I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right


I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right
I have set the LORD always
PP 6303/09/2010(025407)
before me.
growing in grace
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken. Ps 16:8
In Step Contents
Editorial Coordinators
Indyrany Kannaiya
Liew Nyuk Lan
Editorial Committee
Daniel Gan
Sim Kwan Hoon
Angela Kwon
Daniel Gan
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In God’s Time - An Early TCFer’s Story
(Part 2)
And Whom Shall I Send?
Teachers’ Day Celebrations:
13 • Klang Valley
17 • Malacca
• Kuching
• Penang
• Muar
• Sibu
• Johor Bahru
• Miri
Of Greek Gods and Teachers
Breakthroughs at FBC, Subang Jaya
Praying for Breakthroughs
I Want to Be a Teacher
A Destiny with Layang-layang
Passing Marks
Health Check-up by God
In Partnership
Angela Kwon strongly
believes that in order to
be an extraordinary
teacher, the Christian
teacher first needs to
learn to daily receive His
grace and love, listen to
the Great Teacher
himself and be willing to
be continually moulded
by Him.
teacher’s job is never done -- deadlines, attendance
records, disciplinary records, exam results
analysis, proposals, sports practice, debate
training, volleyball training, school meetings … the list is
endless! On top of that, stacks and stacks of books and
papers to be marked. Not forgetting that class full of
restless students and THAT boy who never fails to irritate
you. Add to that colleagues who never seem to do their
part in the zillion committees, a superior who is super
demanding -- and the frustration gets worse by the day!
As Christian teachers, how do we keep going day by
day and how do we keep the frustration at bay? In this
issue as we once again highlight the various teachers’ day
celebrations throughout the country, let us be reminded
that along the long and winding road that is so often a
teacher’s lot, God’s grace is more than sufficient for us,
His strength is made perfect in our weakness. When we
are at our wit’s end, wishing away the workload or
wanting to give up on that ‘hopeless’ student, having
thoughts of taking the easy road of being JUST a mediocre
teacher who couldn’t care less or changing professions or
even quitting -- may each one of us run to the loving
embrace of our dear Abba.
It is at His throne of grace that we can pour our
frustrations and woes to Him who understands. And it is
at His very feet that we come to terms with our
limitations, weaknesses and brokenness as mere mortals.
It is here that we come to the liberating realisation that
we do not walk this journey alone. Instead, HE is more
than willing to go each step of the way with us.
Let us then surrender our struggles to Him and trust
that He will walk with us on this journey as we
continuously strive to be His channel of grace and love in
our schools!
Early TCFer’s Story
(Part 2)
By Reverend Loh Soon Choy
Another Unforgettable Incident
his is an episode in 1966, my last
year in Penang, which I must
also relate.
“Come here! Sit on my lap!” I called out
to a scrawny Indian pupil in my Form
2 English class. Then, I gave him a kiss
on the cheek. The class roared with
laughter. The boy blushed visibly even
through his dark skin, confused, then
bemused as he knew it was not done to
humiliate him. To everyone’s surprise,
he did, for the first time become quiet
and well-behaved.
Other teachers had called him
incorrigible with the hide of an elephant.
He had ‘attention deficit syndrome’
and could not help disturbing other
students. Like the other teachers, I had
exhausted my bag of tricks - including
the use of a light wooden ruler (again
not to humiliate but to discipline). I had
thought of visiting his home as I had
done for two other students but was
told his father had given permission
through the form teacher to ‘pukul’ him
if he was naughty. Times were different.
Today, I would be ‘thinking outside the
box’ or be charged for physical abuse
and sexual molestation. But it worked.
Anytime he was ‘naughty’, I only had to
ask “Want another kiss?” and he would
go back to his seat quietly.
That was my seventh and last year
after I had given a six-month notice I
was resigning in order to teach in the
Government Secondary English School
in Kluang. I was asked to teach this nonexamination Lower Secondary Class
(under the ‘comprehensive system’
mentioned earlier) instead of the usual
Upper Forms. It was a revelation to
experience that even in Form 2 there
were students who could not spell ‘the’
nor add or subtract. How could we
neglect the ‘lower forms’ and favour
the smart ‘upper forms’? The irony was
also shown, as it appeared to me, that
whether I taught a particular batch of
students well or not in their Forms 4
and 5, the students still scored 20 odd
distinctions in their final school exams
in Chemistry.
teacher in the Canossian Convent to
prepare the girls for their coming
school certificate examinations. The
Lord was not only shaping me. He was
also speeding up the final payments for
my Penang house mortgage before I
left teaching.
I have so many people to thank in
Kluang that I can select only a few:
TCFer Teoh Eng Lin for arranging my
board and lodgings; my kindly Christian
landlady, Mrs Quek and her family; the
helpful new colleagues, the Kluang
Presbyterian Church ‘family’ that gave
me official associate membership; and
my own testy but lovable students for
their photo album and farewell party.
I remembered also the ‘adventures’
of shooting wild fowl, picnics up in a
‘mountain’ in a rubber plantation and
visits to nearby towns. Altogether, I
gratefully discovered that teaching in a
smaller town away from home had its
many charms, blessings and rewards plus further experiences of God, and
His people and work. These further
blessings and spiritual experiences I
shall use to conclude my story though I
could only comprehend them with time
and more maturity.
In Kluang, Johor
I was appointed the school hostel
residential warden to multiracial
students from the more rural areas. I
taught Forms 4 and 5 Mathematics and
General Science in the morning and in
the evening the ‘Further Education
Classes’ (FEC). Such was the need. Later
I was also called to be a substitute Maths
A Spiritual Awakening in Johor
I had more time for solitude - reading,
reflection and devotions. I had
experiences of the Lord filling me
with waves of joy and ecstasy in my
room. The charismatic Church of
Kluang laid claim around that time to
some signs and wonders associated
with the sighting of the moon which
I investigated but was unconvinced or
was not favoured to see.
In church, we were being mentored
by the OMF veteran missionary pastor,
Henry Guinness (related to the famed
owner of the Guinness Stout), and his
wife, Dr Mary Taylor (related to the
famous founder of the China Inland
Mission or CIM which became OMF).
They later stuck the acronyms ‘CIM’
(Constantly in Motion) and ‘OMF’
(Only Much Faster) on my Discipleship
Training Centre Dean, David Adeney,
except that their ‘motion’ and ‘speed’
were entirely spiritual. Adeney himself
was once ‘trained’ by the Guinnesses in
Henan, China.
Re-employed after ‘retirement’,
even in our tropical heat and without an
air-conditioner in their modest home,
the Guinnesses more than fulfilled
the demands of the pastorate. They
witnessed in the street, the market and
as invited, in a Chinese primary and
secondary school. They toiled with the
help of their trumpet, simple flannel
graph pictures, an old-fashioned
projector and their perfect Mandarin.
They conducted Bible Studies in nearby
rubber and oil palm plantations in an
army camp with a Nepalese family.
We absorbed a lot from them as they
included us in their programmes. But
their most important gifts to us were
their Christ-likeness, prayerfulness,
passion. The town folks showed their
appreciation by renaming a kampong
street after them. The Guinnesses were
later succeeded by Martin and Elisabeth
Indeed in the Fifties and Sixties with
China’s doors closed, Johor was blessed
with OMF notables. All of them were
faithful, competent teachers of the
Word of God, and people of prayer who
had borne their crosses of discipleship
and sacrifice. There were the Staceys
in Johor Baru, the Bentley-Taylors in
Pontian, the Dykemas in Batu Pahat
and the Brookes in Muar. The latter
were succeeded by Peter and Ronalda
Warner in the Seventies. Peter became
the first Dean of the Pusat Latihan
Kristian Melaka. Most importantly,
there was a local Malaysian pioneer
‘tent-maker’ dentist Dr David
Gunaratnam in Kluang - a man and an
OMF/VCF Singapore stalwart aflame
for God. With ‘David G’, Kluang as a
geographic centre became a strategic
spiritual centre for Johor. Supported
by so many OMF spiritual giants, I
believe Johor had a spiritual awakening
and prepared many a TCFer and leader
for God’s Church later. I myself was a
beneficiary - especially from David G’s
example and fellowship.
There were also brave, single lady
OMFers who had laboured during the
communist insurgency in difficult
areas like Cha’ah and Yong Peng in
Johor, and a score of others, both
men and women, in the towns and
new villages in the more populated
northern ‘West Coast’ states we must
not forget. Johor (South Malaya) was
‘Presbyterian territory’ due to a mutual
agreement amongst the early missions
and relevant authorities. It was also
the Presbyterian Church
that asked for the ‘lion’s
share’ of OMFers. So it
is inevitable we can trace
more easily the ‘OMFJohor-Presbyterian
connection’ as an early
(but not the only) source
and fountainhead of
the spirituality of many
early TCFers and other
Churches and missions
other than the OMF and
the Presbyterians also contributed
to the TCF story, besides ‘returnees’
who had been converted and become
disciples overseas.
The above narrative illustrates
and provokes a number of important
issues. I conclude with just one,
partly in response to our TCF general
secretary, Indy’s question, “When you
think of TCF then, what’s the first
thing that comes to mind?” My answer
unequivocally is “the Word of God”, as
upheld in its earliest conferences and
since in all its activities, as applied
to our life and mission as Teachers.
(Hence, I began with Dr Alan Cole.)
