Class Of 1951
From left to right:
Wong Chee Fook, Eugene Poi Tzse Lian, the late Mr. Ambrose, the late Bro.Francis, the late Bro. Lawrence (the then Bro. Director), the late Bro. Anslem, Bro. Lawrence, the late Mr. Wong Foong Ming, & Aloysius Francis.
Duke Cho Chin Chye, Therugnanam s/o Muniandy Thevar (?), the late Kat Yew Seng, Lee Kok Leong, Choong Shan Chee, Ng Boon Hooi, the late Shaharudin bin Abdul Rahman, Murugappan s/o Kalimuthu (?), & the late Austin D'Cruz.
John Chan Kok Choy, Andrew Chong Ngian Khong, Paul Si Ah Swee, the late John Lim Foo Loy, the late Narinjan Singh, Chan Choong Tak, the late Thong Choong Kee, the late Wong Ming Yap, Lee Siew Choon, P.R. Sen Gupta, & Sivalingam s/o Sinnathamby.
Poi Tzse Chiat D., Bhajan Singh, Kwan Teck Seong, P. Sakunanathan, Edgar Joseph, Jerome Saram, the late S.G. Patel, Naidu M.J., Tennakoon C.L. Desmond Lawrence.
The photograph shows the class of students in St. Paul’s Institution who took their Senior Cambridge Examination in 1951 and then left the school for good.
Not all the boys in the photograph were studying together in the same class before 1951. A few were from the class of 1950 but had chosen to remain for an additional year, hoping to obtain better results. Others managed to catch up with the class in Std. Five about two years after admission to the school in Std. 1, through rapid promotions each term. Classes in those days were ranged from Primary 1 to Primary 2 and then from Std.1 to Std 9, the students of which would then sit for the Senior Cambridge Examination at the end of the year.
Most of the boys in this class had lived, and some of them had worked, through varying and often very trying conditions. They were born in the 1930s, during the Great Depression in the United States of America. The Second World War had either interrupted their studies or prevented them from attending schools until the war was over in 1945 when St. Paul’s Institution reopened in September. They had lived under colonial rule by the British, the Japanese and then the British again. They could sing very well the British national anthem “God Save the King” and the national anthem of Japan. Many could even sing the national anthems of China, first under Kuo Min Dang rule and then under the rule of the Chinese Communist Party. They had experienced untold hardships, particularly under the cruel Japanese regime. In short, most of them had become a hardened lot before even entering school after the war.
The family backgrounds of the boys varied greatly. Their fathers could be lawyers, doctors, businessmen, teachers, clerks, farmers or persons without any regular work. However, as a class they always worked and played together without any discrimination based on race, religion or family background. The three main racial groups in Malaya were represented in the class.
The Bro. Director of the school was the late Bro. Lawrence. He was a strict disciplinarian with a kind heart. Under him, the school topped in both sports and academic studies in the State. The late Bro. Anslem was an excellent teacher in Geography and his notes on the subject were greatly sought not only by students in the school but also by teachers and students elsewhere. The English Literature was ably taught by the handsome Bro. Lawerence and the late Mr. Wong Foong Ming guided them in the English Language. He was an accomplished violinist too. Both he and the late Mr. Ambrose, who taught the class Mathematics, were lay teachers without any university qualifications but their knowledge of the subjects they were entrusted to teach the class accompanied by their fine and simple method of teaching was superb. Science for the class was taught by none other than the late Bro. Francis who seemed to be able to harmonise well Science with the Catholic religion. All the teachers were extremely dedicated in their work.
Most members of the class of 1951 have been separated in various countries without links of communication with each other. Many have already passed away.
On this 60th Anniversary Day the surviving ones who know would certainly remember them with fondness. This class has produced doctors, lawyers, police inspectors, teachers, politicians and other professionals. The following are a few examples:
Wong Chee Fook was an active king scout and graduated as a Kirkby trained teacher. Later he became a specialist in physical training and actively involved in sports and games. He also was involved in teacher-training and eventually retired as an inspector of schools.
Aloysius Franciscouldnotbemissedanywhere in school because of his height. He was known as the “Giraff” in class and has retired as a superintendent of police.
Duke Cho Chin Chye was a small handsome athlete, He was our school hockey player and a 100 yards sprinter. He has now retired as an ACP.
Chan Choong Tak came from the poorest family in the class. Immediately after leaving school he commenced work as an untrained teacher and then as a teacher under the “Normal Class” training. After qualifying as a “normal Trained” teacher he served in various parts of the state as head teacher or as headmaster and put up many schools. He also attended the Kirkby College for training as a teacher trainer. After 16 years of teaching he resigned and went off to study law in London in 1968. He was admitted to be an “advocate and solicitor” in 1970, after having been called to the Bar in England and after obtaining his law degree from the University of London as an external student. Later, he also obtained his MBA from the Ohio University. He was a senator and has retired as the President of the Senate.
The late Mr. Wong Ming Yap was the first Paulian to have obtained a PhD in engineering Lee Siew Choon has retired as a school teacher. His brothers also studied in the same school. One of them, Justice Lee Siew Kin, has been a judge in Singapore.
David Poi Tze Chiat graduated as a medical doctor and is still practising in Ipoh. He came from a rich and famous family in Seremban with a lot o Poi s in the school and in the various professions..
Bhajan Singh was the captain of the hockey team and a keen cricketer as well. He has graduated as an eye specialist. Dr. Bhajan Singh is now in private practice in Alor Star.
The top boy in the class P. Satkunathan, now Dato Dr., is still practising as a skin specialist in Kuala Lumpur. He was an Asian champion in bowling and also founded the Ten Pin Bowling Association of Malaysia and has been its president since its inception. He was also the World President of the Ten Pin Bowling at one time.
Edgar Joseph, now Tan Sri Dato Edgar Joseph, was a school orator and a top student in the English Language and the English Literature. He used to lead the school team to win in numerous debating competitions. He has now retired as a Federal Court judge.
P.R. Sen Gupta, the youngest boy in the class, also graduated as a medical doctor. Dr. P.R. Sen Gupta was Prof of Surgery in
Naidu M J had had no contact with the school until last year when he joined the school reunion in September.. He was bright and talkative. He was a member of the ever victorious school debating team together with Edgar Joseph and P Satkunathan. After leaving school in 1951 he went over to Australia and studied accountancy. Extremely interested in student affairs he was an elected secretary and then president of the Asian Students Association in the Victoria State. Happily retired, he is residing in Australia.UNIMAS ,(Sarawak). He is currently writing a book on Bengali Doctors in Malaysia. .
contibuted by Tan Sri Dato' Chan Choong Tak