-Reprinted from The Macsian 1977.
Macsian: Mr. Chua, were you educated in Anglo Chinese School, Melaka?
ChuaCC: No. First I went to the old Victorian Institution, the Batu Road School, Kuala Lumpur, Klang High School and finally the Methodist Boys’ School, Kuala Lumpur.
Macsian: Did you enjoy your school life?
ChuaCC: Yes, certainly especially my life in the Methodist Boys’ School, Kuala Lumpur.
Macsian: Why of all the schools, you enjoyed best at Methodist Boys’ School, Kuala Lumpur?
ChuaCC: There were quite a number of things I found lacking in the other schools. But I would stress only the important one – that was, the Christian teachings in the school where I learned so much that these influence my life up to this day.
Macsian: How came that you were a teacher in Anglo Chinese School Melaka?
ChuaCC: I passed my Senior Cambridge in 1941. When the Japanese War broke out in the Far East in late 1941, my parents and the family evacuated to Melaka. We stayed in Melaka during the war years. After the war, my parents returned to Kuala Lumpur. I had to stay back for a while because of some family business. During this short while, Dr. Ho Seng Ong (founder of the present Anglo Chinese School, Tengkera) who knew me, invited me to join the staff of his school in 1946.
Macsian: Was that the primary or secondary school?
ChuaCC: At that time the school was known as a Comprehensive School, meaning it had Primary as well as Secondary.
Macsian: Could you elaborate your presence in Anglo Chinese School, Melaka up to this time?
ChuaCC: After being invited to join the staff of the school, Dr. Ho Seng Ong encouraged me to stay on to complete my Normal Class training as a teacher. As 1 had no opportunity to go for further studies, l had no choice but to remain in this school. 2 years after completion of my Normal Class training, the Methodist Church, Malaya sent me to the United States of America for further studies in one of the Colleges for teachers in Nashville, Tennessee. I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Education. When I returned, I continued to serve the school.
Macsian: To our knowledge, we discovered that you were involved in a good number of activities in the school. What activity or activities kept you on your feet most of the time?
ChuaCC: First scouting, followed by what have you in the school.
Macsian: We understand that you composed the ACS Song. What prompted you to compose it?
ChuaCC: After my return from the United States of America with the training that I had benefited in music, 1 felt that I could do something in this field for the school. Actually, it is my love for the school that inspired me to compose it. You can find in the words of my song, love, loyalty and the wonderful virtues the school has. l pray that you boys would be proud to sing it.
Macsian: In view of the trying times the youths of today are facing, what “philosophy” would recommend for the present youths?
ChuaCC: The word “philosophy” has depth, height and width – depending on each individual. But, I would like to recommend this: Always believe there is an Almighty God – Creator and Giver of all good things. Accept this. Then, take the best in life which will benefit you and your fellowmen. Always do and give your best, and be of service to the needy, keep busy doing good.
Macsian: We know you have many achievements in the course of your life experiences. Which one would you like to share with us?
ChuaCC: One of the significant ones 1 would like to share with you is this: I praise God and thank Him for the many blessings He has bestowed upon me – one of these is:- To be given the talent and the knowledge to get along with people of all ages and to remain their good friend.
Macsian: Thank you very much, Mr. Chua.
Chua Cheng Chye was the Group/Senior Scoutmaster of the First Tranquerah Troop and devoted much of his time in seeing his boys become good and outstanding scouts and leaders. In 1959 for example, the troop had nine Royal Scouts (as the Agong Scouts were known then). There were five patrols, each fully-filled and everyone had passed their Tenderfoot test and many were in the Second Class and First Class groups respectively. During this time, the Group had four representatives attending the Tenth World Jamboree held in the Philippines.
On June 27th, a Gang Show was held in aid of the Group Jamboree Fund. This enabled the Group to help pay a small part of the expenditure of the scouts who had been chosen to attend the Tenth World Jamboree. A large turnout of scouts gave them a rousing send-off. The scouts returned from the Jamboree on August 3rd.
