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Location: Singapore, Singapore

A "recycled teenager" learning to blog.

Sep 5, 2011

To Sir With Love

A cartoonist's impression!

The above are online greeting cards for Teacher's Day on September 1 all over the world.

It is Thanksgiving Day for all teachers, present and past.

A selection of some quotes here:

"A teacher's purpose is not to create students in his own image, but to develop students who can create their own image." ~ Anonymous

"The best teachers teach from the heart, not from the book." ~ Anonymous

A good teacher, like a good entertainer first must hold his audience's attention, then he can teach his lesson.
~ John Henrik Clarke

"It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge."
~ Albert Einstein

That Noble Title: Teacher

Five Units at a Glance

An excerpt from lifestyle May 2011 below:
Certainly, parenting today has become a much bigger challenge. It is very true that good upbringing is not easy and gives headaches but bad upbringing always brings heartaches. Through our parenting programme, our objective is to:'

* Empower your child for success through positive discipline.

* Develop the child's ability to think and make good judgement which is better than memorising facts.

* Build high self-esteem and prevent your child from self-dstructive behavior.

From: "Shiv your PERSPECTIVE" by Shiv Khera, a corporate trainer, motivational speaker and author of "You Can Win".
Next, take a coffeee break for some music and video at YouTube at:

"To Sir, With Love" is a 1967 British drama film starring Sidney Poitier.

The film's title song "To Sir With Love", sung by Lulu at YouTube here and the song lyric below:
To Sir With Love

Those schoolgirl days, of telling tales and biting nails are gone,
But in my mind,
I know they will still live on and on,
But how do you thank someone, who has taken you from crayons to perfume?
It isn't easy, but I'll try,

If you wanted the sky I would write across the sky in letters,
That would soar a thousand feet high,
To Sir, with Love

The time has come,
For closing books and long last looks must end,
And as I leave,
I know that I am leaving my best friend,
A friend who taught me right from wrong,
And weak from strong,
That's a lot to learn,
What, what can I give you in return?

If you wanted the moon I would try to make a start,
But I, would rather you let me give my heart,
To Sir, with Love

In my first person to blog to express etched in my memories a special teacher to remember when I was Primary 4 in 1959 at Delta Primary School. He was Mr Soo Mok Sung.

                                      Mr Soo Mok Sung

A primary school teacher in a child's formidable years is most impressionable. A child loves his lessons because the teacher taught with motivation, interest and inspired by the quest for knowledge.

Not so much remembered by what he teaches, but by how he shows the child with care and love. Teaching by a robot or using computers can never be replaced by a human teacher. A young child tends to react a person's feelings and sentiments, how they learn in schools through a real person's kindness and compassion.

Mr Soo was a young lanky, bespectacled and soft-spoken English Language teacher from Ipoh, Malaysia in his mid-twenties.

I was staying in Beo Crescent in Bukit Ho Swee and received a Chinese New Year card which gave me a surprise and liked it very much. I had not received any greeting card from anyone before, and this was the first one I received from Mr Soo. I cherished it as a treasure. Alas, that precious card kept in a locked drawer, was burnt in the Bukit Ho Swee fire.

Mr Soo was indeed a very special person. Someone who has never done any other teachers when I was in my primary school years. He was always attentive and patient. Mr Soo doesn't lost his temper even when his students repeatedly asked his questions whenever he did not understand the answers.

One day when our students were in class before starting his lessons, Mr Soo closed the classroom doors.

He then brought a student's desk to the front of the classroom, placed a birthday cake and a candle. Then he lighted the candle.

Our classmates had a surprise!

With a smile, he then told us: "Today is my birthday!"

We all shouted: "Happy Birthday, Mr Soo". He quickly placed a finger to his lips and said, "Shh...not too loud. Do not disturb our other schoolmates or the school teachers next door".

Mr Soo then cut a big birthday cake into equal pieces and distribute to every student, each with a packet drink to celebrate his birthday "To Sir with love".

We had a memorable birthday celebration with Mr Soo. A teacher to remember always!

