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Main Convent

kayes



Registered: July 2008
Location: Penang Malaysia
Posts: 4,824
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· Date: July 16, 2008 · Views: 25941 ·
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Vanisha79

Registered: July 2008
Posts: 10
July 31, 2008 6:55pm

Do you know that there is a beautifull chapel in the school. Many of us are not aware of it... Still wondering whether they are using the chapel or not. I used to learn piano from one of the nun (sister agnes) which used to stay there. Many of us havent explore the main stair just next to the principle's room. It used to be where the nuns stay. There was also place for handycaps and retarted people at the other entrance of the school which facing syuen.
Phoebe
Land Down Under

Registered: July 2008
Posts: 447
October 7, 2008 11:30pm

The school chapel is on the left of this pic. During the entire 11 years of my schooling at Main Convent ('60s - '70s), students were strictly forbidden from wandering beyond the Head Mistress's office, hence the nuns' quarters were off-limits.


I'm not sure exactly which year the orphanage ceased operations but I can remember some of my then classmates/schoolmates (who grew up/resided in the orphanage) being adopted out throughout the '70s. I remember reading a newspaper article years later about one of them getting married to an expat. Regardless of racial origins, all infant/very young residents were taught to speak French as their first language.


A few years ago, I learned that the orphanage itself no longer existed but was operationally replaced by "Asrama Bintang Rumah Wanita Cacat Infant Jesus Convent" (or "Bintang Hostel, Home for Disabled Women"). One website describes it as a "residential home for women aged 25 years and above with intellectual, physical and emotional difficulties. Provides basic education, artwork, drawing, house chores, gardening, craftwork, pet rearing and other activities. All remaining residents are from the Infant Jesus orphanage which began in 1914. No new admission accepted."
Liz

Registered: August 2008
Posts: 192
October 8, 2008 6:19am

The chapel was most visited before and during examination times especially for those who didn't work hard enough during the year and needed divine intervention. I remember that sister (nun) had a cupboard in the chapel, full of holy pictures and they were really beautiful with pretty scenes from the bible and we will buy them and give them to friends and classmates. Was popular to give photos and holy pictures to friends as a way of remembrance and we wrote fancy words like "Far out in the ocean there was a rock. On it was written forget me not" So many more come to mind now but can't write them all here. In fact I still keep many of my friends' photos and holy pictures. I am very sentimental Smile Hey any of you still remember those autograph books? We used to write all kinds of fancy stuff inside. Gone are the days and I miss the good old days !
Phoebe
Land Down Under

Registered: July 2008
Posts: 447
October 8, 2008 7:33am

Liz, yes, yes, yes! I remember those beautiful holy pictures from the chapel. And oh, gosh, those autograph books at the end of Form 3 and then Form 5, with those most embarrassingly corny (which we thought at the time were fancy) lines we would write in them! Smile Like you, I have very fond memories of my schooldays at this wonderful school.


A couple of years ago, after searching high and low for some 25 years, I finally located my favourite teacher. Long story how but guess where I found her? She actually lives less than 5 mins' drive from my house here in Melbourne! When I visited her, we couldn't stop talking about the good old times. I showed her pictures of our class photos and she remembered many faces. And when I recited off the top of my head what she had written in my autograph book at the end of Form 3, her eyes misted over momentarily. Unfortunately, along with the two autograph books, many of my cherished schooldays' memorabilia had been lost when I left Ipoh in '79.
Liz

Registered: August 2008
Posts: 192
October 8, 2008 10:06am

Oh too bad Phoebe. Those were treasures from the past. I still have my needlework from Std. 1. Can you imagine that. Can't bear to part with it after keeping it for all these years. In fact I have written many poems in my blog on the convent and my school days all depicting times in the convent. Do you still remember the school song : Holy Infant Jesus, hear thy children's prayer.......
We were so proud to sing that song !
Phoebe
Land Down Under

