Saturday, 27 October 2012

Mubin Sheppard (1905-1994)

Dato Jasa Purba Di-Raja, Haji A. Mubin Sheppard

Born: 21 June 1905, Kent, England

Mubin Sheppard was instrumental in guiding 2 early Malay doctors to become doctors. They were Dato'Dr Abbas bin Haji Alias and Tan Sri Dr Mohamed Said bin Mohamed.

From Who's Who in Malaysia 1971-1972

British Officers

There were many British officers in British Malaya and in the Federation of Malaya and later Malaysia till the early 1970s. When I lived Sabah, I saw many British families residing in Sabah. They were in Tanjong Aru, near the coast. They were near the airport. They were at the hospital (Queen Elizabeth II Hospital). At the airport, I saw quite a number of white kids who wore leg braces - they had polio. At that time I did not know polio and I had thought the metal braces were a higher societal standard! On the airport flashback, I think polio was a big problem in Sabah then. I had suffered from elephantiasis while living in Sabah; maybe because I was out hiking a lot in the jungle nearby where we lived.

There was one white man who worked with my father at Gaya College. Maybe he was the principal? He was Mr Todd. I don't know his full name but he was already very old when I met him. I didn't see any British officers at the school I attended (Tanjong Aru Primary School). There were many missionary schools in Sabah. The priests also came to our school to preach. They were in big white robes with a red band at the waist. They looked Indian to me. The Muslim students had a choice of either following the missionary classes or leave class. As for me, my father came to see the principal, Mr Regis, and informed him that we are a family of Muslims and that he didn't want my sibs and me to follow the missionary classes. So while the other students followed the missionary classes, Mr Regis and my eldest brother would come and call me out from my class. Mr Regis was a kind Indian man - he spoke very softly to students, and always smiled. I went out to play in the sunshine and enjoyed every minute of it while the other students followed the missionary classes.

My late father mentioned a lot of British names which have stuck in my mind since my childhood despite my intolerance of history as a subject per se (I didn't hate history but I didn't know what it was about). Some of the names were Lord Mountbatten, Mubin Shepard, Henry Gurney, etc. He mentioned their importance in our history but I have forgotten a lot of what I heard from him. He would put up slide shows at home and as kids, my sibs and I had to sit still and watch the slides quietly while he narrated (sometimes very boring). But we were obedient kids and did not object to watching slide show after slide show. That is what I call brain-washing or propaganda. But I was a little girl then and "No" was a forbidden answer. What remains in my mind are his words, "They were great men." Sometimes I ask myself, "How great were these men? What great deeds did they do for us? Who were they?"

Today, I have pictures of people in our history and have to write the stories without my father by my side. My stories about the British officers are from my childhood and from reading up about them. I have still not sorted the photos my father left me; where do I begin?

I am still looking for a British doctor named Mr Gideon, who served as a gastrosurgeon at GH Kota Bharu in 1969/70. I don't know his full name. He was my doctor when I was 12. Where is he today?

British officers were allowed to go on overseas leave for 3 months every 3 years.

External links

The Straits Times Singapore, Fri, Aug. 12, 1949. Malayan Tory
The Straits Times, 12 August 1949, Page 4

Batu Road School, Kuala Lumpur

I don't know the history of the school. I have only heard of the school from 2 people - Tan Sri Dr Abdul Majid and my late mother.

So far, I have Tan Sri Dr Abdul Majid who stated in The Who's Who in Malaysia 1965 that he attended Batu Road School (refer to my previous post on him).

I went to Kuala Lumpur many times to search for the school between 2007 and 2009. However, when I passed in front of the school, I was confused because the plaque read as shown below. It seems the school is now 3-in-1. It is a special school for the blind, an integration program and a boys' school. Just across the road is the Batu Road Girls' School.

Pendidikan Khas (Cacat Penglihatan) Jalan Batu
Jalan Raja Laut, 50350 Kuala Lumpur
(Special School for the Blind)

Program Pendidikan Khas Integrasi

Sekolah Kebangsaan Lelaki Jalan Batu
Jalan Raja Laut
50350 Kuala Lumpur
Tel/Fax: 03-2692 7297

Recently, my eldest daughter also took pictures of the same old school. She emailed me the photos without any text or caption but I noticed the bright yellow and brown colours, and instantly knew it was the same school I had photographed before.

These photographs were taken from my moving car (so some photos are blur) (7 June 2009):

GH Kota Bharu 2012 (2)

The government hospital in Kota Bharu has undergone much renovation since I wrote in my last post about the hospital. This hospital is important in our medical history because initially Kuala Krai was the seat of the British officers and doctors in Kelantan, before that adminstration was shifted to Kota Bharu. The hospital in Kota Bharu was at a different site in Kota Bharu before it was shifted to its present site.

Many of our early Malay doctors served at GH Kota Bharu and the various clinics in Kota Bharu. I came to live in Kelantan in early 1969 (after the May 13 incidences) and left Kelantan on 1 January 1971 (before first day of class). So I can remember a bit of GH Kota Bharu at that time. I remember the walk from the road to the X-ray unit and some of the services then.

Photos of GH Kota Bharu on 26 October 2012 (Aidiladha 1433 Hijrah):
Ambulatory Care & Haemodialysis Centre
(site of previous TB ward and parking lot nearest Stadium Sultan Muhammad IV)

The new buildings which replaced the TB ward and surrounding areas were ready in 2013. It is a multistorey day ward.