CLS Girls Celebrate Friendship Forged Over the Years
THE CLS Girls of Convent Light Street, Class of 1980 celebrated their annual reunion dinner in Penang recently. The lively gathering marks the grand reunion of classmates who left their alma mater 38 years ago. Some of the girls left for further studies after Form 1. A few joined CLS in Standard 6, Form 1 and Form 3 from other convent schools.
Organising committee Chairperson, Lili in her welcoming speech reminded the CLS Girls of the lifelong friendship build together. Lili thank the girls for taking time off and some even flying in to join in the celebrations.
The celebration of lifelong sisterhood started for some of the girls in Standard 1. My fondest memory is of clambering out of a monsoon drain pushed from behind by Kelly. Until today, neither one of us could understand why we played in a monsoon drain!
Great Second Day Traditions
The gathering of CLS Girls started when the girls were in Form 1. There were two venues that the Science girls would congregate on the second day of Chinese New Year.
The two hostesses were Lee Jim Leng and Jeannie Tan. Jim lived on Jalan Rambutan and Jeannie just a stone’s throw from Rex Cinema. These are now classic references to the Science girls when referring to the good old days.
Party Central 101
The impressionable school girls studied hard (yes!) They loved singing, dancing and home parties where they could dance all night. Lim Mei Huey and Kelly Gee’s home were also great venues for cookouts, parties and not forgetting, study sessions.
I remembered when we were all in Form 4; the science girls celebrated with more than 10 gatherings and parties. Yes, it was a blur of coca cola floats, BBQ featuring the most delicious burnt chicken wings and sardine sandwiches. Back then, there was no canned tuna in mayo or rotisserie chickens!
Thinking back the parties were so simple. There was a portable cassette player or two. Several tapes to played the 70s hits with Saturday Night Fever as top favorites.
Some of the girls joined the Girl Guides 5th and 11th Coy and soon started an adventure of hiking, campfires, and learned about the performing arts. The boy scouts taught the girls how to play the guitar and great campfire songs. Later the girls would perform in public with singing and dancing.
In fact, even when they were barely twelve some of the girls used to gather after school to practice dance. I had the honorary role of being in charge of the music. With two left feet, pushing the pause, rewind and play button was not a problem! So now you know why I’m little fish!
“You can look at a picture for a week and never think of it again. You can also look at a picture for a second and think of it all your life.” ~ Joan Miró
The girls were all trained musically. We started with music classes and singing with Miss Elizabeth Boey. She had her hair tied in a ponytail with a multi-purpose handkerchief that she would use to blow her nose and to wipe the sweat from her brows as well. Eeeowwww…
Later some of the girl guides joined Penang Free Schoolboy scouts in the choir under Chee Sek Thim who is part of the Malaysian performing arts.
Lim Mei Huey and Lee Jim Leng were the sweet nightingales who until today could be counted to step up and sing a song or two. It was very heart-warming to see them perform again for the reunion. Bravo girls! Even the uncles in the band were so impressed. Seriously true!
Red Crescent Society
While many of the girls led a relatively carefree life, some of the girls of the Red Crescent Society forged ahead to learn duty, responsibility, and service to society at large. Imagine my surprise to find out the reason some of the girls were so tanned in school was from marching under the hot sun!
Thum Suet Fong shares these precious few photos of the girls of Red Crescent Society, at a Firefighting Drill at Bomba and taken with National Chairman of Red Crescent Tunku Tan Sri Mohamed Bin Tunku Besar Burhanuddin.
Through the Years
The girls have celebrated their 45th, 50th and now their 55th birthday together. That night we celebrate the February birthday babies. The buffet dinner, with the theme “Colourful and Floral” featured light entertainment provided by the girls was held at JT Restaurant, Heritage Club Penang.
A few words from the girls…
I think our teachers and classmates help built our characters well. I remember Miss Anne-Marie Teh, whom I spoke to at length about my decision to transfer to a Technical Institute. As I left after Form 3, I have not remained close to the group. What stands out is the great teamwork and collaboration on projects in school. I remember with fondness my badminton partner and partner in crime Lili Goh as we used to break rules together. – Annette Kay, UK
Snow White Speaks
My most cherished memory is playing the leading role in the mini-musical of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. To this day, my friends still call me Snow White. The childhood friendships I formed with Lay Eng, Meng Wui and Leela from Kindergarten days remain firm until today. The best part of growing up was sharing and caring for each other. – Vera Loke, Petaling Jaya
As I was a shy and timid girl, I struggled to adapt to school culture. I remember being overwhelmed by the fierce and scary teachers in Primary 1 and 2. The art of making friends was also alien to me as a child. I remember being intimidated by a classmate who threatened me with ‘’I won’t friend you anymore if you talk to that girl’’.
The school was not enjoyable until I met the kind and gentle class teacher Mrs. G.A. Toh who reached out to me in Primary 3. She encouraged me often to try to make good friends and to give other timid girls (like me) a chance. With her encouragement, I befriended a shy girl like me. She was my constant companion during our school years until I left to study overseas. She is a dear friend to me and we remain as good friends until today.
Mrs. Toh entrusted me with small tasks and responsibilities. She affirmed to me that I was as good as all the other girls and I gained confidence. Her method of pairing an academically stronger student with a weaker one helped both girls to love learning.
Mrs. Toh was the only teacher who made me dare to pursue my childhood dream. Instead of settling for an office worker job, I began to see that it was possible for me to achieve more. Mrs. Toh started the ball rolling. I would not be where I am today without the constant love and encouragement of my dear parents. – S. L. Tan, Singapore
The fabulous Class of 1980 celebrated our auspicious year with a joyous evening of fun, friendship, song, and dance. A great evening was had by all with friendships rekindled and strengthened. Thank you to everyone who helped make it a most memorable event. – Lili Goh, United Kingdom
I remember the school teachers as my most influential role models. I started my school life in CLS when I attended kindergarten. My first teacher was the kind Teacher Annie. Later, I learned to pronounce properly and correctly from the Sr. Frances de Sales who was a strict disciplinarian.
Artist Mr. Tan Lye Hoe was my first male class teacher in Form One. I remember that he struggled to be patient with a bunch of incorrigible teenagers. The beautiful and elegant Mrs. Teoh who taught geography succeeded in sharing her knowledge with us the students. – Mabel Chan, Kuala Lumpur
Being active in school meant juggling my time between studies and the never-ending duties at the Red Crescent Society (RSC). I was so tanned from practicing daily after school for interschool marching and first aid competitions. In the mornings, the RCS girls would prepare Milk/Milo for the poor students to have their breakfast before classes start. We also tended a vegetable plot for the poor students’ consumption. Through the whirlwind of events, I on first aid duty every day even though we had a duty roster!
I’m amazed when I recall how I managed to squeeze enough time to fulfill my multiple roles as a student, school prefect, and RSC leader. Initially, I invited the strict SXI Cadets to train the RCS girls. We did so well that we won numerous prizes. Later I was invited to judge first aid competitions and marching at other schools like SXI, St George’s etc. To this day, my hubby would tease me for my commanding voice.
My proudest and most memorable moment was receiving the Service to the School Award right next to our head prefect, Theresa Symons. Alas, most precious high school mementos were my trophies which were lost when my mum shifted house, but the memories remain to this day. – Casey Har, Petaling Jaya