In September that year, I was sent by the ministry on a 3-month “Management in TESL” course in the UK, the representative from Sarawak, together with the rest, one from each state, and an officer from the ministry
Upon arrival at Heathrow, we boarded a coach that took us all the way to Marjons, now the University College of St Mark & St John, Plymouth where we were put up in this very nice and comfortable accommodation in what they called a house…
…in the campus proper, five of us in each unit and we had a room each.
No, it wasn’t an all-paid-for holiday – there were lectures to attend, lots of assignments to do and a major one to be submitted and accessed at the end, presentations and what have you. They even had an external examiner come in from the University of Exeter and I was immensely delighted to receive his commendation of excellence out of so many of us in the group.
We did sneak off to London one weekend; imagine going all the way to the UK and coming home without even stepping in the city. I’m quite sure I did blog about it but I can’t seem to find the post now. Never mind! Perhaps I shall do another one some other day.
Other than that, on some of the weekends there, my coursemates and I would board a bus or rent a car to go to places close by, like Bristol and Bath…
…for instance, Warwick, Birmingham, St Ives, Land’s End and yes, I was glad we did make it to Stratford-Upon-Avon…
…especially when I was not just an English Language teacher but I also taught English Literature before I retired and yes, I did manage to drop by Oxford too.
Some weeks, on Fridays, after we were through with the lectures or whatever we had for the day, one of the lecturers or a member of the staff would pack us all into the college coaster to take us to some places of interest close by. Of course, the highlight was the one when we were taken to Sheepstor in Devon where the resting places of the White Rajahs of Sarawak are…
…and needless to say, I wasted no time at all in leaving my “footprint”…
As they say, “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” and yes, we did have a bit of fun dancing on a Saturday night at the Students’ Union and we organised a gathering where some of us cooked a few Malaysian dishes for everybody to enjoy – I proudly presented our Sarawak’s own daging masak hitam that everyone praised to the skies but I had to use the halal chicken from the continental shop in the city instead of beef (there were Indians with us) and I boiled a few eggs and threw them in (like those stewed eggs in stewed pork leg) to make sure there would be enough to go round and we had a sing-along session, with the lecturers playing their guitars, after that and yes, I had so much fun and such great memories with the mobile karaoke guys and the regulars at the pubs in the city on some nights. I bet they never had anybody like me coming their way since.
Towards the end of the course, around December, there was an International Night, a Christmas party that was a whole lot of fun and prior to leaving the UK, just before the temperatures dipped below 0°C, we invited our lecturers to lunch…
…at a lovely Indian restaurant in the city.
I had always wanted to go back to the UK again, if possible to Plymouth specifically, but after I retired in 2007, I had to be around and help take care of my bedridden mum and later, my dad too and of course, I had my chauffeur duties, driving my girl up and down when she was at her jungle school and it was not until the middle of 2019 that she got her transfer to a school in town and I thought that finally, at long last, I would be able to make the trip.
Unfortunately, the pandemic broke out in early 2020 and it is still raging on and on like it is never going to end – sad to say, it sure looks like this is one dream of mine that will never ever come true.
17 thoughts on “1994…”
Definitely must explore the big city when have the chance. Nice photos, thanks for sharing, STP. This reminded me of my holiday there, in 2017. Around this time too.
I would love to go back, did not explore much of London then. Good that you had chance to explore UK then. Those are priceless memories and experience.
Oh? 2017 is quite recent. I did go to Plymouth via Google Streetview – it looks like it has changed so much. I could hardly recognise the places in the city centre, all the familiar places – the pubs I used to go to, the restaurants, the shops, for instance – were all no longer there. Perhaps it is better than I can’t go again – just leave things the way they are, and cherish all the beautiful memories for old times’ sake.
Wow, 27 years ago and you can still remember every single thing. Really salute you. Congrats on receiving the commendation of excellence. Your face doesn’t change much, now and then accept body size…🤭🤭🤭 but no worries it shows you have marry the right woman who feeds you well…. 😊😊😊
I think I’m slimmer than that now, shrinking due to old age and not going out to eat because of the pandemic and I’m also controlling my intake – cut down on sugar, carbs and the amount. My girl does not agree though – she said my perut still buncit! LOL!!!
The life of the party, eh? That was a great opportunity that you had. Got commendation of excellence some more. Never say never. The pandemic will have to end and when things get back to normal or near normal, who knows, you may get the opportunity to travel again.
I’m too old already. When I went to New Zealand for my girl’s convo, my legs ended up all swollen like an elephant’s. Dah lah my body already looks like one! Tsk! Tsk! They say my kidneys not so good…and lately, all kinds of cerita adalah! That was why my girl and the mum went to Korea twice and I stayed home – not keen on flying long haul. Just be thankful that I was there once and I had a wonderful time there and I have all the lovely memories to cherish!!!
So nice to be able to recall and remember so well your 3 months stay in UK. That was a great privilege to be chosen plus so wonderful to receive commendation of excellence. One day this pandemic will be over and God willing, you will be able to revisit UK again and other places. Take care and stay safe.
Thank you, and you too there, take care. Phase 2 now, eh? Getting a bit better unlike here, still the same.
Even when it is all over, I don’t think I would want to go anywhere, no spring chicken anymore, 70 next year. Just stay home, relax and enjoy my golden years, light and easy.
Gosh, the opportunity to study abroad is an incredible gift. It can really open your mind to different ideals.
Yes, sad that the country sends students abroad and they hang around their group of friends – those would come back exactly how they went, might as well stay home.
1994 I was in form 4 and thought I knew everything.
Gosh!!! You are so young. I was already in my 40’s then, I think. So old.