Bahai News - Just one more day
Just one more day
JULY, 1966: Fan Choon went with me out to Captain Preedy's "longhouse" on the beach at Telok Chempedak this
"Come any day next week," he had said last Friday. Unfortunately, he was just leaving for a programme at the
Town Hall, so we took a rain-check.
Instead, we went out to Douglas Webster's house up on the hull with a glorious view of the Batu Hitam beach.
"I'm so sorry," he said by way of greeting, "but I'm ill."
We were beginning to think we chose the wrong day for calling on people. Then he said: "No, it will do
me good to have someone to talk with. Come on up." (He should have said "talk to" instead of "talk with"
because Fan Choon and I got very few words in).
He showed us around the house, which was a housekeeper's nightmare, then sat us down and proceeded to
lecture and question us.
One thing about Douglas Webster: he's different. He gave me a copy of his privately-printed book, The
Wobble, (under the pen name Fletcher Trenchant) and said that he hoped the book wouldn't make me so angry that
he would lose my friendship. I read the first chapter tonight, then put it away; it'll be a while before I
have the time to wade through the rest of it.
* The Combined Schools Sports got underway this morning with the bicycle race. I was a judge and very
happy to see our Form Two boy, Choo Kuan Song, cross the line first.
That victory and one first place for B-Division shot putt were the only golds we received: Chan Chow
Tong, also Form Two, was the shot putt champion.
I was a track judge for the afternoon sports - a thankless job, but not too bad as there were people like
Spanish, Bob Griffith and Niuh Soon Hock sharing the work.
* I took the Sukhbir Singhs out to the Methodist beach site this morning to gather shells and to have a
look. Tonight they came by the school to ask if I'd like to go with them to watch turtles.
I was too tired, though, and right in the midst of a talk with Bah Rahu about his future, so I turned the
* Bah Rahu seems so very sincere in his desire to be a minister to his own people. I told him that he must
feel a call and not act on impulse, and he said: "Sometimes I feel that I must go back to my people; I must go
back to serve them."
* This morning I went out to Arputham's place to say good-bye to Sukhbir and Jagjeet. I just caught them as
they were getting in their car when I drove up. They didn't see a single turtle last night.
* This afternoon Pat Allen brought Kuantan's first A.F.S. student, Mona Olds, over for a visit.
Ahmad and Dee arranged the details, having heard that she was spending practically all her time with the
Koh family where she's staying and at S.A.B.S., where she's attending Form Six classes.
Some of our girls were here for typing and Malay Club; they entertained her, and vice versa, and seemed to
be getting alone fine. We've asked her to come back on Friday to speak to the students - or just talk with them
informally, whichever she prefers.
* Fan Choon and I finally had tea with Captain Preedy, and it was quite an experience - the tea being
poured from an antique silver teapot by a very informally-dressed host. We had to cut our visit short to go
pick up Kasim from school; we nearly forgot him.
* I enjoyed talking to the Science Club this morning about astronomy, but was sorry to miss what was
evidently a very lively discussion going on in the Form Four room.
Mona Olds gave her talk to a roomful of enthusiastic listeners, who followed up with lots of questions. It
seems that they got off on the subject of the Vietnam conflict, and Ponniah and Mr Cheng were both very outspoken
about how Americans should get out of Asia.
* The boys caught a monitor lizard yesterday evening, and we took it to Chang King Yong, who passed it over
to a neighbour for stuffing. She turned out to be a daughter of Beserah Wong. I went to her house later in the
afternoon to watch the taxidermy process - most interesting.
* The Girls' Brigade members were out in full force (and uniform) for the church service this morning, held in
the M.G.S. hall. The girls assembled outside the hall and marched in, making quite a parade.
We sang the Girls' Brigade song (to the tune of Londonderry Air); not everyone could make the high notes.
Later Ponniah, Roy, Bala and I went to pick up David Chinniah, then had an interesting time of it listening to
a lecture on Baha'i at the Baha'i Centre. We asked a lot of questions, and the lecturer answered them. We weren't
converted, but we left with a lot of food for thought.
* We surprised everyone this morning by announcing that it would be "Clean-up Day" after the interval.
Everyone pitched in beautifully, the school is now spick and span, and Sathiah is saved the job of washing the
buildings during the holidays.
There was a welcome announcement from the CEO: the Agong's visit, scheduled for next Wednesday, is postponed.
Hallelujah! I wonder what the C.E.O. would have thought if he had walked in this morning to find barefoot teachers,
pants rolled up, water everywhere.
* The Rabbit Club picnic out at the Methodist beach started right after lunch, and it was 7 when we got back
It was a perfect day for a picnic; I spent most of the time sleeping on the sand while the boys played in
the water - under Bob's supervision.
I had to make two trips to transport everyone to and fro, and the second group this evening walked out to the
road to meet me.
They were shouted at by kampung people on the way, they reported, and when they got to the road, they were
attacked with rotten eggs thrown from the bushes at the top of the road. It looks as if someone doesn't like our
"trespassing" through the kampung, but there's no other way to reach the Methodist beach. What a situation!
* One More Day was the music I put on to wake the boys up this morning, and they were singing it most of the
day. So was I.
We kept to the regular time-tables all morning, but there were several teachers showing film-strips (until
the projector burned out) instead of teaching.
Dave brought Creighton Lacy out during the morning for a short visit. We always seem to get the VIPs at the
end of a term.
Everyone is asking where I'm going to disappear to during the holidays. I wish I knew.
* Things came to a smooth halt today. We carried on with classes right up to the interval, then handed out
report cards (which I finished typing last night) and dismissed. Monthly reports came in from the teachers on
schedule, salaries were paid, and that was that.
Then began the trips to the bus station. I neglected booking tickets for the boys going to K.L. and got to
the bus station only to find out that everything was sold out, even for tomorrow.
Luckily, though, I ran into Leong Fook Kin, who had a dozen tickets to sell; he had bought them for the
athletes going for the Combined Schools Sports in K.L., but the sports had to be cancelled because of the
teachers' strike - so we took all the tickets off his hands.
Steven's plane left at 12:45; Ahmad and Dee managed to get seats on it, too, thanks to a last-minute
I hadn't intended to be here tonight, but several of the boys are not going home for the holidays, so maybe
I'll just have a Kuantan holiday myself.
The beach is always inviting.
©Copyright 2001, New Straits Times
Page last updated/revised 122501
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