welcomed by the whole family and the lovely daughter was indeed a sight to behold but we were sensible not to misbehave even though our hot Malaysian blood was being pumped up at a tremendous fast rate by our young energetic hearts every time we had a chance to communicate with her with the usual love struck eye and other body language always mindful that the parents were watching us like hawks lest their beautiful daughter was taken away by 2 Eastern Princes fro afar. Dinner was served and that was the first time I saw a huge roasted turkey with all the tantalizing smell placed in front of us. After the usual pleasantry, eating started and the host carved out a piece of the turkey after asking how much we wanted. Of course I asked for a small portion on the understanding that I might be able to ask foe a second helping and that was a mistake. To this day, I still give the benefit of doubt to our host for putting away the turkey after the first serving because he thought we were not accustomed to eating turkey when we asked for that miserable small helping at the start and so what an opportunity came and went off, leaving us no choice to survive on potatoes, over cooked vegetables, salad and of course pudding. If only I dared to practice the American way of fingers licking good in eating that turkey, I could easily finish at least a quarter of the feathered friend!

 

Michael Shum

(1959-1960)

 

From: Angline Ong Siok Hong ( 1958-1959)

 

Dear Zainal.

I started writing this article after reading your 20th Newsletter in March but it was kept in the cold storage. Now six months later, I am sending it – better late than never!

            Janet Siah’s article on camping in the New Forest fills me with nostalgia. Like her I had camped in the New Forest too but unlike her, we did not camp outdoors. Instead we had high-class camping – sleeping in comfortable beds in rooms and having our meals cooked for us. The idea was that we would be able to spend maximum time at the training sessions which we benefited from. However, it had the trappings of a guiders’ training camp with duties like washing-up and colour-party.

The guiders’ training centre was known as Foxlease and the guider-in-charge was Miss Rosemary Hoare. She and her staff were really dedicated guiders who taught us a great deal about the patrol system, the Guide Laws, knotting, International Guiding, etc. We also met guiders from other parts of England and even some from the Continent. Every morning, as we hoisted the World Flag and sang the World Song, we felt the true meaning of the great sisterhood of guides. In our various activities, we learnt cooperation, helpfulness, honesty, friendliness, in fact, all the tenets of the ten Guide Laws. Following the principle of our founder, Lord Baden Powell, we learnt through games – the Law and Promise, knotting, history of guiding, tracking sign, etc. All these activities of learning through play stood us in good stead when we returned home to teach and run our guide companies. I made use of many of these games, for example, Scavenge Hunt, not only to teach my girl guides but also to teach English.

In fact when I went to the University of Malaya for my Dip. ESL course, I did my graduation exercise on Language Games and Songs. I adopted and adapted many of the girl guide games and songs that I had played and sung in my girl guiding days. It was fun way of motivating my pupils to learn English as they enjoyed it.

On other note, I would like to mention that there have been numerous mini Kirkby gatherings especially in Kuala Lumpur, which is our regular meeting point. Every time we met, the Kirkby spirit was evident and there was much camaraderie. Everyone was happy to see the old (lama as well as tua ) faces and speak fondly of our good old days in Kirkby.

 

Angeline Ong Siok Hong

(1958-1959)

 

Perhaps there are many of us ( including me ) are not aware that “ Siri Pengkisahan Sejarah Kirkby Teachers’ Training College” organized by “Arkib Negara Malaysia”, was held on 5th February 1994 at the Auditorium Arkib Negara Malaysia, officially launched by Y.B. Dato’ Chan Kong Choy, Timbalan Menteri Kebudayaan Kesenian dan Pelancungan.

I received the following article from Tuan Haji Kamaruddin b Ibrahim (1953-1955). This is what he said:-

 

Saudara Zainal,

Bersama-sama dengan surat ini saya sertakan satu daripada siri pengkisan sejarah Kirkby Teachers’ Training College yang berlangsung pada 5 Februari 1994, jam 9.00 pagi di Auditorium Arkib Negara Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, anjuran Arkib Negara Malaysia.

            Saya bernasib baik kerana menerima jemputan dan telah pun menghadirinya. Objektifnya ialah untuk megumpul maklumat mengenai sejarah Maktab ini dan melengkapkan lagi maklumat yang ada untuk panduan dan rojokan penyelidik yang datang ke Arkib Negara.

Tokoh-tokoh pengkisah adalah seperti berikut:-

            Y.Bhg. Datuk Haji Ali Esa ( 1st batch )

Y.Bhg. Haji Abdul Rahim Mohd Yusof ( 1st batch )

Y.Bhg. Dr John Augustine ( 1st batch )

Y.Bhg. Haji Alias Shamsuddin ( 2nd  batch )

Y.Bhg. Hajah Sofiah Mat Yit ( 2nd batch )

Mereka yang dapat hadir telah pun menyampaikan pengkisahan masing-masing. Dalam buku kecil yang disertakan memberi secara terperinci pengkisah tersebut di atas.

