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Today, most of the civilised countries of the world are faced with a very grave problem and that is unemployment. In the leading papers of almost every country, we find many columns of facts and figures concerning unemployment and these are supposed to be from the pens of the best writers on this subject. Yet, in spite of their efforts no solution has so far been brought forward.
No matter what Government is in power or what form of fiscal policy is pursued, nothing seems to alter the situation. Now, if we look into the causes of unemployment we find that the Great War plays a very prominent part. In it we find enormous waste of life and property - not to mention the large waste of wealth.
The usual exports of a country are stopped during war, for its people are engaged in manufacturing guns and ammunitions. Naturally trade decreases, the world becomes poorer, and a poor world is obviously less able to buy goods than a rich world. War also upsets the financial arrangements between countries. The terrible results of the Great War left many women deprived of maintenance from their husbands, and they had to earn their own living; so they filled the positions which normally would have been occupied by men.
Recent advances in science such as the "talkies," automatic telephones, electric typewriters, make the numbers of the unemployed greater. In an idustrial country the chief cause of unemployment is that the produce of raw materials exceeds the demand for them. Malaya is a perfect example of this case. She produced so much rubber and tin that she has to restrict her production now to improve her market.
This temporary stoppage of work has thrown many labourers and clerks under the mighty sword of unemployment.
To prevent unemployment the commodity which brings great wealth to a country should be produced with restriction and great care should be observed during boom times. If a nation has foreign territories she can find new employment for her people in these places. Opening of new means of conveyance may lessen to a certain degree the unemployment figures. In order to get rid of unemployment we should unite and deal with it rightly, for if we do so we will no doubt make this world of ours a happier and a better one.
A Visit to the Seaside
The annual examination was over. We had nothing to do, so we asked our master to take us to Morib. We started at 8 a.m. in three buses loaded with boys like sardines in a tin. Each boy took with him his own food. On our way we sang the latest songs with much laughter and mirth. At 9.30 a.m. we reached Klang. We stopped there for a while, and gave the thirsty engines some water to drink. At 10 a.m. we started again. Nothing noteworthy happened during the journey, and we were very impatient and anxious to see what the seaside was like.
At last we reached our destination. The first thing we did was to take off our clothes and, with our swimming costumes on, we sat on the beach and had a little rest. After that, we ran into the sea with our master. I can swim across the Y.M.C.A. Swimming Pool with ease, but when I had gone so far into the sea that the water was shoulder high, I had my first experience of a wave. All of a sudden it came over me and I was forced to gulp two mouthfuls of salt water. After that, I did not dare to go into the deep part again.
After an hour's bathing we came out and took our food. Then we went to catch some fish. But unfortunately we were not good fishermen, and caught no fish. As a matter of fact I nearly caught one but it slipped out of my nervous hands. When the master blew the whistle, we all lined up. But instead of keeping quiet, all started to laugh because our faces were covered with sand, and none of us had caught even a single fish.
After we had tea, we dressed ourselves for the homeward journey. We reached Klang safely but when we were three miles from Kuala Lumpur, the second bus ran short of petrol. Fortunately, there was a petrol station nearby. At 5 o'clock, we reached Kuala Lumpur safe and sound, and with a smile on every face.
My First Day in the School Cricket XI
Five minutes to one! I was thinking of the hearty meal and the evening nap, which I hoped to have when I went home! Just then the School Cricket Captain rushed into the class and informed me that I was to play a cricket match against another school that afternoon! I felt myself highly honoured and shocked too! I went home as fast as my legs could carry me. After eating only a plateful of rice, I snatched my hat from the rack and raced down to school. On my way I met a fortune-teller, who, with a single glance at my face, told me that my lucky star was at its zenith that day. Finding my speed was too slow to reach there in time, I raised my hand to signal one of the passing buses to stop. I paid the driver ten cents not in lead but in silver.
When I arrived at the ground, some of my friends teased me, calling me a "fluke shot" and a "boaster." At this insult, my temper rose (one of the onlookers later confessed to me that it reached boiling point, but of course, he had no thermometer in my mouth) but it soon gave out when I drank a cup of ice water which cooled me down rapidly.
As it was our turn to bat and as I was placed as the last batsman, I waited impatiently till my chance came. When I took my guard I was unable to hold the bat steadily. I shivered in my boots and when the bowler ran at the top of his speed and sent the ball flying in my direction, I closed my eyes and with a full swing drove the ball right over the ropes. In the next over, my unfortunate partner was bowled out and I had to carry my bat back to the pavilion.
In the second innings, however, I was changed from the last to the first - a rapid rise and a record one too! - to go as the opening batsman of my side. My heart beat rapidly at first. Of course I, being a new man took care that I did not face the bowling at the start, but let my partner do so. The last ball of the first over, unfortunately, dashed down his middle stump and he went off without breaking his duck.
At his misfortune, I was much afraid but, with grim determination, I faced the bowler who, with a cap on his head, was much taller and bigger in size than I. His excellent form made me think of some of my imaginative "googly" bowlers. These increased my fears, but..... what about the fortune-teller? At this thought I became encouraged and, with confidence, faced the bowler. The first ball would have sent me out but it missed the stumps by an inch. The second delivery struck my thigh, which gave me so much pain that I would have cried out had it been in my own house, but here on the field, I kept quiet in spite of the pain. I batted steadily for some time, but I was bowled out after scoring twenty-nine runs. The others who went after me were not much better off, and one after another were dismissed with the addition of only eighty-one runs.
