KOTA KINABALU: Kota Kinabalu High School (KKHS) bade farewell to outstanding long-service educator, excellent principal Lim Lai Hong in a special ceremony replete with heart-warming tributes and gratitude on September 6, 2019.
Gracing the occasion were Sabah education director, Dr. Mistirine Radin, Kota Kinabalu district officer’s representative, Shirney Lim, KKHS Board of Governors chairman, Lim Kiat Kong, Likas assemblyman and former student of KKHS, Tan Lee Fatt, KKHS Parent-Teacher Association chairman, Tan Hock Siong, and KKHS Alumni Association chairman, Wong Yee Min.
Puan Lim, who hails from Malacca, first arrived at the Land Below the Wind in 1986 as a history subject teacher in KKHS at the Tanjung Aru old school site. She was the afternoon session supervisor before being promoted to become a principal in 2003, after 17 years of service in KKHS.
She then served as principal of SMK St. Anthony’s Tenom, and later continued her principalship at SMK St. Patrick’s Membakut, SMK Pekan Kuala Penyu and SMK Badin Tuaran.
As the saying goes, there is a beginning and there is an end. KKHS proved to be a very special place for Puan Lim when she was once again transferred back to her first school in 2016, this time as the principal.
In her tribute, student representative, Tan Chiu Yie, expressed her gratitude to Puan Lim for her selfless patience and sacrifice that can never be repaid.
“She never gets tired of advising us even though we repeatedly fail to do the right thing,” she said.
Reflecting on the old days, Lily Wong Bitt Lee, a co-curriculum senior assistant, who is also a former history student of Puan Lim in KKHS, lamented on the loss of a great history teacher and an excellent principal.
She reminisced Puan Lim as a disciplined, honest, and very patient teacher.
Firm, yet full of passion. With her hard work and dedication, almost all of her form five students obtained As in the SPM history subject.
“She is not only an excellent principal, but in the core, an excellent teacher, who deliberately changed from studying law to pursuing the teaching profession.
Her 33 years of service in 5 schools has proven that she indeed possessed the right soul for teaching and it was a decision most correctly made. She is not a principal who is comfortable with just sitting in an air-con room.
She has a high visibility in the school compound. That is how she changed the school,” she said.
Wong Yee Min, another alumnus, was also full of praise for Puan Lim and admitted that he could still feel her charisma as a teacher even until this present moment.
He implored all students of KKHS to always respect their teachers and appreciate their sacrifices.
KKHS Parents-Teachers Association chairman, Tan Hock Siong, reminded everyone that a principal is always the most important person in a school, which an excellent school cannot do without.
He again expressed his appreciation to Puan Lim for all that she has done for the school.
KKHS Board of Governors chairman, Lim Kiat Kong, expressed his regret that Puan Lim’s three and a half years tenure in KKHS as a principal is only too little too short.
He especially respects and admires her leadership and style of management which has successfully transformed the school in many ways never before imagined possible.
“She loves KKHS very much, like how a mother loves her children,” he said.
In her final address to the school, Puan Lim asserted that a strong conviction in education is what had steered her in life.
“This is the place where I have poured out all my love. I am deeply convinced that as an educator I must help students achieve success in life. I love KKHS very much. And I love the students very much too. Whenever I chastise students using the cane, they only feel the pain one time but I feel it one lifetime,” she said.
“Education is not just about excellent academic results we want to see in the students’ certificates. Education is more about shaping a generation of future leaders for the nation,” she remarked.
In her final words, she expressed her gratitude to all the teachers for their hard work and sacrifices in KKHS.
The auspicious day began with one last sumptuous breakfast of nasi lemak and curry chicken as a big family, which then proceeded to the school hall with a welcoming lion dance and cultural dance performance, the Negaraku, Sabah Tanah Airku and KKHS school song, Chinese orchestra performance, student poem recitation, student live band and solo singing, and a joyous birthday cake cutting ceremony.
The finale was a grand emotional send-off with Puan Lim riding on a chauffeured 4-wheel drive vehicle decorated with flowers and ribbons and bidding her last farewell to students and teachers.