Registered: July 2008
Posts: 447
October 8, 2008 10:43am

Indeed, Liz, I do miss those precious memorabilia so. To this day, I have still not got over the loss. And yes, I do remember our school anthem thus:


Holy Infant Jesus, hear thy children's prayer
Help us to be like thee, kind and just and fair
Guide us in our labour, guard us at our play
Simple in virtue, growing day by day


See our badge, the cross is raised, gold we choose for thee
Silver, too, as kings should have and red for calvary
Marguerites in garland, a sign of purity
Holy Infant, may our badge always honour thee
Liz

Registered: August 2008
Posts: 192
October 9, 2008 12:16am

Bravo Phoebe. How can we ever forget the words right? Had to sing it every assembly day. Who was Reverend Mother during your time. Mine was during Mother Pauline's.
Phoebe
Land Down Under

Registered: July 2008
Posts: 447
October 9, 2008 4:53am

Liz, Reverend Mother (Sister Pauline Legrix) was Principal/Headmistress from 1957 to 1966. She was succeeded by the much-feared Sister Fidelma Hogan from 1966 to 1972. Sister Maureen Chew took over from 1973 to 1991. Being the nun-fearing little angel that I was during my schooldays, I never once had the pleasure (NOT) of Sr Fidelma's personal company so I wouldn't have the foggiest what she was like except that the mere mention of her name was enough to frighten the living daylights out of me.
Liz

Registered: August 2008
Posts: 192
October 9, 2008 5:56am

Phoebe, did you know that Sr Mary Mike is Joe's elder sister and my sister-in-law. You mean Miss Hew Sook Heng right......she is the eldest of the Hew sisters right? Well she is actually a very nice lady. Meet her now and then in Ipoh and a very good Maths teacher I would say. Reverend Mother Pauline was the one who gave me a temporary teaching post in Marian Convent after my senior cambridge school certificate exams and the money I earned really came in handy while waiting for my results. Somehow,I was in her good books not that I was a goody-goody girl but I guess I was just lucky. Remember sister Ernest who later became known as Sr Oliver (I never knew why) She was my physics teacher and though she was a really nice person, she wasn't a very good teacher. Was Sister Raphael still around during your time. She was the one who converted me to Catholicism when I was in Form 1. Can I email you my poem on the convent ? I wrote it through sheer nostalgia........to quote a line from To Sir With Love......."Those school girl days, of telling tales and biting nails are gone, but in my mind, I know that they will still live on and on "
kayes

Registered: July 2008
Location: Penang Malaysia
Posts: 4,824
October 9, 2008 6:09am

Liz, why only to Phoebe? Please post your convent poem here for all to read Smile BTW, my daughter spent her entire school life (primary & secondary) at the Convent Light Street, Penang. Attended many of her school activities and I must say I know CLS like the back of my hand Smile
Phoebe
Land Down Under

Registered: July 2008
Posts: 447
October 9, 2008 6:27am

No, Liz, I didn't know that Sr Mary Michael is Joe's sister. Oh, wow. Thanks for letting me know. And please convey my best wishes to Sister. She taught my form-mates Catholicism Class in the main hall.


Yes, you're right about Ms Hew Sook Heng. I met her 3 times years after my schooldays and she was really nice and chatty. Boy, does she have a good memory of faces, though. In Dec 2000, I happened to be back in Ipoh when the school had a reunion so I jumped at the chance of attending. It didn't take Ms Hew long before she spotted me and said, "Oh, you still look the same!". She taught me Add Maths in Form 4 and 5.


