Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Westlands Road, Penang

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Westlands Road(卫斯兰路)is the road connected Jalan Anson or Anson Road and Jalan Padang Victoria (Victoria Green Road)just in front of the Westlands School field). Victoria Green Road was named after Victoria Green, the grounds of Chinese Recreation Club(CRC) which boast a statue of Queen Victoria there.The side road connected to it are Khaw Sim Bee Road and Pykett Avenue. Westlands Road is mainly Residential area, but lately there are some offices opened in the area. It is not a busy street, mainly used by parents or school buses sending students to Pykett Methodist Primary School and Westlands Secondary School.

The side roads of Victoria Green Road are Jalan Mandalay, Jalan immigration, Jalan Loh Boon Siew. At the T junction of Jalan Mandalay is the entrance gate of the Westlands Primary School. Jalan Loh Boon Siew is named after the famous Penang tycoon, or popular known as Honda King who introduced Honda motorcycle to Malaysia. Jalan Mandalay was named after Burmese city, in fact many of the side street around the area are named after Burmese towns. Jalan immigration was probably named due to the government quarters there.

Westlands Road ; Westlands Schools

Why it is called Westlands Road? Is it named after the name of a person or place or a school? or is it because it is located at the west side of Georgetown?

Westlands is a suburban area and ward in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire. The name Westland or Westlands may refer to an area in Newcastle-under-Lyme , Staffordshire or Westlands of Hereford and Worcester.

Is it named after Westlands Primary School, the school with the same name, from other country? If yes,then why the school is named afer Westlands? There is a school, Westlands Primary school, Ostend Place, Westlands, Newcastle under Lyme, Staffordshire ST5 2QY(http://www.westlands.ik.org/) or Westlands Primary School in Nairobi?.

From the Kelly Map in the year 1893, the area was called Westlands already there. There was also bungalow called Westlands Bungalow or Westlands House. The vast area opposite today's Pykett School may be called “Westlands” in the old days . Obviously the Westlands School is later named after the name of the area. Noticed “Westlands Road” is still not built yet and the area was only with few bungalows, the rows of houses along Westlands Road is not constructed yet. This proved that the area may be named Westlands, even before the building of the Westlands Road and Westlands School.  The  road and the school(Westlands School ) are  probably named after the place, called Westlands.
Historically there was three schools with the name of the Westlands:-

1. Westlands Primary School(1921/1922?), now closed
2. Westlands Secondary School(1957), located at No.3, Jalan Khaw Sim Bee,Penang.
3. Sekolah Menengah Lanjutan Westland, which together with Sekolah Menengah Lanjutan Georgetown, Sekolah Menengah Lanjutan Tanjong, Sekolah Menengah Lanjutan MaCalister, Sekolah Menengah Lanjutan Jalan Kelawei and Sekolah Menengah Lanjutan Glugor to form a new lower secondary school on 11th January 1965, the name of the school is Scotland Road Secondary School, named after the road nearby. The first headmaster was Mr. Lim San Hoe who was transferred from Westland Secondary School on 1st January 1965. It was later renamed Haji Zainal Abidin Secondary School, named after a teacher.

Westlands Road built before the war

1945 .. Bishop Edwin Ferdinand Lee moved  ACS Primary School (Standards 1-6) to the Suffolk House while the Secondary section stayed at Westlands Road with the intention of providing the upper forms with more adequate facilities.(source: MBS history) In 1953 the present MBS building at Ayer Itam Road was put up. It was then decided to have a separate building for the secondary school. Thus the secondary section was named MBS and the Primary Section Pykett Methodist School(source: history of MBS, wikipedia) This revealed that the Westland Road existed before the war. It is probably built after Westlands Primary School.

Westlands Primary School(1921/1922?)

Westland primary School,Penang was a pre war school, before the Japanese occupation during the world war II(1942-1946). Westlands School is an elementary English School for boys; an "English" school in Malaya(Oversea education: a journal of educational experiment and research in tropical and sub-tropical areas, Volumes 17-18, Great Britain. Colonial Office, Great Britain. Dept. of Technical Co-operation, Oxford Univ. Press., 1947). It was a Westland Government Feeder School – Primary class 1 & 2 up to Vii, VIII. 480 boys and 16 teachers.

