Wednesday, 15 December 2010


I remember my very first camera. It was given to me by my sister Rose. She bought a Minolta and gave me her old Yashica-J in 1963. I used this camera for many years for taking black & white photos and also for colour slides. I did not take many colour slides because the processing fee was very expensive.

This camera has helped me a lot in documenting a greater part of my life from 1963 to 1978. The shuttle speed and apertures need to be set manually by turning some rings around the lens. I used 11 or 16 for outdoor shots and aperture 8 for all indoor photography. The shuttle speed was set permanently at 1/250 second and I seldom changed that unless I changed from using Kodak Tri-X film (high speed) to a slower film. To focus, I look through the small window with one eye and rotate the lens adjustment knob until  two cross hairs merged and the double lines become one line. I seldom used my electronic flash because it was a separate attachment fixed on top of the camera. It was also heavy because of the many batteries inside.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Tanjong 1963/64

This photo was taken with the Yashica J, in early 1963 when I first arrived at Tanjong Lobang School. I joined many students from other schools in Sarawak to start the first sixth form class in Miri. We were the pioneers!
Near the end of 1964, we managed to persuade Mr. Sargunam to organize a trip for the sixth form class to visit Brunei Shell Petroleum Company. Mr. George Ong and Mr. Robert Stewart were also in this photo.

sixth form outing 1964,
Back row, l to r:
Alphonsus Sia, Chih Ching Peng, Thomas Lin, George Ong #, Sie Yuan Seng, 

Liaw Aik Hon, Richard Lau, Paul Lee, Bob Stewart #, Lucas Chua*, David Chin, 
Lankie Simbas*, Dominic Wong, Theodore Sargunam #, Innocent Wong, Paul Ling.
Front, l to r:
Thaddeus Demong, Denys Lang*, Lee Ting Leong, Leong Mei Kim, Anthony Najod.
(# teachers, * diseased)

Monday, 13 December 2010

Seria, 1965

I resigned from my temporary teaching job in Miri and went to Seria in 1965 to say good-bye to my sister, Cecilia. I was going to Kuching to work for Sesco because the job came with a sponsorship for a Colombo Plan Scholarship! My younger sister, Cecilia came to Kuching to visit me in early 1966. I was leaving soon for Australia!

Rose also came back for holidays from Australia. She took me to a tailor in Padungan to make a suit  for me. It turned out to be just the thing to wear at the Raffles Hotel Singapore. The dress code was formal for the dining room: coat and tie only.

In Sydney, all the students must attend briefings at the Department of External Affairs. I wore this suit almost every day during my first week in Australia; must have gained much face for all Malaysian students! The African students were all wearing dark suits.
Rose & Cecilia


Rose was really thin in 1966. That was probably due to the fact that she didn't like lamb chops served at Mary White College, Armidale. She had been there for 3 years and has just qualified for her free holiday trip home to Sarawak, as per kind courtesy of uncle Bob Menzies. After her holidays, she returned to do her dip Ed. at the University of New England, NSW for one more year. In 1966, two in our family were studying in Australia under the Colombo Plan Scheme!
Later on, I discovered the real reason why I needed to have a suit: the convocation. I was her partner. Tee shirts and jeans not allowed!

Sunday, 12 December 2010


Sydney Opera House 1966

I first landed in Sydney in January 1966. The Sydney Opera House was still under construction. The Ozzies had no money. So, they ran a lottery to raise the necessary funds!

All the students from various Commonwealth countries were staying at a hotel at Bondi beach for a week. Every day, the External Affairs Department sent chauffeur driven limousines to transport all of us to the office in the city where we had our induction course. The first day, they took us to the Commonwealth Bank and opened savings bank accounts for us. A generous first deposit was made to cover our winter clothing allowance and another amount to cover our purchase of text books and stationary requirements for our course of study. From then onwards for the duration of our stay, every fortnight AUD126 .50 was deposited into my account for 4 years. On top of that, I also get a return air ticket to Miri for holidays after completing 3 years. It was really quite a good deal. All I had to do was to leave the sheilas alone, study hard and get my diploma. Then go back home to serve my country for 30 years!

Saturday, 11 December 2010



After the week's induction course in Sydney, all the scholarship students were assigned to their respective places of study. I was sent to Swinburne Technical College in Melbourne. I did not like the accommodation arranged for me at Richmond. It was full-board at a hostel run by Mrs. Henderson. I was sharing room with another African student from Nigeria. I remember the smell of lamb chops on all the bed sheets! Breakfast and dinner were provided; but I had to buy my own lunch at the college cafeteria. That was usually a salad roll and a milk shake, with malt. My favourite lunch was Four&Twenty pies with large chunks of real beef inside. Fish and chips were also quite yummy! I had no problem getting used to the western style food because any thing will taste good after what I had for two years as a boarder at Tanjong! After a month I moved into a rented property shared with 4 other Asian students. I started cooking my own meals from then onwards. Some times I bought takeaway from Rice Bowl cafe on Burwood Road, opposite Swinburne college. Life was not that easy, having to go shopping and carrying every thing home on foot from Safeway Stores, near the Camberwell junction. Cars were cheap but very expensive to maintain.

These are the Asian students at the Catholic Student centre in Footscray. Our chaplain was Fr. O'Connor.
Next to me was Joseph Lee (2nd left), a close friend from Sabah. We spent a lot of time together. Joseph owned a very old Ford Popular which he bought for 80 pounds as soon as he arrived. He was sent by the Sabah gomen for 2 years in-service training in graphic arts at RMIT. We sowed a lot of wild oats in Melbourne. The Ozzie girls were blonde hair, blue eyed, able and very willing. I still have very fond memories of Lynette Barbeta, Elizabeth Thomas, Marie Culhane Zangelini and Leigh Goodaire*

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Armidale, 1966

I booked a seat on a train in Melbourne and went north to Armidale, NSW to attend my sister's convocation in 1966. I was wearing my new suit. Now I understand the real reason why Rose bought it for me in Kuching. I was going to be her partner at her graduation ball. For that, I needed to wear a formal suit or a tuxedo with bow tie!

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Sydney 1967

I went to visit my elder sister Rose in Sydney in 1967 to farewell her. She has completed her studies and returning to Sarawak as a graduate teacher. She has a B.A. (English) and Dip Ed from the university of New England. Her first assignment was Tanjong Lobang School in Miri.

I had a school mate and friend, Yong Chiong Vun in Sydney. He took me to climb the bridge and go for a cruise on the ferry from Circular Quay. We visited Manly beach and King's Cross. It was so good to have a local tour guide to take me sight seeing.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Olympus Trip 35

The Olympus Trip 35 operates completely without batteries. Its light meter and programmed automatic exposure system is solar powered! This makes it one of the world's most advanced cameras which provides fully automatic exposure completely without batteries or external electrical power.

I used this camera for taking numerous photos of my children, every time I came back from offshore during their growing years from 1977 onwards. This time colour film became available. I did not buy another camera until digital cameras came on the market in NZ in 2004. Alas! these electronic cameras do not last very long. Each year a new model comes out with more storage spaces and better features which we just must have. I am now on my 3rd digital camera. Fortunately the price kept on going down.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

The growing years

This is Kevin, my first born.

Then Pearl arrived.

Then Eugene, makes three!

Get off my bike!


He ain't heavy. He's my brother!

Happy birthday!

Friday, 15 October 2010

Mainly the Olympus Trip 35 camera

off to school
Kevin & Robin
Kevin & Eugene
Kevin fishing
KL zoo

Eiffel Tower

London Bobby, 1979
Kevin convocation, 1999
Pearl's convocation
Mum's roses, 2001

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