Published on: Monday, August 26, 2013
Kota Kinabalu: Widow of Sabah College's first Principal, Michal Clarke and third son, Nicolas, 56, from England, were at a loss for words when showered with Sabah's souvenirs by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman, Sunday.
The duo received Sabah batik crafted by the trainees of Sabah Handicraft Centre in Keningau, a picturesque book on Sabah and pewter depicting the state's natural attractions.
The occasion was a lunch gathering hosted by Musa, an ex-Sabah Collegian, for the Clarkes and members of the Ex-Sabah Collegians Association (OSCA) (1987) at Sri Gaya, his official residence. It was an extension of the OSCA Installation & 20th Reunion Dinner on Saturday. He noted that Nicolas was clad in a Sabah batik shirt.
"Mrs Clarke, the gifts are a token of appreciation to you and your husband, Mr Geoffrey Clarke for all that you have done for Sabah College," said Musa who is Patron of OSCA 1987. Clarke served as its Principal from May 1957 to May 1963.
"How lovely but all that matters is being here," remarked Michal, a grandmother of seven who turned 80 in June this year.
Fighting back tears, Nicolas said, "It's wonderful. My father would appreciate all theseÉhe could have been here. I am accompanying my mother in place of my father. OSCA brought us out here for the reunion dinner. Datuk Asrie as President is being absolutely superb."
Clarke and his wife last visited Sabah College in 2005 when Julia Willie Jock was the Principal.
Michal took the opportunity to present an old picture of Sabah College, including the historic Turnbull Hall, to Musa and OSCA President Datuk A. Asrie Hj Abd Kadir.
"Datuk Musa, this picture was painted by John Magilis (of the 1959 batch) and hung in our house in Batu Tiga and then in England. My son and I feel it appropriate that it returns to Sabah and would like to present it to OSCA with very fond memories of our time here," she shared.
Musa was happy to learn that Nicolas's son, who is into his fifth year in medicine, is interested to do his elective at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) next year by virtue of his father's roots and grandfather's connections with Sabah.
"My son is wondering where he should do his elective year, and is hoping to come out to do it here in Sabah. My wife (Margot) has heard so much about Sabah that she would like to visit the State one day," Nicolas told the CM.
According to Nicolas, he was born in Jesselton (now Kota Kinabalu) and studied at a local English International School when he was six.
"The last time I worked in Sabah was at the Mt Kinabalu Golf Course for eight months." It is understood that the project was discontinued following the electoral defeat of the then Berjaya Government in 1985.
Speaking to the Daily Express, he said : "My father was the first really close person to me. Sometimes it gets you. I feel fine now but just very occasionally, you know. Just being here makes me emotional.
"Mum and I are appreciative of everybody in OSCA, especially the Chief Minister. The nice thing was he (Datuk Musa) was not like Chief Minister, he was like an old Sabah College boy when he was speaking today.
That is very nice."
To reciprocate OSCA's hospitality, Michal and her son Nicolas offered to host the association's members should they visit England in the near future.
"At present, I am still living at Croft House and have several spare bedrooms.
I would be delighted to return some of your hospitality if you are in UK with time to spare," she said.
They live in Rugby which is a central location about 100 miles north of London.