Sarikei Anthonian magazine interview - Rev Wagenaar Rector, 1979
St Anthony's School was founded in 1936 by Rev Quadekker. It started with 70 students with 1 teacher, Ambrose Wong, who later opened Borneo Hotel in Kuching. There was no uniform (wow, cool!) & it was a co-ed format (hmm, of course). There was no bell in the school or the church. There were very few books. A student usually spent 6 years with 1 book and caning is common for naughty delinquents. I learned a trick to reduce the pain of canning during my school days. Firstly, rub your palm with your hair cream (no gel or mousse then) & move your palm towards the middle of the cane just before it struck. It's less painful than been struck by the more slender end. Kids didn't have to learn physics to figure this out.
Rev Wagenaar Rector was 76 years old when he was interviewed by the 1979 Anthonian magazine. When he arrived in Sarikei in 1936, Sarikei was a cluster of shophouses by the river & not much of a town yet.
The school was a building on stilts which was half school & half quarters for the teachers with a kitchen behind. The principal, Rev Quadekker, lived in one of the classrooms & slept in the dormitory. Another legendary figure in the 60-70's was Father Rottinghuis who was known to help the poor to get into school. He was known to scan the town for students during exam period to make sure that they were all at home studying. You really have to take your hat off to these pioneer missionaries.