There’s been a series of ads on teaching, with people recalling some of their more memorable teachers.
For me, one truly, truly remarkable teacher stood out – Chow Tuck Seng.
Mr Chow introduced me to worlds I never knew existed.
He fanned my interest in entomology and taxidermy.
Taught me how to stuff animals.
Truly truly amazing.
He was a humble, soft-spoken man, though not without strong opinions.
Took me under his wings, treated me as his equal.
Then suddenly, he “disappeared” – my primary schoolmate Rosemary said he may have passed away at a rather young age.
Does the oft-repeated adage “The good die young” ring true in this case?
The other fantastic teacher who came to mind is Jeffrey de Souza.
Being just another playful boy, I remember Mr de Souza because he took us swimming and fishing and gave us pet birds to play with – tiny finches if my memory serves me right.
Then there was a Che’gu who took us to Kota Tinggi.
A Mr Teo – Chinese teacher – who used to buy me magazines.
A Mr Hong who taught us all about what it means to be a man.
“Peel back that foreskin and wash off that smegma,” he would exhort.
Where are these wonderful men now?
They were in their early 30’s when I was in primary school – so if they are still alive, they must be very very old.
Then there were scout masters Mr Chung and Miss Chia – unfortunately I can no longer recall their full names.
And Miss Soh, Miss Peck Beng Lian, Mrs Poon Soo Lee, Mrs Sim and Miss Molly Ng – nurturing female teachers who did their level best for rascals like us.
Mrs Sim was the most motherly of them all.
We called her “Motherhen”.
Then there was an extremely sexy one – we called her “Tara King”.
Some of the bolder ones among us would try to sneak a peak at her undies.
Those days out teachers all seem to relate differently from how teachers today relate to their charges. I remember as kids we spent lots of times in the homes of our teachers and occasionally they in ours.
Doesn’t seem to happen with our kids.
Of course we had weird teachers too.
The lazy ones included a Mr Achutan.
He would walk in with his shirt un-tucked, shoes without socks, teaching literature.
The ones with the funny accent – a Mr Raj (I think) with his sunglasses ALWAYS on – teaching economics, telling us we’ll be laughing stocks if we don’t pay attention to his lectures on stocks and shares.
A history teacher – Mr Krishnan – who had the habit of touching his dick, as if he was checking to make sure it was still there.
Another literature teacher named Mr Napier – utterly eccentric.
A lady teacher who went mad right in the middle of a lesson.
Had to be led away in a straits-jacket.
Not our fault I hope.
One who was a real mean son-of-a-bitch – someone we nicknamed “Bulldog Wee” – who came to school with a black eye one day.
Oh how we celebrated.
“Bulldog Wee kerna walloped! Bulldog Wee kerna walloped!”
One Chinese teacher Mr Wee whose English pronunciation was atrocious – “You all pass exam I buy you all ass-cream ok?”
One had sex with a pre-U girl and got the sack. He shall remain un-named.
One – Mr Cheong – had a massive hard-on in the middle of a lesson. Trust us to notice.
I suppose it takes all kinds.
Good or bad, they shaped us.
We are what we are today because of these dedicated souls.
Thank you Mr Chow, Mr de Souza, Che’gu, Mr Teo, Mr Hong, Mr Chung, Miss Chia, Miss Soh, Miss Peck Beng Lian, Mrs Poon Soo Lee, Mrs Sim, Miss Molly Ng, Tara King, Mr Achutan, Mr Napier, Mr Bulldog Wee, Mr Roy, Mr Krishnan, Mr Ass-cream Wee and Mr Hard-on Cheong.
Thank you all.