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Are fam'd and well-known as footballers true;
Back'd by tremendous roars when on the field,
Keep they their motto - Strive and not to yield.
When monotonous lessons doth expire,
Then on the soccer field these lads aspire
For victory and honour to their school;
To be good sportsmen is their golden rule.
Then, on a sunny summer evening,
From referee sharp comes there the shrill warning;
And Thamby, leader of the Famous Five,
With feigning tactics keeps the field alive.
Combine they in remarkable fashion,
A goal to score is their sole ambition;
From foot to foot dear Mister Ball is sent,
To them this is their happiest moment.
Then Choon Lin's centre met by Mun Hoi's head,
Turns faces of the first class Goalies red;
Then comes the stimulating cry, Goal! Goal!
And then opponents try with heart and soul.
It's time, then, for Chiang Seng, the iron wall,
To keep his head and coolly flay the ball;
Then from the crowd there comes a deafening toll,
For Ah Keng saves a magnificent goal.
Ponniah and his halves with might do work,
Behind the forwards there they boldly lurk;
Heads, legs, and bodies all come to action,
While goal-scorers receive their rejection.
Back then again sways the All Famous Five,
Through strongest walls these famous boys do dive;
Then Thamby scores with a tremendous drive,
While their school-mates fill'd up with pride do thrive.
Oh! Undefeated champions, this your play,
Your victims you unmercilessly slay;
Name of your school you have exalted high,
Observe you did the proverb, "try and try."
Beware, ye brothers of that happy band,
Ye who have made that invincible stand;
Beware, for pride too high leads to downfall,
Oh! Champions true of that grand game Football.
A Turk's Ambition
That circles round this earth,
Revered by every nation,
And praised by poets of worth.
The waves will play upon my breast,
The winds will fan my brow,
And stately vessels e'er will rest
Upon my angry trough.
A million million living things
Will shelter in my heart
And I will make them laugh and sing,
And make the wide world start.
But I'm a fearful wicked Turk,
The least of all creation,
The merest worm upon this earth,
Stirred up by high ambition.
The mist's in view on yonder peak;
I think that I may safely say
It will be so all through the day.
It is a fine day for a hunt,
(As there's a forest near my home,)
Or on the river for a hunt,
Which I could manage well alone.
The former course I choose to take,
For else we'll be kept out till late.
So now some friends and I are met
(The clock has not struck nine as yet)
Off for a hunt to start,
In which we'll all take part,
As we are all quite smart,
To score a bull's eye if it be,
Or drop the squirrel on yonder tree.
Our catapults and guns are ready.
In khaki we're all dress'd,
To keep us from being mess'd;
But our shoes are all quite muddy.
'Cause yesterday we went to fish
And well nigh caught an empty dish,
Though of mosquito bites I had
Almost a score upon my head.
So merrily tramp we along,
And ere the sun at all is strong,
Are in a Chinese plantation
Ere we reach our destination.
Here we yield to the temptation
Of an unkind depredation
To be conducted on his trees,
Up which we all can climb with ease.
Just when our greed is satisfied,
We find that we have been espied,
And seek a place in which to hide,
But to evade the farmer's wrath.
Is not so easy as we thought,
So each of us must contribute,
His share to settle the dispute.
And so we all with heavy hearts
Think it best to play our parts
By home, returning to repent
How well the day he thinks he spent.
Thus was the sixth of December
Spent as well as I remember;
But when we next to shoot do go
We will not use the farmers so,
'Cause it will be a cause for woe.
A Day with the Wood-cutters
They had had a spell of excitement even in the wilderness. It was a happy company of ten sturdy Chinese wood-cutters who began to trail into an extremely lonely valley on the day of which I write. This dreary and monotonous region, situated in the most secluded part of the Ulu Klang Mukim, was the site on which they were to erect a bamboo hut to shelter them from the sun, wind and rain. Too far back in the interior to be reached, too uninhabited to be visited, this valley indulged in a quiet and peaceful dream.