When I went out to field, my Captain ordered me to field "in the country" but not knowing what he meant, I wondered whether he asked me to go out of the town into the country or not. However, realising my ignorance, he pointed out to me the spot and my doubts were then cleared. As it was the first school match I had played in, being hasty and inexperienced, I let one or two balls pass between my legs. When the bowler who had bowled me out came in to bat, I prayed to Apollo that he should not score any runs. As I was a faithful devotee of the gods then (but not now) my prayers were soon answered and just then the ball from off his bat rose high into the sky and came down into my hands. Our opponents were soon dismissed and we had a splendid victory.
A Dissertation on Man
Man is called, or rather he proclaims himself to be, the masterpiece of the omnipotent Creator, and is supposed to have been endowed with those higher faculties which the humbler animals do not in the least possess. He, with his superior rational power, is entitled to reign everlasting over all living beings from the ferocious lion to the timorous mouse. But it is scarcely justifiable for a single race to usurp sovereignty over a whole gigantic tribe, particularly when the will of the Supreme One above is to have all on terms of equality. There may exist in mankind some few who excel over very many species of beasts in skill and in wisdom, but never can there be found one who defies the attainments of the animal world at large.
If man ventures to declare that his intellect is the sole claim to his pre-eminence, he may be put down without difficulty by the innumerable cases which prove that some animals are just as equally gifted in brains as he himself. The dog is by no means lacking in understanding, and it has that amazing sagacious instinct which is a peculiarity of its own. As regards physical ascendency, man has indeed no cause to be proud whatsoever. Despite his appeal to material might, the elephant roving in the wild forests with its formidable trunk carelessly bids defiance to his mythical master, whilst the lion and the tiger prey on him almost with impunity. The slyness of the fox is a source of excruciating annoyance to the human creature, who finds to his despair and envy, that he is more than once easily outwitted. An animal like the ox far surpasses man in sedulity and is more adapted to endure rigorous toil, while even the tiny, insignificant rodent is often artful enough to make its great lord miserable by ransacking his larder and by destroying his clothes.
Though man hypocritically assumes the monopoly of sacrificing and praying to his Maker, the brutes are not so ungodly as they are deemed to be. It is true that they are unable to pay homage to the Heavenly Father in the form of flattering hymns and adulation but where the heart is not confederate with the mouth, the ostentation comes to naught. Religious he claims to be, and yet he persecutes his fellowmen without mercy, merely because they worship the Almighty in a way not analogous to his. Of his civilization he speaks with presumptuous arrogance, and notwithstanding this enlightenment of his in the arts and refinements, it has in no way ameliorated his plight.
He leads a life no better than that of the animals in the wood, and is still the same mortal being subject to afflictions and infirmities, as before. He can doubtless distinguish better between right and wrong than the senseless brutes, and yet his behaviour is not seldom more stubborn and ruthless. Wars, the effects of which he knows full well to be destructive and disastrous, are waged incessantly solely for the egotistic purpose of acquiring personal aggrandisement and pecuniary gain. It will infallibly be profitable to man if he will annihilate that inordinate desire in him to be God's deputy on Earth, and endeavour to become a modest pupil of that wonderful sylvan tribe.
A Confirmed Bachelor am I
Very timid and very shy.
I shun all those who talk of girls,
Of their pretty faces and wavy curls.
I'm sure they live to dig man's gold,
Ev'n if he's half a century old.
Faithfulness lives in realms above.
Only there exists the true love.
Friends mock me and say it's a shame
To call nice girls by ugly name.
But it can't be helped as all do know,
Girls are the cause of many a woe.
Now I'll to you a tale relate
Of myself in a very bad state.
I'm sure you all will agree
That what happened was sad to me.
'Twas my sad lot one day to meet
A beautiful girl down High Street.
Her dress was of the modern style,
The skirt, O Lord! was two feet high.
She laughed and made faces at me,
While I stood as stiff as a tree.
Great drops of sweat ran down my head,
Indeed! I wished that I were dead.
My sense back, I took to my heels,
Heedless of cracks or orange peels.
Around the corner I speeded up,
Seeking for safety - a big tree-top.
But I found I had to move away,
For five more girls stood in my way.
On my left three more came in sight
While two laughed at my sad plight.
I was angry and desperate
And charged at them at lightning rate.
Scatt'ring them who came out to roam
While I ran hard into my home
Now readers dear, misjudge me not,
But believe not one tiny jot
About this make-up little tale
Describing the girls in DETAIL.
To them I give my apology,
But a true bachelor I'll be.
The necessity for holidays is expressed in the homely proverb, "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy". We must not only have hours of relaxation in our working days, but also longer intervals of cessation of work. Some students are foolish enough to suppose that the longer they work, the greater will be their achievement. This idea is not true of any kind of work, and is especially false when applied to intellectual labour. The student will learn more if he allows himself a few holidays than if he plods on in his work without a day's holiday from the beginning till the end of the year. Although the student who allows himself a few holidays works for less time, his work is more effective because, by occasional rest, he increases his mental strength.
