By Aaron Lim and Foo Ming Lee
Every “Han Chiangite” will be proud and remember the Han Chiang Schools’ Centennial Celebration held at Han Chiang Primary School Hall on Jalan Lim Lean Teng, Penang, on Oct 10, 2019.
In fact, history was made because Han Chiang Primary School was founded by the Penang Teochew Association and the late Mr Lim Lean Teng at the Han Chiang Ancestral Temple, a century ago. Then, the school was located at the temple premises on Chulia Street.
The three Han Chiang education institutions comprising primary school, secondary school and university college commemorated 100 years of achievements.
Penang State Executive Councillor YB Chong Eng represented Chief Minister YAB Chow Kon Yeow as the main guest of honour. She was accompanied by the Executive Advisor of Penang Han Chiang Associated Chinese Schools Association Board of Directors Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Tan Kok Ping, JP, and Board Chairman Dato’ Seri Ooi Soo Hing.
Also present at the ceremony were Consul-General of the People’s Republic of China in Penang, His Excellency Mr Lu Shiwei, Bank of China Malaysia Deputy Governor, Mr Huang Lei, members of the Penang Han Chiang Associated Chinese Schools Association Board of Directors, representatives from the district education office, sister institutions, alumni association, parent-teacher association, staff and students from all three institutions.
YB Chong Eng in her speech congratulated the Han Chiang institutions for successfully integrating as a complete education hub from primary to tertiary level.
“The Penang state government has always provided assistance to independent Chinese schools, including giving Han Chiang University College of Communication (HCUC) a RM500,000 donation last year for development purposes,” she said.
She added that in a multi-cultural society like Malaysia, talents should be appreciated regardless of race and religion; and equal opportunities should be provided amongst males and females.
A beaming Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Tan Kok Ping quipped: “I am proud to see the three institutions (Primary School, High School, and University College) that have been well established over the years.”
Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Tan Kok Ping, who is also HCUC Chancellor, said it is a historical moment for Han Chiang to celebrate its 100 years in providing education.
He thanked the Board of Directors of the three institutions for managing the institutions well to mark such an achievement.
“I hope all three Han Chiang institutions will continue improving its syllabus and facilities and to meet with the expectations of the public towards education.”
Dato’ Seri Ooi Soo Hing rekindled memories of the past whilst he was studying at Han Chiang Primary School, and thanked the school’s forefathers for their foresight and dedication.
He also thanked the federal and state governments, together with Bank of China for their generous contributions towards the refurbishment of Han Chiang Primary School’s hall.
“It has always been Han Chiang’s guiding vision in providing quality education to all students, we hope to obtain cooperation from all parties as we move towards a brighter future,” he said.
Han Chiang Primary School principal Ms Lee Hong Choo said the school had embraced educational transformation and openness which enables it to become a model school for others to follow.
Earlier, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held to officially open the refurbished school hall of Han Chiang Primary School.
YB Chong Eng, Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Tan Kok Ping, Dato’ Seri Ooi Soo Hing, together with all guests of honour then witnessed the cake-cutting ceremony.
A commemorative plaque in celebration of Han Chiang’s centenary was unveiled together with a tree planting ceremony that symbolizes continuous growth.
Guests also had the opportunity to visit an exhibition featuring 100 years of Han Chiang’s historical images, facts and cultural relics.
Teamwork of teachers contributed towards school’s growth
Retired Han Chiang Primary School principal Madam Tan Hwa Hwa expressed her gratitude to all teachers and remarked that they have helped to improve the school’s quality and reputation.
“It is important for teachers to bond as a family, then only we can do the best for our students; and I salute our educators for their perseverance through all challenges faced,” she said.
Madam Tan, who has served the school from 1999 to 2015, remarked that her most memorable moments were the achievements of “High Performing School” and “Cluster School” awards in the year 2013 and 2015 respectively.
“The most fulfilling part of being an educator is when students still remember you even after you have retired, and this is what makes our job meaningful,” she quipped.
A wish for continuous progress
“28 years is a long time for some people, but to me it has helped in my personal growth as I strive to become a good educator.”
These were the words of Madam Yeo Shok Thin, a retired Chinese-language teacher of Han Chiang Primary School who was one of the longest serving teachers in the institution.
She said that her teaching experience in Han Chiang had enriched her life, and the many friendships and memories shared with fellow colleagues made the school her “second home.”
“I hope that the school will continue to grow in leaps and bounds without losing the touch of providing quality education towards the younger generation,” she said.
About 500 guests including Han Chiang alumni, some of whom came from overseas, students, deans, lecturers, teachers and staff filled the school hall to witness the occasion.
The day’s programme included a video presentation by HCUC on the history of Han Chiang and the three education institutions, a poem recitation, a short drama and an orchestra performance.
Also present at the ceremony were Han Chiang Primary School headmistress Ms Lee Hong Choo, Han Chiang High School principal Ms Kung Bee Lee, HCUC Vice Chancellor Dr Beh Kok Hooi, Deputy Vice Chancellors Professor Dr Teng Tjoon Tow, Ms Jenny Khoo Gim Hoon and Dr Ooi Bee Peng, HCUC Deans, lecturers, staff and students.