St. George's Girls School is 125 years old!

The school and the SGGS Alumni are co-organising a 125th Anniversary dinner on

10 October 2010
at Bayview Beach Resort, Batu Feringgi, Penang.

Areca Books will be publishing a limited-edition 125th Anniversary Souvenir Album. If you, your mother or grandma are SGGS alumni, and you have any old photos from your schooldays, please contribute to this Souvenir Album!

Please share your photos, stories and memories with us at:



Her Royal Highness the Raja Permaisuri of Perak, Tuanku Bainun was born in Penang. Her Royal Highness received her early education at the St.George's School, Pulau Pinang, and was selected to further her studies at the prestigious Teacher's Training College, Kirkby, England from 1952 to 1954.

A year after returning from England, Her Royal Highness the Raja Permaisuri married His Royal Highness Sultan Azlan Muhibbuddin Shah. His Royal Highness was then a Magistrate in Kuala Lumpur, while Her Royal Highness was teaching at her former school.  Her Royal Highness has taught in various schools in Kuala Lumpur, Seremban, Raub, Taiping and Kuantan. Her Royal Highness was proclaimed the Raja Permaisuri Perak Darul Ridzuan on February 19, 1988 in a historic ceremony at Istana Kinta in Ipoh. His Royal Highness Sultan Azlan Shah was selected as the ninth Yang di-Pertuan Agong and during the Oath Taking and Signing Ceremony on April 26, 1989, Her Royal Highness was proclaimed Raja Permaisuri Agong.
Lim Beng Hong @ Mrs B.H. Oon

Oon Beng Hong, better known as Mrs. Oon, was the first Chinese woman to be called to the English bar in 1926. She returned to Penang and opened up practice as Lim & Lim, Advocates & Solicitors. Her legal career lasted 50 years.

She was said to be a courageous, singular minded person and as Defence Counsel in the Emergency, she was said to have traveled around in Malaya without escort in the process of duty. She was a founder member of the Old Girls Association of St. George's Girls School and the Malayan Chinese Association.

In 1949, she was appointed a Federal Legislative Councillor and in 1951 was awarded the Order of the British Empire for her public services.

She served as member of the Butterworth Town Council from 1954-56.

In 1971, she became the first President of the International Federation of Women Lawyers with H.Q. in New York, which was a great honour to the legal profession.
She was awarded the Pingat Tun Fatimah in 1974.

The older generation of Malaysians will remember how she unwittingly caused the famous Craven 'A' boycott over a 'clash' with an executive of Craven 'A'. The news media was so good, in the absence of interesting news, and the Chinese were so supportive of a lady lawyer, that the Craven 'A' business was affected.

Historical Personalities of Penang, 1986, page 128.

Datin Alicia Tiah

Datin Alicia Tiah is the co-founder of TA Enterprise Berhad. She attended the University of Malaya upon graduating from SGGS and holds a Bachelor of Economics (Honours) Degree and a Post Graduate Diploma in Accounting. In the 1990s, she revolutionized the stock broking business of TA Enterprise Berhad by creating a specific back office IT system that provide its remisiers and clients with a platform to trade with greater accuracy and efficiency. Datin Alicia was the Ernst & Young Women Entrepreneur for the year 2007. On her personal time, Datin Alicia likes to spend time with her family and loves singing. She enjoyed her years at SGGS and is proud to be a SGGS' alumni!  