Confidence in the Word of God in
From its earliest years in the Sixties
till now, I believe God has kept and
blessed TCF because of its faithfulness
to the Word of God and the Bible. The
influences of the OMFers in Johor have
been highlighted. But I could also have
highlighted the role of many faithful
Rev Loh taking a stroll down memory lane
teachers of the Word from some
evangelical missions and churches of
that period. Many of us TCFers and
potential TCFers were deeply blessed by
the expository teaching, for example,
of Brethren missionaries SS Adams,
AB Philips, W Wilson, McVey and even
Tom Bentley (‘TB’) on the doctrine
of Christ although some of us never
agreed to his ‘closed Brethren’ views
as ex-VCFers. Visiting missionaries
like Geofrey Bull (who served in Tibet
and authored the unforgettable “When
Iron Gates Yield”) and laymen like the
Bukit Bintang Boys’ School principal
(before Mr Boler), Alistair McGregor,
are further examples. As Penang SU and
ISCF leaders, we were blessed also by
the Word-centred lives and fellowship
of Methodists like Rev Ron ButlerWhite and Miss Moriera (principal of
Methodist Girls School), Anglicans like
the Rev David and Anne Harrison, and
Rev Pfanku and the First Assembly of
God pastor Fred Abeysekara. All these
are little yet vital reminders of the power
of the Word of God in all aspects of
our lives - here in relation to our
personal development, unity and
mission in Christ.
Sadly, this power and confidence
in His Word is being eroded in many
churches and organisations today.
TCFers can be God’s ‘watchmen’
for and promoters of His Word
and the Bible in both West and
East Malaysia and beyond. Out of
this single issue, I believe, other
issues fundamental to teachers
will follow, such as confidence in
our high calling and mission, and an
ongoing desire for renewal and upgrade
of our professional competence to
discharge that high calling.
Therein lies the true seeds of
‘adequate knowledge, ... charisma and
love (for) our students’ emphasised by
a contemporary from Penang, Datuk
Chuang Keng Kung (72) who received
the Exemplary Teachers Award for the
39th Teachers’ Day Celebrations at the
University of Malaysia Pahang recently.
And, we might add, much more
including what our nation needs today:
integrity, moral excellence, creativity,
talent-management, high discipline
and performance, etc. All these begin
at school, besides the home. For all the
flowers and fruits of tomorrow come
from the seeds of today.
Rev Loh Soon Choy is adviser of Asian
Beacon and Lecturer Emeritus at the
Malaysian Bible Seminary.
Kids are Quick - Lessons in Morals
George Washington not only chopped down his father’s cherry tree, but also admitted it. Now, Leela, do you know why his father didn’t punish him?
Because George still had the axe in his hand.
Teacher: Now, Soon Lee, tell me frankly, do you say prayers before eating?
Soon Lee: No sir, I don’t have to, my Mom is a good cook.
Dr Lim Boon Hock spoke at the KLPJ Christian Teachers’ Day
celebration in Petaling Jaya on 22 May 2010. Below is an excerpt from his message, as
he shares his burden for our mission schools.
Background information
There are more than 450 mission
schools in our country. In Peninsular
Malaysia, they come under the
umbrella of Malayan Christian Schools’
Council (MCSC). Then in God’s good
time, the Federation of Councils of
Christian Mission Schools Malaysia
was formed – on 7 April 2010.
Brief history of mission schools
1st phase: ‘Pre-Merdeka Era’ (Boler,
• Christian
established the schools also
administered them.
• Teachers in these schools usually
served in one school for their
entire teaching career, thus
providing for the continuity of the
Christian traditions of the school.
2nd phase:
• ‘Unified Teaching Service’ was
implemented following the Razak
Report (KPM, 1956).
• Each school was responsible for
selecting its own teachers through
its Board of Governors.
• Appointments to headship and
other senior positions were made
through the Boards but they had
to adhere to procedures specified
by the Ministry of Education.
3rd phase: Aziz Commission (Tan Sri
Abdul Aziz Bin Mohd Zain, 1971)
• Teachers would now become
government servants.
• Their
deployment were determined by
• This would have direct implication
on the status and character of
Christian mission schools since
status and character depended
largely on the teachers, especially
the Head Teacher.
Aziz Commission - Recommendation
We feel that the sanctity of the
ownership of property should be
recognised by the Government; and
that the relationship between the
Government (which is running the
providing the staff, etc.) and the
owners of the properties (who own
the land) should be formalised. (p. 52)
Aziz Commission - Recommendation
It has been represented to us that,
particularly in respect of mission
schools . . . the status quo of the
Boards should be maintained as these
Boards have been responsible for the
founding and development of their
schools since their inception. (p. 53)
Aziz Commission - Recommendation
To allay any misgiving as regards the
status and the special character of . . .,
particularly the mission schools . . ., we
would suggest that in exercising the
powers of deployment and assignment
of teachers, especially the head
teachers, there should be maximum
consultation between the deployment
authority and the individual Boards of
the school so that this character is
maintained. (p. 53)
Reflect with me for a moment, dear
brothers and sisters, how the Lord
called the early missionaries out of
their comfort zones who came all the
way here. Everywhere they went, they
wanted to share the gospel of Jesus
Christ, and with that, also to provide a
good education to all, regardless of
their ethnic and religious background.
They worked hard, raised funds,
bought land, built churches and
schools. Today, we have 62 Methodist
schools, three Tamil Methodist
primary schools, 27 secondary and 35
primary schools.
But what is the actual status and
character of our mission schools today?
Some quarters within our own
Methodist denomination have even
suggested that we give up on our
schools. What is so special about the
status and character of our mission
schools today? Many are headed by
non-Christian heads. Crosses have
been removed from school badges as
have other Christian emblems.
What has led to such a sorry state
of our mission schools today? There’s
no simple answer to that but I want to
suggest that the Christian community
itself is partly responsible. Since I left
ACS Melaka, it’s been difficult finding
a Christian teacher to take over the
Boys’ Brigade (BB) and the Christian
Fellowship (CF). BB carried on because
some of the ex-officers continued to
come back to volunteer their services
but the CF virtually came to a standstill
because there wasn’t a single Christian
teacher available!!!
If we talk about mission and
outreach to the community, even
reaching out to peoples of other lands,
then surely we should see the school
afresh as a mission field. The students
may not be our own children, the
school may not even be one of our
mission schools, but we can still be
What does it mean to impact the
lives and nation with the Gospel of
Christ through holistic education? I
like the way some people have put it:
from Christian education to the
Christian in education.
The Education Act 1996 provides
for the constitution of a Board of
governors (see para 53 and 54) for our
mission schools.
The MCSC has
produced its own Instrument of
Government/Management of GovtAssisted Schools which is available to
all mission schools. The school Boards
of course have a crucial role, especially
in maintaining the ethos and traditions
of our mission schools. Furthermore,
the Chairperson of the Board is usually
appointed by the mission authority
The Board, functioning as an arm
of the Mission authority, is also in a
strategic position to negotiate with the
Ministry with regards to appointment
of suitable candidates to the headships
of our mission schools. (Rec. 8.53 of
the Aziz Commission re maximum
But there are so many other ways to
be proactively involved:
1. Serving on the Parent-Teacher
Association and School Alumni
As with the school Board, both the
parent-teacher association and school
alumni provide potentially powerful
and legitimate avenues for the
Christian community to maintain the
ethos and character of our mission
2. Being involved in the school’s cocurricular activities
A number of co-curricular activities are
particularly distinctive of our mission
schools. Uniformed bodies such as the
Boys’ Brigade and Girls’ Brigade have
been in existence for many years in our
mission schools, and have official
recognition from the government,
including the Christian Fellowship.
The nature of some of these cocurricular activities is such that they
often require Christian teachers to
oversee them. Some of these activities
have been hampered because no
Christian teacher is available to oversee
Many of our mission schools sit in
close proximity to the church, often
within the same compound. How can
the Christian community mobilise
itself to ensure that the activities
which have long been part of the
mission school tradition continue
without being hampered by lack of
resources, human or otherwise?
3. Being available as resource
Closely related to the above, the
Christian community should also
seriously consider how it can mobilise
a pool of human resources to provide
support for the mission school in such
areas as career guidance, counselling
ministry, or even staff professional
This is especially
pertinent in view of the Ministry of
Education’s requirement that school
staff undergo a stipulated number of
hours of in-house professional
development activities. There is no
lack of expertise - managerial, financial,
legal - within the local church
Even more urgently, we need
Christians who are willing to avail
themselves to teach Bible Knowledge
(BK) in our schools. We want to stress
here particularly the teaching and
learning of Bible Knowledge as a
subject at SPM level. The Ministry had
earlier challenged us to increase the
candidacy for BK to 3000 by 2010.
We’d just started responding to the
challenge when the MOE announced
the policy change to limit SPM subjects
to 10. We praise the Lord that it’s now
10+2, and BK can be one of the two
Do you know what saddens many
of us who are pushing for BK?
Christian parents! Many quite openly
discourage their children from taking
BK. Their reason? BK has no career
value; it’s difficult to get A for BK, etc.
There is a story of a notorious
criminal called Charlie Pearce who was
imprisoned in an old jail in Leeds called
Armley jail. He was sentenced to be
On the morning that he was led to
the scaffold to be hanged, there was
the usual practice of calling for the
prison chaplain, who routinely and
sleepily read some Bible verses.
Charlie asked: “What are you
The chaplain replied: “The
Consolations of Religion.”
