Saturday, April 27, 2013

Perak State

The days I spent in the St. John Ambulance Brigade in Ipoh from year 1962 till 1969 played an important role in the process of my up-growing from a young boy into adulthood.  The Venerable Order's motto "Pro Fide Pro Utilitate Hominum" or "For The Faith, For The Service of Mankind" had influenced me so much that I decided to become a Medical Assistant as my lifetime profession. 

Till today, I've no regret for been a member of the SJAB.  
The SJAB experiences, either sweet or bitter, often walk into my memory lane.

There was an incident that I couldn't forget till today. It happened one evening in the late 60's, I went to a new member's house. 

On arrival, I called his name.  Minutes later, his mother, whom I've met a few times before, walked out from the house. 

Being a single parent, she was tough and serious. She talked to me in a loud voice,"My son is not in."  

I thanked her and turned away, but then she shouted at me,"wait, I've something to talk to you."

I turned back, feeling very uneasy, almost in shock. 

She continued, "You know, my son was a bad boy. He was beyond control.  He used to shout at me and fought with me. He hide knife in his school bag, and he even attempted commit suicide once by jumping into a well." 

Her statements made me confused, but then she continued again,"I must thank you and all your other friends.  Since after he joined the SJAB and mixed around with all of you, he changed to be  a better boy now. I hope you all will keep on guiding him." 

I was relieved and answered her,"don't worry, aunty, we will do our best upon your request."

Years later, this member was promoted to the post of the Cadet Officer, and he continued guiding the new recruits to be useful citizens of the country.

 St. John Ambulance Malaysia, Perak State Headquarters

The Committee Rooms
The Shoulder Badge I was wearing
The Collar Badges

The buttons

The Ambulance, a VW combivan, used to ferry us for various first aid duties
We loved this old faithful, a 4wd Landrover,
My BFC4 card (front)
My BFC4 card (back)
My BF4 card (front)
My BF4 card (back)


I was a Remove Class student then. I joined the St John Ambulance Brigade, Ipoh, Perak as a Cadet Recruit attached to St Michael’s Institution, Ipoh.

Why I chose to be a member of the SJAB?  Honestly, I was really not interested to be a first aider then, but  it was compulsory for every student to join a uniform body in school. I had no choice, due to my poor family economy background, I picked up SJAB because it required the cheapest fee, i.e. 1 dollar a year for annual subscription.

Preliminary First Aid Certificate, all the way from London
SJAA Perak Silver Jubilee Badge
Passed the Preliminary First Aid examination on 1/11/1963. 
Took part in the Annual Inspection on 27/7/1963.

In order to be considered as an active member, I need to fulfill the following requirements:
-  Pass the First Aid examination (As above).
-  Attend Annual Inspection (As above).
-  Attend at least 12 instructional meeting.
-  Carry out Brigade obligations to the satisfaction of the Officers.

I met all the requirements and returned as an active member for the year.

Adult First Aid Certificate, also from London

Passed the Adult First Aid examination on 30/7/1964.
Took part in the Annual Inspection on 20/9/1964.

Actively participated in activities like first aid duties, annual flag day etc.
Attended Flag Signaling training and passed the exam in July. This happened to be my first proficiency badge.

A trip to Taiping  was organised. Led by Mr. Khoo Kay Hock, SMI teacher, and the Divisional Officer, Mr. Tan Eng Khan, we traveled by train, lodged at the St. Georges Primary School, and hike up the Maxwell Hill.

Group photo at the railway station

Fun time at the St Georges Primary School
At the Taiping lake Garden
Another photo at the Taiping Lake Garden. 
First from right is Mr. Khoo Kay Hock 


Front, from left, Koo Hock Fee (team leader), Wong Poh Weng
Back, from left, Lee Keen Seong, Lim Jit Choong

Our achievement
The First Aid Competition Winning team. Seated from left to right, Chan Hon Wah, Mr. Jeffrey Yeo, Mr. Padmanabhan, Rev. Bro. U. Paul, Director of SMI, Mr. Lim Guan Choe, Area Commissioner, Rev. Bro. Lawrence, Mr. Tan Eng Kan, Koo Hock Fee
Passed the Adult First Aid re-examination on 16/9/1965.
Took part in the Annual Inspection on 11/9/1965.
Promoted to Cadet Corporal.