It was just a fair-sized meadow, lying flat as a table between two ranges of thickly wooded hills. A small muddy stream, carrying in suspension and in solution, the debris of the tailing derived from the Lumpan Mines still further inland, gurgles through the head of the valley. Lower down, on the left bank of this stream ran a tiny road, where no traffic of any kind was possible. Hillwards, just off the road and close to a spring, the hut was built. Beyond here and miles and miles away were forests and woods, which were perhaps the lurking places of tigers, wild boars, panthers and leopards. No such desolation but yet no such grandeur can be imagined.
One early morning in July, when the valley looked richest and quietest, this party of labourers arrived after having tramped over six miles of dreary road. All the way along, their cotton suits of black or khaki formed a striking contrast with the green leaves of the jungle. They sat down and rested. Some, in pure contentment, took out their Chinese tobacco, rolled it into cigarettes with thin pieces of paper, and smoked. At this moment the hill-tops were crimsoned by the rising sun. Presently, some victuals contained in plates and saucers were spread on the ground and a hearty repast was thus provided.
Now the actual work of building commenced. The materials, consisting mainly of bamboo and palm, had already been cut down from the adjacent jungle by the advance party two days before. In fact, everything was ready. In putting up the hut, they first ran up vertically, on a rectangular base, six wooden posts and horizontally to these were joined several smaller ones to form beams and rafters. The roof was then thatched.
Gradually their building took shape, and with the fencing of bamboo around the four sides of the rectangle to serve as walls, all construction was completed long before sunset. The final touch added to it was the door made crudely of rough planks. In the meantime a few pieces of common furniture such as stools, bedsteads, and a table were being made out of bamboo for decorative and utilitarian purposes. Like a little civilization, the hut grew up on the land in a comparatively short time, changing the whole aspect of the valley.
Late in the afternoon, a bullock-cart came straggling along and was unburdened of its heavy goods, all the belongings of the party, bedding, clothing, cooking utensils, bags of rice, boxes of stores, axes, saws, and so forth. Two coolies bent their backs to the job of sorting these things out and placing them in the proper apartments. The water carrier, bearing a kerosine-oil tin on each end of a bamboo pole came and went. All the while I had been watching them with great amazement and interest. I saw them working cheerfully the whole day and chattering shrilly at frequent intervals. Work seemed to be play to them.
With the approach of dusk, their kitchen stoves began to smoke and steam; soon the odour of the boiled rice rose in volumes and clouds. In a little time, the whole company sat on their heels round their dainty dishes and gobbled rice out of their bowls. After the meal there was a short spell of silence. The coolies were soon inside the hut to prepare their beds; when this was done, everyone was fully occupied in work or their amusement till late in the night.
Sitting at the table under a flickering light was the leader, overseer and clerk, not nearly so interesting a man as the rest and much less communicative - perhaps on account of the pressing and heavy responsibility of his job. In his right hand he held a Chinese brush or pen and, with the left hand on the abacus, he began to add up, three or four times, all the items of expenditure of the day and the estimates of the days following. His mind was so much absorbed in the accounts and the books that it looked as if there was no attraction beside him. For about two hours he worked, entirely oblivious of all the loud and piercing sounds around him.
Reclining or sitting on the bamboo couches or beds were five men - now chatting and arguing about the values of the different timbers, and comparing the price of rice and other foodstuffs locally and elsewhere. On these points there was a remarkable diversity of opinion expressed by these men. Occasionally, in their talk, they would unanimously criticise the morality of the provision dealers and timber merchants; from this, they would proceed to comment, justly or otherwise, on the morality of all the businessmen in general. In the dim smoky distance squatted the cook, chopping some bamboo shoots into pieces, ready to be cooked with meat the following morning.
On the stools not far away, sat the musicians with instruments in their hands. Above the drone of voices they played and replayed a few sweet melodies that could be aptly described by the following:-
And weird fiddles are shrieking
A funny refrain…."