The value of holidays is still more apparent if we think the matter over seriously with regard to longer time. A student may succeed in passing one or two examinations by intense labour. If he has neglected the duty of refreshing his mind by holidays he starts business life with exhausted brains.
The man who allows himself a fair amount of rest from labour will live longer as says the proverb, "The years spent in hunting do not count in our life." Holidays not only improve the quality of our work, but they are also agreeable for their own sake. Thus, we see boys coming back to school bright, cheerful and intelligent-looking after the holidays.
Youth is but a tedious time;
Curse not work that sleep encumbers,
Charge the masters not with crime.
Youth is happy, youth is sprightful,
Old men ever envy boys;
Labour sometimes though be frightful,
Yet when done, makes one rejoice.
What! Find ye no joy in learning?
Books are all so dry and dull?
Are ye vigorously yearning
All tests, trials to annul?
Read on, though of books you're weary
There is sure some good in bad;
Tests and trials may prove dreary,
Bear them quietly, look not sad.
Take youth easy, take youth lightly,
For its travails do not care;
Thus the lamp of life burns brightly,
Leading you far from despair.
Ancient and Modern Warfare
The art of war is in a sense as old as the human race. Man made war upon his brother, just as the animals of the field made war upon each other.
We can get some idea of what primitive warfare was by going amongst savage tribes, of which the world still contains a considerable number. Many thousands of years ago stones and other missiles had been used by the first sort of human being on earth. Then came the sling which played a prominent part in the warfare of many nations and readily led to the bow and arrow. It was, however, the discovery of gunpowder and other forms of powerful explosives that wrought the first great change in warfare. Mechanical weapons of war have shown wonderful development.
Ancient warfare was a frightful, cruel and barbarous thing. The victor showed no mercy towards the victim. Modern warfare, however, differs in a most marked degree from ancient warfare. Its weapons are definitely deadlier and, to this extent, it may be said to have changed for the worse. But the loss of life in any great battle is really much less in proportion than it was in the days when men fought hand to hand with sword and spear. The modern soldier in this age of advanced civilisation is a more humane being than his ancestors.
My Temporary Appointment
Having passed my Senior Cambridge I made up my mind to become a Malay Officer. At first I thought that I stood but little chance, as I understood that there were sixty applications for about four vacancies. However, I was not at all discouraged and went to sit the entrance examination. We were told that only the best three would be taken and that they had to go for an interview afterwards.
Strange to say, when the results came out, I was one of the best three and thus qualified myself to go for the interview. Luckily I was able to answer all the questions and, besides, I was exceedingly happy when the remark "good" was put after my name.
The following week, I received a letter stating that my application had been approved and that I had to commence my duty on the following day at Raub, a town in Pahang. I was very happy over the unexpected appointment I received, and started off on the same day with a bag of clothing. After a wearisome journey, I arrived there and was introduced to some of the well-known men.
The next day being the first day of my employment, I dressed myself in my best clothes and went to the office. The District Officer was a European whose pronunciation was very peculiar, thus making me unable to answer even his easiest questions. He, being an ill-tempered man, knocked me on my head.
I became very surprised at his rash act and tried to return the blow. At this critical moment I opened my eyes and realised that I had had a comfortable nap and all these things were only a dream and the man who gave me the knock was one of the masters during whose period I had had this fine time.
Wild Boar Hunting -The White Pig
The wild boar is a very dangerous animal. Born and bred in the jungle, this specimen of pig moves as quickly as lightning, alert and cunning, and when roused, is really dangerous. Well-built and weighing about one pikul on the average, these pigs can even kill a man with the first charge. Their two tusks are their means of livelihood and these they utilise when they dig up the ubi gantang of the primitive Malay.
The hunting of these boars in the thick undergrowth of the Malayan jungle has been facilitated by improved methods of tracking and beating. The Malayan method is a very peculiar one. It is not that the primitive Malays shoot them with their obsolete blunderbusses - may Allah forgive them. This method is very dangerous and greenhorns would surely end up in shooting their companions. The following narration will reveal to you the usual method of shooting the boars in the Malayan jungle. It will also enlighten you to the fact that boar hunting is a man's game.
My friends of the shooting world often charm me with stories of the white pig - how elusive and cunning it was and much fiercer than the other ordinary pigs of the herd, which inhabited a small jungle on the outskirts of a private estate at Sungei Buloh. To satisfy my curiosity, I agreed to follow the party on its weekly Sunday trips but only after having ascertained that I need not be insured.
Sunday morning at 3 a.m. found us tramping among the thick foliage. A friend then pointed to some footprints and kindly informed me that "Mr. Stripes" had been here but a few hours ago. This information had the effect of making my blood fall several degrees below the usual level but to keep up my dignity I had to wear the air of a courageous sightseer.
We then came to a hill and stood on the slope. The beater then went along the slope looking for the tracks made by the pigs. He searched to see if the pigs had gone down the valley or gone up the hill again, he then came back and positioned the men. The placing of men can only be done by experienced men who know the paths which the disturbed pigs will take when running for their lives. Every hunter must point his gun towards the valley and on no condition should he change his position or direction because there would be the danger of shooting his neighbour.
