Ten years later

He was the first Ang Moh man I knew. He hailed from Britain. He was tall and blond, and had a toothy grin when he felt friendly. He was never late.

He loved to carry a black briefcase. He was always seen in a blue short-sleeved shirt and a tie, even in this humid weather. He had great posture. He was always sitting or standing straight. This might have resulted in his frequent backaches.

He hardly smiled, and seemed quite serious. You could always tell when Manchester United had lost a match by looking at his face. You did not want to annoy him on such ocassions. He was crazy about football.

He was able to make difficult concepts easy to understand, and he spoke in a manner which made me want to continue listening. He always made things interesting in his quiet, laidback way. He always sat down when he was talking. I think that’s due to his bad back.

We parted ways in 1996. I still have a picture I took with him. I heard he got married to a local girl and even converted to Islam. I have no idea if it’s hearsay or the truth.

I never imagined I would meet him again, but at the Plain English Speaking Competition (PESA), I saw his face as I turned around to check out the audience.

I did not recognise him immediately. He had aged. But who wouldn’t after so long? He had a few more wrinkles. His teeth were greyer than I remember, probably because of too much tea.

But that perfect posture, that blue short-sleeved shirt, that black briefcase, that nose-in-the-air look, were what gave him away. 

I remember feeling so enlightened after he had gone through A Midsummer Night’s Dream with us. I became crystal clear about the plot, the characters and their feelings. You need a good teacher to get you through Shakespeare, and I couldn’t have asked for more.

He joined Tanjong Katong Girls’ School in 1988 and stayed on for 15 years. At a time where not many schools employed expat teachers, it was refreshing for us girls to have a British teacher who spoke perfect English and made us understood Shakespeare without difficulty.

On Monday, it was just so odd to see us both as teachers, sitting below the stage, hoping the best for our respective students. It dawned on me then, that without his efforts, I would not been sitting here, 10 years later, cheering my own student on.

To Mr Brian Connor, my favourite English Literature teacher, thank you.  

Explore posts in the same categories: Education, Life

One Comment on “Ten years later”

  1. Desiree L Says:

    Mr Connor was my lit teacher too. I also participated in one of the TKGS musicals he directed. Reading your post brought back so many great memories. Thank you.

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