In Penang, the Northam Road School was opened in 1922 with 12 teachers (Wolff 1923,208)Is it Wellesley school?. The Hillview Government School was opened the following year(1923) (Volues 1998, 321). Farquhar Street English School was opened in 1926 (Winstedt 1927) Is it Hutching school?. The High School, Bukit Mertajam, was opened in 1927 with an enrolment of 327 (Winstedt 1928, 164).

In the list of Government English boys’schools in the Straits Settlements in 1921 and 1938, Westland School Penang was in the list, but date of establishment was NA. In 1921, there was no report of enrolment, but in 1938 it was with enrolment of 318. Hutching school(1928), Francis Light school(1930), Wellesley school(NA), Free school(1816), BM High School(1927) was in the list. That means Westland School, which was primary school should be established before 1938…..(source: The beginning and development of English boys’ and girls’ schools and school libraries in the Straits Settlements, 1786-1941, by Lim Peng Han, Malaysian Journal of Library & Information Science, Vol.14, no.1 April 2009: 57-81.)

In 1938 there were six Government English Boys’ Schools in Penang (Appendix C). Westlands school was one of the 6 English schools. In Nov 1946, there was only 7 government English schools, 5 mission schools, 122 Chinese schools, 98 Malay schools, 34 Indian schools(source: Federation of Malaya and Colony of Singapore: UNESCO post-war education survey, 1948)

From an organizational point of view, English schools were divided into two types: the feeder system and the combined school system. In general the government preferred the feeder system as it was the solution to the problem of providing, within a limited supply of more highly qualified staff, for the increasing demand of English education in the rapidly growing towns (Wong 1966, 471). Wong (1966) also reported that a universal combined school system would involve many small and thus expensive secondary schools. The Lasallians Christian Brother schools opted for the combined school system where the pupils could study continuously in one combined school throughout their school life. They took into consideration the fact that in such a system the friction in progress from primary to secondary classes would be minimized. These schools were professedly Catholic, and as the general education goes hand in hand with religious instruction, the combined system was essential (Wong 1966, 471). together with new subsidiary schools like the Westlands and the Francis Light, it acts as a feeder to the Senior Free School. Boys from feeder schools like Hutchings, Westlands, and Francis Light, had to take a series of examinations to go to Penang Free School.

During the war(1942-1946), Japanese classes was conducted in Westlands School.

Westland Primary School now become Pusat Kecemerlangan Sukan Westland, after its poor enrolment. Westlands primary school now only exist in history.

Is Hill View School, Westlands School?

"My first school was Hillview, which stood next to the Wesley Church, at the corner of Clove Hall Road. One of my classmates was Eu Cheow Chye (who went on to Raffles College and was appointed a magistrate in Singapore. see Note)). Cheow Chye lived on the other side of Burmah Road. That was before the government quarters were built some time in 1926.(source: Lim Teong Beng remembers, http://www.theooifamily.com/ThePenangfileb/apr-2007/people52.htm)". Can hillview be Westlands School? it probably not. Can it be Pykett Methodist School, it may not be? Where is the school now?.

From the above, Westlands Primary School was formerly called Westlands School in colonial days prior to the WW2, may be built at least before 1938 or earlier. But more confirmatively 1921, as it had been reported in Strait Settlement report in 1921, even though no student enrollment reported in 1921. It may be started enrollment in the next year , 1922.

Westlands Secondary School(1957)

The school was formed in January 1957, before independent of Malaya. It was with humble beginning of 4 classes of Form one, and two Form 2 vocational classes from Francis Light School. It was initially looked after by the headmaster of Westlands primary school, Mr Hooi Yip Hoong. It was later taking over by the first headmaster, Mr A William, an Australian, still in 1957. Mr Ooi Khay Bian, a senior teacher from Penang Free School, took over as Headmaster most probably after independence in the same year. Mr Ooi Khay Bian was a graduate from Hong Kong University under Colombo Plan scholarship. He graduated in BA(double majors in English and Mathematics) in 1925.
The initial aim for the school was to serve as a vocational school. But after independence when the standardized syllabus was adopted, it no longer served as vocational school but became a lower secondary school. In 1960 it was a complete secondary school when Form 4 class was started. The school was not able to function under normal conditions, as Continuation class under Sekolah Menengah Lanjutan Westland was using the school premise in the afternoon. The school was also the center for the 10 further education class which started class from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., which was formed in 1958 but it was later moved to Georgetown Secondary School in 1963. In 1964 it become a English school and a boy school.In 1967, the school however become a lower secodary school with student enrollment of 1,300 pupils. The school started Form 4 class again in 1969, it again become a complete secondary school until today.

