To God be the Glory
Saturday 18 August 2018 was a historic day in the annals of the Methodist Girls’ Secondary School (MGSS) Melaka which was founded in 1904 by Mrs Emmaline Ferris Shellabear. On that day, the School held a three-in-one event: Thanksgiving, to remember our LORD God’s bounteous blessings, a Dedication Service, to dedicate the MGSS Hall which is the School’s latest addition to the existing complex of buildings, and finally, a High Tea for all to share a meal together.
The VIP guest for the day was Rev. Dr. Ong Hwai Teik, Bishop of the Methodist Church in Malaysia, who took time amidst his tight schedule to share in our joy. Other distinguished guests included The Hon. Dr. Wong Fort Pin (State Assemblyman for Bemban, Melaka), Mr. Yap Koon Roy (Chairman of the Area Executive Council) and Mr. Khor Hong Yin (Executive Director of the Methodist Council of Education). The Tan family from Melaka, representing the family of the late Baba Tan Keong Keng in whose house the School was first started in 1904, as well as the descendants of the late Mdm Tan Siok Kim (daughter of Baba Tan Keong Keng and also the School’s first local teacher), were also present to continue their close ties with MGSS that have spanned 116 years.
Mr. Tay Kim Chye, the School Principal, welcomed all present and stressed the importance of improving the School facilities so as to create a conducive learning environment for students to thrive in. He also informed the audience that social and racial integration was very much alive in MGSS, with students from diverse backgrounds coming together to acquire knowledge and participate in school activities. MGSS continues to provide a platform for each student to excel, both academically and in extra-curricular activities, irrespective of a student’s race, religion and creed.
Ms Lim Ai Ling, the Chairman of the School Board of Governors, thanked the various people who had been involved in the building of the MGSS Hall, including the members of the Building Committee that was headed by Ms. Josephine Chua, past principals and the former Chairman of the Board of Governors, Ms. Grace Soon. She also thanked all for supporting this memorable event and challenged the old girls to form an alumni.
Bishop Dr. Ong Hwai Teik next took centre stage. He reminded the audience of the great sacrifices of the early Methodist missionaries who came to our shores to set up schools for all. He further urged everyone to continue the legacy that has been left behind by these missionaries and to model our Methodist educational institutions after our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ whose hallmarks of His life on earth were love and sacrifice.
After the ribbon cutting ceremony by the Bishop and Dr. Wong Fort Pin, the guests were treated to a taste of Melakan hospitality – a sumptuous high tea spread, vibrant performances by the students, an impromptu ice breaking session, and surprise flash mob dances by guests and old girls.
I am overwhelmed by the support and cooperation that the MGSS Thanksgiving & Dedication Service, and High Tea garnered among the distinguished guests, members of the School Board of Governors, MGSS staff, old girls and well-wishers. Everyone played a part in making the day a memorable one. Above all, all honour, praise and glory be unto our LORD God Almighty for without Him, nothing would have been possible.
Previously, before the MGSS Hall was built, MGSS held assemblies and functions at the open air car park area. As such, the School had to depend on the vagaries of the weather and always had to make alternative plans (a Plan B) in case rain poured and ruined the occasion which had been painstakingly planned. To overcome this perennial problem, the then Principal, Mdm. Koh Tuat Guek, mooted the idea of building a roof cover over the existing basketball court. With the help of special allocations received from the Ministry of Education and funds raised by the School, the building of the MGSS Hall began in 2003. Ms. Josephine Chua, a renowned conservationist in Melaka, and her husband, Ir. Tan Hoon Keong, came to the fore to give their expert advice to the school, pro bono. The Hall was completed in 2014 but there were hurdles that had to be overcome before the Certificate of Completion and Compliance (CCC) was finally obtained in February 2017.
Report submitted by:
Ms. Lim Ai Ling
Chairman, MGSS Melaka Board of Governors