Tuesday, March 13, 2007

People: Sarikei St Anthony's Father Rottinghuis - Tiger of the Rejang

Sarikei St Anthony's School, Form 3, 1961.
Click to enlarge. Click Back arrow to come back

Back Row: Dr Yap (a student then) was 4th from left. Who else can you recognise? No uniform required. Find the Elvis Presley hairstyles.

Front Row (L-R): Chong Siew Fai (later became Chief Justice of Sarawak; passed away in 2006), Jacob Sebastian (now a yoga teacher in Kuching), Mother Angela (later became 1st principal of St Anne's School), Fr Rottinghuis, Wong Kwong Soon (correct?), Yii Choo Ting (Chinese teacher; later taught at St Anne's), Teng Pang Yii (later taught at St Anne's)

any of our parents' generation are forever grateful to this legendary Dutch missionary who made a huge impact to Sarikei's education system. So who was this gentleman and how did he garner such awe inspiring respect in Sarikei?

  • 1917 - Rev Father Rottinghuis was borned on 9th Nov in Groningen, Holland.
  • 1939 - He entered Mill Hill College, Haelen, to study Philosophy.
  • 1941 - He studied Theology in St. Joseph's College, Roosendal.
  • 1945 - On completion of his studies, he was ordained as a priest on 9th Dec.
  • 1946 - Oct 1947. He worked as Curate in a diocese in Holland. He was in charge of Youth movement, Scouts, Guides and Sports.
  • 1947 - He arrived in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia. Later he taught at Papar, KK and Sandakan mission schools.
  • 1950 - Transferred to Seria oilfields, Brunei. Became principal of Seria English School.

Rev. Father G.C.M. Rottinghuis, M.H.M., P.B.S.
Source: 1981 Anthonian magazine
  • 1956 - Fr. Rottinghuis arrived in Sarikei to become principal of St Anthony's which was then a junior secondary school with only 1 stream.
  • 1972 - He retired after 16 years. The school organised a grand farewell function.
  • 1974 - He taught at St Michael's School, Seria, Brunei. Sarawak's loss was Brunei's gain.
  • 1978 - He returned to Holland.
  • 1980 - He passed away from heart attack on 27th Dec.

Father Rottinghuis made tremendous progress in the academic and non-academic fields of St Anthony's School. He was known to be a strict disciplinarian and students feared him. He helped poor but promising students through secondary school and helped students to apply for overseas education (Can you imagine how tough it was to go overseas to study then? Lack of information, telex, telegram - no fax, snail mail and expensive IDD calls). He was known for his smoking. He stored his cigarettes in a cylindrical can.

Father Rottinghuis, mid 1950s-1960s

He was chairman of these: Lions club, Sarawak Secondary Schools, Red Cross, Basketball Association, Youth Group, Hospital Visitors group and Charity group (member). He was awarded P.B.S. by the Governor of Sarawak for his excellent contribution to the Education and Social fields in Sarawak in general and Sarikei in particular.

He was a part of Sarikei and Sarikei was a part of him. May he rest in peace.


Daniel Yiek said...

If you like this bit of history, stay tuned for more "People" series. Note that Mr KA Titus arrived in 1962 so he was not part of the 1961 staff.

I heard from my uncle that Mr. Sebastian Jacobs is a yoga teacher in a newer block of shophouse in Kuching (not the old downtown type of shophouse).

Is that Mr Wong Kwang Soon (the senior assistant to the principal)next to Fr Rottinhuis in the pic? He went on to work in Divisional Education Office, Sarikei.

Nelson said...

Mother Angela is now residing in kuching.

back row: third from left is Tan Sri Chong Siew Fai's younger brother.

No doubt that the Tiger of Rejang is part of Sarikei. =)Heard that he drove volkswagen

Kanga said...

Good photo Daniel. I remembered all the staff well. They all looked so young then.
Nelson, Fr. Rottinghuis used to line up his volkswagen at the wharf end of Repok road late at night and stepped on the accelerator roaring back to St. Anthony's.
I recognise one student face who was a very steady and good basketball player.

Lidasar said...

Sarikei is fortunate to have Rev Father Rottinghuis as a leading educator in her early years and this blog has done a wonderful job of paying respect to him in a small way. I am sure a lot of people who do not read this blog will never know that Sarikei had such an important personnel who make a difference to the sons of Sarikei who are successful in there later life.
Our misfortune for joining Malaysia for they will never show interest to keep such history, to them it is best forgotten.
Thanks Daniel for your effort.

ront said...

I was just looking at the same picture (the class photo) few weeks ago. my mom is in the picture!

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