The building, by sound or smell, was an ordinary mining kongsi house, typical of its time. Only its desolate and tranquil surroundings, clothed with a rich luxuriant verdure of a bewildering variety of tropical trees and bamboos, told the tale of the wood-cutters' solitary hut in the heart of the wilds - untravelled and unknown.
Mrs Woo had had great ambitions for her daughter's future. Though illiterate herself, she scorned the illiteracy prevalent in her village. It was no uncommon thing for her to be seen lecturing to the young hopefuls who sought her daughter's hand.
"Learn, young men, learn! You have no ambitions above the common artisans! Think how you will please your forefathers if you were able to confer on them the reflected lustre and glory of your literary achievements! If my daughter must marry, she shall marry one with at least a smattering of literary knowledge!"
In this respect she was adamant. Years dragged on and still she failed to find a son-in-law to her liking.
* * * * * * * * *
Fate worked her way however!
While returning from her visit to a temple in the next village, she chanced to pass the grocer's doors. She looked in and her eyes lighted upon a comely young man below thirty summers. He was sitting aloof and appeared deeply interested in a book. Ah, he smiled and now a frown had settled on his brow! The frown cleared and a thoughtful air assumed its place.
Mrs. Woo was secretly delighted. Here at last was the missing link!
"Kind sir," approaching the door, she addressed the young man, "Will you oblige a wayfarer with a cup of water?" - No reply.
"Fair sir, alleviate the thirst of a poor woman!" She again addressed him, pleased at his studiousness!
Looking up from his book, the young man stared at her at first with unseeing eye which slowly changed into a look of comprehension.
"A cup of water! Certainly! Come in, come in! I'll go and fetch it for you!"
He departed on his errand. The grocer came out and from him she learned that his name was Sih. "That must be your son, Mr. Sih. I congratulate you!"
"No madam; he is my nephew."
"He looks pretty young!"
"He is twenty-seven today."
"Is he? How I am doubly indebted to him. Fancy, asking him to fetch me water on his birthday! I am very sorry!"
"Oh, nothing to talk of! Here he comes"
Mrs. Woo relieved him of the cup, thanked him and wished him many returns of the day. She took a sip and determined to find out more about him she went on with her questioning.
"How many children have you, young sir?"
"Children? I am not married yet."
"O - !"
In the excess of her joy, she nearly screamed out! As it was, her hand shook and her clothing failed to escape a slight drenching.
"What's the matter, madam!" exclaimed the grocer and his nephew, alarmed.
"Ere - ere - it's - it's nothing!" she answered and, to cover her display of emotion, she added, "It's an attack of spasm. I am subject to it!"
She thanked her hosts and prepared to take her leave
"Do take a rest before proceeding on your journey, madam!" persuaded the grocer.
"Really, I must be going! I am quite well now. Thank you!" she assured them.
Out into the sunshine she sped her way homewards. She was elated with her luck and the erstwhile rugged, stony track was as springy as a new mown lawn!
Mrs. Woo did not allow the grass to grow under her feet. She sought out the professional matchmaker and directed her to approach Mr. Sih with regard to the union between her nephew and her daughter.
Mr. Sih looked upon the suit favourably. The horoscopes of both the bride and bridegroom-to-be were cast and found suitable. Auspicious dates were chosen for the ceremonies of the engagement and the consummation of the projected marriage.
The marriage took place in due course with all the pomp the village was capable of getting up. Everything went on with a swing and everyone was happy. Mrs Woo was showered with congratulations and proud she certainly was! Had she not made her dream come true?
Time passed and one day she received a letter from her husband overseas. Now she need not go and ask for outside help. She went to her son-in-law.
"Son," she said, handing him the letter, "read me the contents!"
Mr Sih took the letter in his hand and after a careful survey, he shook his head and gave it back to her.
"I can't read!" he said.
"Now, don't be modest!"
"But really, mother, I can't read!"