Professor Dr Asma Ismail

Asma Ismail is currently the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovations) and a Professor at the Institute for Research in Molecular Medicine (INFORMM), USM. She graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno, USA with distinction in biology, received her MA in Microbiology from Indiana University, Bloomington, USA. and obtained her PhD in the field of Cellular and Molecular Biology at the University of Nevada, Reno, USA in 1986. 
Asma is passionate about the idea of developing indigenous health technologies and innovations that can generate wealth for the country and improve the quality of life of society at large.  Prof Asma is actively involved in research attaining more than RM 9 million (USD 2.6 million) in terms of grants within the last 5 years, presented 186 papers with more than 137 invitations as a plenary or keynote speaker at national and international levels to share her scientific findings and experience in the commercialization of R&D products. Prof. Asma’s R&D achievements and impact of her research at national and international levels have gained more than 70 scientific publications, filed 8 gene sequences and received more than 86 awards and recognitions at national and international levels. She  has served as the WHO temporary Advisor for vaccine and diarrhoeal diseases since 2002. She has received numerous prestigious awards of the country including the National Young Scientist Award in 1991, Malaysian Toray Science and Technology Award for outstanding contribution in science in 2002, National Inventor Award in 2003, National Innovation Award, 2006 and the National Academic Award for Product and Commercialization in 2007.  She was made a Fellow of the Academy of Sciences Malaysia in 2003 and served as its council member since 2007.        -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------  
Dr Linda Teoh
A Consultant Ophthalmologist with the Tun Hussein Onn National Eye Hospital with a subspecialty in glaucoma, Linda graduated from St George’s in 1976 and went on to study Medicine at University Malaya. Later she completed a postgraduate Masters in Surgery (Ophthalmology) at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. She has been commissioned as a Captain and worked as a Medical Officer in the Malaysian Ministry of Defence, mainly stationed at the Sungei Besi Army Base. At the Tun Hussein Onn National Eye Hospital, Linda is also involved in welfare surgery and services to the needy and public throughout the different states, working inside mobile buses which travel all over the country on weekends. Linda was awarded the DJN (Darjah Johan Negeri) by the Penang Governor in 2008. Linda enjoys travelling and has been to 45 countries in the world so far, visiting places like Machu Picchu in Peru, Iguassu Falls in Brazil and Lake Titicaca in Bolivia. In her spare time, she is also studying French as an extra foreign language.
Dr Sylvia Wang
A dedicated teacher and chamber music coach, Dr. Sylvia Wang is currently Associate Professor at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, after 3 years as Assistant Professor at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. At age 16, she received one of 7 scholarships from the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music to study at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where she won many distinctions, including the Harold Samuel Bach Prize and the highest award in solo performance, the Recital Diploma. In 1983, she began her studies at the Eastman School of Music in the U.S., where she earned the Performer’s Certificate, M.M. and D.M.A. degrees, graduating with top honours.
Dr. Wang’s recording of the piano trios of Aaron Copland, Paul Schoenfield, David Baker and Leon Kirchner may be heard on the Newport Classic label, as a member of the Samaris Piano Trio.  In recognition of “distinction in the field,” the Royal Academy of Music in London awarded Dr. Wang an Honorary Associateship (Hon. A.R.A.M.). She has also received citations in "Who's Who" in American Education as well as in American Women.
 Mui Siew Koon
Class of 1963. Now recognized as an International Relay for Life Hero of Hope, Siew Koon, a cancer survivor, has been the District Chairperson for Cancer Awareness for Lions Clubs International, District 308B-2 Malaysia for 6 consecutive years (2004 – 2010) spreading cancer awareness in the 75 clubs in the district.  For her excellent service, she has received awards for all the 6 years. Siew Koon is also actively involved in all the cancer-related support groups in the state, with the aim of giving encouragement and hope to cancer-stricken patients and their families. After serving for more than 31 years in the education sector with B.A. Hons and a Diploma in Education from the University of Malaya and retiring as a secondary school principal, Siew Koon is now also President of the Penang Floral Art Society and has published four acclaimed books on floral art. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dato’ Faridah Merican