On the first day of Chinese New Year (on Sunday 8 February, 1959 according to the Google search for the Gregorian calendar), my classmates Chua Wee Tong who stays in Chin Chew Street in Chinatown and Soh Cheow Poh who stays in Havelock Road, decided to pay our traditional Chinese New Year respect to Mr Soo. I had forgotten whom of us had Mr Soo's home address.

On that early morning, we visited Mr Soo's at Prince Philip Avenue by bus. He stayed at a rented Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) flat alone as he was then a bachelor.

He was happy to welcome us as he did not have other visitors that day. We greeted Mr Soo "Happy New Year" and each of us presented him with two Mandarin oranges.

These Mandarin oranges were from Wee Tong's mother who taught us to follow the Chinese tradition to respect our teachers.

Mr Soo was surprised by our visit so early and we waited for him to wash and dress up. He then gave Wee Tong, Cheow Poh and I each of us an Ang Pow as we left his house. He wished us "Gong Hei Fatt Choy" in his Cantonese dialect for "Happy and Prosperous New Year".

He told us that he would bring us out to town. We were excited to have this chance to accompany our favorite teacher during the Chinese New Year.

Before going to town, Mr Soo invited us to have breakfast at a nearby coffee-shop at Prince Philip Avenue. He ordered each of us a set of two soft-boiled eggs, two pieces of toasted bread and a cup of "kopi-O". Mr Soo told us that he took daily breakfast at the coffee-shop before going to school. Prince Philip Avenue was nearby for him to walk to Delta Primary School.

After breakfast, Mr Soo brought us by bus to Orchard Road. It was our first time there.

Cold Storage at Orchard Road c 1960. Source: National Archives of Singapore (NAS).

Mr Soo gave us an ice-cream treat at the Magnolia Milk Bar (next to Cold Storage). It was our first time experience and an unforgettable memories on Chinese New Year day in 1959.

After our Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) in 1961, we left Delta Primary School and did not meet Mr Soo over the years. He was later transferred to Queenstown Technical School in Alexandra Road.

My classmates have also lost contact with them. Wondering if anyone of them are contactable on Facebook after almost 60 years...

My favorite teacher Mr Soo passed away peacefully at age 51 on 10 February, 1987.

Rest in Peace, Mr Soo Mok Sung.

"To Sir With Love" and with gratitude and thanksgiving, Sir!

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7 Comments:

Blogger derek tait said...

As far as I know, we don't have a teacher's day here in England. Sounds like a great idea though. What I remember of my own teachers, in the UK in the 1970s, they didn't seem as loveable as yours. My teachers were more comparable to the imates in 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest'!

September 6, 2011 at 3:44 AM  
Blogger ....... said...

十年树木,百年树人。Really salute those teachers who are able to see beyond immediate academic outcome and be able to act based on conscience.

KL

September 6, 2011 at 10:40 PM  
Blogger lim said...

A good teacher is always a good story teller.

September 7, 2011 at 11:21 PM  
Blogger Lam Chun See said...

Thank you for a very good story ..... teacher.

September 8, 2011 at 4:10 PM  
Blogger stranger. said...

Hi James,

Wondering if you've seen this book - The Emergence of Bukit Ho Swee Estate - from Desolation to Progress.

It's got some good pictures of floorprint of an attap hut at Beo Lane that you might be interested in! Also old maps of BHS area in the 30s, 40s, and the SIT flats between 1950 - 1970.

Cheers,
Simin

September 8, 2011 at 11:01 PM  
Blogger Thimbuktu said...

Thank you for your compliments, Chun See.

Our fellow bloggers are all story-tellers and teachers, educationists to share our personal experiences and stories.

You have benefitted the nostalgia blogs and stories used in your training courses as a lecturer too.

This is a helpful lifeskill which all our bloggers could use the blogs for the relevant blog topics.

"A good teacher, like a good entertainer first must hold his audience's attention, then he can teach his lesson". ~ John Henrik Clarke

Carry on blogging!

September 10, 2011 at 10:20 AM  
Blogger lim said...

I've just seen a movie, The First Grader, which I feel is a very timely reminder about the importance of education and having good teachers, a situation that many people in the more developed world take for granted or are experiencing a deterioration.

September 20, 2011 at 11:25 AM  

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