Charlie Pearce was shocked at the
way the chaplain callously read about
hell. How could a man, leading a fellow
human being to the hanging gallows,
be so unmoved and emotionless,
reading to him about a pit which has
no bottom into which he must fall?
Could this preacher believe in
eternal hell fire and yet slide over the
whatsoever? How could a man say
without tears: “You will be eternally
dying and yet never know the relief
that death brings?”
All this was too much for Charlie
Pearce. He turned to the prison
chaplain and said:
“Sir, if I believed what you and the
church of God say that you believe,
even if England were covered with
broken glass from coast to coast, I
would walk over it, if need be, on hands
and knees and think it worthwhile
living, just to save one soul from an
eternal hell like that!”
Friends, you and I can affirm the
words of Rom 1:16 “I am not ashamed
of the gospel, because it is the power of
God for the salvation of everyone who
believes …”
You and I know that “The Lord is
not slow in keeping his promise, as
some understand slowness. He is
patient with you, not wanting anyone
to perish, but everyone to come to
repentance” 2 Pet 3:9.
God asks the same question today:
“Whom shall I send? And who will go
for us?”
Dr Lim Boon Hock is the Executive
Director of the Methodist Council of
(around the nation)
Klang Valley
Reported by Chong Ik Poh
M a y
2010 at
St. Paul’s
Church in PJ was a
special evening for
teachers - young, old,
retired, reemployed
and unemployed A
life member of TCF, I
am thankful to receive
regular news of their great commission
through the In Step publications.
However, I have a greater connection
with them which is reiterated in a
I am a T-E-A-C-H-E-R I am
I go to S-C-H-O-O-L
In my K-E-R-E-T-A
And my M-U-R-I-D
Will call me C-I-K-G-U
During the event at St Paul’s, Dr Lim
Boon Hock took the plenary pulpit and
expounded on some truths which I also
hold dear to after being in the vocation
for the last three decades. Have I made
The gathering at St Paul’s Church
some marks or impressions on my
students in my teaching journey?
Then when Dr Lim reminded us
about the passion for teaching, I ask
myself if I had shown this passion.
What do my colleagues think of me?
What is their reaction when my name
is mentioned? Good vibes or bad ...
especially when I breathe down their
necks? What do the students think
of me? Do I show the passion and
compassion of Christ? Can I pride
myself in excellent delivery? Maybe
a couple of real life stories will shed
some light.
CH was a highly intelligent boy 13
a rare case of being fed with a silver
spoon and golden platter and yet was
hardworking, shrewd and every inch
up to the mark of being a teacher’s
pet. However, I thought he needed to
show some compassion on others and
not be too calculating in his dealings
with his peers, to learn to share with
others and to be more caring. I was
quite merciless with him and not short
of sharp reprimands to keep him in
his place. At times I felt sorry when I
got his classmates to stand outside
the classroom for not completing
homework, marching round the
school with the tag “I must not fail
Geography…” and hurling books from
the top floor to the ground floor to
be picked up by them again. Those
were the days when I was young and
fearless; I needed to get my message
across precisely. No negotiations.
Parents were cooperative and from the
old school of thought then and it made
handling students much easier. I must
have been super unpopular but strange
things do happen.
A few years back I received a tinkle
from CH who invited me to a high tea
gathering with some old classmates
and teachers. The sweetest affirmation
came when CH said to me: “Mrs Lau,
how do we find fierce teachers like you
nowadays? Do schools today still keep
teachers who throw books from the
top floor?” I told him that ironically
teachers today who behave the way
I did then might end up receiving
letters from lawyers. I said we now
try to use psychology to get the better
side of students. No more throwing
books which is probably why schools
are not improving! CH wanted strict
disciplinarians to teach his children
but sadly they are a dying if not extinct
breed. I must have made an impact!
WC, on the other hand, was a
psychologically, it was sad to see
him in an emotionally unstable state
throughout his secondary school
years. Sadder still was seeing his longsuffering mother diligently going
through his difficult moments with
him and weeping each time she came
to school to plead on his behalf and
to persuade us to keep him time after
time. In her persistence and weeping
state, I recalled my favourite verse
when Jesus, seeing the widow pleading
for her dead child to be brought back
to life, told her in Luke 7:13: “Don’t
cry.” Many, including the Malay
principal, was moved by WC’s mother’s
perseverance to help her child.
In his upper secondary school
years, I took the liberty to use the
Bible in my room to stop WC from
deteriorating further in his condition
after I found out that he was a believer
in Christ. In a nutshell, I had to see him
everyday during his SPM and when
he almost gave up on his first paper
thinking that he did not complete it,
it took quite a few of us to coax him
to sit for the subsequent papers. WC
not only scored four distinctions, he
enrolled in an accountancy course
and did marvellously well. The story
may sound simple but it was a torture
then to see him each day. The office
girls called him my ‘kai chai’(adopted
son). Jesus’ compassion on WC was
great. His dilemma resulted in his
whole family embracing the faith surely God had a great purpose for
him! When I was about to give up, I
remembered Jesus who never gave
up. It was by God’s grace that I learnt
compassion and patience and I thank
my God each time I think of WC for he
has shown me what our good God can
do. WC has taught me not to give in to
hopelessness. In Christ we have hope.
In Luke 18:16 Jesus said, “What is
impossible with men is possible with
God.” Hallelujah.
On Dr Lim’s reference to Christian
testimony in our work ethics, it is
important to remember that even when
you show passion in whatever you are
doing, it is wishful thinking to assume
that your good resume can guarantee
a promotion. Many teachers face the
fr ustration
sidelined in
a promotion
exercise for
one reason
or another.
Perhaps the
best attitude
to adopt is
do what is
appropriate and remember that the
secret of contentment is to let the Lord
supply. Just do your part, put God first
and rely on His words. Being sidelined
is inevitable but we don’t need what
belongs to someone else and we
certainly don’t need to harm anyone to
get what we want … a reminder from
Julie Ackerman Link. Passion for your
vocation has to go on.
Next, Dr Lim stressed that we should
release the power of God through our
teaching; we are to be exemplary to
our stakeholders, the community and
our colleagues. As a child of God we
should display the qualities of Christ’s
teachings and the great commission
must still go on to share the gospel
whenever possible with students,
colleagues, friends, parents. Perhaps
the most difficult moments are when
we have to live a life that befits the call
of God. More often than not I have
fumbled in my careless use of words
and strong reprimands, and there were
also many a time when I failed him
The team from Institut Perguruan Ilmu Khas Cheras
when I did not right a situation.
Then I remembered Peter, another
student. I guessed his name ‘Peter’
meant he may be from a Christian
background and true enough he was.
He was an expulsion case from a
neighbouring school and I smelled
trouble when I saw him. He not only
successfully rounded up his ‘ma chai’
(followers) and caused daily havoc,
he was often late for school. Back
then, I used to walk around the school
compound with waste paper baskets
picking up rubbish with the help of
late comers as punishment. Peter got
the most from me. We used to stroll to
the back of the school to pick up paper
aeroplanes strewn all over and as we
walked and picked up the rubbish, I
would say “God is good” and he would
reply, “All the time”. I laughed at times
when I recalled the incident but I could
proudly say that when he left the gates
of the school on the last day of the
SPM exam, he was shouting across the
school compound “I love Seafield” to
the thrill of the Principal. Not even a
window pane was broken. That was an
At the close of the evening, there
was a suggestion that parents should
cooperate with the Christian Schools’
mission to:
• Allow and encourage their children
to take up Bible Knowledge in the SPM
• Encourage their children to pursue
teaching as a career
Bitter lessons are best learnt through
experiences. Like most parents hoping
for a scholarship, it was mandatory that
a perfect score was set in the SPM for
my girls. I never bothered to seriously
encourage them to do the BK paper. It
was regrettable that although they did
well, none of them got a scholarship
from the government. Being the head
girl and scoring 12 perfect As did not
even guarantee a scholarship for my
last daughter. Many are the plans in a
man’s heart but it is the Lord’s purpose
that prevails (Proverbs 19:21). So dear
parents, do not make the same mistake
I made. Take up BK for it would leave
strong imprints in your child’s life.
God will give the scholarship himself
as Jehovah Jireh is our provider. Do
what is right. Do we want to see the
subject dropped from SPM for want of
The evening ended with a heartfelt
call to the younger generation to take
up the vocation and to serve God
through it. The old and young had
gathered for the evening but it is to the
younger generation that the mission of
God needs to be fulfilled:
If you touch a rock, you touch the past
If you touch a flower, you touch the
If you touch a child, you touch the future.
Ik Poh is Senior Assistant 1 in SMK
Reported by Lim Ai Ling
he humid weather on a sultry
Friday afternoon did not deter
100 Christian teachers from
attending the Malacca state-level
Christian Teachers’ Day Celebration
at the Methodist Girls’ Secondary
School (MGSS) hall recently.
The annual celebration, initiated
by the State Education Department
in the 1990s, was jointly organised
by the heads of secondary mission
schools in Malacca.
In her opening speech, Mdm. Koh
Tuat Guek, the organising chairman of
this year’s celebration and principal of
MGSS, thanked the Malacca State
Education Department for continuing
the tradition of organising a Teachers’
Day celebration especially for Christian
teachers. She also thanked everyone –
school heads, church pastors, members
of the mission schools’ board of
governors, current and retired teachers
and lecturers in the government as
well as private sectors – for their
presence. Also present at the
celebration was Indyrany Kannaiya,
the general secretary of TCF Malaysia.