Below is an account of the Jamboree trip by Richard Ernest Ritchie, Form IV Arts. Malacca ACS. Reprinted from The Macsian 1959 edition:
Every person in the world has a desire or wish which he dreams will come true one day. It may be that he would like to live a hundred years or to retire in a beautiful house with no worries or cares, Every scout has a wish that he may one day attend a World Jamboree. To him, it is one of the highest rewards he may earn. As defined in the Oxford Dictionary, a ‘Jamboree’ is a merry and friendly gathering of boy scouts. It is also a gathering where scouts from every climate and region meet. Jamboree is held usually once every two years. It may be a jamboree where only Malayans attend but a World Jamboree crowns all, To it come scouts from all over the world having fellowship with one another regardless of colour or creed.
The first camp that led to the Jamboree being formed was held at Brownsea Island by the Founder of Scouting – Lord Baden Powell. Later, the first official World Jamboree was held in England, then Denmark, England again, Hungary, Holland, France, Austria, Canada, England and in 1959, the Philippines were the hosts. I first received news of the Jamboree in February this year. My scout-master told us that if we were interested we were to see him. I approached him with another scout and he told us to see him the next day. The next day we were given some documents to sign. I wrote a letter to my parents who were at that time in America, for their approval. I got the green light and was very happy. The next few months flew past quickly and we were joined by two other scouts. We paid our Jamboree fees and received our instructions. All of us were to get a health certificate and a number of photographs. Soon my parents returned and l got my uniform made.
The day finally arrived and we set off for Kuala Lumpur where all the scouts were to assemble. The four of us were sent off by all the scouts from our school. On arrival in Kuala Lumpur we reported to the scouter-in-charge and paid our train and food fare. The scouter instructed us to go for our lunch and to return for further instructions. Some boys were selected to be escorts to the Scout and Federation flags. I was lucky enough to be chosen. Later in the day we had a practice and received a dressing-down from the Senior Executive Commissioner for being too sloppy. All the scouts were divided into different patrols and troops. I was in the Maju Patrol (Maju means progress) and in the first troop. Later in the afternoon we had a ceremony. Many important people were invited including the Chief Scout. The Chief Scout told us in his speech that we were representing the Malayan nation as ambassadors of good-will and that we should uphold her honour.
After the ceremony was over we had tea. We rested till dinner time. Dinner was horrible as we had tasteless curry without salt and some vegetables all washed up. Later in the evening we practised some songs such as “Rasa Sayang Eh” and “Chan Mali Chan”. We went to sleep at about 11 p.m. The days continued with repetition of the horrible curry cooked in different varieties. We also practised some Malay dances. On Saturday evening we marched to the railway station to board the night-mail for Singapore.
On our arrival in Singapore at 8 a.m., we left our luggage in the station-master’s room and went for breakfast, We returned at 4 p.m. and at 6 p.m. we marched to the quay. At 10 p.m. the boat sailed for Saigon. The night was cooling but I could not sleep. Later I made friends with a Kuwaiti scout. We talked and exchanged views of our respective countries. Soon I felt sleepy and slept on the deck. I was awakened the next morning by the chilly sea breeze. I went down to my bunk and slept for a while. Breakfast was at 7.00 a.m. and consisted of tea, a hard loaf sliced into two and a small slab of butter inside or a piece of chocolate. I slept again till lunch time which was at 10.30 a.m. Lunch consisted of rice, soup, meat-cutlets and apple. It was quite appetizing though the others complained. I slept after dinner and woke up at 3 p.m. Tea was served at 4 p.m. and consisted of half a glass of tea. At 5.30 p.m, we had dinner. We were very hungry by 8 p.m. and ate our hard, rock-like bread which we had saved. We had an assembly and sang some songs.
The next morning the mouth of the Mekong river was sighted. It was about two hundred yards wide, We travelled upriver for about an hour before we reached Saigon. On the way upriver the scene was mostly of swamps except for a few houses grouped together. The first sight that one sees while approaching Saigon is that on one bank of the river can be seen slums, while on the other bank, the town is in its modern splendour.
Before we reached Manila we crossed numerous islands – about three thousands in number. The first impression that one gets on reaching Manila is that its harbour is just like that of Singapore with a sea-wall built as a breakwater. After the clearance of the Customs we disembarked. We were given refreshments and were greeted by the playing of the Jamboree Song. The people were friendly. A group of girls from a certain university collared me and bombarded me with questions. I finally escaped to the bus.
