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Tom's friend one day, was holding forth
On nature's compensations,
And strengthening his arguments
With copious illustrations.
For instance if you see a man,
With loss of eyesight troubled,
His hearing power you'll always find,
Is very nearly doubled.
Again take one who from his birth,
Has both been deaf and blind,
His sense of touch most marvellously,
Developed you will find.
"You're right," cried Mrs. Tom, "if one part's weak
The other's all the stronger.
Sure, I've observed when one leg's short
The other's always longer."
V. I. Sports Day
My Visit to The Estana.
When I first consented to take the part of Pang Wang Foo, a Chinese shopkeeper in the Malay Play Chitra Raja Besi. I never dreamt that this important part would take me all the way from Kuala Lumpur to the Estana of H. H. the Sultan of Selangor at Klang. The idea of Pang Wang Foo, an "olang sengkeli lali utan", visiting the Estana of H.H. the Sultan of Selangor, was a cause of envy to at least some people.
Yet there I was seated beside Thomas the driver of the headmaster's motor car, with Major Sidney and Inche M. A. Akbar in the rear seat of the Overland car, speeding away at seventeen miles an hour towards Klang. The object of this visit was to attain an idea of the arrangements of the furniture in a Sultan's court to enable the producer of Chitra Raja Besi to set his first scene.
There was nothing remarkable along the road except that we passed by the usual F. M. S. scenery of rubber trees. Soon we were in Klang; crossing the Belfield Bridge with its steel girders painted red, a wonderful piece engineering. There was Thomas reducing the speed of the car to ten miles. Confound him! It was with the greatest difficulty that I resisted from kicking his leg away from the brake and accelerating the car myself.
As we approached the summit of the hill, I saw a big brown building which looked like a Muslim Mosque; yet not a mosque because of the cannons which bristled on the outer walls. This was the Estana - fancy mistaking the stately Estana for a holy mosque or a horrid fort. At last the car stopped at the Estana and we got out. We entered the reception room where the Sultan generally receives his distinguished visitors; this room however was empty. We turned to the visitor's book and signed our names in it. On the side opposite to the entrance to this room was a flight of stairs, made of cement, and it led to the second storey of this building.
Just then H. H. the Raja Muda arrived and after the formal greetings he told us, while his servant went upstairs to open the doors, that the room in which we were was the reception room. When the servant who had gone upstairs announced that the doors of the second storey were opened, His Highness asked us to go upstairs and together we ascended the stairs. Under the ceiling, overhanging the stairs, was a huge circular shield or disc of about twelve feet in diameter. This shield was made of wood and on it were beautiful carvings.
When we arrived at the top of the stairs we were confronted by a series of locked doors with the exception of one. We entered through this door to the throne room. This room was a marked contrast to the reception room below in grandeur and in every respect. The floor was covered with thick multi-coloured carpets which made walking noiseless. At one end of this room under a magnificent canopy was the throne with its yellow coverings and its gilt decorations in the shape of crowns, Jawi characters, and other symbols All these works were done by H. H. the Sultan himself. In front of this throne was another seat on which H.H. the Sultan sits sometimes and in front of this seat were six chairs for the sons of H.H. the Sultan.
H. H. the Raja Muda showed us his seat which was the third chair from the visitor's right hand. On the left of the throne was a bedstead with pillows, mats, and draperies. This was the bed on which H. H. the Raja Muda's mother died. Just in front of the seats of the sons of H. H. the Sultan were two big silver trays about a yard in diameter with intricate designs carved on it.
They were made, so H. H. the Raja Muda told us, by H. H. the Sultan when he was Raja Muda. In the middle of the throne room were cushioned chairs, marble top tables with costly coloured glass and silver wares. There were also a gramophone, a piano, and a cabinet full of ornaments wrought in silver. The walls were decorated with photographs of the late Sultan, the Royal Family, and the Estana. There was a photograph of H. H. the Sultan when he was Raja Muda and a photograph of Mr. (now Sir) E. Birch in Malay costume.