This was an active year for me.  Besides the normal duties, I was picked by NCO Master Chin Hang Kong to take part in the Perak First Aid Competition which was held on 25 July at the SJAB Headquarters. Koo Hock Fee was our team leader. Other team members included Khor Tong Yee, Lim Jit Choong and Wong Poh Weng.   We emerged as winner in the ‘uniform and foot drill’, and runner-up for ‘team test’.

Attended Fire Fighting course conducted at the Fire Department located in Brewster Road.  Passed the Fire Fighting examination in July.

Annual Incpection
Saluting Dato' Dr. Hj. Megat Khas, District Commissioner
Passed the Adult First Aid re-examination on 10/11/1966.
Took part in the Annual Inspection on 25/9/1966.
Promoted to Cadet Sergeant..
Attended 5th Federal Cadet Camp from 14-18 April in Teluk Bahang, Penang

As per Perak First Aid Competition, this was the most disappointing year  for me. It was held on 12th June.  Our team only bagged the ‘uniform and foot drill’ trophy.  We lost the ‘team test’ to another team from SMI led by Lawrence Fong Kee Yee.  His other team members included Cheong Yip Choon, Loh Chee Seng, Dominic Soong, Goh Eng Kong.  Whatever it was, this competition had made our school proud by winning all events in the Ambulance Adult and Ambulance Cadet sections.
Uniform & Foot-drill winning shield

This picture was taken at the Kuala Lumpur Lake Garden
We were attending the National First Aid Competition then.
The person sat infront with Spectacle was Cheong Yip Choon,
while at the centre,Simon Lim was looking at the camera.

5th National Cadet Camp in Pulau Pinang totally changed my life in the SJAB.
From the camp, I learnt that there were actually so many wonderful things that we can do and work towards, like the Grand Prior’s Badge and Proficiency Badges. Sorry to say that, in Ipoh particularly, there was no effective Cadet Officer to lead and run the Cadet activities. If not because of the camp, we would never know that we could be awarded with Service Stripes and Service Stars, and also to hold the post of the Cadet Leader.
The camp was held in Teluk Bahang, Penang.

We went up to Penang Hill before the camp commenced.

Met Lim Kar Keng from Taiping
and also Swee Jin from Trengganu
Certificate of attendance for the 5th Federal Cadet Camp

Back from the camp, we got ourselves organized.  With the help of the school Scout Masters, Mr. Thomas Choo and Mr. Timothy Chee, we managed to conduct Cadet Proficiency Test on Cycling, Map Reading, Signalling etc.

Flag signalling practice
Another training session
The compass I used for the Map Reading Proficiency test.
I bought it in one of the bookshop at Theatre Street.
We organized an Ipoh Area Campfire at the SJAB HQ.  This was a big event.  Many members from various schools participated.  The event was officiated by Mr. Lim Guan Choe, the Area Commissioner of Perak State.  During the opening ceremony, I was awarded with 1 Service Star and 1 Service Stripe.  My proudest moment came when my name was announced  and went up to the stage to receive the Cadet Leader's Stripe from Mr. Lim Guan Choo.  I was promoted to the rank of the Cadet Leader, the first Cadet to hold this rank in Perak State.

Mr. Lim Guan Choe, Area Commissioner of SJAM Perak, officiated the Campfire
Certificate of Attendance for the Cadet Campfire
Abstract from the school magazine.
It was documented that I was the first Cadet Leader of the SJAB Perak State.


Passed the Adult First Aid re-examination on 10/9/1967.
Passed the Adult Home Nursing Certificate on 18/9/1967.
Took part in the Annual Inspection on 5/11/1967.

1st term school holidays, we successfully organized a Cadet Camp at the SJAB Headquarters.
It was officially opened by Rev. Brother Vincent.

Waiting for the arrival of Rev. Brother Vincent

NCOs led by Div. Officer Chan Hon Wah.
NCOs from left, Fok Poon Yee, Tham Chee Phing, Lee Keen Seong, Koo Hock Fee, Mah Kim.

Rev. Brother Vincent, accompanied by Mr. Lim Guan Choo, Perak Area Commissioner, did the inspection.

Took part in the Perak State First Aid Competition, Ambulance Adult Section.  Credit to be given to our team leader, Koo Hock Fee.

The winning shields
Koo Hock Fee was in Form 4 then.  Other team members were all senior to him.  They were Peter Loh Chee Chew (Form 5), myself (Form 5), and Ng Chee Ming (Lower Six).  With his capability and super efficient leadership, we swept all events’ winning prizes, which include the ‘Team Test’, ‘Uniform and Foot-drill’.  Besides, Koo Hock Fee was the winner for the ‘Individual Test’, while I took the 2nd place. Unfortunately for that year, there was no National First Aid competition, so I  missed the chance again to compete with teams from other States.

