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My Sanctuary
Down Memory Land
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I think I enjoyed my childhood more than
kids of nowadays do. If you don't believe me ,
let me tell you how kids of my time
passed their daily life .

In those days , radio and television
were not even heard of. Kids roamed
wild plucking berries and
chasing dragon-flies.

The meadow I used to ramble stretched far
and wide by the side of a river and was
itself a paradise of wild flowers , shrubs ,
small evergreen plants and fruit bearing trees.

At night I watched fireflies flickering
here and there illuminating the dark nights

Nowadays ,with the bright electricity lights
turning nights into days, we, glue to the
television sets or computers, we don't even
see fireflies any more.
Or is it because there are no more
fireflies to see?

We passed our golden childhood playing
many indoor and outdoor games from skipping rope ,
doll house to rounders. Then came the time
when our parents sentus to school for education .

In those days school pupils had to
pay school- fees. Those who failed
their examinations retained in the same
class until they passed them.

The subjects taught in schools were
Chinese, Arithmetic, Social Studies, Art
and Crafts and Singing. Schools began
at eight 0 clock and ended at four 0 clock
in the afternoon. So we had to bring our
lunch box or 10 cents to buy food .

In my old school called Kung Kau's School
Menggatal , there was only one teacher and
an assistant teacher for the whole school.
We brought only one exercisebook called
the she-pan to school. The she- pan
could be written on and erased after every

The teacher would guide the beginners to do some
writing then moved on to year two , getting them
to work out some simple Arithmetic. All this while ,
year three and four would be kept pre-occupied
by learning a text by heart.

Two activities the whole school could
take part together under
one teacher were singing and story telling.
These were the subjects which the
pupils enjoyed the most.

As my school was a Catholic school, Religious
Knowledge was taught as a lesson .Thus we
chanted the prayers in Hakka and
learnt by heart the Ten Commandments,
who is God, heaven and hell and so on.

Before Christmas the whole school would start
making lanterns. A certain selected group would
practise dancing , singing and drama for the
end of the year school closing ceremony concert.

During Christmas we decorated the
church colourfully with the lanterns
every pupil made.
My brother always helped me with mine.

During my adolencenes in St. John's School,
Tuaran, many Catholic teachers and students
joined the Region of Mary. I am not
ashamed to admit that in those days I
was keen in the church activities,
because through activities such as prayer recital,
singing hymns and songs, writing to pen friends
, copying songs and autograph , I improved my

I began writing to Anak Sabah, a student
magazine then, when I was in Primary six .
I got paid foraround six dollars per article.
That was a lot of money then ! I owed that
to Fr. V.D. Ghest who gaveme a lot
of help towards that direction .

Our other activities as students
included goingto Sunday Mass, Novena ,
First Friday Mass ,besides the services
for the big festivals such as Christmas ,
Good Friday and Easter.

When I was in St. Joseph's School , Papar , for
my lower secondary education , I too joined the
Region of Mary . In those days the duty I enjoyed
most was decorating the church . It was a chance
for me to go out to the neighbouring houses ,
far and near , searching for fresh flowers .
I didn't mind even though many a time I was
the only one doing the whole job by myself.

In St. Francis Convent , Jesselton , I received
my upper secondary education . I was
a boarder then. Memory there includes
the scary walk through the lonely mission
road to school and the few nights when
Sr. E. Mary let us stay up late to
listen to soft music . We also had talks,
singing, poetry recital and beautiful novena
nights to brighten our lives as boarders.
In those days , the duty I was sent to
do as a member of the
Region of Mary, was visiting the old folk at
the Prichard Valley Home. Those senior citizens
really looked forward to have a chit-chat
with us girls once a week.

After my school life was over , I
taught for a year as an untrained
teacher in St. John's School , Tuaran .
I joined the Catholic Youth Association
which was very popular then .

The said Association enabled youth to
mingle through activities such as
social dances , outings and meetings . We made
friends readily , being young and gay .

After that I went to college for Teacher Training
course . Needless to say , there I had had
the time of my life !

After I have got married , there was a time when
I was busy raising up a family . I stopped all
activities all together . When my kids gradually
grew up , I resumed my Christian duty as a member
of the Kudat Catholic Women League Association
and have been a member since then.

In all those years , I have been one term
the president and many terms secretary and
audit of the said association .

As far back as my memory can stretch , there are
so many important events to look back to . Among
them , I have to mention the Blessing of
St. Peter's new Church , Rev. Fr. de Wit Memorial
Hall and St. Peter's Kinder Garden when we women
took part in dancing and singing concert,
preparing food and flower arrangement for
the occasions.

Other activities include the sweeping of
the church,taking part in the Mass organisation
as commentators, readers and collectors ,
Sunday school teachers,organizing
Christmas children party and Sunday sale.

God means to enrich my life with many
church activities although they are on and off.
Through Christian activities our kids, youth
and adults lead a good , God fearing Christian
life . A pure mind will lead to a pure heart.
Thus schools, churches and societies play an
important role in moulding our kids and
youth into healthy-minded adults. So we can
look back with a smile and say,
" I was quite a great kid in my time! "