The beater then went round to the other side of the valley and let loose the dogs. The dogs then scattered the pigs which ran in all directions. The bull among them, however, turned occasionally to fight the dogs which, with great patience, decided to follow at his heels.
Now let us examine the hunters. I was standing behind one, without a gun in my hand. He coolly loaded his gun and, lighting a cigarette, calmly sat down with his finger on the safety catch and looked intently into the valley. On the other hand, I was fast approaching the state of a nervous breakdown. The news of "Mr. Stripes" was a bit disconcerting and the rustling of leaves and the breaking of twigs made me start, with my eyes popping out.
Then the faint barking of the dogs was heard in the distance. Like lightning my companion threw away his cigarette and stood up because the dogs always barked at the heels of the running boars. Nearer and nearer came the sound but I could not see anything because the lallang was waist high. However in a few seconds the foliage about 200 yards distant was moving vigorously and, suddenly, I beheld the backs of two bulls. Then when one jumped a bit too high, I saw its fiery eyes and gleaming tusks.
My legs then refused to stand firmly and, as my teeth began to chatter, I climbed the nearest tree and from there I watched the proceedings with bulging eyes and fast beating heart. When the pigs were 80 yards distant my companion raised his gun to his shoulder. A shot rang out and one boar fell dead on its tracks. Before the other boar could blink an eyelid, the second shot broke his shoulder. The disabled pig then raged around screaming and squealing.
Then we made the mistake which every hunter, when excited, makes. Everyone ran near the pig and thus no one could shoot in case his companion might be shot. Pandemonium broke out. Hunters yelling at one another with the disabled pig raging in the midst and no one able to shoot! Then into the midst charged the white pig. The appearance of this demon had a lightning effect. Hunters ran for their lives back to their old places to get a better shot at the white pig. Another shot rang out and the disabled pig was hit again. But the confusion gave the white pig a chance and, though several shots were fired at it, it gracefully bustled up the hill as if it was invincible.
I came down from the tree and noticed several of the hunters gathering round the dead pig. Many of them even went so far as to chant prayers to the "Unknown" who had protected them from the white pig. But I whistled a gay tune and helped them to carry the pigs. Many of the hunters eyed me with suspicion but cheerfully asked me my opinion of the day's shooting. "Well," said I, "It was perfectly safe..." Anyway, that night I attacked "Porky" at the dinner table, hoping that the next time my legs would agree to stand on terra firma.
Two O'clock after Midnight
A man was reading a story book, and a French clock in the corner of the room struck two. The man stood up and said "Hello, I have been sitting up late and now it is two o'clock in the morning," So he put out all the lights and went into his bedroom, and about five minutes later he was fast asleep.
The big lamp on the table said, "Hello, our master today sleeps late. I think the story book must be interesting."
"I think so," said the armchair nearby. "Let us talk something about our native countries and our travels," said the big lamp.
"Yes, let us talk something about it," said the French clock.
"I come from Hollywood," said a Picture-show on the table.
"Tell us something about it," said the Persian rugs lying nearby who were eager to hear something new.
Then the Picture-show answered, "In Hollywood there are many famous actors and actresses who are all very rich. If you want to see them you must visit the country."
"That is not very interesting," said the jar on the table, "I will tell you all, something about me. I come from Rome, where the people are war-like and like to conquer new lands. At one time Romans were very powerful. They conquered nearly all the countries in Europe and Asia."
"That is not interesting too," said the big lamp who was jealous. "I come from London where the people are rich and handsome," said the fountain pen lying on the table.
"We come from China, where the people are strong and mighty," said some pictures hanging on the wall boastfully.
"I come from Germany where the people can make wonderful things, such as warships, airships and so on," said the penknife who shouted with all his might.
"Don't shout like that or I will kill you," said the sword.
"Pardon me," said the penknife.
"Yes. I will pardon you," said the sword with a shout. "I will kill you both."
"How dare you speak so loud? You are not as old as I am," said the old battle-axe.
"Pardon us both," said the sword. "Can you tell us where you come from and how old you are," said the penknife trembling on the table.
"I come from a tomb where I was buried about eight thousand years ago in Egypt," said the axe. Then the French clock struck three. There was a great silence and everything in the room kept still.
How to Pass Examinations
If we want to pass examinations we should first bear in mind certain important points, namely, steady and systematic work, efficient expert guidance and fixed times for study.
Regarding the first point, it is better for us to begin our work early and work steadily until the examination. Some of us do not think of serious study until a few months before the examination, while some begin to study at the beginning and after a month or two, become weary of it and neglect it for some months and only take up serious study at the approach of the examination. These two kinds of student cannot expect to get through examinations.
Efficient and intelligent guidance in our studies is most important. This can be obtained best from qualified teachers. A student working on the right lines saves endless time and energy, yet produces excellent results. Misdirected work, no matter how strenuous, is largely wasted and in most cases detrimental to success.
Further, we should have a fixed time for study and stick fast to it. As to the number of hours of study per day, this very much depends on the powers of the student and the state of his health. A student who works quickly does not have to work as long as the slower thinking student. What one boy may grasp in 10 minutes, another may take half an hour. The important thing is to feel confident that one thoroughly understands the subject being studied, and not only in memorising it like a parrot. Some work day and night without games, but this is a bad idea, for we know the proverb, "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." We should therefore mix work with play so that we may cultivate a sound mind in a sound body.
