Friday, May 17, 2013


1. First Class Badge

In 1961, PK and I went for our 1st Class Badge test. We were required to take a journey into the 'wild', camp overnight at a designated spot and then return to the starting point. With the help of a compass, we had to prepare a rough map of the journey traversed and then write a report of the trip for submission to our Scoutmaster.
We started from the Scout Hut in the morning. In our heavy canvas knapsacks, we carried our clothing change, our simple cooking utensils, a ground sheet, a light plastic sheet which could be converted into a tent for the night, as well as a host of other scouting essentials (ropes, knives, candles, matches, etc.).

Part of the journey took us through a rubber estate owned by the Man Woo Loong Co. At midday we went for a rest at a timber Chinese pavillion over a fish pond. There we met and talked to a photographer who was wandering around the area. He kindly took a photo of us and later sent it to me.  

Recently, I made a trip to Singapore where PK is now residing. During an outing to China Town, we were each carrying a back pack (for shopping and other purposes). With the Chinese architecture in the background, it was a perfect setting to recreate that pose of ours 52 years ago.

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Friday, March 29, 2013


Jesselton (now Kota Kinabalu)

In 1963 I had to venture out of Sandakan. The year before I had completed my Senior Cambridge Certificate. The only schools which ran Form 6 classes then were located in the capital of North Borneo. For the next two years, I would be a full-board student at Sabah College.

This post will include scenes taken about half a century apart in and around the West Coast, mainly at Jesselton/Kota Kinabalu. 

1. HSBC Bank and Tong Hing Cold Storage

This two commercial buildings remain intact after half a century, although major renovations have been carried during the decades separating the two scenes.

Back in the 60s, bicycle was still a major transportation item. Those bicycles under the rain tree probably belonged to the bank's clients or workers.

One cannot see any sign of bicycles these days. Instead, we have the KK Bypass on the right with cars zooming past.

This giant rain tree across the road from HSBC fascinated me then. It still does today. It is a blessing that the Local Authorities allow it to stay there.

After 50 years, it still stands proudly, even though some of its lower branches have been trimmed off to avoid hazards, as can be seen from this and other photos below.

Every now and again, the old rain tree will come alive with a profuse bloom of dove orchids, in tandem with the onsets of thundery weather. 

2. Reunion With Classmates 

By December, 1964, I had completed my Form 6 (Upper) education in Sabah College, Jesselton. I had sat for my Cambridge Higher School Certificate Exams and had returned to Sandakan to await the results. In February, 1965 I embarked on the first leg of a journey to pursue my tertiary education in New Zealand. I flew to Jesselton to receive the final instructions and to collect my tickets from the Education Department for my flight to NZ under a Colombo Plan Scholarship.

On 13 February, I visited Sabah College for the last time. There I met two of my former classmates, who, like me, would be heading for universities overseas. We chatted and had a group photo taken outside Turnbull Hall, where we had attended weekly assemblies and other educational, cultural and social activities during the past two years.

Cheng (left) would be one of the 6 students heading with me (right) for various destinations in NZ, whilst Wu (centre) was scheduled to enter an institution of higher learning in the United Kingdom later on in the year.

Half a century has since lapsed. We have accomplished our educational targets, worked at our respective professions, and have mainly retired. It was a chanced encounter that we were reunited again for a memorable group photo, almost 50 years 10 days to the date of the above photo. 

Venue: E-West Cafe, Kota Kinabalu
3. Sending off a St. Mary's Classmate 

    (Click to enlarge)

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( be continued)