The speaker for the afternoon was
Mr Yap Kok Keong, chairman of the
Malayan Christian Schools’ Council.
He captivated the audience as he
shared from his wealth of experience
as a teacher and principal of three
backgrounds before he retired. A
Mr Yap and Mdm Koh Tuat Guek
pertinent question raised by Mr Yap
was whether the answer to today’s
problems in schools lay in more rules
and guidelines drawn up by the
Ministry of Education, or in a display
of more grace and love on the part of
teachers towards the school offenders.
He also noted that the school system is
focusing more and more on cluster
schools of excellence and high
performing schools while the underperforming students are sidelined and
marginalised. Mr Yap exhorted
teachers to reach out to these students
and impact their lives so that they will
leave the school education system as
worthy and disciplined individuals in
the society at large.
Among Mr Yap’s memorable
experiences that he shared was how he
taught the students in one of the
schools he headed to appreciate and
value simple basic amenities provided
by the school like flower pots and
clocks in the classrooms. He also strove
to instil positive moral
values such as honesty
and integrity among
students. He ended his
sharing by reminding
teachers that they are
channels of God’s grace
and that love towards
students never fails,
classroom, canteen or school field.
Members of the SMK St. Francis
and MGSS Christian Fellowship, and
the Young Life organisation of Wesley
Methodist Church feted the teachers
to dances and songs. The MGSS
performers touched the hearts of many
in the audience with their singing and
The MGS Choir giving a superb performance
dance routine choreographed to the
popular song “Terlalu Istimewa” which
was indeed a befitting tribute to
teachers who have contributed so
much to character and nation building.
The celebration ended with a high
tea and a time of fellowship.
Kids are Quick - Lesson in Mathematics
Teacher: Johan, why are you doing your math multiplication on the floor?
You told me to do it without using tables.
Teacher: Steve is driving a car. He is travelling at 6 m per second and the speed limit is 40 km per hour. Is Steve speeding?
He could find out by checking the speedometer.
Teacher: Expand 2(x + y)
Student writing on board: 2(x + y)
2(x + y)
2 ( x + y )
2 ( x + y )
Reported by Tan Ming Tang
teachers are
to be angels
of grace in their
respective schools where
God has placed them,”
exhorts Mr Yap Kok
Keong, the speaker for
the 12th TCF Christian
Teachers’ Day gathering
at the Sarawak Club in
Kuching on 1 May. The
The Tadika Rhema Band of Kuching belting out delightful songs
theme, “Channels of Grace”,
was indeed fitting as ‘grace’ is so very Scripture Union Sarawak, besides
much needed in our schools today enjoying the yummy dinner and being
where the system is driven largely by entertained by the Tadika Rhema band,
were also enthralled by the endless
law/reward and sanction.
How can schools and Christians testimonies of grace shared by Mr Yap
teachers be channels of grace? This is a during his 40 years of service in the
real challenge as it is usually easier and teaching profession. Many teachers
more natural to govern by law than by and students were touched by this
grace or love. In urging more grace and angel of God. He truly demonstrates
love rather than laws, Mr Yap the love of Christ in him!
challenged Christian teachers to model
kindness, generosity and love in Feedback from participants:
moulding and helping young people “Very refreshing to hear someone
in need instead of mercilessly enforcing talking about grace instead of
laws. In this way, young people can see punishment! It encourages me to
the light of Christ shining through the practise more grace.”
Josephine Angking, SK Tabuan
Christian teachers as they walk their
talk as stated in 1 John 3:18: “My
children! Our love should not be just “Love never fails… It encourages me to
words and talk; it must be true love, be an angel of grace at my work place.”
Koh Esther, IPG Batu Lintang Campus
which shows itself in action.”
The 200 teachers and supporters of
Reported by Foong Lye Choo
he Saturday
of 15 May
70 teachers and
educators meeting
in the spanking
modern auditorium
of the Methodist
Boys’ School in
Penang to listen
to Pastor Cheli
who came all the
way from Sarawak.
Pastor Cheli has been teaching in the
Land of the Hornbills for 27 years and is
now Senior Assistant for student affairs
(HEM) as well as director of Bethany
Home and pastor of Bethany Church
How did someone who was the only
student in his class to fail his teaching
practice in 1982 arrive at these positions
of influence? He was a Hindu, a drunk,
arrested on suspicion of drugs and even
attempted suicide – in short, a disgrace
to his family of 10 children. How did
this instrument of the devil turn into
an instrument of our Lord?
The turning point came when the
Lord found Pastor Cheli and after he
accepted Christ, his life was never the
same again.
This is his story:
His adventure began in 1984 when
he was posted to Kapit in Sarawak.
Transport was by river as there was
After a good day, one for the album
no road to this school. There was no
water, electricity or toilet. There were
no teachers’ quarters but only one room
for the headmaster with one bed. There
were days when Pastor Cheli had to walk
several kilometres to the main road to
catch the van home.
From Kapit, he was sent to one of the
rowdiest schools in the state. Parents
would come to see him accompanied
by gangsters and often armed with a
‘parang’. One of them threatened to
burn his car and house because his son
had to face disciplinary action.
On another day, he took a boy who
was caught smoking to a coffee house,
and asked him why he smoked. The boy
told him that his father had three wives
and his eldest brother was a gangster
who asked him to sell drugs.
How we need, as teachers, to hear
the stories of our students so that we
can hear their hearts’ cry for love and
Pastor Cheli was always given the
worst class to teach but he was happy
because he felt he could deal better with
such classes.”
That was how Bethany Home started.
A group of marginalized secondary
students, aged 13-19 years, wanted to
study but didn’t know how. Most of
them could not afford to pay fees and
there were 15-year-old students who
could not read and write.
Now in the home, they are given
assistance with their homework and
personal tutoring. The students prepare
lunch and eat together. The home is
equipped with computers and transport
is provided. The students also have time
for relaxation and recreation. Eighty
per cent of the students who come to
Bethany Home have accepted Christ
and the home runs a discipleship class
on Saturday night.
In April 2009, Bethany Church
started a ‘Reading Bus’ programme
with three buses donated by friends.
The buses go into the villages once a
fortnight and the program includes
lending books, sharing the gospel story,
reading competitions etc.
As a teacher, we can choose to be
like the four friends who brought the
paralyzed man before Jesus (Mark
2:1-5). The man was helpless like our
marginalized students. The four friends
had compassion on him and we need to
have compassion for the marginalized.
If we are concerned our Lord will show
us how to help them. Jesus is THE
Do you want to be MAD (Make A
Difference) in your school? With the
Lord, you can be a channel of blessing to
transform and restore many young lives.
Dare to face the obstacles of frustration,
discouragement and failures. Stay on
the course and take the step of faith to
cross the line. If the Lord gives you this
opportunity, will you take it up?
Feedback from participants:
Participants were asked to answer these
two questions:
Q1: Something that the speaker said
that I found interesting or touched my
Q2: Something that I would like to apply
in my own school context after hearing
the talk.
Here are some responses:
Q1: The speaker said that he is a
Christian teacher in school and not a
school teacher trying to be a Christian.
We can see his passion for the Lord in
impacting lives.
Q2: Try to understand the problems of
the students in the weak classes.
Yow Sow Lay, HM
Q1: Compassion for the ‘marginalized’
pupils, seeing them as victims rather
than offenders. Perseverance to cross
the line.
Q2: To begin every school day wanting
to make a difference.
Jeremy Chew, SMJ Tg. Bungah
Reported by Amy Ho
he month of May
which is synonymous
with the appreciation
of teachers dawned cheerily
again this year. As a prelude
to the actual Teachers’ Day on
16 May, the Muar Christian
occasion on 3 May at SMK St
Andrew, Muar.
For this year’s gathering we had the
privilege of inviting our very own TCF
General Secretary Indyrany Kannaiya
to speak on the theme of “Teachers
Changing Futures”. Seventy one
serving and retired teachers, youths
and invited guests from the churches in
Muar helped to make the celebration a
success. Everyone enjoyed a delectable
buffet dinner at the premises followed
by Praise and Worship and a song
presentation by the St Andrew’s
Christian Fellowship boys.
Indy then took to the stage to
encourage teachers by giving examples
of Christian teachers serving in the
rural areas of Sabah and Sarawak.
The sacrifice and struggles of these
Future teachers!
teachers encouraged the Muar teachers
to continue to make a difference in
the lives of students they come into
contact with each day.
The day ended with a prayer session
for the nation, teachers, students
and churches in Muar. The organising
committee would like to extend its
gratitude to all who contributed to the
success of the gathering. Praise and
glory to our Lord Jesus who grants
grace and strength to all of us who
strive to be His instruments.
Amy Ho teaches English at SMK Sungai
Abong, Muar.
Kids are Quick - Lesson in ICT
Teacher: Joanna works in an office. Her computer is a stand-alone system.
What is a stand-alone system?
It doesn’t come with a chair.
Reported by Cheryl Ng
Mark 2:1-5 (GNB)
few days later Jesus went back
to Capernaum, and the news
spread that he was at home.
So many people came together that there
was no room left, not even out in front of
the door. Jesus was preaching the message
to them when four men arrived, carrying
a paralyzed man to Jesus. Because of the
crowd, however, they could not get the
man to him. So they made a hole in the
roof right above the place where Jesus was.
