1986: Working for Trinity College

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Pic from http://www.musicroom.com/blog/perfect-preparation-piano-exams-performances

I began working for Trinity College of Music London in November of 1986. I was 59 years old then. I had serious misgivings whether I would be able to represent the college in Malaysia. No sooner was I appointed than I realised that there had been so many contenders for the job. Music teachers, music schools and business people had all been trying to get this job. Some of them had even gone to London to meet with the college principal and the board of governors. I was not aware of all this when I was appointed. But when I got cracking on the job, I had to deal with all sorts of people who were much different from my colleagues of teaching days.

I had many things to learn about how the business world operated. It was a ‘dog eat dog’ world out there if one was not careful. Fortunately I had assistance from the college examiners and a few music teachers who came to my aid when I needed them for advice.

In Malaysia, most people were familiar with the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM). The Board was set up to examine students only, whereas Trinity was a music college and teaching institution. Their examinations were conducted in most Commonwealth countries. I had been offered the job in preference to many others who had been vying for the role, because I had teaching experience.

My job was to register students for the examinations and make all the arrangements for the examinations to take place. My wife and I adapted our home to operate as a music studio during exam time. We had always had upright pianos, on which our daughters practised music during their student days. To host the music examinations, we bought a grand piano, which for many years had pride of place in our home. In other towns, we rented studio facilities from the local music schools to hold the Trinity exams. I would collect the visiting examiners from the airport, put them up in a hotel, and transport them around as needed.

I also had a role in making the Trinity qualifications better known among the music schools and teachers. As time went on we also began to promote the spoken English exams as a way for young people to be certified as fluent English language speakers – a valuable qualification at a time when many were concerned about the falling standards of English in Malaysian schools.

In this work I came across some very good music teachers. I had the privilege of meeting English language teachers, music examiners and some excellent music students. I was truly enjoying the job and I was also handsomely paid. My friends and colleagues in Singapore envied what I was doing after retirement from government service in Singapore. And so the years passed.

Eventually, I felt I was getting older and getting tired more easily. Every year the student numbers increased. I was conducting examinations in various towns in Johor and Melaka, driving from place to place in the southern part of peninsular Malaysia. As the only other representative in Malaysia was going to retire, I was expected to take on his responsibilities in Kuala Lumpur as well. By this time I was already 72. I felt I could not carry on any longer as the work entailed some travelling all the time.

There were also many changes going on in the college. New examiners were being appointed and the college itself was being merged with other institutions. I didn’t want to work any longer as the old staff had also left or retired. At the end of 1998 I quit after representing Trinity for 12 and a half years. Some of them, like the chief examiner at Trinity, are still in touch with me to exchange notes of old times. It was good and I had enjoyed working for them. I am now an Anglophile, loving their language, music and culture.

During this time my children successfully completed their studies abroad. Delia had won a cultural exchange scholarship to go to Australia, provided by the American Field Service (AFS). She landed in Tasmania and during her year there finished her Higher School Certificate (HSC) to gain admission in Australian universities. After her exchange year, we decided she should accept a place at the Australian National University in Canberra. She completed an Arts degree and joined The Star newspaper in 1987 as a cadet journalist.

Cynthia was admitted into St Catherine’s School in Sydney in 1982. She began her year 10 studies there as a boarder. Later she completed a course in political science at Sydney University. She pursued her music studies as well and became a Fellow of Trinity College London – its highest qualification in music performance.

In the case of Benjamin, I had previously admitted him to school in Johor Bahru. This lasted four years, during which I became increasingly unhappy with the standard of education in Malaysia. I took him to finish his last two years of primary schooling at Woodlands Primary School, where I was posted at the time. He did very well and won an ASEAN Scholarship to study at the most prestigious school in Singapore – Raffles Institution. As an ASEAN scholar, he was paid an annual allowance of two thousand Singapore dollars and given other privileges. He did very well in the final examination and decided to study economics. This was a surprise to me as I had planned for him to do engineering and believed that this was also his choice. We wished him well and supported his true choice. He went to the London School of Economics and later graduated with a degree in monetary economics.

 

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1983: I retire and move to Brunei

In January 1983 I turned 55 and retired from the Singapore Civil Service. My teaching career in that island state had ended. I thought I would not see a school or classroom again, nor have the privilege of teaching children once more. In those days, after retirement from government service many did nothing. They stayed at home with their children and grandchildren, enjoying their pension benefits. I thought I would be doing the same thing. But it was not to be. I needed money to educate my children. My daughters were at school and university in Australia, and my son was preparing to go to the UK. I had to find something to do to bring in the money for them.