The Coming Examination
The Final Examination of the Sixth and Seventh Standards will be held in the School Hall from the 24th to the 26th of November. All the boys in the classes are looking forward to the Examination with fear. This Examination tests the work done by the boys in class for the whole year and so, if they fail, a year's money in fees will be wasted. It is no wonder therefore that my friend and I shiver at the very words - "Final Examination."
Time seems to fly as that fearful day draws near. The night before the Examination, the boys lie sleepless in bed thinking of their future. Next morning, they wake up to go to school with fast beating hearts. On reaching there they see rows of desks and chairs in the hall, waiting to be occupied. On the platform there is a table at which sits the Examiner looking down upon the worried faces of the boys.
The school bell rings. The boys take their places and the questions are handed over. Whether they will pass or fail now depends on themselves and their previous preparation. After this test has finished, the boys feel very glad and seem to think that the time for the holidays is very long in approaching.
My Early Recollections in the School
Having passed the fifth standard in the Malay School I was admitted into the Victoria Institution in January 1924. The Head Master was then Mr. R. J. H. Sidney. I was placed in the Special Class under a Chinese master to whom Malay was like Greek. I, who knew no other language except my mother tongue, would have been uncomfortable in this class had it not been for the fact that all my classmates were also Malays.
The next day our master began to teach us. Though I tried my very best to understand what he was speaking about yet I could not do so. At last he tried to explain to us by means of signs and actions; this proved partly successful. The next day I was able to speak a few words, but to my unspeakable horror I saw an iron ruler lying on his table. This annoyed me very much as I thought that it would act as a remedy for my ignorance. The suspicion proved well founded for I was awarded three strokes on my back for having failed to spell the word "table." I was determined to get rid of the ruler during the interval. Seeing that the classroom was deserted by the boys who went to the Tuck Shop, I took the ruler and hid it up my sleeve. As soon as I had flung it into the Klang River, I heaved a sigh of relief. The loss of this ruler worried the master very much; but having failed to trace the rogue he did not punish us.
The following year I was promoted to the second standard. To my great astonishment I was appointed monitor of the class. Unfortunately this appointment did not last longer than a fortnight. I lost a bunch of keys for the drawers, and another boy was elected in my place. I regarded this as an insult to me. Next day I knocked my successor down with my fist and for this I received another reward of three strokes. Later, I was promoted to the third standard. By this time I was chosen to represent my House Junior Team in football and cricket. Football was my favourite game, but cricket was new to me for I had not known how the game was played until then. During my first match I was asked to go out as opening batsman, but the result was, of course, not very favourable, as I was bowled in the first over without breaking my duck. At the end of the year I was promoted to IV A.
Early in 1929, when the school was broken up, boys of the sixth standard and above were transferred to the new building. I left my beloved school slowly and sadly, and marched to the present Victoria Institution.
An Orphan on his Death Bed
Lean and pale-faced on his bed he lay
Moonlight Enjoyment Round
Some of my friends and I found ourselves roaming in the vicinity of Kampong Attap with our various musical instruments including bugles one fine moonlight night. We met at the appointed place - the bridge - whence we proceeded along the new road, which is by the side of the river. We made as much noise as we could, for the place which we were about to pass is said to be frequented by ghosts. Having passed the danger zone, our hearts became lighter and we intended to find a suitable place where we could settle down. We chose a place high up on a hill, just below which stands the palatial building of Towkay Chan Wing, J.P. Being seated, the most mischievous one of our party started to blow his bugle, thus disturbing the people whose bungalows were nearby, with the result that somebody shouted, "Silence there!" The noise at once ceased.
The place was bright, but nature was all asleep. Nothing but the cool night breeze and the rustling of the leaves broke the silence of the night. We were rather disappointed and looking far below, we saw the silvery water of the river flowing smoothly and silently. Moreover from where we were that night, we could see the whole town. What a beautiful sight it was to see the place at night! You would imagine that it was New York or London. Lights flashed here, there and everywhere. The temptation to play the musical instruments was irresistible as we had already pictured ourselves on one of the South Sea Islands.
Wasting no time, the sweet, soft melodies from the steel guitars were soon carried into the night air and, this time, the people living near by opened their windows to listen to some real music, not the music from the bugle. Soon after, violins, mandolins, accordions, cornets and flutes joined in pleasing harmony. Song after song was sung, the air itself was filled with these sweet melodies. We were at that time living in ecstasy and thought the place was a paradise. What a blissful night it was! Such a night in Kuala Lumpur "ne'er had been, nor e'er again shall be." Some of the party began to sing and dance, while the others supplied the necessary music.
In the meantime, young couples were seen passing in pairs; they all turned round, admiring the music. We, not knowing the time, enjoyed ourselves to the highest pitch, dreaming as it were, all the time. But we were brought back to our senses by the clock striking one. Before departing, the national anthem was played.
We agreed to return by the shortest possible route, as it was after midnight. We chatted merrily as we trotted homewards, and at the same time breathed the pure, cool breeze as well as enjoyed the fine scenery around us.