When they had made an opening, they let
the man down, lying on his mat. Seeing
how much faith they had, Jesus said to
the paralyzed man, “My son, your sins are
Many of us are familiar with this
scripture passage but how many of us
ever stop to ponder what it means in
our profession as teachers? Ps Cheli
Tamilselvam, the theme speaker for the
annual TCF Teachers’ Day Celebration
in Sibu recently, inspired about 100
educators present at this event to be
MAD (make a difference) in school by
emulating these four friends.
Ps Cheli, who is currently the Senior
Pastor of Bethany Ministries and a PK
HEM (senior assistant) in a secondary
school in Kuching, has impacted the
lives of countless young people simply
by being passionate for the needy. He
believes that the least a teacher can
do is to teach well, but the best gift a
c a n
give his
is to tell
t h e m
Christ. In
his hearttouching
sharing filled with lively anecdotes
and jokes, Ps Cheli shared the 7C’s of
Making a Difference in school.
To be MAD – making a difference
– in school, one has to be like the four
CONSCIOUS that they were ablebodied, and that they had the answer!
We are Ambassadors of Christ in school
We are the Born Again believers of God
We are the Redeemed and Restored
We are the Royal Priesthood
CONCERNED for their paralytic friend
and for his helpless state.
The first impression or feeling we get
Our concern grows if we respond
COMPASSIONATE for their paralyzed
It hits our mind and grips our heart
It goes beyond what we see in the
God reveals it by
laying a burden in
our hearts
Jesus is able to help
and that He is the
only answer.
The least a Christian
teacher can do is to
teach well;
for by doing so, we
give life on earth
The best a Christian teacher can do is to
give Jesus;
for by doing so, we give life in eternity
CONFRONTED with obstacles.
discouragement and failure almost
every other day
We should not be surprised when we
are confronted with obstacles
COMMITTED to the call, staying on
the course and finishing the race; and
Take a step of faith to climb up the roof
dig into it, lower the friend and
lay him at Jesus’ feet
The good response from the community of teachers
The need to take steps of faith
The need to be radical but rational
The need to please God and not to
please man
When Jesus saw THEIR faith, HE said
to the paralytic,
“Son, your sins are forgiven.”
Faith breaks down the barriers
Faith ushers in forgiveness
Faith sets people free
Faith brings healing
Faith removes guilt
Faith PLEASES God.
Cheryl is in her third year of teaching. She
is currently serving in SMK Methodist,
Sibu. She teaches English and Bible
Kids are Quick - Lesson in Geography
Maria, go to the map and find North America.
Here it is..
Correct. Now class, who discovered America ?
Johor Bahru
Reported by Gan Seow Heng
Johor Bahru
celebration dinner
was held at the
Garden on 24
April 2010. There
was overwhelming
A beautiful dance performance by SMKIJ Convent girls
principals as well as
ex-teachers, ex-principals, families and minds with the clear message - teachers
friends gathered for this annual event. wield a tremendous influence in the
Registration started at 6.30 pm with lives of students. We should allow God
door gifts for the guests. After the to use us to impact and transform
welcome speech and opening prayer, lives as it is a calling from Him to be a
it was time for praise and worship witness where He has placed us.
The guests were treated to dances
led by the Principal of Convent Johor
Bahru. It was a time of thanksgiving while enjoying the sumptuous food.
and gratitude to God who enabled all Miss Runa from Scripture Union shared
on the importance of taking Bible
things to work out so beautifully.
Our invited speaker from Singapore, Knowledge as an SPM examination
Mrs Lim Chye Tin, shared an subject and how Christian parents and
inspirational message: “Teaching - A teachers can motivate their children
Job Or A Vocation?” We were touched and students. Indyrany from TCF then
by her message and her life testimony gave the audience an insight into TCF’s
of loving, caring and looking after vision, goals, activities and events
students, especially those who posed through a power point presentation.
challenges to teachers. We were The principal of SMK I.J. Convent
encouraged and motivated to care for and the chairman of the organising
our charges and make a difference committee, Mrs Gan Seow Heng,
in their lives through practical acts then thanked all present and those
of kindness, love and compassion. who had contributed in making the
The pictures from her power point celebration dinner a success. After
presentation remained vividly in our the gift presentation, closing prayer
and benediction it was time to bid
farewell. It was a memorable night as
we had been renewed and refreshed
in God’s presence. We left with a new
commitment and vision to be God’s
chosen vessels and instruments for
Him wherever He has placed us. We
would partner with Him and be His
channels of blessings to all around.
We have the assurance that we are not
alone in this quest as God has promised
never to leave or forsake us.
Have you visited TCF’s website? We
have the following and much more
online. And ... would you like to help
out in this website? Contact us.
The speaker, Mrs Lim Chye Tin
Reported by Meechang Tuie
t was a busy time for TCF
Miri this year as we had
to host the TCF Teachers’
Day Celebration dinner and the
35th Sarawak TCF Conference,
both of which were held at
the Imperial Hotel in Miri
on 24 July. It was indeed a
challenge for us to organise
two important events on the
same day given the fact that most of
the teachers were busy.
Registration for the TCF Conference
was slow initially as many schools in
and around Miri had already scheduled
meetings or activities for that weekend.
Fortunately some principals agreed to
allow the Christian teachers to attend
the conference and as a result many
turned up at the last minute. More
than a hundred came for the half-day
conference, more than double the
attendance last year and probably the
best for a TCF conference in Sarawak.
A Lumbawang dance performance
Seok Lin with the organising committee
Many who attended agreed that this
year’s seminar was fun as the speaker,
Ms Khoo Seok Lin, not only inspired
and motivated everyone but made
them dance as well. The presentation
on TCF Sarawak by TCF Sarawak
chairman Dr Tan Ming Tan was an eye
opener to many. It was heartening to
note that many churches in Miri were
becoming more aware of TCF activities
and showing interest in collaborating
with TCF in their own activities.
It was encouraging to see more than
300 people attending the TCF dinner
this year. Many, especially the invited
guests, enjoyed themselves and joined
in the fun when Ms Khoo made them
dance. The well known gospel country
band, His Sparrows, presented some
songs while some lady teachers showed
off their skills at traditional dances.
I would like to thank the committee
for the love and hard work they put
into these two events and we want
to glorify God for seeing us through
By Peter Ng
HEN the idea of our Sunday
School children having to
invite their non-Christian
teachers for an appreciation dinner was
mooted, it initially sounded like a great
idea. That was until my own experience
of teachers came flooding back into
memory and I recoiled in uncertainty.
My earliest recollection of teachers
was one of awe and fear. They were a
distant lot not unlike the Greek gods,
powerful and yet capricious, arbitrarily
lashing out with bolts of lightning and
thunder - or is it temper?
There was also this TV series Get
Smart which captivated me in my
young days. As an eight-year-old then,
I had a great time with my buddies
masquerading as secret agents. I was
Agent 86, my friend Peter Bains was
Agent 46 and there were others in
the network too. We revelled in our
shadowy world of childlike intrigue
and make-believe until one day when
I was unceremoniously marched up to
the headmaster’s office by our teachers.
The way the teachers made it out, it
was as if they had busted a notorious
triad gang. We were thoroughly caned
despite vigorous protests and futile
explanation which apparently fell on
deaf ears as the teachers, being teachers
“knew better”.
My recollection of the rest of school
was an endless parade of Greek gods,
each with his or her own particular
quirks which we had to carefully adapt
Mrs Phua and Indy
to in order to stay out of their wrath.
In secondary school we had this Greek
god with a humongous tummy and
an awful habit of involuntary tongue
movements which I later discovered
in medical school was due to a nervous
disorder. He carried rubber bands
which he would use to assail the oh-sotender parts of our ear lobes.
But I do have fond memories of
teachers, in particular Mrs Phua,
our geography teacher. Small and
sprightly, her smile literally lit up
the room whenever she set foot in
it. Much of our lessons comprised
nothing more than each of us having
to take turns to read out a paragraph
but she would explain the concepts
and use creative ways in teaching
physical geography. As a teacher, she
was committed and competent – both
in lessons on geography and lessons on
life. She inspired us to learn, spurred
us to achieve good grades, and yet
compassionate to share her life with us
at times.
Later, I found out that she was the
teacher adviser of our school’s Scripture
Union.The impact she had on the
students was incalculable. She shone
like a beacon against a rocky outcrop
of neurotic characters, whom I secretly
suspected never really wanted or were
called to teach and simply vented their
frustrations out on us kids. I came to
know Christ in school through the
Scripture Union. So did many of my
buddies and it was in no small part
due to teachers like Mrs Phua who saw
teaching as a calling and who genuinely
cared for her students.
Today, I can call her on the phone
and that warm familiar voice would
stir in me the few good memories I
had in school. She is now no longer
my teacher but my friend and fellow
pilgrim in the long road of obedience
to our Lord. To all Sunday school
teachers, school/college teachers in
our congregation who struggle in their
daily battles against apathy, frustration
and meagre pay, we pay tribute to your
roles in our lives and encourage you to
continue undaunted because you are
indispensible to our church and nation.
Dr Peter Ng works as a urological surgeon
at the Sime Darby Medical Center Subang
and worships at the First Baptist Church
Subang. He is active in church work as a lay
preacher and a leader in his congregation.
TCF wants your photographs for our
50th Anniversary Celebrations!
• Send us your photograph/s (hard or soft copies) stating the date / year
of the activity and the TCF event together with a caption.
• The photographs which are non-returnable can be in colour or black and
white in 4R size.