If you know what the exchange rates were at the time, you will understand that few people in Malaysia could afford to send their children abroad for studies. To give you an idea, the rates then were eight ringgit to the British pound, and more than three ringgit to an Australian dollar. I was already constantly borrowing money from the teachers’ Thrift and Loan Society to meet our daily expenses. How then was I going to educate my children abroad?

Providence always came to my aid. I was offered a job in Brunei. I took up the offer at St Andrew’s School in Bandar Seri Begawan, the capital city of the Brunei sultanate. It was an Anglican school that was much sought after by parents and members of the royal family. I started work in September 1983 on a three-year contract. The money was good. There were no taxes in that country. My needs for the family were met.

My two daughters had already left home and Benjamin was at school in Singapore. Dorcas was looking after him and keeping her job going. While she was in her 40s she had finally learned to drive, and so was able to manage the family transport in her little green Volkswagen. It was difficult for her to be alone but she was capable and managed it well.

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View of Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque on the Brunei River in Bandar Seri Begawan. Pic from http://www.everyculture.com/Bo-Co/Brunei-Darussalam.html

There is nothing much to report about the three years I spent at St Andrew’s School in Brunei. Although it was an Anglican school, there was nothing Christian about it. The staff was made up largely of Indians from India, retirees from Malaysia, and a few local Chinese and Bruneians. I stayed in the school flats for 18 months and spent another 18 months sharing a house with teachers about 10 miles away from school. The daily driving to school was dangerous as Brunei was a bit of a wild place then. On one occasion I stepped on the brakes of my car to avoid hitting the car in front of me. The next moment I found myself struggling to get out of the car, which was sinking in a fast-flowing river. Fortunately it happened during a very busy time in the morning. I was helped out but my car was stuck in the river. It was only retrieved the following day. That was an escape I’ll never forget!

In September 1986 I returned home from Brunei. My wife had begun a tuition centre at home. It was very successful. I was going to help her with this work. However, barely a month after I returned from Brunei, I was invited to Singapore to meet the principal of Trinity College of Music London. He had come to interview a suitable candidate to represent the college in Singapore and Malaysia. I met him at his hotel, had tea with him and listened to what he was looking for in a Representative for this famous music college in London. I felt I would never be able to meet his requirements as I didn’t know anything about music.

The principal told me that the college also conducted speech and drama and spoken English examinations in addition to the better-known Trinity College examinations in music performance and teaching. He promised to help if I would take on the job, as it was mainly administration and had nothing to do with teaching music or other subjects. He took my silence as agreement. The following month I received my appointment letter as the local representative for Trinity College of Music London – a role that was much sought after by music schools and business people. The appointment brought me into the business world. How different it was from my teaching days. It was a new beginning and I would have to learn many things about managing a business and the affairs of a college on the other side of the world. It was going to be a challenge!

 

My last years in Singapore

When the Tamil school where I was teaching closed finally in 1979, I was moved to Lim Chu Kang School in a rural part of Singapore. The principal was a Chinese-educated man who could hardly speak English. He was very much against other people of other races, particularly the Indians. I was the only non-Chinese staff member in that school. Other non-Chinese staff did not last long in that school because of the principal’s animosity. Out of the four school cleaners and watchmen, only one was an Indian. He was having a very hard time with the headmaster.

Within a month of my being at that school, the Indian school servant was accused of stealing the sewing machine out of the school. He was angry at being thus accused. With a chopper in his hand, he was going to have it out with the school principal. Since I could speak Tamil I pacified him and aborted the confrontation. The principal was now afraid. Fearing for his life, he saw shadows everywhere. He became very suspicious of me. There was no love lost between us. Things came to a head when he decided to check how the English exercise books were being marked. I told him that I had been teaching English for the last 28 years. I was not going to listen to him and he could do what he liked. The other teachers in the school were astonished that I stood up and did not give in to his bullying. I did not last long in that school.

In 1980 I was transferred to Woodlands Primary School. This school was just over the Causeway from Johor Bahru. Being so close to JB, I used to walk across into Singapore and get to work that way. It was good. I felt I would remain at this school until my retirement, which was due in January 1983.

