Thursday, January 10, 2008


On the 8th of January 2008, with heavy hearts, we decided to transfer our children from a SRJK (C) to a private school. Today is only the fourth day of their new term into their third year in that Chinese primary school, in the much awaited new school building.

For years, the old school building was bursting way beyond capacity and the children were really deprived of much of the joy of schooling due to the consequential inconvenience of having to share the same facility between two schools, breaking into morning and afternoon sessions.

For the past two years, we have seen with our own eyes how parents, children and dedicated teachers had to endure all sorts of inconveniences in that Chinese primary school. The sharing of the school building, horrific traffic congestion, the run down condition of the school, heavy school bags and equally heavy home work.

We have also witnessed dedicated teaching staff being stretched to teach, raise funds, and fire fight against all sorts of issues such as questionable selection of supplementary text books and even improper canteen operations.

We have donated voluntarily to the school building fund for a new school building, which was eventually built on a plot of donated land in the middle of a huge cemetery ground. We hoped that our children would finally be able to study in a normal way with physical education being carried out in a green field instead of doing it theoretically in the class room as they had been in the past two years, for example.

Just before the school term was due to start, local Chinese newspapers prominently reported that due to the immense effort from a DBKL councilor from a Chinese based political party, an access road within the cemetery leading to the new school building was finally completed. There was a prominent picture of the councilor taking a pose on the newly completed road together with members of the teaching staff and also some Board members.

The nightmare began on the first day of the new school term. As the winding cemetery road was too narrow, there was a massive traffic jam that resulted in parents taking more than an hour to reach the school from the main road through the 3 kilometer winding road in the cemetery.

During the next few days, hired guards, all the teachers and many volunteering parents were involved in trying to direct traffic and ease the jam, but with little success. Parents were frustrated, exhausted and helpless. Many parked their cars along the main road and walked the three kilometer in the cemetery to reach the school.

We tolerated all these terrible pains until today! Today, the local Chinese newspapers finally reported the terrible ordeal faced by the parents and children. The same councilor from the Chinese based political party was there again telling the reporters that the landowner, meaning the Cemetery Management should generously donate more land so that the 4 day old road could be expanded to accommodate the traffic.

We have decided to move our children from the school because we cannot stand the ugly sight of politicians unashamedly taking credit for work which should be their basic responsibility, such as ensuring the provision of proper and safe access to a newly built school funded by donations from thousands of well wishers. Far worse, the whole teaching staff including many parents had to be drawn away from their routine to direct traffic. We feel frustrated and angry when the same councilor, instead of apologizing for the terrible ill-planning of the road construction, shamelessly requested the cemetery to contribute more land for expansion of the road.

Disgusted, we immediately decided to transfer our children to a private school. Our hearts still ached for those thousand or so parents and teaching staff who still need to endure the trauma.

Our hearts weep for the Chinese school and all those students and teachers who were literally pushed to the cemetery. Farewell, our beloved Chinese school that our children could not possibly stay.


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