An Outdoor Scene
Seven years ago, when I was in China, I was a farmer boy. One evening I was told by my grandfather to go to my uncle's house. The way to my uncle's house was blocked by a forest. The sun was just touching the tree tops
Before long, the sun went down, and the darkness crept over the silent park. It was very still; not a breath of wind stirred, not a leaf rustled. The moon came up above the trees and poured a flood of light into the clearing amid the dark woods. Suddenly I saw a light from a distance, and when I went nearer, I found that my uncle's house was in front of me, and I went into the house in safety.
Ambition is the burning desire within the heart for something noble or great. We all must be ambitious; to be ambitious we must aim high, must never give up striving, and must not be satisfied with our own performances. These are the golden rules of ambitions.
Ambitions are divided into two classes, namely:- (1) false ambitions, (2) true ambitions. False ambitions are like passing clouds which for some time, are in sight and then disappear. True ambitions are as firm as rocks that stand the tempest and storms.
Man! Life is your own. You have to thank yourself for what you are, have been, and will be. 'I'ake the present into your hands and consciously shape out of it your future. Direct your forces along lines of study and endeavour that the strongest attraction for you. Such attraction is the indication of need, it is the hand pointing out your life purposes. What your heart desires earnestly and clamours for incessantly is attracted to you out of the invisible supply; that is, the means, the environments, the right sorts of persons, the books, and thought-forces, are drawn to you and then you are expected to work out your desire. This is in perfect accord with the great law of attraction.
To fulfil your ambitions you should possess an iron will, and pursuing a particular line of thought you build your own destiny. It is wisely said that all that we wish may be obtained by knowing how to think; will is the grand culmination of all the complex mental faculties of man. The act of willing expresses a fixed determination of the mind.
The singleness and straightforwardness of the thought and confidence in one's ability are the keys by which the doors of success are unlocked. For an ambitious man there is no trial too great; no task too severe. He pursues a definite course and thus prevents his energies from flowing in many directions being wasted. A grim will carries him ever onward, and onward. His heart and soul are in the work he undertakes, and what would seem a burden to others, becomes as pleasure to him.
Train your mind to give perfect attention to any subject you like. You ought to be able to concentrate upon one subject of thought, study, and observation, with undivided attention. By patience and perseverance train your mind to pay attention where it ought to do so, and not where it ought not to.
Real greatness results from mind control. All power results from continual exercise of active meditation, and all weak-mindedness is the direct outcome of inattentive habit. Focus your attention upon the thing to be done to the exclusion of all else, and you will obtain wonderful results.
Port Dickson Camp 1923
Through unflinching and resolute effort, the proposal of the Port Dickson Camp of 1923 at last expeditiously resulted in success.
The day of August 29th, 1923, was still in its youth when every cadet merry and bright was briskly marched off from the Victoria Institution to the station. With departing cheers, shouts, and music played by the St. John's fife-bugle band, the Selangor Cadet Battalion congregated in the train was soon out of the station. The whole journey was simply pleasant.
It was about 1:30 p.m. that the train journey came to an end at Port Dickson station. In spite of five miles' tedious march to the camp alongside the seashore, most of the cadets were very much fascinated by the peaceful bluish sea, the fresh air, and the surrounding beautiful scenery. Camp was ultimately reached, and everybody with tired feet longed to have a respite in those snug tents, after a cool and gratifying bath in the sea. Such a notion was preferred by many cadets, when after they had performed their duties, in supplying their tents with necessaries. It was between the hours 6 - 7 p.m. that almost everybody contented his appetite, with the first relish of food in camp.
It was not until 10 p.m. on the first night that everybody was admonished by a distant bugle warning to repose. In the luminous night, the air was splendid with cool zephyrs stimulating about. The splashing of waves against the white barren shores, the continuous footsteps of sentinels, the monotonous hummings of numerous insects and the chimes of a clinker, which was stricken by sentinels, to the slumbering world, the different hours: these were the sounds that broke the deep silence of the night.