Known today as 'the First Lady of Malaysian theatre', Faridah is a direct descendant of the famed Kapitan Keling. 
 Her acting career started in the late 1950s while studying at the Kota Bahru Teachers' Training College. After moving to KL in 1959, she joined the circle of intellectuals and artists who formed the core of Malaysian theatre as it entered the postcolonial era. In the early 60s, she joined Radio and TV Malaysia as a part-time broadcaster, programme host and national newsreader. Simultaneously, she was involved in the formative years of Malaysian Advertising, and is today, a member of the board of directors at Ogilvy & Mather. She also sits on the board of WWF and several other institutions.
 In 1989, Faridah co-founded The Actors Studio with her husband Joe Hasham. As the first privately owned and operated theatre venue in Malaysia, The Actors Studio was instrumental to the growth of the performing arts in the country. Faridah has, more than anyone else, guaranteed certain continuity in mainstream theatre by bridging the generational gap, working extensively with young people today. Her philosophy that ‘Performing Arts belong to all Malaysians’ has helped unite all practitioners and instilled a sense of community within Malaysian Performing Arts. Her role in the arts has expanded from that of actress to director, producer and mentor. She is a tireless advocate for the arts, taking the message of a cultured Malaysia to the man on the street, corporate gurus and heads of government. In recognition of her multifaceted creativity, tenacity in democratising the arts and her commitment to developing new opportunities, Faridah was awarded the BOH Cameronian Lifetime Achievement Award for 2004.
Christine Wu Ramsay  
Christine graduated from and undertook research in organic chemistry at Adelaide and Melbourne Universities, the Chester Beatty Research Institute in London and Brandeis University in Massachusetts in the 1960s.  In the 1970s she established the Raya Gallery, the first gallery in Melbourne to specialize in contemporary South East Asian art.  From the 1990s to the present, she has been an exhibiting photographer. Christine is also an author and has published a book entitled “Days Gone By: Growing up in Penang”.
Khoo Salma Nasution
Salma is the author of Streets of George Town, Penang (1993); More Than Merchants, A History of the German-speaking Community in Penang, 1800s-1940s (2006), co-author of Penang Postcard Collection, (2003) and Kinta Valley: Pioneering Malaysia's Modern Development, (2004).
She was Honorary Secretary of the Penang Heritage Trust (PHT) for 14 years and is now the President of the Trust. In 1993, she served as project manager of Syed Alatas Mansion restoration and privately undertook the restoration of the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Penang Base at 120 Armenian Street. 
She was the coordinator of the Sustainable Penang Initiative 1997-1999, which promoted consultations towards the sustainable development of the city. She convened two conferences, The Penang Story Conference, 2002 and the Shared Histories Conference 2003. In 2004, she was awarded a fellowship by the Nippon Foundation under the Asian Public Intellectual (API) programme.
Thiam Ch’ng Szentirmay
Thiam Ch’ng Szentirmay (née Ch’ng Thiam Keok) is a Justice of the Peace in New Zealand, and is qualified to sit as a judge. Thiam completed her Upper Sixth Form in St George’s in 1968, and left Malaysia for New Zealand  in 1970 to study, completing her degree in Zoology and Psychology and postgraduate Honours in Marine Biology in 1973.
In the 1980s, as a Senior Management Support Officer in the State Services Commission (SSC) in New Zealand, she was the only Asian woman then to work in a senior public service management position dealing with senior executives and government ministers, and was responsible for establishing the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs.
Thiam joined IBM in 1985, and in her 15 years of professional work she received many achievement awards in recognition of her contribution to the business, including the 1995 Top Achiever’s Award for outstanding performance in the company
Thiam is also very active in community work in New Zealand.  Working with her husband, they established many projects and organisations to promote the Hungarian culture and established a scholarship to promote information and librarianship in New Zealand. She is now Trustee of these community trusts.  She also recently qualified as a certified budget advisor to provide voluntary services to those in need.
Thiam is a life member of the SGGS Ex-Pupils Association. She was the initiator and one of the organisors for the successful Year of 1966/68 40th anniversary reunion in 2008.
Judy Cheng-Hopkins
United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support
On 16 August 2009, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the appointment of Judy Cheng-Hopkins as the Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support.
