Saturday, September 27, 2008

Mrs N C Partridge (1916--2008)

when i heard the news that our Mrs N C Partridge had passed away, from my dear daughter Puteri (the students were informed about this during the school's official assembly yesterday by the headmistress Cik Hajjah Nazipah), memories of RPK (formerly MGS/GEGS) came rushing into my mind. i am always proud to call myself an Old Girl of RPK, the school you built with pride. i always admired the way you remembered your past students including my mother, my aunties like Auntie Kay (who was a school's sprinter), Wan Pah (our OGA' vice president) and many more; no matter how many years have gone by.

my mother remembered meeting Mrs Partridge at rawang railway station so many years ago. she eventually gave two tips to my mother while waiting patiently there—
  1. to know whether a stone is real, drop water on top of it. if the water didn't fall, then you know that the stone is real.
  2. if migraine occur, we can just pull or massage our toe. i am not sure whether this is true, but to those who always had migraine, maybe you can try this tips.

my mother also told me that Mrs Partridge's god-daughter Kuppamah was her classmate. her father, Kuppamuthu was the school's first gardener. it seems that its not that difficult for Kuppamah to get a job as a physiotherapy because most of the interviewers were 'budak koleq' :)

it is very sad indeed to hear the news that Mrs Partridge who passed away peacefully on last tuesday, had moulded many of our characters into useful citizens of the world wherever we are in, through her well known discipline. I am glad to note at the same time, the almighty has blessed her with a long life.

Mrs Partridge, i had never seen you. but i heard, you were the milestone of MGS/GEGS. it is big loss to our community of a great administrator and an educationist with a proven track record in our school. i would like to say my deep condolences to the beloved ones of our headmistress.

'lives of great woman all remind us and we must make our lives sublime and departing leave behind us foot-prints in the sands of time'. the memory of 'Mrs N C Partridge' will live in the hearts and minds of those who came under her influence, for many years to come.

* * * * *

Mrs N C Partridge will be 92 years old when she celebrates her next birthday in March, 2008. She needs the aid of a walking stick now when she walks. Soon, she will have to get a pair of special shoes since one of her legs has become slightly shorter than the other because of a fracture she had suffered after a fall. Yet, she still travels regularly to visit her daughter and her family in Australia. Her memory is much better than most people twenty years younger. She has a fantastic sense of humour and, on the telephone, she sounds like a sixteen-year old girl and actually giggles like one.

There is nothing that she wants changed in her life. Even if she were to live it all over again, she would want it exactly the same. Her marriage and her family have brought her so much happiness and fulfillment. She feels very blessed and extremely honoured that she was able to be the Headmistress of the same school for 27 years. She is very contented and very happy. Never depressed, Mrs Partridge always has a positive mind, full of enthusiasm and high spirit. She lives comfortably with the pension that she receives every month, hers and the one derived from her late husband's pension, a total of about RM1,700. There is nothing more than she needs.

Mrs Partridge diligently follows not only affairs of the nation but keeps abreast of all that is happening around the world. Until three or four years ago, she was still active in the Girl Guides and Sultan Abdul Aziz's Children Home in Kuala Kangsar, Perak, and was in constant attendance at their meetings. A few years ago she was still driving to Kuala Kangsar town from her house in Taiping Road, Kuala Kangsar a distance about five miles. Now her car, a dark green Opel Kadett 1.2S with registration number AAA7884 bought sometime in 1978 or 79, rests under the porch in front of her house in retirement like its owner.

N C Partridge — that is how she would sign her name. Her past students from the school would surely remember her trademark signature in their annual Report Cards with her customary personal 'well done' messages or advice to work harder or do better, whichever the case might be. Yet in all probability, most, if not all, of them would know what the 'N C' stands for. Indeed, the awe and respect they had for their Headmistress would not allow them to even wonder about it! To them, she was just 'Mrs Partridge'.

In fact, it was not just her full name. There was little that was actually known about her as an individual. What had become obvious then was about her as the Headmistress and how she managed the school. In fact, these two aspects of her life are actually inextricable and both have combined to make her a truly remarkable and unique individual.

**excerpts from the book Down Memory Lane with Mrs N C Partridge (Introduction) by Nuraizah Abdul Hamid.