"What, you can't read!" She exclaimed, surprised out of herself. "What were you doing then with the book when I first met you?"
"O, I was only trying to figure out the pictures formed by the characters!"
Solya - The Song of Ali
Solya, my Solya
That is the perfume of thy hair
The red rose swoons into the night,
But thy red lips are soft and bright,
My flower of love, my sweet delight,
The jasmin white shall fade and fail,
Solya, my Solya
Thy splendid beauty shall prevail
The twinkling stars of heaven expire,
But thy swift lure is as a fire
That burns through me, my dear Desire,
A cloud is dark against the moon,
Solya, my Solya
Thou art my light, my plenilune,
Though thy dark lashes veil thine eyes,
I hold thee for my panting prize,
My moon and star, my Paradise,
Approach't a wood to spend the day
Young Smith beneath a tree espied
A bear with arms extended wide;
For little George he did not think
But off he set without a wink:
For Nature did a coward mould
In Smith as any in the world.
At length he climbed into a tree,
And there sat down and watched to see,
How little George would take to flight
When the bear came within sight.
To his dear friend he tried to shout
Before the bear at him rushed out,
But Smith could not now even shriek
For he had lost all power of speech.
Alas! When George the bear espied,
He had not time in which to hide;
So while the bear at him did race
He fell down flat upon his face,
As it has been, and still is said
A bear'll not touch a man who's dead.
The fearful thing my friend approached
And smelt him well from foot to throat.
He thought his man devoid of life,
And so abstained from active strife.
He stalked away the while he said,
"I will not prey on him who's dead."
When Smith perceived the danger past
He went to George and boldly asked
Of what it was the bear had said,
And why he came so near his head,
"Oh!" said George "he said he'd warn me
That I from now your company
Should scorne, and never mix with thee
'Cause you from danger always flee."
Mad! You or I?
When to the Nets I found my way;
I stood and gazed and said, "My lad,
What are they doing - are they mad?"
Ah! soon to me an idea.came,
It must be - Ah! - that first class game,
Rounders, rounders, champion am I,
No man can beat me ere I die.
A moment then I did not waste,
Up to the wickets I did haste.
"I am a champion give the ball,
I'll get them out, all, simply all."
I bowl'd the ball then back it came,
I grasp'd it hard and took my aim;
It hit the Head hard on his head,
"There, didn't I say?" And now he's dead!
The boys then fail'd to understand,
Round Head and me they form'd a band;
I shouted loudly, "Boys, you fools,
You do not know the game, its rules!"
Now as within four walls I sit,
I think of that triumphant hit;
I think of how I won the game,
For foolish boys who were insane.
A Climb up Kedah Peak
Prominent from the sea, and rising suddenly from the plain is the gigantic, towering peak of Kedah - Gunong Jerai. About 4000 feet in height, it stood out clearly in our view as we, a party of four including the syce, were motoring southwards from Alor Star. Leaving the car by the sanatorium at the foot of the mountain and the syce to look after it, we started on our expeditious climb excitedly.
Thinking that it would only take us about two hours to go up and down we did not leave word with our syce as to our intentions: when we returned after an absence of about five and a half hours we were not surprised to find him in one of his worst tempers! He was not to blame for it though, for he had been left there for the whole time alone, with nobody except the hungry mosquitoes.
We started on our climb at about a quarter to four in the noon, which proves that we had no idea of the distance up and the mountain, for had we had any idea that it would take us more than five hours to go up and down, and also that we should have to come down in the dark, we certainly would not have gone up at such a late hour. When we found this out, we were already three miles from the foot. There being four miles more, two of us suggested that we should turn back, but the third declined to do so. "Anything half done is nothing done" was his argument for going on, and in spite of all our persuasions, he remained inexorable. We, two, could, of course, turn back leaving him alone to climb on but, anxious ourselves for some adventure, we gave way to him and resumed our climb.
The first three miles' climb had been quite tiresome, but with the evening coming upon us and our determination of reaching the top, the remainder of the climb was accomplished very pleasantly, and we did not stop to rest as we had done during the first three miles.