The surrounding area
Wesley Church mulling over developer proposals

GEORGE TOWN: The Wesley Methodist Church, which owns the 4-acre site where the Pykett Methodist Boys’ School sits along Burma Road, is considering several proposals from local and Kuala Lumpur-based property developers that are keen to buy the land at RM300 per sq ft.

StarBiz learnt that a major player in the high-end residential property market has proposed to build a new Pykett Methodist School at the site, including a car park for the school, together with condominiums and retail lots.

Another well-known developer on the island has proposed to build a new Pykett Methodist School at a different site owned by the developer.

“The developer will also build some properties for the Methodist Church so that it can generate long-term revenue. In return, the developer gets to develop certain portions of the land to offset the construction cost of the school and other properties for the land owner. The cost of the school and car park will be used to offset the selling price of the land,” the sources said.

Another developer, which has made a bid to purchase the land, said the price of RM300 per sq ft was on the high side.

“Land in the area is priced around RM200 to RM250 per sq ft. At present, the site is gazetted as institutional land and needs to be converted for other usage. The commercial enhancement value charge, for example, is about 50% of the incremental value of the land, based on the difference between the selling price when it was first valued and what it is worth today. The other factor that needs to be considered is that the developer can apply to build up to 30 units per acre on this site,” the developer said.

When contacted, an Eastern & Oriental Bhd spokesman said that the group had not bid for the land.

Due to the shortage of land on the island, the area around Pykett Methodist Boys’ School has become a popular site for new residential projects.

For example, Mah Sing Group Bhd will be launching Icon Residence early next year, which is located at the crossroads of Burmah Road and Anson Road – a stone’s throw from Pykett Methodist Boys’ School. The condominium project has an estimated gross sales value of over RM200mil.
(source : The Star ,Tuesday October 19, 2010)

If Methodist Church is to sell the land, I suggested that the Methodist ask for the land to build one Chinese secondary school at Sungai Ara area, there is no Chinese secondary school in the area. It can serve the students from Batu Maung, Teluk Kumbar, Bayan Lepas, Sungai Ara, Relau areas. You can called it Methodist Chinese School or Pykett Chinese School or Anglo Chinese School(the original name). As the pioneer spirit of Rev Pykett is for mission schools, government primary school can still be financed and sponsored by the government, but for a Chinese secondary school, it still require the support of private sector, and to build a Chinese secondary school will be inline with the mission.

Chinese Recreation Club or CRC(since 1892)
 CRC is not located at Westlands Road, but Padang Victoria Road.

