Friday, July 11, 2008


Dear Editor,

Liverpool Times (Kirkby - In - Malaysia)

Greetings. I refer to my earlier letter to you regarding further info re Kirkby College.

Pl find with this several photos taken when we were there 1956-1958. Thanks to photography which was one of our hobby and interest we managed to treasure photos such as these. In fact we had a Photography Club at the College and we had the film and photos developed and printed ourselves. I was the secretary of the Club then. You may know that it would cost a bomb to get the photos printed in town then esp when we had many photos taken. That early interest remained fifty plus years later.

Kirkby Countryside was one particular attraction. During weekend we would walk around and discover some of the nooks and corners. This is one location, taken in late autumn, perhaps near Kirkby Wood which was liked by young couples and esp for photography work. I remember the old stone works Church near the College which registered for us perhaps for the first time the architectural masterpiece of British buildings. The larger 'dark' buildings in Liverpool later impressed us much more. I understand they have been given a face redo and helped to make Liverpool a cultural city now.

It must be God send if any of these young boys and girls at Ormskirk school could see this photo. It was taken on my first school teaching practice in 1957 and it was an experience both for me as well as for the students and teachers at the school. We managed to discuss and explain many issues especially about one small peninsular then in the east. Then not many realised where Malaya ( Malaysia) was. Their mischievousness and candid nature initially put us wondering if we made the right choice to be at Kirkby. It was an initial setback cause everything turned for the best.f

We had the luxury of a laundry book when we sent our clothing for cleaning. All pieces sent were noted in the book and not on pieces of paper as practised now. I wonder if the Company still exists or it has the 'book' as a historical piece.

That's me on the right. We were fortunate to be invited out for dinner or lunch and as such got to know the larger society. Alfred Holt Shipping was one major company which invited the students and on one occasion we had an evening cruise and dinner on the Mersey, with 'rock and roll' thrown in.

This one is at an Alfred Holt Shipping Dinner. The first two groups of Kirkby students came by Alfred Holt Ships anchoring off Merseyside. Later BOAC flew the group to Heathrow and from Euston to Liverpool Station by train..

Just four months after arriving at Kirkby I had the great opportunity to attend a British Council Course at Aberdeen during New Year 1956/1957. It was a gathering of foreign students from the Commonwealth and was certainly a great course. Besides knowing about Britain, I had the great opportunity to stay in a family home during the week program. Home stay and British hospitality brought us closer to the people. That's me third from right standing. As a result of this course I got together with the guy next to me ( on my right) then studying at the University of Leicester to travel on the Continent during summer 1957 on a Vespa scooter. That's another story.

My class of Primary Students at Wigan Primary School with their class-teacher. The cheerfulness of the children registered their happiness and perhaps adventure at having a foreigner in their school and teaching in English too. Then Wigan was known for its Rubgy team.Though football has taken its place now.

A grand Reunion was held in Kuala Lumpur a few years back attended by the alumni and friends, where the group sang the College Song with full gusto and spirit. Our guest of honor was none other than the Sultanah of Perak and the former Raja Permaisuri Agong ( Queen in Malaysia) also a former Kirkby graduate. .
Mr Editor, Hopefully the above photos help to bring the past and the close links between Kirkby and Malaysia reminding others that there was history once at Kirkby Village.

All the best.

Zainal Abidin


Azizi Ahmad Termizi: said...

Pak Non

Such nice photos with stories to tell. I love the one in Kirkby Wood. It is photos like these which graced the pages of many photographic magazines in UK that turned me into a shutterbug.

KotaStar said...

Thanks for the compliment. It reminds me to go back into the closet and search for the negatives of other such like photos. But it will be quite daunting as there are LOTS.Do you know I still keep the white and black negatives of the early 5o's still.

Still I need to compile them properly.True we were intrique by such photos.

Azizi Ahmad Termizi: said...

Pak Non

Those white and white negatives are gems (historical records) waiting to be rediscovered. Pls take care of them. And do develop & share them with us all.

P.s. I used to develop black & white photos too, in the studio at the basement of our Planning Dept Building.