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Walking across the 3/4-mile-long Causeway was the preferred way to beat the daily traffic jams that have been a feature of this route for decades. Pic from https://www.taxisingapore.com/singapore-to-johor-bahru/

However, things didn’t work out that way. Remember I was removed from being a senior assistant to be an ordinary teacher because of politics. This again became at problem at Woodlands. Being a non-citizen, one is always at risk of being fired if one does not curry favour with the authorities. I abhor this practice. The head teacher of this school expected the teachers to offer him services beyond the call of duty – in other words, he was a rent seeker. He was the most corrupt character that I had come across as a teacher. I wasn’t going to play his game no matter what happened. As a result there were some allowances denied to me. This was the plight of civil servants who depended on their superior officers writing their annual confidential reports for annual increments and promotions to be granted. We did not get on well.

I survived in this school for two years. At the end of 1981 I was moved to a neighbouring school – Si Ling Primary School. I taught in this school in 1982 for only one year. In January of the following year, I retired when I turned 55, the compulsory retirement age for all civil servants.

Looking back over my years of teaching in Singapore, it was an exciting time to be in service. Every day was a new day. Changes were going on all the time. From British military administration, the colonial civil service, the Communist insurgency, the merger with Malaysia and finally to an independent Singapore – each was an experience to be cherished. It was not all gloom and doom. There were seasons of much happiness and moments of glory in my career as a school master. It is the least in status of all the professions but the most rewarding of them all. I still think so, after having taught in Singapore schools for 32 years.

In addition to teaching in regular schools, I had also been involved in adult education classes that took place in the evenings. These were mainly English language classes for adults who wanted to study the language, and they reflected the changes that were going on in wider Singapore society during the last years of the colonial administration and the early years of independent Singapore. Many companies and organisations were encouraging their members to attend these classes to improve their opportunities for promotions in their workplaces. These classes were held thrice weekly, for about two hours each time. The teachers were paid nine dollars for every hour of teaching. I came in contact with all sorts of people doing all kinds of work. Many became my friends. They gave me company calendars and diaries, and at times invited me to supper after classes were over.

When the People’s Action Party took power they changed the rules for these classes. The teachers were not going to be paid any more for teaching, but were expected to do this job as a nation-building exercise. It became a voluntary contribution on the part of civil servants, and was considered a part of one’s extra-curricular activities!

Cooperative societies

Little is known of them nowadays, but cooperative societies were a prominent feature of my teaching years. Government employees at the time were barred from borrowing money. They were not to be indebted or financially embarrassed in any way. Government servants had to sign a document once every two years that they were free from any kind of financial difficulties. If found guilty they would lose their jobs. The civil service was particularly watched, as their services to the public would be affected if they were indebted in any way.

But borrowing from unauthorised outlets was a thriving business. Civil servants were the moneylenders’ best clients. They would pay whatever their interest rates were. The moneylenders were known as the ‘sepulu dua’ lenders, named after their two percent interest rate every month.

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Singapore currency, 1970

Civil service salaries were not high and many of us would run short of funds towards the end of every month. The start of the school year was a particularly difficult time for those of us with families, as our own children had to be equipped with textbooks, stationery, shoes and new uniforms.

Thus, many civil servants were caught up with moneylenders.

The government set up these cooperative societies to help civil servants, plantation workers, transport employees and others in public service. The societies helped protect their earnings and protected them from unscrupulous moneylenders.

Teachers had their own Thrift and Loan Society that provided loans to its members. The Society had very strict rules. Borrowers had to have two guarantors, who should also be members of the society. The maximum amount that could be borrowed was limited. This sum had to be paid back within a space of two years. The repayments were taken off from one’s monthly wages. From the borrower’s point of view, this was a ‘safe’ kind of loan as it was not considered an embarrassment.

However, the problem was getting guarantors to support the borrower. The guarantors themselves had to be free from any debt, including any debts to the Thrift and Loan Society. It was difficult to find guarantors because many members of the cooperative were also borrowers themselves with outstanding loans.

To solve this problem, groups of three to four members would get together and form an alliance among themselves. They would only guarantee another member from their own alliance. They took turns to borrow, supported by their guarantors.  It worked very well, except when a borrower left government serivce for whatever reason, while still indebted to the Thrift and Loan Society. The guarantors were then made to pay any outstanding amount payable. It was taken automatically off their salaries. There many instances where guarantors had to make good in the event of the borrower leaving government service.

