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Archive for the ‘Mr Teh Chin Seong’ Category

Just like there were some really bad apples in a basket; there were some equally good ones too.

When I reached Form Four in 1980, something really good happened to me. I found out that our mathematics teacher was Mr. Teh Chin Seong, a much liked and popular figure in Methodist Girl’s Secondary School  during my time.

On his first day with us, he introduced himself cheerfully and said, “Don’t worry, I am going to show you how easy and fun mathematics can be!” This was indeed a soothing balm for a bruised teenager.

True to his word, he proved himself to be a very good teacher in his subject. Step by step he patiently showed us how a complicated math can be solved easily.

“First, you must understand the logic. Then you must know how to apply that logic. The rest will be straight forward,” he pointed out to us again and again.

“And always remember, don’t be lazy. To do well in mathematics, you must practice and practice as much as possible,” he often told us.

From hating mathematics in primary school due to the endless physical and emotional abuses at the hands of Mrs. Lee and Mrs. Ho, I began to look forward to mathematics lessons. Whenever there is something that I do not understand, I would not hesitate to raise my hands and asked him for explanations.

Unlike Mrs. Lee who would explode in a fury, shouting “Stupidddddd” before grabbing a book and whacked it hard on my head or Mrs. Ho who would simply pull my hair violently; this man was a picture of composure and kindness when you told him you do not understand his lessons.

You could not get to see him yelling at his students on top of his voice or raining blows on them.

He would laugh or smile, nod his head and then very patiently explained on the blackboard again for our benefit.

If I or anyone still could not understand, he would gladly said, “Okay, one more time, hopefully you will get it this round!”

When the bell rang indicating his lessons was over, he would normally offered, “Okay then, see me in the teacher’s room during recess or after school is over!”

Rich girls, poor girls; smart girls, the not so smart girls; gorgeous girls and  plain Janes; they are all his students and he treated them equally. No preferential treatment for anyone and this sets him apart from the other teachers.

With such dedication from Mr. Teh, little wonder his students loved him a lot and looked forward to his lessons. He was like a father-figure and advisor than just an educator. Everyone remembers him fondly and no one speak ill of him. We have only love and deep respect for this teacher.

I remember there was one time when he unintentionally made a small mistake on the blackboard. Somebody spotted it and told him about it, “Sir, look, there’s a mistake there!”

“Is it, where?” and he quickly ran to the blackboard to see where he had gone wrong.

Of course he was embarrassed but he quickly laughed it off, “Ah, this one. You know, I purposely made a mistake to test whether you girls paid attention to my lessons. Good girls, all of you, to notice it!” and the whole class roared with laughter.

“Now, to reward you all, I shall tell you a ghost story. It happened when I was just out from teacher’s college many years ago,” he said with suspense.

“One night, I was out with a few colleagues for some fun in town. We stayed together in Canning Garden. About eleven that night, on the way home, we passed by the Chinese cemeteries on both sides of Tambun Road, shortly after the Perak Turf Club if you are coming from Hugh Low Street. My friend was driving and I was sitting beside him. There were another two fellows sitting at the back. We were chatting casually when we spotted a young lady in white cheongsam with waist length hair. Her back was towards us. We quickly pulled up beside her and I offered her a lift.”

“Miss, where are you going? Mind if we give you a lift home?” I whistled out to her.

“Slowly she turned her head towards our direction. Guess what, she had no eyes, nor mouth, nor nose but just a plain face like a piece of white paper!” he revealed breathlessly and had us all grasping in horror.

“As soon as we realize she was a ghost, we stepped on the accelerator and drove away in split seconds without looking back whether she was after us!”  the whole class burst out in a commotion and that was when the bell rang.

I have Mr. Teh to thank for when I managed to pass in this subject in my SPM examinations. I got a good credit and that was the first time I got through mathematics!

I went to thank him again and bade him farewell when it was time to leave school. He was a man truly generous in sharing his knowledge with others.  I heard he still taught there for a few more years before he retired. 

It was only this year that I learned from my former school-mates in Facebook that our dear teacher had passed away in July last year. I was sad to hear that. May God bless his gentle and humble soul.

You had done your best for us. So, rest in peace, Sir, although this came a bit late.

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