Wednesday, September 10, 2008


She came when we were in Form One, in 1963. The school was Government English School Tumpat (GEST). She became our class teacher. We were a bunch of about 40 kids, a mix of boys and girls, roughly forming the composition of the racial mix of the country. But we are one, till today. Some have moved on to the next life.

Ms Mary is seated fourth from left. Guess where am I in this pic?

It was about 4 years ago when this little heart of mine was called to locate past teachers of ours, teachers who helped mould us to be what we are today. On my search list was this teacher from Batu Gajah. Armed with only her name and her place of origin, I "pasang kaki". My contact person was an x-classmate from another school after I left Tumpat. This kaki of mine, Fadzil, lived in Ipoh, near enough to Batu Gajah. In less than 2 weeks, I got my first break. Fadzil gave me the phone number of the teacher's niece. She was not ready to divulge information until she was satisfied why someone was looking for her aunt.

No problem with that. I spoke to this lady. I told her that I was on a mission to locate my ex-teachers. "Your aunty was on my search list, infact the first one on my list". She gave me the address. Lo and behold, this Batu Gajah teacher lived in my neighborhood. What a wonderful world! Locate her I did. The rest, as they said, is history.

Fast forwarding to the present, just like me, there were other students keen to meet her. We arranged a visit, timely arranged with the visit of Amnoi Dawson. Now, who is this lady AD? AD was a classmate of ours in Form 1, and only in Form 1. Thereafter she left Tumpat, never to return there. Yet, contact had never been lost. AD now lives in Songkhla, Thailand.

So there we were, 3 of us visiting our teacher on 14th August 2008. Ms Mary Cheah Mee Mee. That's her name. "Mimi" also happens to be what I called my youngest daughter. (Mimi is as bubbly as Mee Mee was when Mee Mee was a teacher in Tumpat!)

For Amnoi, this was the first time she would meet Miss Mary since 1963. That's a cool 45 years ago! For Razak, it was not so long ago, 4 years ago. For me, it was a week ago! I dropped in earlier to re-locate her to arrange for this visit.

The couple had 2 sons, both married. One lives in Melbourne, another in Kuala Lumpur. No grand-children yet. Mark, the husband retired from Tenaga Nasional Berhad. His last posting was in the generation plant in Kapar, Klang. Ms Mary's last posting was a school in Jeram, in Kapar, Klang. I used to ply that route when I was working in Maybank Tg Karang. If only I knew then, the couple would be guaranteed occasional fresh fish from Tg Karang, compliment from a grateful student.

Grateful student? Indeed I was. I received a RM15.00 a month scholarship as a student then. This form teacher recommended me for the scholarship. Terima Kasih Ms Mary. Sorry we find it difficult to call you Mrs Mark. I'm sure Mark would not mind.

Stories of the past was replayed over and over again, like an aged tape recording. But they were all pleasant memories, just like the ageless music of P.Ramli, my namesake.

When Amnoi Dawson (now known as Rita Kwanchu) returned to Songkhla, she e-mailed this picture of the girl-guides with Ms Mary. Amnoi is seated extreme left. Some of our classmates are in this shot too - Lian, Siti Esah, Saodah, Mek Keting, Linda Wee and Baby Lim (yes, we have a baby in our class)

Thank you Ms Mary for everything. We shall meet again.


Father Sez said...

This is good lah, Rambo.

Teachers are so important in moulding our lives and they make all the difference in creating the Bentong Kali's and the ARZ's.

No wonder the Hindu scriptures list the importance of people in order of Mother, Father, Teacher and God.


ARZ said...

The hadith said after Allah would be mother, next is mother, thereafter is mother, then mother. Then only will be father. I supposed the teacher follows next

Anonymous said...


You found yr teacher, but i found
that your classmate is my teacher, (mudo lagih),Baby Lim, sexy habih. what make us(we only 24 all boys in a class) frust is not when she got married to the other teacher but when she refused to teach us the human reproductive system. she just skip that chapter.
Linda wee anak, anak Phillip Wee, tokey panggung Ruby, she did some teaching jugok keh ?

Tupat jugok

ARZ said...


Never met Baby Lim after I left Tupat. Remembered her "mata bulat" very well. Am sure all my classmates would agree.
Yeap, Linda Wee anok Philip Wee, Panggung Ruby. Ah..those were the days. She retired as a nurse.
Do you remember Ms Mary Cheah at all?

Anonymous said...

Tok de kenal.Told U, i'm still young(baru nak masuk 50.Mata bulat, her mother is Mek Bunga?Her brother is my junior,covert few years ago.
Scholarshhip RM15 !!! at that time
It is still RM 15 during my time, tu pun sake doh.

ARZ said...


You knew her mother too? I used to have a jiran we fondly called Mok Ngo, short for Mek Bunga. Of course she's not Baby Lim's mother la.

Jolo la. RM15 sake doh. Sebab tu ingat sokmo ko Ms Mary nih

oops did I just say that? said...

i never got any scholarship !