Before joining the PBSO in New York, Ms. Cheng-Hopkins was the UN’s Assistant High Commissioner for Refugees from 15 February 2006, a position in which she supervised all UNHCR operations around the world.
Prior to this job, Ms. Cheng-Hopkins was the Director of the World Food Programme Office in New York. From 1997 to 2000 she was Director of WFP’s Asia and Eastern Europe region, where she oversaw large and complex emergency operations. Prior to that, she served UNDP in Africa for 10 years, first in Zambia (1982-1988), then in Kenya (1988-1992) and as Deputy Assistant Administrator for Africa (2002-2003).
Ms. Cheng-Hopkins received a Master of Arts degree in Economic Development from Columbia University (1978), USA. She has also received diplomas from Université d’Haute Bretagne in Rennes, France, and Harvard University, USA.
Khaw Choon Ean
Khaw Choon Ean, née Teoh Choon Ean, (Sixth Form class of 1972) stands tall as one of the country’s pioneers in the field of gymnastics in Malaysia. From an early start in the gymnasium at St George’s, training with her teachers Mrs Koay Teng Hay and Mr Lim Chong Ghee, Choon Ean went on to win medals in state and national competitions. She was also captain of the gymnastics and swimming team and house captain for Mahsuri House.
Epitomising the can-do spirit of St George’s, Choon Ean’s achievements were not limited to the domain of sports: she was the editor of the school magazine editorial board, as well as being a school librarian and prefect. Choon Ean was also an accomplished artist in school. Her circular wall mural, ‘Malay Dancers’ hung in the School Hall for many years.
Choon Ean later trained as an artistic coach, and later became the first Malaysian woman to be appointed a Fédération International de Gymnastique (International Federation of Gymnastics) judge, an appointment she held from 1977 to 1985. Choon Ean was instrumental in the creation of the Malaysian Gymnastics Federation and helped set up the teaching of the sport in schools throughout Malaysia. For her achievements, Choon Ean was conferred a multitude of awards, among them the inaugural Women and Sports Award from the Olympic Council of Malaysia, the Diploma Achievement Award for Women In Sports from the International Olympic Committee. Choon Ean was the first woman in Malaysia to be awarded this. She also received a Meritorious Service Medal (Pingat Jasa Kebaktian, PJK) from the Sultan of Selangor for her outstanding contribution to sports.
Professor Ho Siew Yen Consultant and Head of the Cardiac Morphology Unit at Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospitals, London, Professor Ho Siew Yen (née Ng Siew Yen), says that St George’s has been ‘fundamental’ in her development as a scientist. She is a regular speaker at international conferences and teaches courses in cardiology, electrophysiology, paediatric cardiology, cardiac surgery, pathology and veterinary science. Her work has contributed to clarifying the anatomy of complex heart defects in children, and has helped guide doctors to improve diagnoses and helped surgeons to improve techniques for repairing holes in the heart. Siew Yen, who completed her Upper Sixth Form at St George’s in 1968, is a Fellow of the European Society of Cardiology, Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists (London) and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (UK) and a published author of several specialist medical books. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dr Chee Heng Leng
Dr Chee Heng Leng studied at St George’s from 1970 (Form 4) to 1973 (Upper 6), after which she headed for the United States where she had been offered a scholarship to study at Wellesley College, Massachusetts. She graduated in 1977 with a Bachelor of Arts with honours in biological sciences, and then went on to study for her M.A. in nutritional sciences at the Harvard School of Public Health. She returned to Malaysia in 1979, and was employed at the Universiti Putra Malaysia. 
In the 1980s and 1990s, Heng Leng, with the spirit and determination often encountered in many St George’s alumni, participated actively in the movements for social change in Malaysia. She was one of the founding members of the Women’s Development Centre and the All Women’s Action Society. In 1987, during the infamous political crackdown on opposition leaders and social activists known by its police code name, ‘Operation Lalang’ (‘Operation Weed’), Heng Leng was detained for 10 months alongside many other activists. The 27 October incident saw the arrest of 106 persons under the Internal Security Act and the revoking of the publishing licenses of two national newpapers, The Star and Sin Chew Jit Poh
After her release, Heng Leng resumed her academic career and went on study at the University of Malaya in 1990, obtaining her PhD with a dissertation on community health. After many years of teaching and research in the field of public health at the Universiti Putra Malaysia, she left in 2003, and joined the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore, where she is currently a Senior Research Fellow.

1 comment:

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