 

Sejarah Rengkas “Kirkby Teachers’ Training College

“Kirkby Teachers’ Training College” telah ditubuhkan pada tahun 1952 di Kirkby, Lancashire, Liverpool, England untuk melatih guru-guru daripada Persekutuan Tanah Melayu. Tujuan penubuhan ialah bagi menampung kekurangan tenaga pengajar pada masa itu. Selepas Perang Dunia Kedua, Negara menghadapi masalah kekurangan guru terlatih untuk mengajar di sekolah-sekolah di seluruh Negara. Memandangkan masalah inilah Kerajaan British telah cuba mendapatkan sebuah kolej bagi melatih bakal guru-guru dari Malaya di United Kingdom kerana pada masa itu keadaan politik dan sosial di Malaya masih belum stabil lagi di mana darurat masih lagi berjalan dalam negara, masalah untuk mendapatkan tempat yang sesuai dan tenaga pengajar tidak mencukupi. Untuk mengatasi masalah-masalah inilah, akhirnya Kerajaan British telah mengambil keputusan untuk mengadakan Latihan Perguruan di United Kingdom iaitu di sebuah Bandar bernama ‘Kirkby’. Kemudian dikenali sebagai ‘Kampong Kirkby’ oleh pelajar-pelajarnya.

Bermula pada Januari 1952, Kirkby Teachers’ Training College telah menerima 149 orang pelajar dari Malaya untuk memulakan kursus perguruan untuk jangka masa dua tahun. Pada tahun ini juga Kirkby College menerima dua pengambilan sebagai permulaan. Pengambilan kedua dibuat dalam bulan November iaitu seramai 150 orang pelajar telah tiba di England. D.Y.M.M. Seri Paduka Baginda Raja Permaisuri Agong Tuanku Bainu adalah diantara pelajar dalam pengambilan tahun ini.

Pelajar-pelajar yang terpilih untuk memasuki Kolej ini terdiri dari mereka yang lulus ‘Cambridge School Certificate’ gred I dan II dengan kepujian dalam Bahasa Inggeris. Di Kolej ini mata pelajaran yang diajar termasuklah seni kraftangan, senaman, Bahasa Inggeris, geografi, sastera, matematik, Bahasa Melayu, pengembangan kanak-kanak, psikologi dan beberapa matapelajaran lain yang berkaitan.

Pengetua pertama Kolej ialah Mr R. Williams dan beliau telah berkhidmat sehingga 1954. Seterusnya beliau telah digantikan oleh Mr G.J. Gurney sehinggalah Kolej ini ditutup pada tahun 1962.

Pada tahun 1963 kumpulan pertama seramai 149 orang guru-guru terlatih telah kembali ke tanahair  untuk memulakan khidmat bakti mereka di negara sendiri. Mereka telah dihantar ke seluruh negara untuk mengajar. Tugas-tugas yang diberikan telah dijalankan dengan begitu baik, di mana laporan-laporan yang diterima mengenai guru-guru lepasan Kirkby College ini amat membanggakan, mereka telah memberikan sumbangan terhadap memajukan sistem pendidikan Negara.

Pada tahun 1955, sebuah lagi kolej perguruan telah diambilalih iaitu Brinsford Lodge, Wolverhampton. Berikutan dengan pengambilan Brinsford Lodge ini sedikit perubahan dalam isi kandunagn kursus perguruan telah dilakukan. Pengkhususan pengajaran telah dikenalkan di kedua-dua kolej ini. Pelajar-pelajar di Kirkby College diberikan latihan khas untuk mengajar Bahasa Inggeris untuk pelajar-pelajar Sekolah Rendah dan Menengah Rendah ( Upper Primary and Lower Secondary School ) sebagai tambahan pelajar-pelajar yang dilatih untuk mengajar Bahasa Melayu untuk semua jenis sekolah. Brinsford Lodge pula menyediakan guru-guru untuk mengajar di sekolah-sekolah menengah rendah dan juga menyediakan bakal pensyarah-pensyarah untuk mengajar di maktab-maktab perguruan tempatan di masa hadapan.

Sepanjang tempoh penubuhan, Kirkby College telah menerima lawatan daripada beberapa orang tokoh-tokoh penting dari Malaya mahupun dari United Kingdom. Ini termasuklah Sultan Perak dan Selangor dengan diiringi oleh Raja Tun Uda; Menteri Pelajaran, Dato’ Abdul Razak; Sultan Pahang; dan Duchess of Kent, satu lagi peristiwa penting ialah lawatan oleh Ketua Menteri Persekutuan Tanah Melayu Y.A.M. Tunku Abdul Rahman, semasa beliau mengadakan rundingan kemerdekaan di London. Y.A.M. Tunku telah mengumumkan bahawa Kerajaan British telah bersetuju untuk memberikan kemerdekaan kepada Persekutuan Tanah Melayu. Berikutan dengan itu Kirkby College telah mendapat peruntukan khas dari perbendaharaan bagi merayakan perayaan kemerdekaan.