• We will select the photographs and display them at our 50th Anniversary
Dinner next year.
• Send the photographs to TCF Office or email to [email protected]
By Brandon Lim
v e n
it has
been two and
a half months
First Baptist
Church broke
new ground
a twist on May 15, its overwhelming
effect still lingers on. We wanted to
give due recognition to teachers with
an evangelistic approach whereby our
Sunday School kids were encouraged
to invite and treat one unchurched
teacher to dinner. According to the
TCF, it was the first time a church in
Peninsular Malaysia had undertaken
such a project to appreciate nonChristian teachers in our community.
“To God be the Glory” was the
united response when we did a
postmortem with all who were
involved in its planning. Admittedly, it
was God’s hand at work and it was He
who allowed this breakthrough!
However, I must confess it was not
an easy beginning. Organising such an
event for the first time, I faced many
The guests having a good time
challenges and obstacles. The initial
response was poor and I almost had a
nervous breakdown. The children were
terrified of their school teachers and, as
we found out later, many of them dared
not extend the invitation to them. The
children, especially the primary ones,
had been taught to fear their teachers
instead of respecting them. What
happened to loving, approachable,
helpful and compassionate teachers?
The setback so dampened my spirit
that I contemplated withdrawing from
it all and I almost broke ranks with
my peers in the leadership for lack
of support. But by the grace of God,
with the prayers and encouragement
of a few, I managed to overcome the
hurdles! We praise God for the 22
non-Christian teachers
who attended - school
teachers, ex-teachers,
music teachers and
even a vocal teacher.
“Celebrating Teachers”,
we extended the event
to our Sunday School
teachers as well. It was
a lovely evening. We had a three-course
home-cooked Italian sit-down dinner,
specially prepared by a group of our
Sunday School teachers in our “green”
theme Globe cafe, amidst renditions of
songs and poems specially dedicated to
teachers. The highlight was a sharing
by Mrs Kua Kun Hun of TCF who
broke our hearts with her testimony.
The next day, in conjunction with
Teachers’ Day, Dr Lim Boon Hock,
a retired teacher and the current
Executive Director of the Methodist
Council of Education, delivered a
Sunday service sermon along the
lines of TCF’s theme of “Whom shall I
send?” and “Who will go for us?”. His
sermon, entitled “Impacting Lives and
the Nation with the Gospel of Christ
through Holistic Education”, had such
a great impact that it caused many to
We appreciate you, teachers!
break into tears.
On reflection, I must confess it was
a make or break effort! But through
God’s power and strength, we began
to trust and waited on Him and learnt
to obey and surrendered all to Him.
In the end, it was a sweet mission
accomplished for we broke all rules to
“lift His Name on High”.
I truly thank God for all the
breakthroughs and all that He has
done, Dr Lim for “challenging” us and
Indy and Kun Hun for believing in us.
All Glory to God!
Brandon Lim is blissfully married to one
wife, blessed with one son and is serving
in the children’s Sunday school ministry
of FBC, Subang.
Kids are Quick - Lesson in Chemistry
Teacher: Donald, what is the chemical formula for water?
Donald: H I J K L M N O.
Teacher: What are you talking about?
Donald: Yesterday you said it’s H to O.
By Sim Kwan Hoon
he call came in 2009 during
a prayer conference to fast
and pray for breakthroughs.
There was a need on our part to
make sacrifices and die to self to see
breakthroughs. At that time, our
Christian Fellowship (CF) was praying
for the annual School Leavers Service
(SLS) where we honour the Form 5
students as well as challenge them with
the gospel message. I sensed in my
spirit that we needed to do something.
The question was “what and how?”
During the closing prayer, the thought
of an overnight prayer session came to
my mind but I struggled with it when
many questions surfaced. Yet knowing
we needed to do something intentional
when seeking God’s face and desiring a
breakthrough for our SLS, I launched
out into the deep waters with God.
I took a leap of faith and told the CF
committee that we needed to have an
extended time of prayer for the SLS.
We were already praying daily during
recess in the chapel for our friends by
name. The students were practising
hard for their dance and sketch. They
were already doing their part, giving
their best. How could I demand more
of their time? Nevertheless, I mooted
the idea that we needed to seek God’s
face for a prolonged period of time.
After discussing with my principal,
who is very supportive of God’s work
in the school, we decided to give it a
go. So by faith I told the girls we would
pray from 9pm to 2am.
To my surprise, the entire CF
committee turned up together with
several others. There were also three
Christian teachers who joined the
overnight prayer. God led us in creative
ways to pray so that we would not be
tired. We worshipped, prayed, studied
the Rhema Word given for that night
and acted on these words prophetically.
We even marched around the hall and
claimed souls for the SLS. By 2am,
everyone was still excited and energetic
about what God had done and would
do. We continued to persevere in our
prayer till the actual day. The message
during the SLS ministered to the girls’
hearts and more than 100 students
gave or rededicated their lives to the
Lord in front of the entire hall! It was
an awesome moment!
We left the SLS with the knowledge
that God answers prayer. It was so real
and tangible. When we see God’s hand
at work, all the hard work and sacrifice
were worth it. The Christian students
saw the power of prayer and more
importantly, they shared how their
lives were changed when they devoted
more time to prayer. It was truly
amazing. There was a deeper hunger for
the things of the spirit among the CF
students. Since then, we have had three
overnight prayer sessions and during
the last one, we had six Form One girls
and one Primary 6 student joining us. I
was so encouraged to see what God can
What is the Timothy Fund?
The Timothy Fund is exclusively for the
use of needy students, trainee teachers
and teachers known to TCF and its
members to the glory of God. This fund
was started by a generous donor who
wishes to remain anonymous.
Guidelines for Disbursement of the
• Available only to NEEDY students,
student-teachers and teachers
• Available only to TCFers or on the
recommendation of TCFers
• Sponsorship of Christian activities
do when we dedicate ourselves to Him,
intentionally putting to death our flesh
and allowing God’s Spirit to work in us.
I echo the words of the song “Greater
things have yet to come; greater things
are still to be done in this city/school.”
When we pray, God works!
Kwan Hoon is a CF advisor who believes
in the power of prayer.
• 10 – 90% of student camp fees
• 10 – 90% of student-teacher camp
fees eg POTs, TOTs
• Asian
Conference fees – up to 50% for
beginning teachers (1st year)
and up to 90% for teachers from
developing countries like Cambodia
and Myanmar
• Gifts (one-off or ongoing for a
specified period) eg purchase of
Bibles for a specific purpose
• Aid to students or their family
members who are stricken with
• By written application only via a
prescribed form.
• A written report via a prescribed
form MUST be presented within
one month or at a suitable time
after the disbursement of the
• Each application will be considered
on a case by case basis by the TCF
exco. All decisions are final.
By Tan Juat Ngoh
ne day a young man who
had just sat for his SPM
examinations told me, “I
want to be a teacher.” I said, “That’s
a wise choice. It’s a service-oriented
profession. We need more Christian
teachers in the schools.” However,
he had a lot of questions on his mind
such as, “Where can I seek information
on teaching as a career? Which
institutions are responsible for the
training of teachers? Where are these
institutions located? What is the entry
qualification? Where can I obtain the
application form? How do I go about
applying for training to be a teacher?
What is the procedure? What is the
salary scale of a teacher? What are the
benefits of being a teacher?”
Teaching as a career
We can obtain information on
teaching from the Internet, from
reading material such as career
books, local newspapers especially
the Education supplements and In
Step magazines published by the
Teachers’ Christian Fellowship (TCF),
by attending career talks, talking to
serving teachers, asking Indy, the
general secretary of TCF, and so on.
From these sources, you will be able
to get a global picture (positive and
negative) of the roles, responsibilities
and job specifications of a teacher.
It will prepare you mentally for the
expectations if you want to be a
Training institutions for teachers
for government schools is the
responsibility of the Teacher Education
Institute (TEI) and public universities.
TEI is committed to training
primary school teachers while public
universities train secondary school
teachers. There are 27 TEI campuses
located all over Malaysia and 22 public
universities. Most of these campuses
and universities are located in major
urban towns and cities. Teachers
trained in TEI and public universities
are guaranteed postings to national
schools throughout Malaysia after
the completion of their courses. In
addition, student teachers enrolled
in TEI receive a monthly allowance
throughout the course. Students in
public universities may be funded
by scholarships or self-financed. For
further information, go to http://www.
Private universities such as
Universiti Tun Abdul Razak and
Wawasan Open university also offer the
Bachelor in Education (Primary) degree
but students may find it difficult to get
a government posting. These trained
teachers may fill the demands of the
private schools/colleges/universities.
Courses and entry qualifications
TEI conducts training at graduate
and post-graduate level. At the
graduate level, it is the bachelor
Degree in Teaching (Primary) with
(PISMP-Program Ijazah
Sarjana Muda Perguruan) programme
and the Bachelor of Education (TESL)
programme. For PISMP, students
attend a 1.5 years or 3 semesters
preparatory course (PPISMP-Program
Persediaan Ijazah Sarjana Muda
Perguruan) at the TEI. Those who pass
proceed to the graduate programme
lasting 8 semesters or 4 years. In
addition, selected TEIs also conduct
the Bachelor of Education (TESL),
a collaboration programme with
overseas universities. Like PISMP, the
students do a 3-semester preparatory
course, 4 semesters in a local TEI and 4
semesters overseas. The degree is from
overseas universities. Candidates for
both programmes must:
1. Be Malaysian citizens
2. Be not more than 20 years old on 1
July of the year of application
3. Obtain 6 credits in SPM in the
following subjects: Bahasa Melayu,
Bahasa Inggeris, Mathematics or
Additional Mathematics, History,
Biolog y/Physics/Chemistry/Study
of mechanical engineering or civil
engineering and one other subject.