All of us went to the National Headquarters of the Boy Scouts of the Phillippines where we were broken up into groups and taken to various homes as guests. I was sent to a town called Malsbon where we were housed in a church, There were fourteen of us and our hostess was a Mrs. De Cruz. During our stay as her guests she was like a second mother to us. She gave us very good food and tried to help us in every little way. On the 16th we reassembled at the world famous Mount Makiling.
The entire area from where the jamboree site was developed is a vast expanse of verdant, rolling hills and picturesque landscapes covering a circle approximately seven miles in circumference, Being at 1,000 feet above sea level, it commands a pleasant view of the famous Laguna Sea Bay, Manila and the surrounding localities. Mt. Makiling which is renowned in Filipino legend and folklore dominates the entire area.
The site has immense educational value being what foresters called an `Arboretum’ where some 3,000 species of flora from different countries are grown for economic and scientific investigations. We reached camp at about 7.30 p.m. as there was very heavy traffic and it was one hour before we reached our alloted site.
The next ten days were days of ease for us. We were thrilled by the march-past that we took part in because it was endless and took about 2-1/2 hours before the rear part of it reached us. There were sixty-four free nations taking part, including a delegate from Russia, two from Ukraine and brave exiled scouts from Hungary! About 50,000 people and scouts were gathered for the opening ceremony in which President Carlos Gracia delivered a most energetic and emphatic speech. In the night we had a camp-fire in which we had a fine time. The next day some of us went about swapping and in the afternoon we went for ‘Paloro’ (games).
In the evening, after dinner I went for a stroll to where the other camps were located. The second troop of Malaya was located in the central Luzon sub-camp, the third troop in the southern Luzon sub-camp and the first troop in the northern Luzon sub-camp. Altogether there were seven sub-camps namely:- (1) Central Luzon, (2) Eastern Visayas, (3) Southern Luzon, (4) Eastern Mindanao, (5) Northern Luzon, (6) Western Visayas, (7) Western Mindanao. At 10 p.m. it was lights out and we had to return to our various sub-camps to sleep. The next day we went exploring and to our knowledge we found that the General H.Q. was situated at the Brotherhood Plaza where all the flags of member nations taking part were flown. Each sub-camp had a first-aid station and doctors were on duty from 8 a.m to 5 p.m. The Jamboree hospital was situated near the entrance and contained fifteen beds. Its staff were all volunteers on 24 hours duty.
Built adjacent to the Jamboree post-office and General H.O. was the Jamboree Market, a series of buildings where we could buy all the items we needed. The market had a snack-bar, a stall case for commercial exhibits and display, photography stores, confectionaries, souvenirs, curios, grocery, food and artisans. The Central Trading Post was also located at the Jamboree Market. This trading Post is run by the National Supply Service of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines.
We returned home tired out by the day’s exploring. The next day I visited my friends in the Illocos Norte Camp and had a real Filipino lunch. The whole afternoon was spent in repairing our fence. The next day we built a bridge of see-saw type. It was the first of its kind in the Philippines and was acclaimed as a master-piece of scout-craft, but unfortunately after sweating for three hours in building, it broke down in two hours, (Too popular!). We managed to repair it and received a certificate of honour for or fine workmanship.
The days flew past quickly and the last day eventually arrived. We attended the closing ceremony and heard a fine speech delivered by Lord RowIlan. At the end of it, there were many tears shed as we returned to our various sub-camps for the last night. We broke camp the same evening and went to sleep at the First Aid Station. It was raining and the water kept flowing in and I could not sleep so went to my friends’ camp, I talked with them and I bade them farewell though I was reluctant to leave them. We returned to Manila and spent the night in the ‘Mapua Institute’.
The next day we embarked on the `Cambodge’ again and set sail for Malaya. There were many people present to send us off. We said our fare-wells and tears flowed freely as the ship began to move slowly out of the quay. I strained to control my emotions as I felt like crying. It was heart-breaking to leave our friends who were very kind, hospitable and treated us like one of the family. Many of the boys could not eat their lunch as they cried their hearts out. It was more than I could stand. I went to a quiet corner and wept. While I wept, memories came flooding back to my mind. The next few days were gloomy and no one was in a mood to be merry. When we reached Saigon again, the atmosphere began to change and the boys became merry.