Pada tahun 1962, Kerajaan mengambil keputusan untuk menutup Kirkby College. Penutupannya dibuat kerana bilangan maktab perguruan di Malaya pada masa itu sudah bertambah dan dapat menampung keperluan dalam negeri. Semasa ditutup Kirkby College telah berjaya memberikan latihan kepada lebih daripada 1500 orang guru. Kebanyakan mereka adalah terdiri dari guru-guru terlatih yang telah berjasa dalam memberikan pendidikan kepada rakyat, semasa Negara menghadapi masalah mendapat guru-guru terlatih. Jasa mereka akan sentiasa dikenang oleh Negara. 

Arkib Negara Malaysia      

 

Dear Friends,

I received a letter from En Ismail Abu Bakar ( 1955-1957), which I would like to share with you. Perhaps some of you may have some comments or suggestions especially from some of our friends such as Y.Bhg.Tan Sri Dr Yahaya Ibrahim, Y.Bhg.Tan Sri Vediveloo, Y.Bhg. Dato Sidek Alumdin, Tuan Haji Alias Shamsuddin etc.

 

Dear Zainal,

I received a copy of your Newsletter from Kamaruddin Ibrahim who had been to Kirkby with you. It was thoughtful of him to do so. You see, he had been with me for the teacher-trainer course 1962, the year our college closed down.

            I read with absorbing interest all the articles in your newsletter. At least I know now that some of us are still very much alive and kicking.

I must laud your effort in keeping things going because Kirkby had been established more than half century ago to redress the shortage of teachers in the country. It had turned out to be a successful venture and many ex-Krikbyites had displayed the brilliance and tenacity to prove to other Malaysian teachers, that Kirkby had not been a wasted effort. Most of us had discharged our duties well.

I am sure some of us can still contribute to the TEL to improve the deplorable standard of English among some teachers’ colleges in the country. Perhaps we could start by meeting as a group to discuss this very important matter.

Ex-Kirkbyites who are capable should produce books in English in Science and Mathematics which are badly needed in both primary and secondary schools.

The Ministry of Education knows that some of us are still around. May be they do not know our specific addresses. We could of course, supply to the Ministry some addresses of Kirkbyites who may be keen and eager to help.

We have to study and analyse this suggestion to see whether it’s feasible or not. Sincerely I believe we must be proactive and make our intentions known. If we don’t we’ll never know whether we are needed or not.

I like to share my thoughts with you first because there’s an active Kirkby group in Ipoh.

At present our meetings are restricted to reunions only. Let us spread our wings further. I am quite sure that most of us 60 years over in age. But to me age is just a “number”.

So, Zainal think about it…… I enclose herewith a poem on Kirkby. It’s my attempt at writing “free verse” to keep myself occupied. I you think it’s good enough to be in your next Newsletter, print it. Otherwise throw it in the waste-bin.

That’s all for now.

Ismail b Abu Bakar

(1955-1957)

OUR KIRKBY COLLEGE OUR DESTINY

 

Yes, we were there

To live and charter our destiny

The days were splendid

Stupendous and marvelous

Despite the dreadful weather

We braved it delightfully

Through snow, frost and sleet

Grim dark sunless weather

Greeted us almost daily

 

No regrets for most

We were there to gather

New experiences

We were timid

We can’t comprehend

The English way of life

We wanted more time

Something we were not granted

 

Yes ! that was Kirkby

Established to train teachers

And it succeeded tremendously

That one more college

Brinsford Lodge was born

 

Almost half a century ago

The lucky Malaysian youths

Were there living their destiny

Some of them had passed away

The few who remained alive

Will treasure Kirkby

With fondest love and memories

It made no sense to fear death

For those who survive

The rigorous winter

And cold summers

Will long remember Kirkby

Its prefab buildings and

Lot water-pipes

Reminder of bygone days

Indelible forever in our mind.

 

I then received another letter from En Ismail. This letter is more interesting. Let us read it and hope to hear your comment:

 

Dear Zainal,

My second letter to you is to let you know of my dream. Like Martin Luther King “I have a dream too” My dream is to see the establishment of a “Maktab Perguruan Kirkby” I think it’s not only my dream but it’s also the dream of all Kirkbyites.

So how do we go about putting our big dream into reality? To begin with we have to set up a fund. This fund will take some years to build up. Can we save enough in five years? Or do we need ten years? 

