Wednesday, 16 September 2015
My father was at Free School
Finally, I managed to dig up one prized item while looking through the archives at the Penang Free School on Monday: a school register which recorded my father's name. It hasn't been easy to locate the entry but yes, I've found it and the discovery makes me both happy and sad.
Sad because my father was only at the PFS for nine months, beginning Standard VI in October 1948 and leaving in June 1949 before he could start Standard VIII. The reason he had to leave school was to work. This was a time not long after the end of the Japanese Occupation of Malaya. The economy was still in the doldrums. My grandfather had no permanent job and there were mouths to feed. My father became the sole breadwinner of the family, bringing home just enough to feed a family of four. Still, it was a privilege for him to study at this great school.
I've no idea where he worked initially but by the time he married in 1954, he was already a clerk in The Mercantile Bank of India Ltd, later to be bought over and assimilated into the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, in Beach Street. And there he remained until his retirement in 1984.