On reaching Singapore some of the boys parted and the rest of us returned by night-mail to Kuala Lumpur. There were many people waiting at Kuala Lumpur to greet us. We had a final ceremony in which the flags were handed back to `B-P” House. Then we parted—each to his own State and home.
Never will I forget this event in my life. To me, the Tenth World Jamboree will be a landmark in my life as it has shown me that peoples in other lands no matter what creed, colour or race they may belong to, are still brothers. And as I end I wish “Mabuhay to all”.
Chua Cheng Chye was first appointed a teacher at Malacca Anglo-Chinese School (MACS) on 6th of May, 1948. He obtained his Normal Trained teaching qualification in 1949. As a Crusade scholar, he was sent to pursue his higher studies at the George Peabody College for Teachers.Tennessee, USA. He returned to teach in MACS after graduating with a B. Sc (Education) in 1953.
Chua Cheng Chye’s dedication to scouting was rewarded by the school when he was awarded a Certificate in recognition of his long service in the Scout Movement on 23rd September 1959.
(Reprinted from the MACS Centenary Coffee Table Book “Dear ACS, We’re proud of Thee”)
Mr Chua Cheng Chye lived an exemplary life – I was his pupil in the Malacca Anglo-Chinese School, his teacher and Headmaster of his school, the ACS Primary, Melaka.
I was his pupil way back in 1954. He was teaching us history when he made a simple statement to us – “If I want to smoke, I may have to spend about $9.00 a month but I could instead pay your school fees of $2.50. I was a poor school boy from Paya Rumput, Alor Gajah, who always never paid his school fees. I used to smoke coconut husks made from a home-made pipe then but stopped smoking immediately after Chua’s statement.
I became a teacher when he was the Senior Assistant and later the Headmaster of MACS Primary. Chua Cheng Chye was a Crusade Scholar and studied for his BSc degree in Tennessee, USA. He was a choir master, Church Lay-Leader and MYF Counsellor.
When he became Headmaster in 1968, I was transferred to Masjid Tanah for two years. I returned to MACS as Senior Assistant. He retired in 1977. Chua later helped to get me promoted to Headmaster.
Chua was a Scout Commissioner and many students remembered him as a teacher who cared a lot. However, his love for the 1st Melaka Company Boys’ Brigade is noted. He brought in a lot of boys to the Christian family through the Boys’ Brigade of which he was Honorary Captain. He even convinced a Singaporean to donate a sum of money to renovate the Youth Centre during Easter and there is a plaque dedicated to Chua Cheng Chye with these words “Thank you uncle Chua for bringing us back to GOD”
Chua also composed the ACS school song ”Dear ACS” with lyrics from his fellow Malacca ACS teacher, the late Mr Chye Khooi Khean.
We wish to thank especially Tony Khoo Heng Peng, Eng Kim Leng and Victor Chin for their unwavering support when Chua was alive and to the many ex-students and friends who donated whole-heartedly towards the Chua CC Fund. Also a mention to Wesley Methodist Church Malacca and Mr and Mrs Charlie Lee for the monthly donations to help support Chua Cheng Chye. Thanks to Ms Lim Ai Leng who used to send food to Mr Chua at the nursing home and Sri, Chua’s Indonesian maid, who looked after him diligently. Also we would like to thank Dr Lim Boon Aik, our church doctors Dr Ng Seng Man and Dr Choy Khai Chew and others at Mahkota Hospital for their understanding and support for Mr Chua. There are so many other people who had helped and they are not in the least forgotten for their support and help for Mr Chua.
I also would like to thank Helen for her understanding and help with Mr Chua even though she herself was ill – one consolation is Mr Chua during his last days still recognised Helen even though he could not remember me and the others who visited him.
-Wong Swee Lim, MACSian Class of 1955.
Wong Swee Lim was Headmaster of ACS Primary, from 1983-1992. He was the Hostel Master (1957-67) and Superintendent (1968-85) of the Methodist Boys’ Hostel.