By the way, this is the full version of our school anthem:


### Holy Infant Jesus, hear thy children's prayer
Help us to be like thee, kind and just and fair
Guide us in our labour, guard us at our play
Simple in virtue, growing day by day


See our badge, the cross is raised, gold we choose for thee
Silver, too, as kings should have and red for calvary
Marguerites in garland, a sign of purity
Holy Infant, may our badge always honour thee


Let us always steadfast be, in duty to our King
To our parents, teachers and all that life may bring
Let us ever humble be, as thou at Mary's knee
Let our hearts stay pure and sweet offerings to thee


Holy Infant Jesus, bless our Mother dear
Bless our teachers and our school and all that we hold dear
When we leave our school behind and make our way alone
Be thou always at our side and guide us to thy throne ###


I can almost hear it being sung as I type. Smile Yes, thanks, please email me your poem on our school. Joe has my email address. Smile
Phoebe
Land Down Under

Registered: July 2008
Posts: 447
October 9, 2008 6:31am

Liz, Kayes is right. Let everyone enjoy your beautiful poems here. Smile
kayes

Registered: July 2008
Location: Penang Malaysia
Posts: 4,824
October 10, 2008 2:14am

hello to all the Convent girls here Smile The other day when I was at the Ave Maria Convent to take some pics I met the Principal, Ms Chen Chiu Hiong. She is an extremely nice lady and she told me she was from the Main Convent. She walked me round the school and explained the history of the school to me. Despite the fact she knew I could not hear everything she said, she was very patient. Anyone here knows her?
Phoebe
Land Down Under

Registered: July 2008
Posts: 447
October 10, 2008 8:27am

Sorry, Kayes, I'm not familiar with Ms Chen Chiu Hiong at all. During my time at Main Convent, there were 10 classes to each Form. On average, there were 45 or so students in each class. Considering the school is older than St Michael's, there are virtually countless of us out there on this blue planet. Smile


On the old forum you had posted several more pics of Main Convent. Please, if it's not too much trouble, could you be so kind as to post them here as well? Pretty please? Smile Many thanks!
kayes

Registered: July 2008
Location: Penang Malaysia
Posts: 4,824
October 10, 2008 8:45am

Sure Phoebe ..... if I still have them. I remember I deleted several pics of the Main Convent from my hard disk because I didn't like them anymore. Those pics were taken on a dull and hazy day. Anyway I will take a look. Ms Chen must be about 50 to 55 years old now .... most Principals are about that age.
Phoebe
Land Down Under

Registered: July 2008
Posts: 447
October 10, 2008 8:53am

Thanks, Kayes. I had a poke around the old forum a little earlier on and found one taken of the quadrangle, which used to be the primary school playground. I had sudden flashbacks of deeply poignant memories of my childhood and primary schooldays. Wonder if Liz and other ex-Convent girls have similar experiences, too.
kayes

Registered: July 2008
Location: Penang Malaysia
Posts: 4,824
October 18, 2008 2:52am

For Phoebe when she comes back to join us Smile Pics taken this morning, 18 October 2008.


http://penangnewspaper.com/pics2/ipohoct10.jpg


http://penangnewspaper.com/pics2/ipohoct11.jpg


http://penangnewspaper.com/pics2/ipohoct12.jpg
kayes

Registered: July 2008
Location: Penang Malaysia
Posts: 4,824
October 19, 2008 5:37am

One more pic.


http://penangnewspaper.com/pics2/maincon.jpg
Phoebe
Land Down Under

Registered: July 2008
Posts: 447
October 23, 2008 11:57pm

Thank you for all these nice pics, Kayes! Smile


Although clearly recognisable, the primary school quadrangle (1st pic) looks nothing like what it used to be during my schooldays. Back then, it was unpaved and pupils could draw lines in the sandy patches to play hopscotch and other line-marked games. A nice, big shady tree used to stand where that small circle of plants and rocks is now. And there was a swing nearby. During recess, many of us used to hover around the swing or under the tree. I can just make out the canteen in the background on the right of the pic. Up until the late '60s, girls from very poor families could get free cheese and bread which they had to queue for at the window next to the canteen. Some were so ashamed of their poverty and afraid of being mercilessly teased by others that they would rather stay away from that window and go hungry. All throughout my primary school years, I just stood there and queued for my ration. Smile
Phoebe
Land Down Under