At last, we came to the parting of the ways, and I left the party, as my house was the nearest.
The Bird's Liberty
The strong rain fell, the wild wind blew,
My Disastrous Experience
Nowadays aeroplanes are so common that we have almost lost the capacity for wonder. It is indeed surprising how men have conquered the air and can now fly like birds.
As I was speculating about this matter, it struck me that I must somehow fly in an aeroplane to England at least once during my lifetime.
The next day happened to be Saturday and early at dawn my friend and I started for our destination - England. I knew quite well that my friend, Rango, liked to be flattered by someone, and so I spoke very well of him, saying that he was the best pilot that the world had so far produced.
Deceived by my words, he began to fly at an amazing speed, and I found to my dismay that we had missed the route and were flying in the opposite direction.
Rango did not know what to do, and before anything could be done, we dashed against a great mountain. By the help of the Almighty, I had a narrow escape from the jaws of death, and fell into a stream which was about ten feet in depth.
While I was lamenting the loss of my guide and my aeroplane, I received a mighty slap from my father who said, "It is already eight, and I think that you are too late for school." I opened my eyes and found that it was only a dream
The Origin of the First Crocodile T.S.T., VII B
T.S.T., VII B
Siti Fatimah was the daughter of the Prophet Mohammed, and Petri Padang was the her nurse.
One day the nurse took the sheath of the flower of the betel-nut palm, and on it moulded some clay the shape of which is now the crocodile; the palm leaf formed the belly of the animal. Out of the joints of a sugar cane she made its ribs. On its head she placed a pointed stone; bits of turmeric formed its eyes; and its tail was the leaf of a betel-nut palm. She then tried to give life to it but the model fell to pieces. Twice this happened, but the third time she prayed to the Almighty God to give life to it, and gradually it began to move and breathe.
For many years it was the play thing of the Prophet's daughter, but at last, with increasing size it became disobedient and Petri Padang, being now old and feeble, Siti Fatimah cursed the animal saying, "Thou shalt become the crocodile of the sea, nothing that thou eat shall have the taste of thee." She then drew out its teeth and pulled out its tongue from its mouth and then in order to close its mouth she drove nails through the lower jaw to the upper jaw and from the upper jaw to the lower jaw.
The animal was allowed to escape, but soon found a way to open its mouth and the nails driven by Siti Fatimah became the teeth it now has, and to this day crocodiles have no tongue.
One of the most interesting things we do in school after class hours is to try to beautify our school compound. We boys of the sixth standard were told to compete for a gardening prize. Each class was given a certain plot. My class got the stretch in front of and beside the Pavilion. We boys of VI C started our gardening early in July. Before we started, however, our master divided the class into different sections. Each section was to send in a plan of how the garden should be arranged.
Finally, all agreed that the letters "Victoria Institution" should be worked out and planted with tiny plants in front of the pavilion and five circular beds of the same size be dug on each side of the remaining plot of ground.
At first our efforts, though great, had rather poor results. The plants did not grow very well owing to the poor soil. Our Master then bought a lorry load of manure which the coolies put into the different beds. This made the soil quite rich. Cats whiskers and some fast growing plants were planted. They literally sprang up in one or two week's time to full bloom and looked beautiful indeed. Before this, through our master, we enlisted the services of two expert gardeners who came on a Saturday to show us the proper way to dig up the beds, to plant and to water the plants. After finishing this part of our programme, we started to make arches one on each side of the Pavilion leading from the steps to the field. The arches were completed just in time for the inspection by the Headmaster and Mr Nicoll. We were awarded the first prize for gardening, and then came the holidays for Term III.
At the reopening of the school we were surprised to see that all our plants had withered away. We learned from this experience that fast growing plants are always fast dying ones also. They are only good for a few weeks.
Consequently, we looked about for plants which have deeper roots and of a more lasting nature. We were promised some such plants from the Agricultural Department and when they came we saw to it that they were properly planted. Now we have the satisfaction of seeing them growing into fine big healthy plants.
Some thousands of years ago in a certain place there were two brothers living apart from each other. The elder one had three children but the younger had none. The elder brother used to feel within himself that his younger brother would surely be very unhappy because he was childless, and the younger used to think that surely his elder brother would be very much worried because out of his scanty means he had to provide for his children. So each decided in his mind that he must help the other.
They were farmers by profession. The harvest time had come and each of the brothers had heaped his corn on their common threshing floor.
The younger brother would then come at dead of night and take some bags of corn from his own heap and put them into his brother's to give him more because he needed it. The older brother would do the same because he thought that his brother would be unhappy as he had no children. Each went on doing this without the knowledge of the other.
At that time the ruler of the country used to go about the country at night disguised to see how his subjects were faring. It happened that he saw these brothers going about during the nights. He got their address one by one and next day they were summoned to appear at the palace of the ruler. He asked them what they had been doing at such an unusual time. Each answered in turn saying that he wanted to see that his brother was happy and so heaped some of his own corn on his brother's heap. The ruler divining the amount of love each had for the other, was very glad to see such brothers in his land and rewarded them most handsomely for their kind deeds.
