Friday, the 18th of October 2013 was the day that one of our beloved teachers, Puan Phay Heang Heng, officially announced her retirement. A special assembly; which included speeches from Puan Phay herself and Puan Azizah, and also some unique performances; was organized by the school during the morning of that Friday to celebrate her retirement.
Puan Phay has indeed has had an illustrious 34 year career as a secondary school teacher, starting at the age of 24 in the year 1979. Having been teaching at our school a year after our school’s establishment in the year 2002, Puan Phay is very much considered to be one of the early pioneers of our school. 'I was very happy to have enrolled in this school as a teacher, I applied to get a transfer from the school which I was teaching previously, SMK Sri Aman because this school was very close to my old house and it made things even more convenient for me. My old house was in BU4.' Puan Phay once worked close with the school’s principal back then, Puan Tan Wat Eng, or in other words, the predecessor of Puan Azizah binti Yusoff.
According to Puan Phay, things were very different back in 2003, her first year in the school. 'Right about everything in the school was new. If I have not mistaken, there were only first-formers, second-formers and third-formers in the school. The school’s first ever batch of PMR students only comprised of 50 candidates. We had a small body of educators, comprising of less than 20 teachers, which meant that we had to work together - together as a team to lay the foundations of the school. I was also selected as the school’s first head of the Mathematics committee.'
As a teacher who has been teaching upper secondary mathematics in our school, Puan Phay has definitely seen it all. 'The teachers and students were very close and united during the first 4 years. There were only 600 students in our school until the year 2005. However, I have to admit that they, especially the fifth-formers who had graduated in 2005, were the ones who really appreciated us as teachers teaching in this school at this time, the ones who loved us and ultimately loved the school, not to say that the following and present batches don’t at all,' quipped Puan Phay, when queried about the first four batches of students in our school’s history.
She also praised Puan Azizah’s achievements as a principal. 'There was a drastic increase in number of students the year after Puan Azizah’s first year as our school’s principal, which was in 2006. This was due to the increase in the amount of facilities and amenities in our school. Puan Azizah has had an immense level of impact ever since then. She was obviously the one who really built and enhanced the name and reputation of our school.'
There is nothing more that Puan Phay can ask for, with such an illustrious and experience-filled career as a mathematics teacher for 34 years. This includes receiving two Excellent Service Awards in 1997 and 2006, and not to mention having a family of her own that includes her husband and a very well-to-do son, who now currently resides in Australia as a student pursuing a degree in the world-renowned University of Melbourne. 'I am just an ordinary teacher, that’s all. It is not really anything that special. However, as a teacher who originally specialised in economics and mathematics, I think I have given it all and done my best. I initially opted to retire three years ago at the age of 55. I am happy to retire at this age and I am ready to enjoy the government pension. Age is just a number and I still feel youthful at heart. I would like to continue my interest and hobbies, such as reading and also my other commitments, like in investing. I would also like to use my experience gained in my career as a teacher to be a tutor.
Puan Phay currently resides in Tropicana Golf And Country Resorts, which is located close to our school. She also has a holiday home at Melbourne, Australia. She has also clarified that her love and passion for SMK Bandar Utama Damansara (3) is forever. 'I would be travelling often to Australia, for occasions such as getaways and visiting my beloved son, who is furthering his studies there. I would still be a loyal Malaysian citizen and be loyal to the school. Despite already being a retired teacher at that time, I would definitely come back here every now and then. If at all the school approaches me for seeking any assistance that is required, I would always be ready to give a helping hand. I hereby want every single student in SMK Bandar Utama Damansara (3) to balance their time wisely. Be it study or play, just remember to put in your full effort and full concentration, and to always do your best. I also want all of you know that I have and always will love each and everyone of you from the bottom of my heart and wish you all good luck in your future undertakings. As for my colleagues teaching in this school, I wish you all the luck in the world and happy working in SMK Bandar Utama Damansara (3)!'
Ajay and Rachel Yee