My sister lent me her Autograph Books from 1953 and 1954. How she managed to conserve hers through all these years is beyond my ken. I have absolutely no idea what I did to mine. But thank goodness I have hers to savour. Thank you, Nah.
In those good old days we used to nag our parents to get us these autograph books so that at the end of each school year we could pursue our friends and teachers and relatives to fill them up with little poems and homilies - especially to let us know how well we are liked and loved and remembered. How quaint and innocent.
However they remind us of how we were schooled, how we regarded one another, how we valued our teachers and their kind regards for us. There were no Teacher's Day, no Valentine's Day, no need for presents and roses and cards. But in these little books, we have a treasure of endearing sentiments, affection, wisdom and amiability expressed very simply, in words. We may laugh at lines like :
In the middle of the ocean,
There lies a rock.
On it were written,
Forget me not
but they meant a lot to us. And remember, we have lots more in our little book of pomes to write for our friends.
But for Nah, someone wrote a very, very special poem for her, called Chermin Maznah by a good friend of Abah, Pakcik Agus, the draughtsman at the School of Health, Nee Soon, Singapore. He came from Sumatra, and lived with his wife at a kampung off the Mandai Road. I recall him as being a kind, quiet man, always with a smile on his face. Here is what he wrote for my very, very privileged sister.
This was what Maznah asked for on the first page of her Autograph Book.
And here are Pakcik Agus on the left, Corporal Jamaludin in the middle and Abah on the right - as to when, probably late 50s (?).
And here's our dear Maznah, now mother of 4 great kids and Tok Wan to 9 lovely grandchildren, and of course wife to the indomitable Abang Long Harun.
Thank you Nah, for letting me enjoy and share your book. Loads more treasures to show but later.
Ms HAmid, this takes me back to days of Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, sugar is Sweet and So are you.
I'd give anything to have my old autograph books back.
Jes'a quest,by any chance you know of a Secoundary school teacher by the name of Master Jefri.
I am not so sure of where about of his last posting.Since I am not a Singaporean.
He quit teaching somewhere in 1980 and depart to read Law in London.He is a trim and proper school master.Well look up at by us and he coaches the school hockey team.
Good day to you mum.
p.s the autograf remind me of mine.
Hello Kak Teh,
Remember ; "Some love one, Some love two. I love one, And that is you." If this was written by a boy, we would get a third degree.
Dear Pak Tuo,
Where was your teacher teaching and when? You know, the good teachers tend to move on, mainly due to disenchantment with the profession.
And may we have a peep at your Autograph Book?
I have a pen, my pen is blue,
I have a friend, my friend is you.
Egg is telur, wood is kayu,
When I tidur, I mimpi you.
So sweet, so naive, so happy......
I still keep my secondary school autograph but lost my primary ones........
My dear Pootz in Boots,
The one about the telur and wood is new to me. Look after your Autograph book and when you reach my age - you will appreciate it a hundred fold.
Here's another one:
Think of me a little,
Think of me long.
Think of me till
I'm dead and gone.
We really should compile all these little pomes !!!
And Ms Hamd, do you remember how the numbers 12155 are written and what it means? Oh do tell me if you remember and if someone had written them for you.
I remember on the last day of school, how we'd decorate cards for teachers. and how we'd cry even though we knew we'd see the teacher again the following term. I remember all those flower power designs, the peace symbols and those psychedelic colours. Oh dear, it is now bringing me back to those bell botts and platform shoes days.
ha ! Don't forget the wise ols quotation that were misquoted -- although unintentionally !
My gem , (I mean, realy , really mine.)
'Knowledge is powder .'
It would be like you to be a troublemaker - especially after after you'd been warned by Nah to do a good job. Wasn't she a bit of a fussbudget about her autograph book - we did make her life difficult.
Dear Kak Teh,
As to the meaning of 12155: 1 and 2 makes a K, followed by I and 2 fives make SS.
We were pretty stupid kids then, weren't we.
This would involve another third degree from my parents
Hello Mak Ngah,
Thank you for the nice piece on mak. Nothing to share on the autograph bit - all boys school, you'll be bash up if you ask for one!
I think it would be nice if you can have our family tree up there...i'm a bit lost as to who's who.
You boys get bashed up autograph or not.
I suggest, why don't Nadia and I get together for the family pokok? I have the info; she has the technical know-how and you can provide the material motivation, like satay, mee rebus, nasi briyani etc etc.
Mine has a drawing of The Purple People Eater, signed by a recently published author illustrator!
Don't keep me on tenterhooks. Who is this recently published author illustrator?
Still, you're a notch above us - we only get friends and rellies.
I'd have to check that signature. The autograph book is buried deep in our bookroom somewhere.
But I also remember "roses are red" and....."sitting on a tree k-i-s-s-i-n-g'
plus "from Paekakariki where the boys are smart and the girls are cheeky"
I believe, in Paekakariki, the girls are smart and the boys are cheeky. I should know. I married one of them and so did you.
Weren't we stupid????
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