There was much acrimony whenever this happened. The guarantors felt they were not responsible once the borrower had left government service. Nevertheless the repayments would be taken off their monthly salaries and the money returned to the Society. Thus, finding a guarantor was not easy. But the Thrift and Loan Society did a great service to its members and prevented them from getting involved with other money lenders. It also taught them to be prudent with their earnings. I myself was never free of debt until my last years in government service.

Politics in schools

As I mentioned before, I had two and a half years at Newton Boys School, from late 1963 to 1965. Eventually an inspector of schools noticed I had been traveling long distances to get to work from my home in Johor Bahru, a trip of about 16 miles each way every day. There was a vacancy for a senior assistant at Princess Elizabeth Estate School, which was half the distance that I had been traveling. His good intentions kept me in this school for 10 long years.

Princess Elizabeth Estate School
A 1979 photo of Princess Elizabeth Estate School at Hillview Estate, some years after I had left. The two flagpoles were used for flag-raising ceremonies during school assemblies on the quadrangle, which you see in the right foreground. There was a school ‘tuck shop’ at the far end of the block (right) and a small sports ground that you don’t see in this photo. Photo from http://ijamestann.blogspot.com/2012/02/class-of-1979-at-pees.html

The headmaster at this school was a pleasant man but very fearful of authority and politicians. He was near retirement age, and I would have succeeded him. That was the talk. However, it was not to be. A teacher 16 years my junior was posted to the school. He was a PAP supporter. When the principal retired, this fellow took over the school as headmaster, to the dismay and anger of many senior teachers in the school.

Like me, there were eight other senior assistants who had been waiting to succeed their principals. We were all removed and posted to ‘vernacular schools’ to teach English. These were schools that offered Mandarin, Malay or Tamil as the medium of instruction. They were known as ‘aided schools’ as they had received varying levels of support from the colonial administration in the past. Enrolment at these schools was dwindling in the 1970s as parents preferred to put their children in the mainstream English-medium schools. You can read more about the history of these schools here: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/infopedia/articles/SIP_2016-10-03_094744.html

There was no good reason for the eight of us senior teachers to be removed from our posts at English-medium schools, to teach at these vernacular schools that were already in terminal decline. We were simply told that we were not Singaporeans and must make way for their citizens. Although there was no good reason for us to be passed over, there were some contributing factors. Remember, the People’s Action Party (PAP) had swept into power in 1959. They had to reward their supporters. Also, Singapore was part of Malaysia for two short years before they were expelled from the union in 1965. Those of us who still considered ourselves Malaysians and did not adopt Singapore citizenship were not favoured for promotions.

In 1970 Delia had started primary school. I had her admitted to the school where I worked because it was easy for me to take her to school. I did the same for Cynthia when she was ready to start primary school in 1973.

My transfer out of Princess Elizabeth Estate School at the end of 1973 affected not only my family transport arrangements. It cast doubt on my future in the Singapore civil service, as my hopes for advancement were dampened. On 11 December of that year, my father passed away. I was very sad. I had to decide how my children were going to be educated. The problem was whether I should keep them at school in Singapore or move them to a school in Johor Bahru.

In 1974 I took up my new post at a Chinese vernacular school, where the headmaster spoke no English. I couldn’t understand him. I felt that working with him was going to be very difficult as he was under no obligation to follow government regulations, but rather reported to an independent Chinese School Board.

Within three months, I decided to leave the school. I went to see the Director of Schools and told him of my intentions. He was very sympathetic and said that this was not his doing. He was only carrying out orders from the Minister of Education. As foreigners, we could not hold positions of any authority. I explained to him that I was a government servant and not an employee of the Board of Governors of an aided school. He promised to look into my service conditions and agreed that I had a point. I told him that if nothing was done, I was going to quit.

The following week I was transferred out to a government-run Tamil school. This was a great blessing. I was tired of all the politicking against non-citizens in Singapore. The Chinese-educated Nanyang University graduates were beginning to be favoured over English-education University of Malaya graduates in Singapore for jobs and promotions. They were a dominant force. Some of these characters even became principals of English-medium schools. Much later the PAP realised that this was a grave error in their planning, which led to numerous problems in the schools.

