SOMETIME ago, I attended an old pupils’ reunion high tea at the premises of our great Methodist English School (MES) in Banting, Selangor. It was the first time I had gone back to my alma mater after 57 years.
I had hoped to see my Form Five classmates of the year 1963. Unfortunately, none from my batch attended the event. I was lonely but enjoyed the high tea with a handful of my senior and junior schoolmates.
While the event was in progress, I took a break to see the classrooms where I attended my primary lessons in 1954 as a private pupil of the Methodist afternoon school. I could not join the main stream because I was a bit overage.
The founder of the school, the late Rev. J.A.P. Oswald, made it possible as he provided further education classes for overage children.
He was also the one who brought English education to Banting in 1953 by building a row of classrooms with the help of the Methodist missionary. Had it not been for him, English education would not have reached the town so easily.
At the time, only parents who could afford it sent their children to English schools in Klang to receive primary and secondary English education.
Malay children from kampung schools joined MES through special Malay classes. Later, through remove classes, children from Tamil, Chinese and Malay schools continued their secondary education in English at MES until Form Five.
MES was the only primary and secondary English school in Banting. It expanded tremendously under the leadership of principal Mr V.K.Vincent Daniel, who took over the headship from Mr Leow See Yin in 1959.
Mr Daniel was charismatic and took the school to greater heights. His prowess in English added glamour to the school.
Another proud moment of the school was when an ex-pupil Mr. I. Sellathurai became the principal who was instrumental in putting up a new block of classrooms with the help of some ex-pupils including Tan Sri Mustapha Kamal.
It is apt to say that the late Rev. Oswald did not only bring English education to the town, but also civilisation here.