Tuesday, May 29, 2012

ABC Wed: T for turtle, terrapin, time and teachers

These two critters belong to my niece Chan Yu Yi and my friend Chinatsu's daughter Yilin in Singapore. They are lucky to have a cage/tank.

This post is dedicated to the memory of my friend and fellow teacher Mr. Lee Yew Hang.

Yew Hang joined my school when we were in our sixth form. I was an arts student and had been in the school since form 1. He was a science student, and we never talked. Partly because the Arts students and the science students didn't mix, and also they were in the new building. They were smart scientists, doctors, engineers to be and thought that we were stupid. We thought they were communists as most of them came from Chinese schools.

When I was 19, I went to teach in Kai Chung school in Binatang. Yew Hang was already teaching there, and he took care of me. He invited me to join him and another teacher Mr. Chieng to have our lunch in a restaurant cum coffee shop.

His desk was in front of me in the staff room.  A kid was playing with this terrapin and I commented how cute it was. He gave it to me and I was showing off the terrapin to Mr. Lee and boasted that my charm had cast a spell on the boy and he was besotted by me.

I had to go to class and I had no cage.  Stupidly, I thought, if I turn it upside down, it would not get away.  I left it on my desk.

Of course, when I came back, it was gone. I accusingly/jokingly asked Mr. Lee if he was jealous of me and had taken the terrapin away. He kept saying, you are so stupid. Of course it will run away. I argued, how could it turn itself over?

I looked all round for it, surely everyone knows that turtles and tortoises are very slow. The school was surrounded by a swamp. The walls did not go completely to the floor. The brave critter found it's freedom by crawling through the gap.

He left the school at the end of the year to be trained as a teacher, and I went to Canada. We never saw each other again, and I had never been back to the school since.

Whenever, I see a photo of a turtle, terrapin or tortiose, I think of Mr. Lee.

The sad thing is after I found many of these students on Facebook, I also found some sad facts. Mr Lee,  died a few year ago, he was just about 50.

These students in the photo, was it you who gave me the terrapin?



TexWisGirl said...

i remember you mentioning that memory of the turtle escaping from your desk in a comment on my blog.

they are cute little ones.

rainfield61 said...

Engineers are who spend all their times near engines.

That is not really smart.

Ginny Hartzler said...

If he loved logic so well, he should have appreciated your thoughts on why you turned it over. I had one of those as a kid, they do not last long as pets. And people can also get a disease from them. I am sorry that he died so very young.

magiceye said...

a beautiful Tribute

Reader Wil said...

A beautiful story, Ann! These tiny turtles or tortoises are stunning!
Wil, ABC Team

Carver said...

What a great story and good shots. Carver, ABC Wed. Team

Coloring Outside the Lines said...

Cute little guys, but I don't ever think of them as pets.

Penelope Postcards said...

The little turtle is such a beautiful emerald green color! Interesting story about how we can misunderstand the intentions of others. How sad the teacher passed away so young.

EJ said...

Such a cutie!

T is for ...
Hope to see you.

Chubskulit Rose said...

My son would definitely love that one!

T is for ...
Rose, ABC Wednesday Team

Black Jack's Carol said...

Very sad that Mr. Lee Yew Hang died so young. This was, in many ways, a beautiful story. As for the Terrapin, I must admit I am happy that it found its way to freedom.

Roger Owen Green said...

run free, reptile!

ROG, ABC Wednesday team

The Poet said...

Dear Ann,
A beautiful tribute indeed. You have a beautiful heart my friend. Thanks for sharing.

Suzy said...

A nice tribute Ann. cute terrapin.