This is a painstakingly researched and comprehensively written historical account of the Infant Jesus Sisters’ endeavours in bringing English-medium education to Malaya transitioning into Malaysia. It also tells the story of the fateful establishment of the author’s alma mater – St. Anne’s Convent Kulim, a small town school opened during uncertain and harsh times of World War II. Contained in 400-pages, they reveal the epic – in words and pictures – of endurance and perseverance of the French nuns who embarked on their maiden mission to the far east in 1852. Their education crusade continued into late 20th century, bringing well-learnt lessons to girls growing into adulthood during and, for a while after, British-influence and colonial periods.
It was with sadness that these intrepid sisters had to retreat from their own schools when these were nationalised under different governance. Nevertheless, they left behind an impressive legacy of producing a significant number of English educated women participating in the country’s advancements into developing status from a backward one before and during the early part of British rule.
The author also shares her own experiences studying in the 1960s and 1970s, a period of radical change to the convent schools post-independence, which heralded an imminent end to the reign of the nuns and English-medium instruction in their own schools.
Lessons From My School: A memoir of Malaysia’s missions schools (Free Malaysia Today, 14 Nov 2019)