At the post-graduate level, it is
the Diploma in Teacher Education
(Primary) or KPLI (Kursus Perguruan
Lepasan Ijazah). Candidates must:
1. Be Malaysian citizens
2. Not be more than 35 years old on 1
January of the year of application
3. Have a bachelor degree from a
Malaysian public university/private
university/overseas university
4. Have a degree which is recognised
by the Malaysian government
5. Have a credit in Bahasa Melayu at
SPM level and pass the oral test or
pass a special Bahasa Melayu paper
in a recognised university. A principal
in Bahasa Melayu at STPM level may
replace a credit in SPM.
There is also another bachelor
degree programme conducted overseas
for students who obtain excellent
results in SPM. The entry qualifications
are the same as PISMP. This programme
is to train secondary school teachers
in subjects such as Mathematics,
Physics, Chemistry, Biology and
Special Education. Students do a
preparatory course in a local institution
determined by the government lasting
3 semesters. Students who pass will do
their bachelor degree overseas. After
obtaining their degree, the students
will have to do the Diploma in Teacher
Education (Secondary) or KPLI in
selected TEIs.
The public universities offer the
Bachelor in Education (Hons). It is a
four-year full-time course. Candidates
1. Pass SPM or its equivalent with
credits in Bahasa Melayu or Bahasa
2. Pass the STPM the previous year
with at least Grade Point Average 2.00
and obtain Grade C (GPA 2.00) in the
General Study subject and grade C
(GPA 2.00) in two other subjects
3. Obtain at least Band 1 in the
Malaysian University English Test
4. Pass the Malaysian University
Selection Yearly Inventory (MunsyI) -USM only.
Application forms
Notice for application to the TEIs
is through advertisements in local
newspapers and on-line at http://
www.emoe.gov.my or alternatively
go to http://www.moe.gov.my, then
click e-perkhidmatan, and Internet.
For public universities, application is
through the UPU (Unit Permohonan
Universiti) and USM (Universiti Sains
Malaysia ). For example, if you did your
STPM in 2009, go to the website http://
eputra.com/permohonan-kemasukanke-ipta- sesi-2010-2011-lepasanstpm-2009/, then click Permohonan
Kemasukan Ke IPTA Lepasan STPM
2009 Sesi 2010/2011. Before applying
for entry to the university, you need to
buy a pin number or ID number from
Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN). For
application through USM, go to its
website, register and get a reference
number. You also have to register to sit
for the Malaysian University Selection
Yearly Inventory (MunsyI). Take note
that submission of all application
forms is on-line. If you want to be a
teacher, go to the above URL regularly.
Normally, the notice for application
will be after the STPM or SPM results.
Application procedure
For TEIs, after submission of the
application forms on-line, the forms
are processed and successful candidates
are selected. They then sit for the
Malaysian Teachers’ Standardised
Test (MTeST) that assesses the
candidates’ Intelligence quotient (in
Mathematics and Bahasa Melayu) and
their personality and attitude. Next,
successful candidates have to attend an
individual and group interview. During
the individual interview, candidates
will be asked questions on current
educational issues, their involvement
in extra-curricular activities during
their schooling and also their abilities.
In the group interview, candidates will
be given a task and asked to discuss
the task in a group of four. Candidates
will be observed and assessed on their
behaviour, how well they communicate
in a group and their ability to give ideas,
views and opinions and indirectly their
cognitive and emotional maturity.
Finally, successful candidates will be
For public universities, apply
through the UPU and wait for the
For USM, go to the USM website
for application, register and sit for the
Malaysian University Selection Yearly
Inventory (MunsyI) and wait for the
Salary scale of a teacher
The salary scale of a graduate
teacher is based on grades: grade DG 41(lowest), DG 44, DG 48, DG 52, DG 54
and special grade C (highest). The initial DG means Didik Guru (educate teachers).
Each grade consists of levels (Paras - P1, P2 or P3) and steps (Tangga - T) from T1
onwards. For example, for grade DG41 there are 3 levels and 27 steps:
1695.85 1786.30 1876.75
In addition, teachers receive a fixed
housing allowance, fixed civil service
allowance and COLA (cost of living
allowance) per month based on the
grade. For example, for grade DG41,
the fixed housing allowance is RM250
and fixed civil service allowance is
RM300. COLA is RM300 for urban
areas and RM150 for rural areas.
The grade of a starting teacher is
DG41 and the starting salary at P1T1
with allowances.
Benefits of a teacher
There are many benefits for being a
teacher. Some of them are:
1. Housing loan at 4% per annum
2. Car loan at 4% per annum
3. Special rest leave of 7 days per year
4. Government medical leave (with
certificate) of 90 days and private
clinics 15 days per year
5. Maternity leave of 60 days
and September, 2 weeks in June and 6
weeks in November/December)
8. 7 days paternity leave if wife
delivers a baby
9. 3 days leave for death of a family
Hardship allowance ranging
from RM500 to RM1500 for teachers
serving in very rural areas
11. Regional allowance if you are
posted to Sabah or Sarawak
12. Opportunities to further your
study to Masters and PhD level
Young man, I hope I have answered
your questions. After reading this
article, do you still want to be a
teacher? If yes, let’s pray and surrender
your desire to the LORD, who will
answer your prayers. Amen.
Dr Tan Juat Ngoh is a senior lecturer at
the Technical Education Campus, KL,
Teacher Education Insititute Malaysia.
6. Unrecorded leave of 30 days for offcampus studies per year
7. School holidays (1 week in March
By Liow Miin Yi
he train rumbled and chugged
along throughout the night
heading towards an unknown
future, leaving behind my family and
the city I was born and bred in. There I
was, surrounded by unfamiliar faces. It
was unbelievable how so many people
could be squeezed into one carriage.
I dared not sleep a wink for fear that
I would miss the Renggam station.
Anyway, it was so crowded, hot and
stuffy in the carriage, that sleep eluded
It was almost 3.45 am. All kinds of
thoughts about what awaited me had
been racing through my mind for the
past five hours. My parents had put me
on the 10 pm train bound for Renggam,
Johor from the Kuala Lumpur station.
Just the day before, I had received a
letter from the Ministry of Education
instructing me to go to SMK LayangLayang, Johor for my first posting.
Amazingly, the only friend I knew who
lived outside KL (minus my course
mates who were transferred all over
Malaysia) was from Renggam, which
was only 12 km away from LayangLayang.
I had met Mian Key in London at the
Malaysian Christian Prayer Fellowship.
She and I were to return to Malaysia
at about the same time. She had just
graduated from law while I had
graduated from the University of Kent
with a degree in English Studies. I had
only been home for three weeks when
the posting came. After having been in
the UK for six years on a full scholarship
from the Ministry of Education, I was
trying hard to settle down into the
Malaysian way of life again. However,
before I could catch my breath, I was
catapulted into a whole new way of life
in Layang-Layang. From then on, I not
only had to readjust to the culture in
Malaysia, I had to get used to life in
a small, cowboy town with only one
main street connecting it to the next
A few days before receiving my
posting, I was on the phone with Mian
Key. When she asked me about my
posting, I jokingly said, “Well, who
knows, I might be sent to your area.”
Mian Key thought that would be
impossible as the government would
not spend so much money to train
me and then send me to a small town.
Well, she thought wrong! Our Lord
was in the background weaving out His
plans and purposes.
I was stunned when I discovered
that Mian Key was only 12 km away
from Layang-Layang. I immediately
contacted her and she was to meet me
at the Renggam station at 3.45 am.
When I finally arrived at the station
after what seemed like eternity, I
alighted with my huge and heavy
suitcase and found myself on a cold,
deserted and shabby-looking platform.
I quickly scanned the area for a
familiar-looking face and my heart
sank when there was no Mian Key to
be found! Had I alighted at the wrong
station? I was desperately trying to
think of what I should do seeing that
I was in the middle of nowhere at such
an unearthly hour when to my relief, I
heard a familiar voice call out my name.
It was Mian Key, with her father. She
apologized profusely for she had dozed
off while waiting for the train. I was so
thankful to see her but felt bad that
I had dragged her out of bed in the
middle of the night.
The next morning, I called the school
for directions. The school clerk told me
I could take a bus from Renggam. Being
a city girl who was used to buses with
numbers, I promptly asked him what
number the bus was. To my shock,
he replied matter-of-factly, “There is
no number.” Immediately, all kinds
of thoughts ran through my mind.
Would I be teaching in a school with
concrete walls? Would there be water
and electricity? Would there even be
proper roads?
As Mian Key’s dad’s car turned into
the laterite road leading to the school,
my heart began to race faster. I almost
heaved a sigh of relief when I saw a
concrete building loom before me. And
thus began my life in Layang-Layang,
my first posting.
That was about 18 years ago. Today,
I’m still in the same school. Those years
have seen victories, joys, challenges
and pains. Initially, I tried to return
to KL but was unsuccessful. Then I
got married, settled into Gereja Peace
AOG, Kluang, bought a house and
moved to Kluang which was half an
hour’s drive away. For a KL girl, driving
half an hour to work was not a major
problem. Ironically, if I was a Kluang
girl, I would have insisted on a transfer
back to town.
