Passing of Mr. Gan Cheong Chiah
I had the privilege of having Mr. Gan as my headmaster in Methodist Boys’ Primary School and remember him as a kind mentor, rare to have a temper with his charges and patient with his guidance.
He is the one who taught many of us the school song, replete with the timing “filled with courage fine …. (two, three, four)”.
We extend our sincere condolences to his family including his daughter, Mrs. Chin Kwee Sum who taught many of us geography.
This picture of Mr. Gan is taken from Mr. Mori’s album and would be in the late 1950s or early 1960s.
A wake will be held at his home at 5 Jalan Pimping, Off Jalan Ulu Klang, Ukay Heights today (Wednesday, 26th September 2007) at 8.30 p.m.
Another wake will be held on Thursday 27th September 2007 at 8.30 p.m. at the same place.
Do extend your condolences to the family by leaving a comment.
A few of us met up on Thursday 27th September at the second wake to extend our condolences to the Gan family, meeting up with Mrs. Chin Sum Kwee and her sister.
Jayanath, Commander Ku Yuen Mun, Dato’ Davy Woo, Eddie Chung, Liu Kwai Choong, Siew Teck Cheong.
Hanifah was there too but left early to meet up with Leonard Khong.
References to Mr. Gan on the MBSLoop
Datuk Lee Tak Lum (8th February 2007)
Sze Tin, you have good memory of headmasters of your time. I am sure you and many others would like to hear more about Cheong Chiah. I have found out that he is now 95 years old and is staying with his daughter Puan Chin Sum Kwee. I gather that he is living quietly and peacefully in bed most of the time and only response to basic living needs. He can hear and only response to his dear ones for things he needs. How about old boys who have had good / bad experiences with Cheong Chiah, to write some simple massages for old time sake and these will be tabulated into a few pages to be forwarded to Puan Sum Kwee to read to him when he is in the right attentive mood. Some will say something nice…..what a wonderful gesture. I will volunteer to be the messenger.
The headmaster when I was in MBPSKL was Mr Gan Chiah (I never knew why he preferred to be known by this name, dropping his middle name) and the principal of MBSSKL for most of the time I was there was Mr Mori. I can’t help but note that they were so similar. They were both so dedicated. We were all “scared” of them because we were taught to fear authority. (Teachers were to be obeyed without question and the naughty ones were sent to th headmaster’s/principal’s office.)
However, at the same time, their love for the children, the school, the country and their God just shone through. They were both multi- talented and both truly exude sportsmanship and more than encouraged us to be so, as well. We were threatened with punishment when we booed the opposing team at sports and we were encouraged to clap at the score of the opponent.
Lim Sze Tin (7th February 2007)
Mr. Gan was already the Headmaster when I got into Std 1. We used to fear (respect) our teachers and because the Headmaster was “bigger” (in the Chinese vernaculara) (read: more important) that the teacher, we feared him more. What a pleasant surprise, therefore, when I got to Std 6 and we had one subject, viz., Phonetics, taught by Mr. Gan I still remember what he taught (43 years ago, just for one term, I think) and, today, I can still check up pronunciations on my Daniel Jones’ dictionary of pronunciation. The pleasant surprise was that the “ogre” we feared was really a rather jovial person, who made the lesson really interesting. It was teachers like him who gave us an almost perfect grounding to study the English language. The other teacher who was very particular about pronunciation was Ariffin (sp?) (don’t call me Encik). It’s no wonder that MBS produced so many students so fluent in the English Language. This foundation was built on later by secondary school teachers like C Nadarajah, who drilled us in English, and literature teachers like Mrs Sally Ti and Miss Lim (Mrs Oh) Swee Imm. And I was from the Science stream. I’m sure the Arts students could say so much more about this.
One of my earliest memories of Mr Gan was the Monday assembly. Before the concrete platform was built near the badminton courts in the primary school, he used to carry his own stool, on which he will stand when he was addressing the school. We started the assembly with Negara- ku and Mr. Gan will get the right note to start us off. All this without any musical instrument to guide. Then came all the announcements, etc. and we would close with the school song and the refrain “Pleeeeaaaap, Pleeeeaaaap, Pleeeeaaaap,” all orchestrated by Mr. Gan When he was perched on his stool, finding the note for the songs, he would sway a little to and fro and we wondered whether one day he’ll fall off the stool. Of course, he didn’t and we got spared the suspense when the concrete platform finally got built. He really took pride in the unfurling of the nation’s and the school flags and that taught us to respect the flags.
He was probably a techie of his era because I saw him fiddling with the control of the PA system quite often. I didn’t understand those things enough in those days.
Of course, we all remember Mrs Chin, too. Well-known for her notes, which stood us in good stead, for the SC (I didn’t take Geography in HSC)… even for someone like me, whose natural habitat was more like the school field than the library. [Mrs Chin, if you’re trying to recall who I am, if that’s at all possible, think of one of the naughtier boys.]
That’s for starters because I’m at work now. I’ll write more, if my now ageing brain can recall anything else worthy of report.
A tiny trivia: Mr. Gan used to drive a black Morris Oxford in the late 50’s/early 60’s. That was in the days, when a Morris Minor was considered one of the better cars. Later on he “graduated” to a Volvo, deservedly, no doubt.
As I said, this is only trivia. I’m sure the car Mr. Gan drove meant nothing to him next to his students.
Phillip Tan (8th February 2007)
Agree Mr Mori, Mr Gan and Mr Yong are principals we are fortunate and proud to be associated with. Each of them impart principles in us that we still hold true today. My utmost respect to all these great teachers of men (oops!! my apologies) and women,
Lai Wing Fatt (10th February 2007)
Ode for Mr Gan Cheong Chiah
The real champion
is the one among us,
to build and develop
in the own pursuit of
their true greatness;
learning from experience
of past masters
to help achieve set goals,
and thus become
True champions one and all.
Wan Heng Yuen (6th January 2007)
Co-curricular Senior Supervisor Mr. Chin Nam Keong, informs that the current boys just sing the song and omits the punch in air “play up, play up, play up” like the reformasi people.
Was that punch in air started by Mr. Gan Cheong Chiah ?