Arriving at the rest house we ran up the stone steps leading to it, so that we could satisfy the insatiable hunger of our eyes with the fine panorama before and below us. Far away, below the horizon, the sun had already hidden itself; in the distance was a stretch of hills, while below we could see green patches of rice fields, large and gloomy areas of forests, small huts strewn about here and there and narrow winding paths.
Having taken in as much as our eyes could devour we went into the rest house and, with a pot of tea provided by the rest-house boy, were soon making ourselves at home and enjoying the chilling atmosphere.
We had arrived at the rest house at about half past six; at ten minutes to seven we were ready to start again. After paying the house boy for the tea, we borrowed a lamp from him but, there being still light enough for us to see the way, we did not take the trouble to light it just then. Armed each of us with a stick - broken from some stray branches - we hurried down with myself in the lead. Nocturnal insects were already waking up and we could hear their humming and buzzing noises as they roused themselves for their usual parade.
As we walked, it was getting darker and darker, until when we were about two and a half miles from the rest house, I, still leading, could hardly discern the stony path from the valleys and the bushes of trees. The lamp was still left unlighted; thus it was not a wonder that I almost fell into a valley. It was only by grabbing some clump of stems that I managed to save myself from doom. We had thought of accomplishing the whole descent without using the lamp, but this incident made us think otherwise. The lamp was lighted at once and, with the help of its dim light, the rest of the descent was accomplished without any mishap.
On the whole, the climb was most interesting. There were short cuts - very narrow winding paths amidst thick bushes of trees - with weird and frightful names like Jalan Potong Kepala. There was the beautiful phosphorescence one can see during a climb or a descent at night, and we stopped many times during our descent to admire this phosphorescence which lay sprinkled on the grass and bushes.
The climb is really worthwhile but there are, however, some defects. The climb is marked off by quarter mile stages, which is rather a nuisance; one seems to have walked a few miles only to be told that one has done a quarter. Another defect is that throughout the whole climb, there are only a few openings through which one is able to admire the vast expanse of scenery; one finds oneself almost always hemmed in by trees and bushes.
The monotonous stretch of trees together with the misleading quarter-mile stones are somewhat irritating to the climber, and if these are corrected, Kedah Peak will become quite an attractive place to holiday makers.
What Shakespeare has Done M. Gnanasekaram
Many might have put the question what Henry IV has done to improve the study of English. It is a mere waste of time and energy; it is not even a text book for the examinations. But if they pay a visit to the school and watch the boys at conversation they will realise what a great fulfilment has been achieved by the advent of the Dramatic Society. You stand near a group of boys assembled together in the interval, and give ear to their talk: what lovely speech flows out of them, lively conversation with humour, and quotations from Shakespeare. Another boy, who comes in, will obtain greeting each in his own way in the words of Shakespeare as "How now sweet Wag?" "Here comes the youngest wren of nine" etc., etc. The boys have humour in their speech, humour which is the charm of all conversation.
Thus the field of conversation is made wider and expanding; and to use Shakespeare the greatest of English literature is a great asset.
Good conversation tinged with humour is a delicious indulgence to the social part of our make up. Beauty is never so lovely as when adorned with a smile, and conversation never sits easier upon us than when we now and then discharge ourselves in a symphony of laughter, which may not improperly be called the chorus of conversation. Thus, to use the comical phrases of Shakespeare makes conversation delightful. From this we may gather that the advent of the New Dramatic Society has not only made boys more daring and forward to speak fearlessly, but also created among the boys, a rare and high art of conversation which is said to be the finest of the fine arts, and which adorns the parlour better than pictures of bronze.
What I suffered from them, no tongue can tell. My dog was a decent sort of a fellow, but the ordinary house was not the place for him. You could only be safe with him while out on the vast desert. He often walked about the house as though he had an earthquake at his heels.