After seven years in Layang (when
they couldn’t keep me back), the
ministry decided to promote me to
Guru Bidang Bahasa. I was shocked
and felt totally inadequate for the
post. But our Lord was showing me
His will through the circumstances in
my life. I would say that the strongest
reason why I’m still in Layang after all
these years would be my prayer when
I returned to Malaysia in 1991. “Lord,
send me to where You will and let me
serve You there.” There is no doubt
that English optionists will always
be needed in rural schools. I can’t say
that I’ve been able to churn out many
apt, competent and proficient users
of the English language but there
have been students scoring A’s and
previous consistent failures passing
in the state exams. These are my
moments of victory among my periods
of exasperation teaching uninterested,
lazy , rude and hyperactive kids who
could not see why they should learn
that the past tense of “draw” is “drew”
and not “drawed”.
Often times, I wonder the same
thought but then the Holy Spirit
never fails to remind me (especially if
I take time to listen) of my calling, my
destiny as an educator and as a child of
His, shining and sharing His light and
love in a school set in the middle of an
oil palm estate in a cowboy town called
Layang-Layang where the majority
of the population are our precious
“neighbours”. I am still learning and
am open to our Lord to take me out of
Layang in His own time for He alone
knows what is best for me. In the
meantime, may He continue to weave
beauty and character in me as I put
myself in His safe, strong and loving
Liow Miin Yi, a KL- born and bred girl
serving faithfully as an English teacher in
SMK Layang-Layang, Johor.
Kids are Quick - Lessons in the English Language
Gopal, how do you spell ‘crocodile?’
No, that’s wrong
Maybe it is wrong, but you asked me how I spell it.
Teacher: Millie, give me a sentence starting with ‘ I.’
I is..
Teacher: No, Millie....... Always say, ‘I am.’
All right... ‘I am the ninth letter of the alphabet.’
Teacher: Chye, your composition on ‘My Dog’ is exactly the same as your brother’s. Did you copy his?
Chye :
No, sir. It’s the same dog.
Teacher: Harun, what do you call a person who keeps on talking when people are no longer interested?
Harun: A teacher
Teacher: What happens to a boy during puberty?
Student: He says goodbye to his childhood and enters adultery.
Along the school corridors ...
By Daniel Gan
ynn looked at the bundles of
exam papers on her dining table
and heaved a sigh. The school
exams were just over and she could see
how her one-week school break was
going to be spent. She took the first
paper and started marking the first five
questions. She took the next paper and
did the same thing. By the time she had
marked a few more papers, she did not
feel good. Her students were not doing
too well in the paper. They were not
able to answer the simplest questions
and they were making mistakes too
carelessly. It was depressing to see
the low scores and Lynn wasn’t sure
whether to fault her students or accept
the blame for it.
Lynn recalled the fortnight before
the school exams had started. She had
rushed through the last chapter of the
textbook. There were just too many
school programmes and disruptions
needing her attention and so her
teaching duties had slacked slightly.
Still, she had managed to conduct extra
classes. However, attendance at these
classes was dismal as the ones who
should come didn’t turn up but the ones
who didn’t really need the extra help
turned up. One group was not ‘kiasi’
but the other group was ‘kiasu’. The
w e r e
also not
about the
They did not pick up their books until
just about a week before the exams.
Instead, she was the one fretful and
worried sick about their impending
performance in the exams.
The percentage passes for her
paper in the previous exam had been
discouraging and her principal had then
reproved her saying that if her students
failed to do well, she had failed to
teach. She felt that was unfair. She had
invested much effort into her lessons
but her students were just not grasping
the concepts. Lynn also felt that her
school was excessively concerned with
academic results. She knew of some
schools which threaten their “problem”
students with expulsion or transfers
so that the school’s GPS (Gred Purata
Sekolah) could shine. They forget that
academic performance is just one part
of a holistic education and that some
of these problem students can be quite
talented in the arts too.
Lynn’s students had naively expected
to do well through just one reading of
the notes she had given them. The idea
that results would commensurate with
the effort put in was alien to them.
In fact, they looked for short cuts to
success. They had asked for clues to
what would be coming out in the exams
and mentioned that other teachers
were giving hints broadly to their
classes. Lynn did not oblige them. But
one day, the exam paper had somehow
landed in her hands and she had
scanned through it. To her disbelief,
she realised that she had not covered
thoroughly some questions that were
asked in the paper. Now there was even
more reason to help her students. She
thought she could allude to the exam
questions by giving her students more
practice in those questions. However,
she did not. She simply did not think
God would approve her giving her
students an upper hand over others.
Then on the day before her exam
paper was due, something happened.
A student showed her a copy of the
exam paper. He told her that he had
downloaded it from the internet.
Lynn was deeply taken aback. What
should she do? Spread the leak to all
the students so that everyone would
have a level playing field? That didn’t
sound right because it would be like
condoning mass cheating. Report to
the authorities? Authorities normally
want to hush up such situations and
she feared they might question her
ceaselessly instead of decisively acting
on the leak. On the day of the exam,
some students appeared to breeze
through the paper. However, others
were struggling. Some even put the
paper aside and went to sleep! So, the
leak had not been widespread. But the
exam results were going to be a sham
Lynn continued her marking. Then,
by chance she found that two of her
students had almost similar answers.
How did this happen? Lynn was
perplexed. When she was invigilating
these students, she had strictly
instructed that she would not allow
communication of any kind between
the students, even the borrowing or
lending of erasers or writing papers. To
Lynn, it was a clear cut case of cheating
but knowing her students, they would
vehemently deny it. Lynn whispered
a prayer for wisdom. She had to find
a way to obtain a confession and
repentance. Clearly, one friend was
trying to help the other and thought
that allowing the friend to copy was
being helpful. She would make him see
that it would have been more helpful
if he had done revision with the friend
before the exam instead.
It was near midnight before Lynn
finished marking one class of papers.
Her students had not done particularly
well but she decided she wouldn’t
allow the results to depress her. This
factual paper test was not a gauge of
how the students would fare in life.
Education is not only of the mind but
also of the heart. She would continue
giving her best to educate her students
holistically and set a good example for
them. If they do see Christ in her, that
would be a great bonus.
I went to the Lord’s Clinic to
have my routine check-up and I
confirmed I was ill.
When Jesus took my blood
pressure, He saw I was low in
When He read my temperature, the
thermometer registered 40 degrees
of anxiety.
He ran an electrocardiogram and
found that I needed several “love
bypasses” since my arteries were
blocked with loneliness and could
not provide for an empty heart.
I went to orthopedics, because I
could not walk by my brother’s side
and I could not hug my friends,
since I had fractured myself when
tripping with envy.
He also found I was short-sighted,
since I could not see beyond the
shortcomings of my brothers and
stopped listening to Jesus’ voice
talking to me on a daily basis.
For all of that, Jesus gave me a
free consultation thanks to His
mercifulness, so my pledge is to,
once I leave this clinic, only take
the natural remedies He prescribed
through his words of truth:
* Every morning take a full glass of
* When getting to work, take one
spoon of peace.
* Every hour, take one pill of
patience, one cup of brotherhood
and one glass of humility
* When getting home, take one
dose of love
* When getting to bed, take two
caplets of clear conscience
(Taken from www.emailministry.org)
When I complained about deafness,
the diagnostic was that I had
By Indyrany Kannaiya
n May 15 and 16,
2010, I was asked by
my senior pastor, Dr
Daniel Ho, to share with the
congregation of Damansara
Utama Methodist Church,
Petaling Jaya on TCF’s
ministry and the pressing
needs of the teaching
profession as well as issue a
challenge to the youths in
our church to take up
teaching as a vocation and
mission. It was indeed a
privilege to share with 3,007
people at two services!
With 5.4 million students
in Malaysia’s primary and
secondary schools, the
teaching profession offers
Christians to influence and
shape the next generation of
church leaders and the
nation’s workforce.
However, teaching is
lowly-ranked as a career
option among young people
today. It is estimated that
less than 3% of teachers in
Malaysia are Christians. The
average age of TCF members
is 45, and less than 5% of its
members are below the age
of 30.
The dearth of young
serious implications: It will
be increasingly difficult to
get teacher-advisers for
Christian school groups as
well as senior teachers who
will qualify to head mission
schools in the future.
In view of this critical
situation, the Malayan
Christian Schools Council
Federation of Malaysia
(CFM) had in 2000 at the
“Future of Mission Schools’
symposium strongly urged
all churches to “encourage
parents and young people
to view teaching as a
vocation and mission.”
We have indeed reached
a crucial stage where this
urgency needs to be
congregation in the country.
TCF is an ageing fellowship.
In less than 15 years, 90% of
our serving teachers would
In partnership
have retired. Who will be
senior enough to be
nominated to head our
mission schools?
What can we do to address
Each one of us could challenge
the youths in our church including the best and
brightest - to go into the
teaching profession. Teachers
are the best people to sell the
teaching profession. Talk to
parents. Assure them that
the pay and perks are pretty
good these days. Parents, too,
need to release their children
to the Lord’s plans and
purposes for their lives.
I strongly believe that
teachers are agents of
transformation in any society
and I count it a privilege to
serve you - the Master’s
teachers - as you impact the
children and youths in
Malaysia. Yes, we thank each
one of you for changing the
future of our students and
making a difference.
To God be all the Glory!
Indyrany is TCF General

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