During the Annual Inspection Day, our competition-team performed a sketch.
From left, Koo Hock Fee, myself, Loh Chee Chew. 

In school, I was put to in-charge of Ambulance Cadet Division 13.  The members of this Division were all Form 2 students.  Our Divisional Officer was Mr. Chin Hang Kong, while Tham Chee Phing hold the Sergeant's post.

A/C Div. 13 had 28 Cadet members. They grouped themselves into 3 different squad as follow:
1.  Hawk Squad (Squad leader Lee Shin Fatt)  -  8 members
2.  Fireball Squad (Sqoad leader Lok Ooi Choy)  -  10 members
3.  Phantom Squad (Squad leader Tan Keng Boon)  -  10 members

The Squad leaders had done their job very well. Cadet Tan Keng Boon, with a total of 74 duty hours, returned as the member with most duty hours for the said year.

Cadet Lok Ooi Choy was awarded as the 'member with best attendance'. He only absented once with excuse for the weekly meetings.

A/C Div 13 was a very active Division. The members show high spirit and enthusiasm in performing the SJAB duties.  Besides weekly foot-drill and first aid training, other activities were organised or participated as  follow:

-  Gaining the Proficiency badges:
1.  Cooking  -  2 members passed
2.  Handyman  -  7 members passed
3.  Signalling  -  9 members passed
4.  Knowledge of the Order  -  13 members passed
5.  Handicraft  -  5 members passed
6.  Home Nursing  -  1 member passed

-  Attended the Cadet camp from 9th to 12th April

-  Inter-squad table tennis tournament on the 7th June. Single winner went to Cadet Lok Ooi Choy, while Cadet Goh Eng Leong and Cadet Khong Leng Cheng (Fireball Squad) emerged as winner for Double.

-  A/C Division 13 was the champion team for the Inter-Division Table Tennis Tournament which was held on 8th July.

-  Cadet Lok Ooi Choy, Cadet Khong Leng Cheng, Cadet Tan Chee Hin, Cadet Tan Ting Fong, Cadet Yong Thiam Choy took part in the 12th Perak First Aid Competition.  They took the first place in the Uniform and Footdrill test. A celebration for this success was held at the Kwong Chou Restaurant.

-  Participated in Barbecue night organised by the SJAB members of the Tarcisian Convent School.

-  Attended the Moon-Cake Festival Night organised by the SJAB members of the Seri Kepayang School.

-  With the help of few of my classmates, we hiked up the Kledang Hill on 31th July.
A hike to Kledang Hill

My classmates
-  Most members received their Service Stripe that year.

-  Inter Cadet Division Badminton Tournament  which was held on 11th April, Cadet Tan Keng Boon won the single title, while together with Cadet Goh Eng Leong, they also won the Double title. 

-  Some members went to Batu Gajah to help in flood relief work.

The Ambulance Cadet Division 13 published a REVIEW
Home Nursing Certificate


Passed the Adult First Aid re-examination on 11/8/1968.
Passed the Lay Lecturer Nursing Certificate in May 1968
Took part in the Annual Inspection on 15/9/1968.

.After completing my Secondary education, I left St. Michael's Institution.  However, I was still actively involved with the activities of the SJAB.  Instead of confiding my area of activities in SMI, I could then mix around freely with other Divisions.

Labrooy Road School formed SJAB that year. I was appointed as the Divisional Officer for the all new Ambulance Cadet Division.  The experience here was so different.  A lot of hard work had to put in in-order to excel them.  I succeeded in making them qualified first-aiders. The members were also actively involved themselves with Proficiency Badges.
Group photo with the Labrooy Road School Headmaster and  teacher in-charge of SJAB
Besides First Aid, Labrooy Road School Cadet members were also well trained in Flag Signalling
I sat for the Home Nursing re-examination and passed, then I proceeded with the Home Nursing Lay Lecturers Course.  After passing the examination, I was appointed as one of the Home Nursing Lay Lecturer in May.
Home Nursing Re-examination Certificate
Nursing Lay-lecturer appointment certificate
Attended the 1st National Cadet Officers Training Course in SM Teknik Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra, Penang from 23rd to 27th April, 1968.  Team leader for Ipoh Officers was Mr. Lai, Divisional Superintendent from Seri Kepayang Boy School.  At the end of the course, an examination was conducted, and I passed.
Officers from Ipoh had a group photo taken during the course
Photo with the SJAB Penang Deputy Area Commissioner.
I bought this pencil during the course as souvenir
and this exercise book too

Passed the Adult First Aid re-examination on 11/4/1969.
No Annual Inspection due to Emergency.
Study leave as from 22/9/1969.