Once upon a tune there were two boys, Harry and Charlie. One day, Harry told Charlie how a man could be changed into a god with the help of another. He said that when gods wanted to help mortals they usually disguised themselves as wretched beggars and whatever they said must be obeyed.
Having heard this, Charlie was anxious to be helped in the same manner. He was always hoping that some god would come to him. One night, owing to the thoughts which always clung to his mind, he dreamt that a poor beggar was approaching his doors. The next day, at about noon, a beggar came to him asking for alms. Charlie thought that he was a god and throwing his hands round his neck cried out, "You must help me. Change me into a god."
The poor beggar explained that he had no power to do so. But Charlie would not listen to his words but held on to him fast. The beggar, in order to escape, said, "I will do what you ask me, but you must follow my instructions." He then threw off Charlie's hold and told him to climb up a tall tree and when he had reached the top, to stand on two branches with each of his hands holding a branch. Having got into position, Charlie asked what he should do next.
The beggar now gave his commands. "First remove your right foot from the branch and then your left. Now, support your body with your right hand." The beggar ran to a place about a hundred yards away and cried out, "You will become a god when you let go your right hand." The poor fellow, hearing the distant command, did what he was told hoping to become a god. He let go his right hand and dropped headlong to the ground and was killed, while the beggar made his escape.
Charlie may have become a god in the next world, who knows? But his ambition to achieve a station in life so far above his natural one only brought disaster and an untimely death in this one.
A Thrilling Time
A.S.S., VI A
The old grandfather clock in its worm-eaten oak case struck the hour of midnight. Feeling thirsty, I got up from my bed and groped in the darkness for the water goblet, which was on a table. After I succeeded in finding it I removed the lid and quenched my thirst. When I was in the act of placing it back on the table I heard a noise which made my hair stand on end. Again, I heard this noise but I thought it came from a rat. I was shivering not with cold but with fear. I at once rushed to my bed and covered myself with my blanket. Try as I might, I could not get a wink of sleep. I then started cursing myself for having got up to drink water. In spite of my height (five feet four inches) and age (fourteen years and five months), I believed in ghosts. I had not recovered from my fear when I heard another noise.
By this time I was shaking like a jellyfish and had half a mind to wake up my brother who was a strong man and did not share my belief in ghosts. On second thoughts I decided not to wake him up for I knew that if he did not find the true perpetrator of that noise, which I believed had come from a ghost, and found it came from a rat instead, he was sure to tell my friends and classmates what a big coward I was.
This time I listened attentively and distinctly heard someone calling for help. First the call was loud and shrill and then it became so low that I could not hear it any more. This time I cast away to the winds my thoughts and the disgrace of being called a coward and jumped out of my bed and called my father and brothers, for now I was trembling so violently that I feared that I was about to faint. My father and my brothers came running to me and I told them, as briefly as possible, what I had heard. To my surprise they believed me and did not think that I had been imagining things.
My father, who kept a revolver, rushed to a wardrobe and took out his automatic. One of my brothers picked up his favourite hatchet which was nearby, whilst my other brothers picked up anything that came to their hands. I could not find anything useful. Looking at the corner of the room, I found the greatest friend of Boy Scouts, the scout pole. At that moment I remembered that I had not fully passed my Tenderfoot test, especially in the uses of the staff. I was awakened from my thoughts by my father. The door was opened and I was asked where the shouts had come from.
I may have been a coward but I was not deaf, for I had distinctly heard a shout coming from our neighbour's house. We rushed there and knocked at the door. After a few minutes, which seemed hours to me, the owner of the house opened the door. My father asked him if he had heard anyone shouting for help. He told us that his own son had shouted for help. My father, who thought that robbers might have attacked his house, asked him if the robbers were still there.
To our astonishment our neighbour laughed and told us that his son, who often talked in his dreams, had shouted in his sleep. He told us that he also had been frightened by the loud shouting which suddenly had become so low. He had rushed into his son's room and had found him shouting with his face buried in his pillow. He then found out that the loud shouts had come when his son was looking up, and the low shouts when his son was buried in his pillow. He also told us that his son, on being awakened, had told him that he had dreamt that he was being drowned in a river. He then thanked us for our watchfulness and courage. We then returned home. At the same time, the old grandfather clock struck the hour of one.
Habits are remarkable and controlling characteristics of all living beings. They are most easily acquired in early life, and become confirmed by practice and may be strong enough to produce good or evil in individuals. It should be the aim of all, therefore, to acquire good habits as their health and happiness largely depend upon them.
It is especially so with regard to the physical and mental training of children and the influence of habits can produce good and prevent evil. In order that hygienic habits may be acquired, some knowledge of hygiene is necessary, but the best method of teaching is by example. We study hygiene in our school. Parents and teachers teach by practice. The habits picked up by children in a good home or in a well-disciplined school will have a good effect throughout their lives.
It is difficult to break a bad habit but the difficulty is half over when the first effort has been made, and the more often bad habits are broken, the easier it is to destroy them all together.
It is quite unnecessary to be in a constant state of anxiety with regard to health in order to acquire and practice healthy hygienic habits. Such a state of mind leads to ill health and unsanitary habits. Great attention should be paid to personal neatness, household cleanliness, moderation in food, drink and sleep, taking plenty of mental and physical exercise, avoiding mental worry and fatigue and taking care to obtain pure drinking water, wholesome food and fresh air.