The CRC was the most prestigious club of the Chinese and was born out of love of football in 1892. 'BROOKE BOND'S TEA',was the meeting place of a group of Chinese footballers who played at the Esplanade Field or Padang, before they formed the Chinese Recreation Club The Chinese wanted a recreation club in the class of the Penang Sports Club, the Penang Club and the Penang Swimming Club, all European enclaves. The Chinese Recreation Club was found on 2-12-1892, exempted from registration. It was formed under the trusteeship of Cheah Tek Thye, Khaw Joo Tok, Chung Thye Phin,Lim Kek Chuan, lim Eow Hong,Lim Cheng Teik, Yeoh Wee Gaik, Cheah Choon Seng, Ho Tiang Wan, Tan Kang Hock, all of them were the prominent Fujian and Kwangdong community leaders at that time. They were the English educated Penang Baba or Strait Chinese, unlike Malacca Baba, Penang Baba were in general, Chinese speaking (mainly Hokkien) while the Melaka Baba spoke their own form of Malay. In the article "History of the Chinese Recreation Club Penang 1892-1952" by Toh Hooi Choon, mention of Kassim Merican, who was one of the founders of the Club, he was the only non-Chinese member(source: The Merican clan: a story of courage and destiny, by Ragayah, Ragayah Eusoff, published by Times Books International, 1997) .
Chinese Recreation Club History (by Timothy Tye)
Chinese Recreation Club, or CRC, was formed by a group of Chinese who were very much into football. They would meet at Foo Tye Sin Mansion, the home of local Chinese tycoon, to play football in the Esplanade field. However, they faced a problem in that the field was already occupied by two existing sports club - the Penang Sports Club, which is open only to whites, and the Penang Recreation Club, which admits Eurasians. Neither allowed Chinese in. Furthermore, the Penang Club and the Penang Swimming Club also prohibit membership from the locals.
As they did not feel welcome to use the Esplanade field, the team moved to Lake Villa, at 351 Jalan Perak, which is across the road from the Kem Tentera of Lebuhraya Peel. Lake Villa, as its name suggests, had a lake, which means many a time balls had to be fished out of the water. In 1903, the five main Hokkien clan associations - the Khoo, the Lim, the Tan, the Cheah and the Yeoh - got together and resolved that they need to buy land to establish their own sporting club. Looking within the vicinity of Lake Villa , they found three adjoining plots of land along Jalan Pangkor. The land totalled 278,547 sq ft (six and a half acres) and was purchased for $4,600, a huge sum in those days. An additional 11,000 sq feet along Jalan Burma was added in 1913. Trustees of the deed dating to 1906 count among them the pillars of Chinese high society of those days, among them, in alphabetical order, Cheah Choon Seng, Cheah Tek Thye, Chung Thye Phin (the Kapitan China who built Relau Villa), Ho tiang Wah, Khaw Joo Tock, Lim Cheng Teik, Lim Eow Hong and Tan Kang Hock. The members, who considered themselves "the Queen'sChinese", and wanting to show their loyalty to the British, decided to call the field "Victoria Green". The club itself was called the "Penang Chinese Recreation Club".

Originally, the clubhouse was a bungalow called Eastbourne which stood on the plot when it was bought. By the 1920's Eastbourne was already in a dilapidated state, so the club decided that they should build a new clubhouse. A fund raising campaign managed to collect $100,000 for the clubhouse. It was designed in the Victorian style and was completed in 1931.

The Second World War brought great misery to Penang, and the Chinese Recreation Club was not spared. After Allied bombing destroyed the Penang Road Police Headquarters, the Japanese took over the premises of CRC as the broadcasting station. The Japanese burned the books, tore up papers, documents and photographs belong to the club, and even removed the fence for use as scrap metal.

When the British returned in 1945, the CRC found themselves with a new "tenant" as the British Military Administration took possession of the broadcasting station left by the Japanese. It was only at the end of 1945, on 22 December, that the CRC committee got to hold their meeting again. The club had to try repeatedly to repossess their premises from the British, who returned to them bit by bit. Another seven years who pass before the British relinquished the whole premises of CRC back to the club members. However, they refused to pay for repairs and damages, even for places that were used by them.

In the 1950's, the CRC excelled in sports particularly tennis and football. However the independence of Malaya in 1957 caused it to face competition from the Penang Sports Club, which now open to locals. Between the late 1940's to the 1960's, the CRC was frequently in dire straits. In 1960, the club committee even had to resort to putting up slot machines at its premises.

Today the CRC continues to function as a membership-based sports club. At the corner of Victoria Green facing the junction of Jalan Burma and Jalan Pangkor is the Queen Victoria Memorial Statue.

(source: By Timothy Tye, Penang Travel Tips, www.penang-traveltips.com/chinese-recreation-club.htm)

Related articles:-
1. What Makes A School Great; http://leekumtatt.blogspot.com/2007/10/what-makes-school-great.html(That was a mention on Westlands Secondary school's first Asian Headmaster, Mr Mr Ooi Khay Bian)
2, It Runs in the Family; http://www.hku.hk/convocat/newsletter/web_0202/07_Pg23-30.pdf
3. The beginning and development of English boys’ and girls’ schools and school libraries in the Straits Settlements, 1786-1941, by Lim Peng Han

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