MONDAY, APRIL 09, 2012 - 16:36
LIM LIAN GEOK, who passed away in 1985 at the age of 81, is honoured by educationists and activists of Chinese lineage as the â€śsoul of the Malaysian Chineseâ€ť.
The idea to have an association for his colleaguesâ€™ welfare arose from two incidents â€” the passing away of a Confucian School teacher leaving his family in destitute, and another teacher in Perak who chose suicide when in sickness, also leaving behind similar circumstances.Two years later, in 1951, the KLCSTA evolved into the United Chinese School Teachersâ€™ Association (UCSTA or better known as Jiao Zong. The other organisation is the United Chinese Schools Committees Association or better known as Dong Zong. When itâ€™s a joint endeavour they are credited as Dong Jiao Zong, or DJZ).In September 1951, Lian Geok was granted Malayan citizenship. He led by example to persuade his fellow settlers to switch loyalty from China to Malaya.He had to pay dearly for upholding the teaching of the â€śmother tongueâ€ť in the manner he thought appropriate.
Lian Geok first landed in Malaya in 1927, and till 1935, he taught in Perak, eastern Java, Klang, Kajang and even in his home district Yongchun. It was from October 1935 that he started teaching in Confucian Middle School in Kuala Lumpur, an association which lasted till August 1961. During this period, he declined the offer to be the headmaster on two separate occasions.
This was in a period when the teaching profession was truly revered and routinely referred to as the â€śnoble professionâ€ť. He could have thought it best not to be part of the school management since he decided to be deeply involved in the formation of the Kuala Lumpur Chinese School Teachersâ€™ Association (KLCSTA).Â
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