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Wang Min Hua, His Ford Popular Car And A Brief History Of Sam Tet School
A photograph of retired teacher Mr Wang Min-Hua driving away from Sam Tet School, Ipoh in October 1981 on the day of his retirement.
The car a 1954 Ford Popular Saloon registered number AA 8835, was bought new by his father and first registered in Ipoh on 8 April 1954. It has received loving care from both father and son since then and is in 'as new' condition. The 1172cc vehicle carries the engine and chassis number C769674 demonstrating that all is original.
The Ford Popular was basic transportation par excellence. Spartan in trim, it had hardly any instruments, tiny headlamps and painted bumpers. The Popular had a single (top-mounted) vacuum-operated windscreen wiper - the wiper often cutting-out altogether when going uphill in a head wind! Basically the Popular was the 1949 Anglia fitted with the Prefect's 1172 cc engine. Mechanically crude but a longlasting, strong and sturdy motor car, as demonstrated by this Kampong Simee veteran.
Above technical information adapted from http://www.philseed.com/fordpopular54.html
As for Sam Tet School, Ipoh, although the school's recorded history states that its first classes began on the 1st of September 1934 it is also recorded in other documents that Mr Phoong Tet Ching who was an immigrant from Jiaoilang in China started in 1930 at the St Michael’s Church, Ipoh, teaching catechism and that two years later he suggested that the church should start a Chinese school and Sam Tet Primary School was born with him as the first headmaster.
Either way, the existence of the school is credited to Father Fourgs of St Michael's Catholic Church, who wanted to rectify the high percentage of illiteracy amongst the local populace. The predominantly Chinese community pooled together their resources for the construction of a Chinese medium school and Father Fourgs was elected as the first school supervisor, but again here the records diverge as the school records that Mr Wong Chin Sun was appointed as the headmaster, while other information puts him as second in command.
As the number of students grew from 1935, the Board of Governors from the Church decided to allocate funds annually to aid in the running of the school. In 1940, plans for an additional six classrooms had to be put on hold due to the onset of World War II but as soon as lessons resumed after the surrender of the Japanese in 1945, the project was put into full swing and was completed in 1947.
1950 saw further expansion of the school with the help of a Catholic school in Singapore, as three Brothers were assigned to the school. Phoong Tet Ching who had remained at the school from 1932 then stayed on as the Mandarin language teacher. He retired from the school in 1966 after 35 years of teaching there, truly one of the Pioneers of Ipoh’s education. The following year, a proper school building was erected for the secondary portion of the school and at the beginning of 1952, three Junior Middle classes were started under the leadership of Brother Joseph Wong. Another three classes were added a year later.
With Brother Marcel at the helm, appointed in 1955, an additional 4 classrooms, a Science lab and a canteen were built. The school was upgraded to a National Type School in 1958 and the students sat for the LCE examination.
Brother Marcel was succeeded by Brother John Moh in 1959. Brother John Moh was to be the longest serving principal, retiring only in 1992 after a tenure of 34 years. Under his leadership, SMJK Sam Tet continued to thrive and he oversaw the construction of a new 3-storey building, a school hall (1970) which also housed a library, a staff room and administration office above it and a 3-storey Science block (1973). Sixth form classes were added in 1971 and as the increasing student population pushed the existing school space to its limit, Brother John Moh proceeded to procure more land for the further expansion of the school. The new phase of buildings was completed in 1985.
As the enrollment of the school continued to grow, so did its list of academic achievements. In 1982 it achieved 100% passes in the STPM examinations. Out of the 13 students nation-wide who scored 5As, eight came from SMJK Sam Tet. The years 1991 and 1994, saw further success with 11 students scoring straight 5As in STPM. In 1996, 20 students achieved 5As and earned the school a national record. The cherry on top of the sundae came in 1998 when 28 students scored 5As in STPM and SMJK Sam Tet entered the ‘Malaysian Book of Records’ for excellent academic achievement.
For further information about the school, visit the following website and follow the link the link for SMJK Sam Tet.
To read more about Phoong Tet Ching, click here.
To read more about St. Michael's Catholic Church, click here.