70 and looking forward to more democratic breakthroughs (postscript)

Turning 70 was a good excuse for my batch of classmates of Batu Pahat High School to go down the memory lane of our school days in the fifties.

Michael Ong reminded me, which I could not remember, that in Form V in 1959, I had given the first talk to the school debating and literary society. Topic? “Malayan Consciousness”.

Allan Goh, who has retired from the teaching profession in Penang, has composed an ode to the Class of 59:

Ode to the Class of 59

What really made my classmates tick?
Competitiveness, work, but no trick.
With shoulders firmly to the rack,
Oft leaving foot prints on time’s track.

It never was a one-horse race,
But a constant multiple brace:
Leadership, routinely ceded
To better friends who succeeded.

Charging for the golden chalice,
Driven by honour, not malice,
In and out of classrooms we strived,
That pushed and pulled until we arrived.

We seldom ceased to cogitate;
Arguments, we did not hesitate.
We might not be the very top,
Never far, with success, to hop.

Gaining confidence to the core
That motivated us to score.
Were we the sand that built the hill,
Or water that was the ocean’s fill?

Till today we tend to walk tall,
Inferior, we are not at all.

Allan claimed title as the Class 59 Laureatte with another poem underlining the truism that no man is an island and dedicated to all his “long begotten friends of Batu Pahat”:

You Touched My Life

(To all my long begotten friends of Batu Pahat)

To my many classmates of High School, Batu Pahat,
I, hereby, dedicate this valediction with all my heart.
Outdid me in the many physical assertions,
Also, out-paced me in the pursuits of knowledge and passions.

You were the youthful models of my admiration,
Often in those far off days, a source of my inspiration:
A beacon of brightness to guide me in the darkness
Through sometimes confused, convoluted mind of my youthfulness.

In later years, you have shone in public endeavours,
Whilst others remained confident, secured in their own fervours.

I am what I am today, a happy rounded life,
Is due in no small measures to your earnest, determined strife,
Friends, you have certainly touched my life forever more,
Believe me, there are many bits of you in my very core,
Be it the humour in me or the biting sarcasm,
All these and more I learnt from you during the good school baptism.

Although I could never catch you in the endless race,
I have, none the less, found my place with good values to embrace.
Happy be the contented man who has found himself,
For, baring none, what better conquest than the conquest of self?

Should mention in this postscript of my reunion with my two hostel mates in London days at London House (my address for six weeks from 19th April till end-May 1977 was Room 69, London House, Mecklenburg Square, London WCIN 2AB) where I stayed to prepare for final London Bar exam.

They are dear friends K. Sila Dass and San Markan Ganapathi. They kept my spirits up when I was tempted to cut short my London stay, take a plane home and abandon the “impossible” examination.

Finally, thanks to Dr. Goh Cheng Teik for his counsel and encouragement when he responded to my children’s invitation, viz:

Dear Guan Eng, Hui Ming, Hui Ying and Guan Choon,

Thank you for the invitation to attend your dad’s birthday dinner. I can hardly believe that your dad is entering the roaring seventies, like the Lion of Jelutong, Karpal Singh!

All of you can be truly proud of your father. He has made great sacrifices for the nation and also the good of you and your generation.

“Power tends to corrupt
and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Great men are almost always bad men.”

These are the words of John Acton, the famous English historian. Your dad knows what absolute or near-absolute power is in reality. He and others have been at the receiving end of such power every day for the past two score years.

That your dad and colleagues have been able to withstand so much power for so long and survive (!) is not a small achievement. Of course, they had to pay a heavy price for standing up for their rights. Your dad was detained without trial on a number of occasions. As you celebrate his birthday, do remember the sacrifices that he has made for the country.

Moreover, persuade him not to contemplate retirement just yet. The breakthrough that will enable transformation of Malaysia into a more democratic country has not yet taken place. Your dad’s services are critical to the success of this breakthrough.

Please convey to him happy birthday wishes from my family (from my wife, myself, Anthony, Alvin, Angeline and Henry Teh).

  1. #1 by monsterball on Saturday, 26 February 2011 - 2:30 pm

    So many loving poems for birthday boy….and real nice too.
    LKS do have many loving faithful friends admiring his struggle to free Malaysians.
    LKS is truly blessed.

  2. #2 by tak tahan on Sunday, 27 February 2011 - 2:28 am

    Ya i do feel envy too by the same good sense of feeling and admiration.LKS,you are so enormous when comparing to a giant stature just like me..hmm..hmm..could be the effect to feel so in the cause from the same league of LKS regime.You are ICHIBAN!!!

  3. #3 by Bobster on Monday, 28 February 2011 - 2:48 pm

    Happy Belated 70th Birthday YB Lim, wishing you good health and happiness. May God bless you and watch over your family!

    I just learned about your birthday from the article written by Ku Li, a true statesman.

You must be logged in to post a comment.