One afternoon, while I was at my tiffin table, in he came, and the plates, cups, decanters and all the other things on the table took up various positions on the carpet. I told him that he should be ashamed of himself for acting in this manner, and he seemed to feel it very badly. I made it out by the way he ran out of the room dodging Webster's Clear Type Dictionary when I told him that I didn't want to see him for the rest of the day. Half an hour later, I went out to have a wash and there I saw him in front of the kitchen, chewing away the kitchen rug. Having nothing and nobody handy but Titu, my cat, I flung her at the dog and Titu's funeral took place that evening.
Feeling rather sorry to part with one pet, I put an Apache's knot round the dog's throat and he followed Titu (to bliss or to woe).
Having got rid of two of my pets, the cat and the dog, I paid special attention to Mr Brown, a monkey, who was in reality the Devil in Disguise. He was very fond of looking at the picture of an extraordinary fat man with a green face and a large moustache, with empty bottles lying around him and with labels on them like:- "Sidney's Best Chutney", "Carr's Milk Stout", etc, with a mosquito perched up on his nose and with the legend underneath - "A Barren Spot".
One morning out of the corner of my eye, I watched him watching me out of the corner of his eye to see if I was a possible customer or just a picture thief looking out for work. What happened afterwards I shall not relate for I am still suffering from the wounds, but Mr Brown was taken to the hospital by my friends in the evening. From that day forward, he wouldn't eat but was always in the act of meddling with his wounds. As usual, I put his rations in his box, and it wasn't till the whole box was full of rotten bananas, rice and curry, vaddai, kachang goreng, muruku, yuen thow foo, pisang goreng, and a whole lot of things of that type, that I found, to my entire satisfaction, that Mr Brown was dead. The funeral of the rotten carcase took place the next day with due ceremonies.
"Beetles, cockroaches and insect of that kind are absolutely innocent and harmless. Their coloured exteriors have exposed them to a great deal of unjust persecution. They are affectionate, lovable creatures when you come to know them." I think somebody told me this. It wasn't my cook, it wasn't the mandor, it wasn't my mathematics teacher, it wasn't the porter, - Ah! I've got it, my authority is no less a person than Professor Kodoh bin Kodoh whose office at present is behind my house (Hours of consultation 12 to 12 a.m.).
With the Professor's help, I got together some beetles and cockroaches and told them that I was going to love them and take care of them, and also begged them not to behave as my dog or as Titu, my cat, or as Mr Brown, my monkey, did, if they wanted to live long. Being in no mood for argument, they promised to behave and signed the pledge by trying to climb up my leg.
I gave them a good feed of half my handkerchief and left them by themselves till night time. When night came, I took them very carefully, and putting them on the kitchen stove, I went to bed. I didn't know how long I slept but I woke up when I heard an awful shrieking from downstairs. I flew down the stairs and saw to my utter horror Menachee, my servant girl, in a pitiful condition. Imagine my anger when I saw the beetles squatting below her pillow and the cockroaches nestling among her blankets. With one stroke of a carpet beater which was close by, I was divorced eight times and, having been pacified, Menachee went to bed.
When morning came, Menachee, who had been with me for about eleven years, would not stay an hour longer and, having sent her away, I am now eating the worse type of self-cooked food - all for the sake of "My Pets!"
Somewhere outside our little hut;
It called and called most piteously
Against the door fast shut;
("'Tis but the wind within the tree
That's calling thee, that's calling thee.")
I heard dead fingers tap outside,
Upon the walls and tap again,
As if a ghost yearned to its bride
Through a dark doom of pain;
("'Tis but the bony twigs that gride
Upon the storm-swept walls outside.")
I heard a whisper in the night
That shook my heart with words long dead,
Something of passionate delight
Were the white words it said:
(''Tis but the leaves that bear their blight
And fall and tremble through the night.")
Cold was the kiss upon my cheek
But all my heart leapt up like flame
When that I heard a dead voice speak
And murmur but my name:
("Shut to the door; the wind blows bleak
Upon thy pale, pale cheek.")