The Tamil school where I was posted had only 47 students when I joined its teaching staff of 14 members. It’s hard to believe that the Ministry of Education would have allowed such a small school to exist, but Tamil schools, like the other vernacular schools, were being protected from closure. I was having a holiday. I stayed at this school for four long years with hardly any work to do. The Education Department finally realised that enrolment was dwindling and the school was shut down. When it happened at last, the school had just 14 students and seven teachers! Hard to believe, isn’t it? That is what happens when politics interferes with education.

It was not easy putting my two daughters in school in Johor Bahru, but I had no choice. With the change, they adjusted from English-medium to Malay-medium studies. Benjamin, the youngest, was also enrolled in a Johor Bahru school when he was old enough. He spent four years there. During this time, many parents in JB were taking their children out of Malaysian schools and sending them across the Causeway to Singapore, as they felt that education standards in Malaysia were falling, relative to Singapore. They wondered why I was not taking advantage of my position as a Singapore teacher to get my children into school there. However, traveling to and from school in Singapore would have been difficult for them without my help to drive them.

We begin married life

We set up home in a rented terrace house in Jalan Quek Keng Kang, Johor Bahru. This street, more commonly called Jalan Ah Siang, had a single row of double-storey houses all joined up. Our house had an upstairs balcony with bamboo blinds for protection from the rain, and  a grass patch and concrete driveway in the front where I would park my Morris Minor.

Neither Dorcas nor myself were earning much. On top of this, she needed to contribute one-third of her monthly salary to her parents. It was a struggle to begin married life in this way. Eleven months after our wedding, Delia appeared as a baby. Now she had to be cared for as the two of us were both working. It was a major expense to hire a maid, but it had to be paid for.

A middle-aged Chinese woman, ‘Ah So,’ offered her services to care for the baby and look after the house while we were both at work. She was an excellent help. She stayed with us for several years, also caring for Cynthia until she was about three years old. After she left, a young Chinese girl, ‘Ah Chan,’ came to stay with us. She was meant to be more of a playmate for the two girls. She was a great help with her winsome ways and intelligence. She stayed with us a long time. We were very fortunate in having these two helpers in the house when we were struggling to get on in life. We feel greatly indebted to them. ‘Ah So’ was much like a grandmother to the girls, while ‘Ah Chan’ became like part of our family for a time. We felt much sadness when they left.

Dorcas and girls Jalan Ah Siang
Dorcas with the girls in Jalan Ah Siang, Cynthia (left) and Delia, 1967.

In addition to domestic help, we also had several boarders in the house. They were mostly my relatives. They too felt very comfortable with us. As accommodation in those days was very hard to come by, there was always demand for room rentals. We had an American Peace Corps worker, Karen Pedersen, stay with us for about five years. We offered her the downstairs area while we stayed upstairs. She was a very pleasant and good-natured girl. Other American Peace Corps volunteers often came in and out of the house as they came to visit her. We spent a lot of time with them. Our world became enlarged. An interest in politics got into my veins.

Indeed, those were tumultuous years politically. Malaya had become an independent nation in 1957. As the British withdrew from the colonies, Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak became part of Malaysia in 1961. Two years later Singapore was expelled from the union. My workplace at school in Singapore thus was once part of my country and then not. Malaysians carried ‘restricted passports’ with a blue cover, when they crossed the Causeway to work.

We stayed in this Jalan Ah Siang house for about seven years. Then we moved to a bungalow house that belonged to a friend in Singapore. It was a large house in Jalan Mariamah and a very comfortable one too. We moved because there was going to be a third addition to the family. We needed more space for the children and our domestic help who lived with us. This was in early 1969.

This was also the year when the race riots of 13 May broke out, soon after an election. Many people were killed as a result. A state of emergency was declared, curfews were imposed and many other restrictions were brought in to maintain law and order. It was in this situation that Benjamin was expected to join the family.

Family with Ah Kong Jln Mariamah
Dorcas’ father came to see Benjamin as a new-born, 1969. This picture was taken at the Jalan Mariamah house.

Exactly one month after the riots, Benjamin was born on 13 June 1969. Fortunately, a doctor in the hospital assured us beforehand that we could call on him to take Dorcas to the hospital if the need arose. That took a load off my mind as to how we could get to the hospital if we needed to during the curfew. An older sister of mine came all the way from Seremban to look after the other two children while Dorcas was away in hospital having the baby. With Benjamin’s arrival, the family was now complete.

