Everyday Heroes: Tech Teacher

By Anita Devasahayam

Tiong Ting Ming was waiting to catch a bus in Kuala Lumpur in February 2000 when a young man sat next to him and asked for money. When Tiong said he had none to offer, the man produced a knife. Even though the would-be thief looked desperate for cash, Tiong never felt in serious danger, so he decided to reason with him.

He explained that he was a school principal who had just travelled to Singapore to buy parts for the computers at his school. For 20 minutes, he talked about why it was important for young people to get an education. When it was clear that the young man wasn’t going to get any money, he shook his head and left.

Tiong Ting Ming
High-tech dreams - Tiong Ting Ming transformed his school. Photo: © Julian Matthews.

Tiong wasn’t going to let a thief stand in the way of his dream of turning SMJK Dindings, a secondary school in the village of Pundut, 100 kilometers west of lpoh, into a high-tech learning centre. He had come too far and achieved too much. When he became principal in 1992, the school was a ramshackle set of wooden buildings. There were 320 students, and the number was falling. “They were dropping out to help with their families’ businesses,” he recalls. “School was not a priority.”
Read more

Through teenage eyes

By Anita Devasahayam

GERALD Tan, despite his tender age, has designed a lot of websites.

Gerald says that as a child, his preoccupations included examining textures and observing the impacts created by light — preoccupations which he translated to the homepages he designed.

Viewing Gerald’s repertoire of websites, one can detect a certain mood, atmosphere, style and setting.

Read more

Highs and lows

By Anita Devasahayam

BEING the only Malaysian at MIT Media Lab’s Junior Summit was indeed exciting for Gerald Tan. Awed by personalities and armed with ideas, he had high expectations.

But he was a tad disappointed. For starters, he felt that there was a division between Asians and Caucasians, although Nation1 declared all persons to be equal — which he thought was unrealistic.

Delegates at the summit tend to talk a lot but were not getting organised, he says, adding that everyone was proposing ideas and no one was making decisions.

“I thought someone should be put in charge of Nation1, and we had to get away from the discussions and start doing stuff.”

Read more

Share and share alike

By Anita Devasahayam

NOW that Tiong Ting Ming has got bulk of SMJK Dindings’ IT infrastructure in place, he is offering to share the facilities with next door neighbour SRJK (C) Ping Min.

The Board of Governors at the primary school has contributed RM5,000 for an additional 22 PCs and five Canon laser printers. The rest of the cost for the second-hand goods was borne by a Singaporean company which donated the units, says Tiong.

The equipment consists of 10 units of Futronix 486DX2/66 PCs, 10 units of Compaq Prolinea 4/66 M340 PCs and two units of IBM 350 DX2/66 PCs. All the machines come with only 8MB RAM, which Tiong plans to increase to 40MB.

The units — which bring the total number of PCs at the school to 53 — will be used in the library, teachers’ room and science laboratories.

“We shall be teaching the primary school kids keyboard skills, web browsing and e-mail,” says Tiong.

Related links:
A truly networked school
From chemistry to computers

Published in In.Tech, Star Publications (M) Bhd.

From chemistry to computers

By Anita Devasahayam

TIONG Ting Ming is a chemistry graduate whose foray into technology began in 1984 when he helped set up and manage a computer club at another school.

Since he was an Apple Macintosh fan, the club was equipped with a total of 30 Mac SEs and LCs, all networked together.

“I ran the club for six years and learned everything there was to know about networking,” Tiong says.

When he was promoted to headmaster at SMJK Dindings in June 1992, Tiong decided to use networking as the means to create a conducive environment for the students to learn about technology.

Read more

A truly networked school

By Anita Devasahayam

This month, we focus once again on a single school, SMJK Dindings, and how it will join the Smart School league although it is not among the 90 schools selected under the pilot project that will kick off next January.

SURROUNDED by coconut trees and kampung houses in the middle of a palm oil plantation is Sekolah Menengah Jenis Kebangsaan Dindings in Pundut, Lumut.

At first glance, the Grade B school which lies 95 kilometres from the city of Ipoh strikes one as a quaint sekolah papan, with a new building block located behind the array of wooden classrooms.
Read more

Tags