Renew land lease, let Convent Bukit Nanas stand tall

By ex-students of Convent Bukit Nanas

We, the undersigned, and a collective of friends whose friendship began in Convent Bukit Nanas Primary and Secondary schools strongly object to the intended non-renewal of its land lease which is due to expire on Sept 6 this year.

We are encouraged by the leave granted by the High Court here to mount a challenge against the non-renewal of its land lease.

We owe our career and personal successes to the school itself.

Convent Bukit Nanas (CBN), like all the mission schools in Malaysia, promoted discipline, tenacity and resilience, and even more importantly, multiculturalism.

The school itself is a symbol of Malaysia and her various ethnic races and faiths. We learned and followed the rules of acceptance of different religious and cultural traditions, and our friendships extended beyond the colour of our skin and whether we were veiled or not.

We respect our sisters’ spiritual ideals in good faith and have carried all these lessons not just to work, but also to the families we bear now.

CBN is an academically rigorous school that also opened our eyes to income gaps and inequity in our country, which all of us are working hard to eradicate. The sharing among our classmates of good times and bad taught us to be more empathetic and inclusive.

How many schools in Malaysia can boast of this, as well as multiculturalism?

We would like to share our sentiments here:

Sandra Jean Corray: “I started my time in CBN as a little girl of 7 and left as a young woman of almost 20. Beyond the stellar education I obtained from this great school, I learned so many more important values: resilience, loyalty, respect, tolerance, and mutual understanding. Values that see beyond the difference of colour or creed, values that have stood the test of time. These values are a testament to friendships forged in the hallways of CBN but have flourished well beyond.

“I add my voice to my fellow CBNers, protesting against the decision not to extend the lease. The building must continue to stand and be a legacy of all that it has taught and stood for, so that the strong values that we CBNers have imbibed, can be imparted to our children and passed down to the generations to come.”

Kristina Rai Scott: “Convent Bukit Nanas was inclusive and girls from all backgrounds came together. It afforded us an opportunity to learn, aspire and achieve. The ethos instilled in us was one of respect for diversity, and this has enriched our lives.

The values instilled did not fall away when we left the majestic embrace of our school. We carried it and passed it on to others. Successive generations have contributed to society in speaking truth to power and championing change. Others used their resourcefulness in small or large businesses and industries which form the backbone of our economy. As mothers or mentors we instilled the cherished ethos of CBN – simple in virtue and steadfast in duty, to our own children and ‘families’ at work.”

Dr Sakina Ali: “Convent Bukit Nanas is a prestigious educational faculty that should be preserved and developed further. As a student I was impressed and inspired by the school that had produced many notable people with high achievements. I wanted to be like them, and studied hard to be where I am today.

“CBN also fostered multiculturalism then and now, and this to me is what makes Malaysia. Also, CBN is housed in a heritage building, which should be gazetted. It is historic and the heritage needs to be retained for future generations much like George Town and Melaka which are Unesco World Heritage sites. If we allow development to happen, what history do we have left for future generations of Malaysians? We are already losing our heritage and greens by the day. It must be preserved. It is non-negotiable.”

Dina Zaman: “Convent Bukit Nanas was always the home I returned to whenever my family and I came back to Kuala Lumpur. My siblings and I attended many schools and lived in places that were not in Malaysia, but we always came back to CBN. I owe my career and life to CBN. My book Holy Men Holy Women would not have taken shape if not for my school experience talking to the nuns and sisters of the school. My adventures in the book reflect my education.

“Today, I am one of the founders of IMAN Research and our key pillars are society, beliefs and perception. The organisational make-up is diverse as well, and we work with a diverse group of organisations who want peace in the region. Terima kasih, CBN. I and my CBN sisters owe you much.”

Sandra Jean Corray, Kristina Rai Scott, Sakina Ali and Dina Zaman are ex-students of Convent Bukit Nanas.

The views expressed are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.

See: Corray, S. J., Scott, K. R., Ali, S., & Zaman, D. (2021, April 20). Renew land lease, let Convent Bukit Nanas stand tall. Free Malaysia Today.