Our School Library
A library is a storehouse of books. Ruskin called good books treasures; treasures, not of gold or silver, but of knowledge and wisdom.
Our library is situated in the middle of our school building. There are large bookcases on the two opposite sides of the room and they are full of books. In the middle of the library there are several tables on which are kept the daily newspapers, monthly magazines, school magazines and illustrated newspapers. In the library there are also books on history, geography, fiction and biographies. Near the entrance there is a large cupboard where there is a complete set of the Encyclopaedia Britannica and the Oxford English Dictionary.
Our librarian issues the books on Tuesdays and Fridays during the interval. Almost every issuing day, many books are borrowed by the boys. There are about six hundred books in our library, all carefully selected by the librarian. The librarian is in charge of the library. His duty is to look after the books and keep a record of the books lent. We are also given permission to make use of the Encyclopaedia Britannica.
The boys read books with immense enthusiasm and gain much knowledge. The English saying, "Reading to the mind, is what exercise is to the body" proves true, because only a man of knowledge gains wisdom.
In a library we come in touch with those books that are not within the reach of our pocket money. However rich a man may be, he can never buy all the books. Books like encyclopaedias cannot be bought by every one. By reading history we get some information on how people of ancient times lived and clothed themselves. By reading good books written by well-known writers, we can write good English.
Many a reader of this magazine will perhaps turn over its pages without even glancing at the subject matter of this article as soon as they see the word "books". But it is, indeed, they who are most in need of reading this - a poor attempt at telling them something favourable about books, those poor little things utterly disliked by almost all school boys.
Books are among the most valuable possessions of a man or woman. They are the Treasure Houses of Knowledge and this Treasure can be had by almost all with very little waste of time and trouble. Yet how many of us do make an effort to avail ourselves of an opportunity which people of past generations did not have!
We learn something when we come to school but what we learn in school is not sufficient if we are to be successful in life. The education we get in schools is, nowadays, of very little use unless the individual makes a continuous further addition to his knowledge year by year.
We must know what is going on in the world today and what has gone on in the past. With a book in our hands we may sit in a corner and get information on any subject we choose. We may not be rich enough to travel and see the world. Still we can imagine what this world of ours is like and know all about its inhabitants and their customs. Whatever our tastes may be, we will find books in the bookshops or libraries to satisfy every one of us. Reading can be pleasant and, unlike most other pleasant pastimes, profitable. A man or woman can, by reading books, know all about his or her business with a minimum of trouble and expense, and anybody who does this will surely be successful in life.
Most of us, especially young people, are fond of reading novels. This is quite all right if the books are good, but when it comes to reading utter trash it is surely not advisable. In every flock you will find black sheep; so with books, there are good and bad books. It is for us to choose the good books and leave out the bad ones, so that they may not be published in time to come. As has been said, good novels are all right in their way but if reading is to be of real use it should be serious; that is, we must read books which give definite information about matters of importance.
How I Saved my Countrymen
Three thousand nine hundred years before the birth of Jesus Christ, I lived in the country of Nowhere with my mother and a hundred brethren. At this time the country was being visited by a great giant who was nineteen feet tall and his arms were as big as the trunk of a big tree and his eyes always seemed to flash fire. He would devour men and women in great numbers whenever he paid a visit. In this way many of the people died, so that the elders fearing that soon all the people would be devoured, held a meeting in the market place and decided to make an agreement with the giant promising that they would supply him daily with a cartload of vegetables and a man for his food. To this, the giant agreed so every house in turn supplied one of their family to the giant.
One day our turn came and my poor mother was weeping for she knew quite well that she could not disobey the law of the country, and that she was going to lose one of us. Seeing that she found great difficulty in choosing which one of us was to go, I, being the eldest and bravest, volunteered to go.
So, early in the morning with a cartload of brinjals, I set off having bidden farewell to my mother and brethren who were weeping loudly. Although I showed great fortitude, yet my heart was beating so fast that even my ribs seemed to give way. On the way I fell asleep and dreamt that I was fighting with the giant, and the Angel of the Lord came in between us and directed me to pull the giant's ears. At this I woke up and with fresh courage went as fast as I could to the giant's den.
I saw the giant at a distance walking towards the town in a fury. I stopped the cart and began to unload with haste the food which was in it, but the giant, seeing me, came to me, full of anger and his eyes flashed fire. He raised his hands and gave me a terrible punch on my back that every bone in me seemed to crack. He then took me up with one hand and was about to dash me to the ground when I plucked up courage and jumped and pulled off his ears. At this action he fell to the ground like a mountain and died, for he was a man whose life was in his ears. I took my sword and cut off the giant's head and dragged it along to my house.
When the people saw me from afar they were frightened for they thought that I had escaped and the giant would soon come and destroy them. But when they saw me with the giant's head, the whole country gathered around me, and my mother and brothers were very proud of me, and the people who had gathered round us gave us presents and also gave us great daily feasts. But I am sorry to say that now my pride has been put down by the wicked witch Cycorax, who you all know, has, by her witchcraft, made me a student in Junior II in the V.I.!
Last update on 28 October 2000.
Contributed by: Chung Chee Min
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