Registered: July 2008
Posts: 447
October 24, 2008 12:19am

The 2nd pic shows part of the primary school triangle where the little ones (Std 1 pupils) used to hang around during recess. On the left of the pic is the lower-primary toilet block (now painted pink) where pupils were sent to before and after Art classes to fill their paint palettes with water and/or to wash up. Behind the toilet block used to be the long bicycle rack for pupils to park their bicycles. The narrow walkway between the toilet block and the classrooms leads to the school gardener's shed which abuts the carpark out the front of the school. For some reason, pupils were frequently told not to congregate behind this classroom block during recess. Teachers on recess duty often caught 'naughty' ones there and hauled them off with a warning. Before long, wild stories began circulating as to what went on in the 'forbidden' area.


Liz, can you shed any light on the story behind this 'forbidden' area?
Phoebe
Land Down Under

Registered: July 2008
Posts: 447
November 7, 2008 10:09am

Liz, I'm wondering if you might know a Miss Sammy who taught at our school during the early '70s?


Oh, do check out the pics above that Kayes took last month. Bring back all those memories, don't they? Smile
Liz

Registered: August 2008
Posts: 192
November 28, 2008 1:06am

Phoebe I am so sorry I missed this post. I was teaching in Marian Convent, Tambun Road in 1965 after my senior cambridge school certificate and was there till 1968 when I left to join Sime Darby. No Phoebe I had no other sister teaching in the Main Convent in the seventies but I had a classmate who was also of mixed parentage teaching in the convent around the seventies and she went by Miss Kanika Mary Samy and now she is Mrs. Mary Toh. Could she be the one you mean?


O yes the pics did bring back many fond memories Phoebe. How come when we look back at our lives, the past seemed so easy goingand carefree. Life has changed so much these days as everyone seem to be in a rush Sad
Phoebe
Land Down Under

Registered: July 2008
Posts: 447
November 28, 2008 5:32am

Hey, Liz, great to see you posting again. Loved The Star article, by the way. Smile


Yes, Miss KM Samy was the name of the teacher I meant. Thanks for correcting my mis-spelling of "Samy". Are you still in touch with Mrs Toh now? I was never in her class but I can remember how tall and beautiful she always looked, with her hair up.


Re your last paragraph, I'm sure our parents would have felt/thought/said the same when they were where we now find ourselves. Smile
Liz

Registered: August 2008
Posts: 192
December 6, 2008 6:06am

Hi Phoebe. Sorry again for the late reply. Can't seem to find the time these days Sad Anyway while clearing the cupboard I chanced upon a huge pile of St Michael's School mags dating from the 50s to 90s so when we do meet somewhere in the future, we will be able to have a trip down memory lane through the mags.


Yes still see Kanika now and then in church when I am in Ipoh and she is now a grandma but still looks gorgeous. Catch up with you when I have more time Phoebe.
Phoebe
Land Down Under

Registered: July 2008
Posts: 447
December 6, 2008 7:05pm

Hello there, Liz. Very nice to hear from you again. You just made my day with news of your discovered pile of old SMI school mags, too. Smile


Yes, it's that time of year and everyone's busy as. So, your post is greatly appreciated, Liz. We'll certainly catch up again some time down the track when life's much less hectic. Take care for now.
dlt

Registered: October 2010
Location: Minnesota, US
Posts: 3
October 13, 2010 10:44am

Great pictures. I too remember the big shady tree by the primary school and upper hall. It looks like the entire upper hall windows are replaced. During my time, the sewing room is above the upper hall. When we are in the sewing room, we will have to open the windows and of course investigate those individual rooms which we think the nuns lived. There are names on the doors and it's very spooky - cobwebs, dust, very old furniture. One room has a brass bed frame.


I was told recently the chapel is no longer there and it's made into a music room.


During the late 70's and early 80's when I was tagging along in the car with my mom when she picks up my siser and cousin, there was a very old French nun who sits by the front of the school where the canopy is.



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