We have to make a start some time some where. We cannot just sit and shoot the breeze waiting for our saving to grow. I got this idea when I read your latest Newsletter when you mentioned YMM Raja Permaisuri Perak, Tuanku Bainun, has decided to name her college hall “Dewan Kirkby” If our dream comes true will perpetuate the historic Kirkby name for posterity. I am serious about the whole idea because our Tuanku Bainun is still living. We’ll build the college in Perak. Tuanku Bainun will be able and willing to help us obtain a piece of land, say 20 acres, to construct our college. I am sure the Perak State Government will alienate it graciously for the proposed project. I don’t foresee any problem in getting a piece of land for the purpose.

To begin with we have to set up a committee which will be charged with specific functions to look into the viability of the proposal. Of course some of might feel that my suggestion is not practical. I think it is because the country will gain by constructing another teachers’ college.

The principal objective of the college shall be to produce teachers of English proper and science and mathematics. We’ll have to insist on this from the beginning.

I have some experience in land matters. I shall be happy to serve on the land committee to approach the Menteri Besar to alienate a piece of land for our purpose with premium of RM1.00 because it is for the benefit of the public. In the National Land Code this code premium is provided for. So the cost of land is not a financial burden. We need to look into the infrastructure cost and the construction cost of putting the college building. This will be the job of the Quantity Surveyor.

The cost of building the college premises will depend on the generosity of the ex-Kirkbyites who I am sure will donate and contribute generously to the proposed fund and the public. This college will serve as “Kirkby Memorial” for posterity.

Well, Zainal, think it over and spread the news for our Kirkby colleagues who I am sure will want to air their views on such a splendid idea.

Personally I am dead serious because Kirkbyites mean what they say and say what they mean. Let us start the ball rolling especially among our prominent colleagues who are very proud to be associated with Kirkby. The Ministry of Education will be thrilled by our stupendous effort.

By the year 2020 I am sure will be able to build that dream college.

Therefore I look forward to hear from you soon. The sooner we commence studying the matter the better it will be because all of us are in the “roaring 60’s and 70’s. So don’t delay.

The cost of constructing a college may run into RM50 million or more but it will be worth our effort. I am sure the Mayor of Liverpool and the Liverpool University are willing to land a hand financially.

I wish you “Happy New Year” Hope new year will bring joy and cheers to you.

Take care.

Ismail b Abu Bakar

(1955-1957)

 

My dear friends,

Lately starting with the Merdeka Celebrations, the news of Kirkby had reappeared on TV and in our prominent newspapers, New Straits Time, The Star, Nan Yang Siang Pow and perhaps other national newspapers as well. After more than 50 years the media has brought up again about Kirkby. I am sure all Kirkbyites were touched and overwhelmed by it.

The above article by Encik Ismail Abu Bakar should open the eyes of Kirkbyites and I for one felt that what he said and suggested should be deeply and seriously looked into. As for me it is time for us to come together. Of course not all the suggestions made by Ismail is feasible especially the idea of raising fund as much as RM50 million. Not all Kirkbyites are well off, some ended up as an ordinary retired teacher living meagerly on their pension. Secondly we all are between late 60s and late 70s and by 2020 I am afraid it will be too late for most of us who are still around, to appreciate and to feel proud. What I feel we should do is to form a representative consisting of prominent Kirkbyites who retired as Education Officers, Senior Government Servants, Politicians, Professors, and other professionals such as in the legal field and of course as successful businessmen, etc. without counting some influential people who are the children of ex-Kirkbyites.

What we have been doing are having reunion, after reunion. Its high time for us to be serious. To start with, perhaps we can arrange for a reunion-come-meeting. What I know is that many colleges are named after the town or district. To quote one, is a college in Perak named Maktab Perguruan Ipoh which is actually situated in Ulu Kinta, in the Kinta District itself. At first it was named Maktab Perguruan Ulu Kinta. To us especially the Malays “ulu” is associated to uncivilized place (no offence please!). Fortunately it was not named as Maktab Perguruan Tanjung Rambutan, a town in Ulu Kinta. That will be worse. So, why can’t one of this type of colleges be named as Maktab Perguruan Kirkby. I personally choose Perak is because we can get a full support from the Perak royal family.   

If we read the report by Arkib Negara above, there is definitely word of praise for Kirkby.

So, my dear colleagues let us ponder a while and give a serious thought about it Every time I produce a Newsletter I will be sending to more that 100 Kirkbyites excluding those overseas which were sent via internet, but unfortunately only a handful of us responded and participated. I don’t know what to think. May be they don’t think much of it !!!   

 

Note:

On last page is the newspaper cutting from the Liverpool Paper, sent to me by Yawanarajah. He received it from Muriel in Fazerkely. How very thoughtful of Liverpool Paper to remember us ….