Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Payback Time for BBGS Girls

From left to right: BBGSOGA Adviser Ms Moey Yoke Lai, President Phang Sow Yoong,
Vice President Lee Yin Ling, Hon Secretary Aimee Liew, Asst Secretary Wong Kim Lin,
Social Secretary SS Patricia, Sports Secretary Claudia Chan,
Committee Members Kwan Poh Lan and Liew Lai Ying
(not in the photo Treasurer Cheah Swee Peng)

The message was clear at the EGM-cum-Hari Raya Tea held on 10 October at the Methodist College Kuala Lumpur: it is time for BBGS girls to pay back to society what they have gained from their alma mater.

After singing the school song, BBSOGA President Ms Phang Sow Yoong outlined the roadmap which includes setting up an infrastructure for the alumnae and Elena Cooke Education Fund, running a membership drive to recruit 2,000 life members, compiling a choral speaking handbook, recruiting “stockists” to be based in various parts of Malaysia and overseas to sell BBGS souvenirs and launching a publicity campaign to solicit funds from corporations.

“However, we must first go back to our former BBGS students to ask them to contribute to the Elena Cooke Education Fund. There is no gold or glory in joining the BBGSOGA. Being a member gives us an opportunity to repay our debt to BBGS and to give back to society,” said Phang who urged alumnae to contribute their expertise and time, and be the “jigsaw pieces” in the big picture.

BBGSOGA Adviser Ms Moey Yoke Lai exhorted the alumnae to go forth and do whatever was in our power to be “a mighty force for good”.

She cited as examples our founding “mothers” Ms Betty Langlands, Ms Bessie Maclay, Ms Eva Prouse, Ms Mary Glasgow, Ms Green and Ms Elena Cooke who had given the best years of their lives, some even till their last breath, for the good of the school they had so lovingly set up and developed.

Ms Moey retold the story of how Ms Prouse and Ms Glasgow had stayed behind to protect the school during World War II instead of evacuating early. When they finally left, they still managed to be of service to others in the ship which they were travelling. Ms Prouse eventually died in a Japanese internment camp. Ms Cooke was a medical student in Hong Kong during World War II where she helped out as an auxiliary nurse. Once, her nerves of steel emboldened her to defy the orders of a Japanese soldier.

The examples of such courage against all odds was brought up to illustrate the fact that BBGS old girls are called upon to be a shining example of BBGS values wherever we may be, whether it be in serving the underprivileged, fighting for justice, standing up against corruption or even simply extending financial help or a listening ear.

To put it in Ms Moey’s words, “What can we do to help our society so that we can be a mighty force for good?”

Later, the chairman of the working committee, Lim Kit Wan, presented the accounts of the Back2BBGS event in August. This was followed by a spirited Q & A session that proved that BBGS girls can be feisty within a working democracy.

An election was then conducted to replace the EXCO members who resigned at the last EGM on 16 October. The present committee is as follows:

President : Phang Sow Yoong
Vice President : Lee Yin Ling
Honorary Secretary : Aimee Liew
Assistant Secretary : Wong Kim Lin
Treasurer : Cheah Swee Peng
Social Secretary : SS Patricia
Sports Secretary : Claudia Chan
Committee Member : Kwan Poh Lan
Committee Member : Liew Lai Ying
Auditor : Loo Mi Li
Auditor : Foong Mei Lin

It is heartwarming that the new committee comprises five former school captains, one vice-captain, two senior lawyers and BBGSians from various industries—all wishing to
repay their debt to their alma mater.

After a resolution to copyright the BBGS school badge, the alumnae proceeded to fellowship over Hari Raya Tea and buy souvenirs to remind them of their beloved BBGS.

Report submitted by Lim Yuet Suan, School Captain 1984


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. BBGS is an enigma.

    BBGS old girls take so much pride associating themselves to a school that is no longer in existence. Some cling on to the notion that SBU in Cheras is ACTUALLY BBGS. Indeed, quite a yarn when you look at the fabric of SBU, no pun intended. What is even more frustrating is to see folks getting all sentimental and spending so much money and material on nostalgia. All the memorabilia on the shelves of the old girls' homes are not going to do anyone any good. I wonder, why not put your faith into action? Many Chinese schools have gone private because they BELIEVE in a cause. Taxi drivers, hawkers, business people and professionals alike chipped in to help. A visit to a Chinese school in Bukit Rimau reminds me of the admirable value and deed of the Chinese educated in this country. Room after room has a plaque each above the door way acknowledging the contribution of individuals and corporates in moving the school from its original location in Kelang. So what has gone amiss with BBGS? You can reminisce, get all emotional and exalt the school heritage to greater heights than Mt Kinabalu but no one is will to put in blood, sweat and tears into building a private BBGS. So much talk about BBGS producing luminaries in society etc., but where's the beef? Why can't they chip in and lend their weight into an effort like this? No Action Talk Only (NATO)? Other good reasons? Pray tell.

    I have BBGSOG's in my family and honestly, I am really, really not impressed. The propensity to overrate BBGS is so pronounced. Inability to accept the reality of the demise of BBGS for good is pathetic, yeah, SBU is BBGS. Admission of inaction to continue the good work of folks like Miss Cooke is a rare as a ray of light in the depth of Artic winter. Are BBGSOG's in a state of denial? Guilt? Only God knows.

    I really hope that BBGS old girls do something meaningful that many have done (and the right thing to do too) or stop trumpeting BBGS with mythical abandon. The pioneers blaze a trail that paved the way to a better life for so many of you. Have you tasted the goodness? Are you then too selfish to pass it on?

    Think about it please especially at a time when we are crying out for educational reform in our beloved nation. I pledge my support as well if BBGSOG's do the right thing - no more tear-jerking CDs or crystal (plastic?) plaques. Pure conscience will make do.

  3. Dear Ordinary Joe,

    There is a grain of truth in what you said about going beyond sentimentality. Just today, I had an update from a BBGSian based in Melaka who is at the forefront of educational reform among schools in Melaka. Another BBGSian based in Ipoh is also having the same passion to bring back the high standards of education we benefitted from. I would love to hear your ideas on how the alumnae can do something for our beloved nation at this time. Do call me at 012-292 1460 or email me at

    Nisi Dominus Frustra

    Phang Sow Yoong
    President, BBGSOGA