 Signalling Competition was organised

Organising committee, panel judges, and some of the participants
5th from left, Mr. Thomas Choo, Mr. Timothy Chee, both were Scout Masters from SMI
Another photo
As I mentioned, since after leaving school in 1967, I mixed well with SJAB members from other Divisions too.
With Loh Leong Pin from Yuk Choy School Division
This First Aid competition team from Yuk Choy School Division was trained by me.
With Nursing members from Seri Kepayang Girls School

Taken during the Flag Signalling Competition.

I like this group of Cadet members from Seri Kepayang Boy School
Nursing members from Perak Girls School
Wai Yee from PGS 
Seated from right, Mr. Teh Chin Seong, Mr. Wong Cheak Yin
I received the employment letter for the post of Trainee Hospital Assistant in Penang General Hospital. With a heavy heart, I bid farewell to all my SJAB friends, and left for Penang on the 21st September, 1969.

I took a year study leave.

Off and on, I'll go back to Ipoh to attend certain functions, like attending Chegu Zainal's wedding 
Wedding ceremony of Chegu Zainal.  He was in full SJAB ceremonial outfit 
Back to Ipoh to attend a dinner.

Coincide with the new St. John Ambulance Malaysia Act tabled in the Parliament, there was a heated discussion and argument on the topic of whether to merge with the Red Cross Society or to change the name of the SJAM.
Certificate of attendance for the Perak SJAB Officers Course

Grand Prior’s Badge.

Grand Prior's Badge was the highest award for the Cadet members. I had worked very hard for that.

By right, I should be the first person in Perak to be awarded with the Grand Prior’s Badge, because I had fulfilled all the requirement and gained Proficiency Badges as follow:

1          25-7-1964      Signalling
2          27-7-1965      Fire Fighting
3          17-4-1966      Knowledge of the Order
4          4-9-1966        Cycling
5          15-6-1966      Map Reading
6          24-12-1966    Interpretership
7          18-1-1967      Handyman
8          14-9-1967      Handicraft
9          18-9-1967      Home Nursing          

10        6-1-1967        Nutrition and Cooking
11        1968               Camping
12        1968               Citizenship

Certificates for item 10 to 12 did not come to me. I was very unhappy over this.  It created a lot of misunderstandings and arguments between me and the person working at the Perak HQ.

Flag Signalling

Fire Fighting
Knowledge of the Order
Map Reading
Photography Section

I was also actively involved with the Photography Section of the SJAB.  This section was open to members who were interested with photography. A darkroom was set up at the back portion of the HQ building for members to develop and print photos.
The group was led by Chegu Zainal. I was sitting on his right.
Photo with Chegu Zainal, our section head, our idol
We went outing
To an ex-mining pool in Bercham
To the Japanese Garden. See the type of camera we used?
Occasionally had dinner together.
Mr. Woo Keong Seng, our sifu (master)
In action
Good friends, good company
Some of our work
Our creative work
Another work piece
Pretty pair of members from PGS
The following were some of our work:
The Ipoh Airport

The oldest mosque right at the centre of Ipoh City

Hugh Low Street Bridge 
Bridge across the Kinta River
Bridge at the Coronation Park
Coronation Park, later rename as D R Seenivasagam Park
Fountain at the Old Town.  I think it's no longer there.

Fountain in front of the Railway Station
Monument in front of the Railway Station
The Railway Station.

The Municipal Car Park
The Clock Tower, unforgettable rhythm of the "Chime"


Kevin Peter said...

Dear Mr. Lee,
My name is Kevin Peter. I am an officer of St John Ambulance from the State of Perak.

Was surfing the net and came across your blog.

I am very impressed with your recollections and detailed information of your life in SJAB.

There are so many historical information, artifacts and photographs kept and documented very well.

Truly you have a remarkable story and I wish to share it with our members and officers in Perak. Hope you won't mind if I link you page to our FB Page. Thank you

Kevin (

Lee Keen Seong said...

Sorry for the very late reply. No problem for me,just share it.

Lee Keen Seong said...

Sorry for the very late reply. No problem for me,just share it.