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Better Than The Best BY JAMES OH

Better Than The Best BY JAMES OH
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Wednesday, 23 June 2010


Dear friends,
Lately I drove back to my hometown and all of a sudden, there were some inspiration, 
flashing out some sweet old memories during my stay in Penang. As a result, I wrote 
several articles on those matters.

The photo above taken when I was in Remove 4, 1974.

The above photo, taken in the year of 1979 when I was in Form 5 Science.

The above photo taken during our School Fun Fare Festival.

Today, the article I am going to share with you my secondary school where 
I spent six good years there, i.e. 1974 to 1979 ie. none other than Heng Ee 
High School. It is located on Hamilton Road in the George Town area and 
is relatively close to Penang Free School, one of the oldest schools in 
Penang and I don't think it needs any further elaboration. However, it does 
not apply to my school which does not have such a long historical 
background. As such, I will cover some of its unique story and hope you 
are enjoy reading it.
This school has its own uniqueness in the sense that its ground is divided into 
2 sections: one side comprises the school administrators' rooms, teachers' room, 
staff roomcafeteria, foyer, school hall, blocks of classrooms, computer rooms, 
living skills rooms, science laboratories and a football field while the another side 
comprises a small car parkbasketball courts and a volleyball court. This piece of 
idle land has been acquired subsequently for expansion of the school. It has been 
conveyed to us when I was studying there, but it had been acquired many years 
after I left the school.
When we talk about this school, one major component which cannot be omitted is 
its founder. I believe this great man should deserve more coverage as he had 
contributed significantly to our society and the school in particular. Do not forget 
that being a foreigner and establishing a Chinese School in a foreign country is 
definitely not an easy task. Thank God for his persistence and endurance 
throughout his journey of struggle.
Mr Goh Boon Poh is currently the principal of this school.

The photo, above, shown the front view of this school
The school was founded in 1957 by the late Datuk Father Arthur Julien, a Belgian 
missionary who arrived in Penang from China in 1952. He had also established the
Heng Ee Primary School and Heng Ee Kindergarten in 1952 and 1969 respectively.  
There is no surprise for him to be awarded a Datukship for his significant 
contribution to our society. Some of you may able to see that being a westerner 
and wanting to establish a Chinese school in a foreign country certainly impose a 
great challenge to him. He used to share with us the challenges he had gone through 
when we attended his classes once a week. I always salute him for what he had done, 
but he always attributed this values with the Chinese values, which I find lots of 
similarity. No wonder that he spent lots of his time to master Mandarin and he can 
speak even better mandarin than I do. I found him to have even a deep understanding 
of Mandarin and our cultural values. He made himself so humble that we could treat 
him as a friend, who always stand by to assist us in any way he could. I recalled that 
he even convince the headmaster at that time to allow us to make use of the classroom 
during the school break for our revision as he knows that majority of the students are 
from lower income group and many of us do not have proper place to study at home.
To reduce the consumption of electricity, he even offered us his room to smaller group 
of students who wish to come at night to study in the school. He always keeps the school 
expenses to a minimum as this school only received very minimum funding from the 
government despite it being designated as a national school. Most of the expenses are bored 
by public donations. The great man had impacted my life a lot .I always looked upon him in 
my life of struggle as well. It is truly blessed to know this great man at our young age 
despite me being  always a shy pupil, who chose to struggle silently than to share it out with 
others. I have only been transformed after I accepted Christ as my Savior.  
On my way back to Kuala Lumpur, I asked for the guard’s permission to enter the school 
compound and take the photo of the little statute resembling him standing at the open space 
between the school front and the other building.  Though he had gone, but his spirit of 
dedication  to serve the needy students are beyond words. I can vouch for him – being the 
man who walk  his talk - uses every possible means and assistance he can have to reach 
out to those students in need, regardless of race and social status. This made most of  us 
students feel proud of him.
I recalled a few of us have approached him to borrow the classroom for prepare for our 
school examination. His smiling face well indicated to us that he was more than happy to 
do so and truly understand our difficulty to study at home. I learnt that he also offered his 
room, at the school, to students who truly need a room to study which otherwise was not 
available at their own homes. He seemed to know every need of his students. He gave us 
all the necessary encouragement when we were saddled by unfortunate incidences. He 
always shows us the way and always standby to give the necessary encouragement that 
could cheer our hearts and souls. 
NO wonder that lots of us loved him very much and he gained our highest respect. 
Though he had gone, but his spirit and name will be always remembered. 
He was always very proud of this school, for being able to use Mandarin language as a 
medium to conduct classes here as he found that this language has lots of high values that 
need to be preserved. He used to describe all these values and cultivated them in our lives 
despite being a foreigner to us. We can sense that his love conquers all barriers and we are 
always looked upon him for such a cheerful spirit. He does not always look cheerful and 
energetic, but he was always willing to offer his hands to anyone who needs his assistance.
It was learnt that he contributed the entire heritage of 50,000 pounds he received from his 
father to this school. He can speak mandarin very well and he faced a great challenge when 
he initially raised funds to build these Chinese school from the Chinese community. Firstly 
people are doubtful of him for being Westerner and willing to build Chinese schools in foreign 
Thank God for his endurance throughout his challenging years and today his name will never 
be forgotten. Though the statue subsequently built after his death is no comparison to his 
contribution to this school, it will serve as a remembrance of his great work, He can be 
remembered as a model to the world at large.
Before we put an end to this article, we urge those who know about his life to contact us 
either via comments or email to or so 
that we can blog more about his life and his great contribution in the internet sphere. 
Thank you for your kind participation.

We look forward to hearing from you, 
Your Chief Servant,

James Oh
Founder and Group CEO

Skype me at james.oh18

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