The Song of Majid
The waves are creamy
Beneath the sampan that onward glides;
Your soft surrender
Is sweet and dreamy
And love draws nearer when fear subsides.
The sky is bending
Its crown before you,
The stars are caught by your blowing hair;
The waves contending
But to adore you
Bubble with gems and break in despair.
The moonbeams glisten
Upon the water.
The Sultan's palace is bright to-night,
And yet you listen,
You royal daughter,
To my low whispers of dear delight!
Our pathway guides us
Through wide-stretched glories,
No man shall follow us where we flee;
Your dark hair hides us,
And fear no more is,
For love is guarding us royally.
Once more is heard the solemn toll -
Old Father Time delays his round
And tots anew his endless roll!
With us he played but yestereve -
How happy, free - and, now he's dead,
And all the tears, all pensive grief
But consecrate that hour of dread.
What's he beyond recall of cries
With all his youthful promise fair?
A rose that fastly drooping dies
And stills the fragrance of the air!
Relieved from Man's unhappy fate,
Far happier he in clime Unknown,
Where Destiny sedately sate,
Awaiting.all the call to own!
My Heart Leaps Up (My Mother)
A soul I have to love:
I loved her when my life began;
I love her still though I'm a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!
The Girl is ruler of the Boy;
And I do wish my life shall be
A life of joy in thy envied company.
When e'er the wind is blowing hard,
When e'er the clouds the darkness cast,
And nature by her own hand marred,
Then light up I my lamp and sit,
Deeply immersed in poetic fit,
To paint the world, as 'tis to me
For men in later years to see.
I write me down the thoughts that flow,
Ever surging and never slow.
They come unknown, I know not how -
It's all the same this moment now.
Thus oft I write a many day,
I take it like a happy play,
Then when I give it men to see,
Some scarce believe it's work of me.
They say it's wond'rously so fine,
They praise its melody sublime.
"Bard". Yea, they call me by that name,
While I in horror take to shame.
No Bard am I unworth the praise,
I trouble not for fame and grace,
All honour, fame, on Him bestow,
That made our gifts in words to show.
Farmers are out to plough,
Afore sunrise at six o'clock,
With all their coloured cows.
When geese and ducks are out to swim,
The child is out to play.
A farmer's child so all would think,
But all are led astray.
A child with gleaming silver locks,
Pale as the moony beam,
Around kindreds her usual walks,
Would lead her to a stream.
The walk by stream is bound for home,
A little village inn.
The wild waters and fury foam,
Is flowing in the stream.
A little child, of man with wealth,
Who owns a little land.
A little child of radiant health.
With frocks of rich and grand.
At this my poetry ends in here,
A thing I tried so hard,
My attempt, all in vain, I fear,
But not discouraged, Pard!
B is the Biblical Knowledge that almost makes me strike.
C stands for Compositin which gives me suffocation;
D is the Drawing that I love as much as Dictation.
E stands for the Essay, an hour given for me to write;
F is the Figures of Speech I have to pick out by sight.
G is Geography and Geometry, they give me headaches:
H stands for the History, the dates of which are to me plagues.
I is the Ink and the Impression left on my fingers.
J is the Jumble of a mess I make of my papers.
K is the Keenness shown to the work before the Exam:
L stands for Latin, I know not and do not wish to sham.
M is the Mornings I had devoted myself and learnt;
N is the Number of Nights, when "midnight oil" was much burnt.
O is Omnipotence, to whom I have to turn and plead;
P is the Prayers said, not much use, for fate is decreed.
Q is the Quotations that have to be studied by heart:
R is the Repetitions, Ah! I am sure of this part.
S is Shakespeare, nice to learn and of which I know so well:
T stands for the Trigonometry, Sine angle A, hell!
U is the Unsteadiness one feels at first but does not last;
V is the Velocity I have to write - time's going past.