In 1970 we moved again. This time it was to our own house in Serene Park. Serene Park was one of the very first suburbs to be built in Johor Bahru. It was a pleasant residential area with a mix of terraces, semi-detached houses, and stand-alone bungalows, bordered by a row of shops. Many of the houses, including our own, had been rented out to British and Australian army personnel  and their families. As the long-running guerrilla war with the Communists came to an end, they were slowly leaving Malaysia. We too had rented out our house to an Australian family. The rental income had been a big help to us as we were starting our family, but now it was time for us to move to our own home. For some years after we moved to Serene Park, a fish-and-chip van still used to ply the area, offering the military families there a taste of home far away.

Family pic Serene Park
On the grass verge outside our own home in Serene Park, 1970.

 

 

1962: I get married

This part of my memoirs is very hard to write. It brings back memories that I wish to forget. However, my memoirs will be meaningless without this part of the story, as it has influenced more than 50 years of my life.

In January 1962 I reported for work at Bukit Panjang school in Singapore. I was preparing to be married by the end of this year. My fiancé Dorcas was still in England. I had to wait for her to return. When she returned, it was to Malacca as that was her hometown. As part of her scholarship agreement, she had to serve the Government of Malaysia for three years. For us to be together, she would have to move closer to Singapore. She got a transfer to Johor Bahru at the end of that year. I arranged for her to stay in the home of a relative until we were able to find our own accommodation.

Parents' wedding photo 1962
Our studio photo on the occasion of our wedding on 1 December 1962.

We were married in December 1962. I was 34 and she was 29. We would both shortly turn 35 and 30, respectively. The wedding and all that took place is a long story. In short, there were family objections from her side that for a while made it seem we would be denied a church wedding. The problems we faced in organising our wedding had everything to do with race. I am Anglican and so is she. But the church viewed things differently. Our local priest was not helpful to us in our predicament. There were even those who claimed it was ‘not God’s will’ for an inter-racial marriage to take place.

Because of the objections and controversy, we were asked that no invitation cards be printed, and no reception held after the service was over. The wedding celebrations were to be kept in a very low key. Also, the banns of marriage would not be published. These are public announcements made in church, declaring a couple’s intention to marry and giving a chance for anyone to come forward and give a reason why a wedding may not lawfully take place. To keep the peace, we had no choice but to agree with everything. The only area in which we would not compromise was that it had to be a church wedding and not a civil registration in a government office.

We obtained a special license from the Anglican bishop in Singapore, Dean Shields, which enabled us to do away with publishing the banns of marriage. We also invited a friend and priest in our age group, the Rev. Sam Jesudason, to officiate at the wedding. We knew him well from our youth fellowship days. He had entered the priesthood after several years of working as a town planner. He was aware of the problems we were facing and agreed to help us out. He came all the way from St George’s Church, Penang, to enable our church wedding to take place in Johor Bahru.

When it was clear that nothing would stop the wedding, other friends offered their help as well. One family offered us a car for the bride. Another made sure all the necessary photos were taken. Her friends dressed up the bride and accompanied her to the church. Seeing all the preparations that had been made, her father joined in the festivities and walked her down the aisle. What a blessing it was that he was there to do the needful for his eldest daughter. With a handful of friends and very close relatives on my side, together with her parents, our marriage was solemnised at St Christopher’s Church in Johor Bahru on 1st December 1962.

We spent our wedding night at the Straits View Hotel in Johor Bahru, overlooking the Tebrau Straits and the island of Singapore. The following day we presented ourselves at the house to bid farewell to her parents and begin life as husband and wife. She came with a bag of clothes, a few pairs of shoes, and a little jewellery. I had nothing much myself except a Morris Minor car in which I drove to my work in Singapore. We bought a single bed, two armchairs and a small dining table with a couple of wooden stools. In our kitchen there was a rice pot, a clay oven, some utensils and a hot water flask. This completed the furniture to begin our home. There was no money for anything else.

It’s now a little over 55 years that we have been married. It’s a long time for wounds made by words to heal. Many years after these difficult beginnings, we have three children and three grandchildren. Our faith as Anglicans has helped us greatly in withstanding our trials and tribulations. This is the rock on which our marriage was made. The grace of God is available to anybody, whatever your background, if you believe and trust in him. Take heart if your partner is of another race!