Next morning as it was dawning everybody was roused up by the pealing of the first bugle call. At the second bugle call every leader was required to go to draw rations for his tent. Then about 6.15 a.m. the cadets, some bright and fresh, some still hynotised by the power of Morpheus, were fallen in at the parade ground, to do a thirty minutes' physical drill. Meantime the cooks in oriental fashion efficiently performed their parts. After an appetising breakfast, many, with sarongs around their bodies, and towels around their shoulders loitered towards the sandy beach; some to have a dip in the sea, some to gather various species of shells, and others to stroll along the beach breathing the fresh air.
By 10 a.m. the cadets again fell in, at the sounding of the bugle, and by parties they were led to different parts, for special training. At 12 noon they were dismissed, and everybody was eager to distract his hunger with a delicious meal. Between the hours 1 - 4 p.m. there was recreation for everybody.
From 4 - 6 p.m. the battalion was either engaged in a sham fight, or a route march. For their energetic travail in the training, they were recompensed by either a fresh or salt water bath, and then a sumptuous supper.
After satisfying their appetites, they would spend their time either in gossiping, playing on musical instruments, strolling along the sea beach, on sentry duty, buying nasi-luma, bananas, ice-water, and kachang goring, etc., from the canteen.
At the last bugle call, that was at 10 p.m., everybody was to retire quietly as in Pompey's camp - "I warrant you, that there is no tiddle taddle, or pibble pabble in Pompey's camp."
On Tuesday September 4th there was a swimming competition. On the same morning, the Battalion was inspected by His Highness the Sultan of Selangor. Directly afterwards a short military ceremony was performed, in which three hearty cheers were given to His Highness by the Battalion and the Commanding Officers.
Next morning everyone with high spirits and a longing heart for home, marched merrily to the station. Concluding with a word of farewell to the festive place, the train thundered away at 10 a.m. to the strains of "Home Sweet Home."
My Voyage to India
On the 20th of February 1922, I left Kuala Lumpur for India. On the next day I was seen standing on the Port Swettenham Wharf by some of my friends and among them was my father who was not going with me to India. I bought a second class ticket and at 4:30 p.m. stepped aboard the steamer which was called the "Mayflower." At 5 p.m. the steamer sailed away into the open sea.
At 5:30 p.m. a man whom I did not know came into my room and asked me what I wanted to eat. I was afraid at first for I thought he would give me something in the food and I would die and he would take away my property. At last I told him to bring me anything he wished, so he, after some time, brought in a cup of tea, bread, and a plate of rice. I was quite satisfied with the food and after eating my food I asked him for some story books. He said he would go and bring me some books, so he did.
I spent the first week in reading those story books. In one of them was the following story:-
Once there lived a man named Gerbert who went to a certain country to learn magic. The masters of that country were nearly all magicians. Gerbert lived in a famous magician's house, who taught him magic and lent him books. There was one book which the master would not lend him, because that book tells men how to raise spirits and make them do their bidding. So much the master valued this book that he even slept with it under his pillow.
One night, while the old master was fast asleep, Gerbert crept into his room, stole the book and ran away with it. As soon as the master awoke he rushed after the thief. Gerbert was crossing a bridge at this time. The master shouted to Gerbert to stop but Gerbert did not stop, and when he saw the old master afar off he at once got under the bridge and clung to a beam hung down over the water. The magician did not find him and had to return home much grieved at the loss of his precious book. Gerbert made his way to the sea shore where he read the book and learnt how to call the evil spirits who would obey him and he told them to carry him over the sea to another country where he lived happily ever after.
On the second week there was a heavy storm which was immediately followed by rain, and the ship danced about on the waves. I looked out of my cabin's window but I could not see anything. Then I went for a walk and as I was walking I saw many people with their up-lifted hands praying to God for mercy. In the morning the storm was no more and the sea had gone down. After some days' voyage, I reached India in the morning, and there I lived happily for some months. After staying three or for months in India, I returned to Kuala Lumpur and joined the Victoria Institution where I am still learning.
Last update on 23 October 2000.
Contributed by: Chung Chee Min