W is the writing, also counted, but I do not heed:
Only ten minutes left, Ooh! I must hurry on with speed.
X stands for the X'mas holidays that have now arrived:
Thank God, the Exam is over and with it our hard strife.
Y is for the Year to come, we all wait for the result;
A 'R' or a 'S', there is a fracas and a tumult.
Z stands for Zeal which everyone of us in work must show:
To those that do not will come what they do not wish to know!
Gardening in School
There are some who jeer and laugh at what they regard as the fooling of our boys when they see them going out for gardening. They take it to be one of the many acts of folly and a waste of our school time.
This is sheer ignorance. These worthies do not know what gardening is, and why it is taught. The aim of sending children to school is not only to pass examinations, but to educate them and send them out to the world as men who could do something. This cannot be accomplished by merely learning the textbooks by heart and passing the examinations. On the contrary, one should use his head, limbs, and powers of observation to become a truly educated man of the world today.
Our boys who go out for gardening go out to learn something of nature. There is, aroused in them, an artistic taste as they endeavour to make their garden beautiful by planting the different plants in an attractive way. Thus, they become lovers of the beautiful and of nature.
Moreover, they learn a valuable lesson in patience: they plant the seeds, water them patiently, see them grow day after day, ultimately bearing fruits of flowers or vegetables. It is a work of the greatest patience and the boys undergoing it will realise that patience is the fundamental cause of all success.
They understand, too, the work of nature - how from a little seed springs a beautiful plant. Thus, they come to understand the full meaning of the axiomatic fact, that great achievements grow up from small beginnings. Again, when they look at the phenomenon of nature, their thoughts are aroused - they think of what is happening before them. They see how some plants which are carefully tended grow up quickly and flourish well, subsequently needing no care, while others, which grow up without mortal caring, stand for a while and then fade away.
So the boys instinctively think of man in comparison. When he goes to school, he is taught discipline, he gains knowledge, and his character is moulded. He becomes a blooming plant! Others, who do not care to go to school but mix about with loafers and hooligans, are like the uncared-for plants.
Thus, when the boys come in contact with nature and their thoughts are aroused by her mystic works, they begin to think. They learn a lesson when they are working hard to see their plants grow! An immortal lesson which will be a perpetual help to them in life.
Thus education, the seeking of knowledge, is not only in the textbooks, not only in the passing of examinations but also in the "menial" work as some think, with the changkol and the watering can. Wordsworth has captured the theme when he says in the immortal words:-
May teach you more of man
Of moral evil and of good
Than all the sages can."
My Feelings on Armistice Day
Early on the 10th of November, we were given a speech by our Headmaster about Armistice Day, telling us to be silent during the Two Minutes Silence on the next day. On the morning of the next day, before 11 a.m., I felt practically nothing and was unconscious of what was to happen. When the cannon was fired from the Depot, my head, as if my some magical power, drooped down, my neck almost at right angles to my backbone.
During the two minutes pause, my thoughts wandered to the West, to the battlefields. On them, I seemed to see dead soldiers who fought for their country, but were fortunate enough to escape the enemies' bullets. Poor soldiers, how they had left their homes, their wives and children. I imagined little children clinging to their mothers asking,"When is father coming home?" The thought of this made my own tears roll down my cheeks. The feeling of sorrow at this time was unbearable. Then I imagined women and children walking about the streets because they had no home.
Closing and opening my eyes because of the tears that were forcing their way out, I happened to catch sight of the poppy that I had, peeping out of the left-hand side coat top pocket. This made me imagine that I was in Flanders looking over the graves of the dead soldiers.
When the second shot was fired, I thought that I was in my bed asleep. I was stupified for a time, but at last I recovered. Then again I began to imagine all sorts of wars being fought on the battlefields. The thought of the children crying was haunting me the rest of the day, and this is the day that has taught me what sorrow is.
Last update on 23 October 2000.
Contributed by : Chung Chee Min
PageKeeper:Ooi Boon Kheng email@example.com