Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Last Of The Great Doctors of Kota Bharu

Remember these pictures from my blog Kota Bharu In Pictures Part 3?

The clinic is still operating but I wonder if Dr. Bates is still seeing his patients there. I think Dr. Bates is a former British citizen who settled in Kelantan a long time ago. Will somebody from Kota Bharu enlighten me?

J.T. said...
Hi Zawi

Wow.. more familiar names of the KB. As mentioned in my blog, Bates Dispensary is the one place I remember most among others. I am not sure what happened to the Bates family after we left KB. My parents knew Dr Robert Bates. If my parents were alive today, I would call them immediately to ask about Dr Bates and how he got to KB to set up his practice.Medo photo studio sounds familiar. I think that is where our family and personal photos were taken. I need to check the back of some old photos. It has been too many years. :)Oh Zawi, even with limited memory of KB, I could go on and on about some of the street names and who and what I remember of those places. Thanks for another walk down memory lane.
Monday, January 28, 2008
Zawi said...

I think Dr. Bates is still around. Email me your fathers name so that I can use that name to tickle Dr. Bate's memory of the old times when I approach him to allow me to do a write up on him.Did take a picture of the Merican Dispensary at the corner of the shop near to Bazaar MPKB. Dr Ezanee was the proprietor but I doubt that he is still practicing as the last time I saw him, his eyesight was so bad that he could hardly see. That was a decade ago.The joy is mutual j.t. Me happy to make somebody like you happy :). Please come back to Kota Bharu.I will check on your site about the Dr. Bates.

Those were the exact posting on my Blog about Kota Bharu In Pictures Part 3.I was presumptious when I made the remark that Dr. Bates was a Brit. Dr. Bates is an Australian.

That was what triggered the desire to blog about the doctors of Kota Bharu. Yes, J.T. of Jaqui's Curve who commented on the above pictures that did it. Anyway it was so long ago that I promised her to blog about it and it is only now that I get to do it. It wasn't an easy task really as my only personal aquaintance with Dr. Bates was a visit to his clinic once for my hypertension. That too was a long time ago. I could not really figure as to how receptive Dr. Bates will be to the idea.

In later interactions with J.T. I found out that her family had a close mutual family friend who is a lawyer by the name of Foo. Hey that brings the connection. Mr.Foo Say Ghee is my ex teacher's husband. Via Yahoo Messenger I solicited Mrs. Foo's help to send words to Dr. Bates of my intention to write about him. At a chance meeting with Dr. Bates, Mrs.Foo poked the proposal to which Dr. Bates asked her why should anybody wants to write anything about him?. Mrs. Foo was wise enough to answer that he was the last of the Greats which is exactly right and that gave me the idea for the topic of this blog. Anyway Mrs. Foo got the greenlight for me and conveyed to me that Dr. Bates wants me to see him anytime in the afternoon as he has less patients at such a time.

That was still along time ago. I still didn't have the courage to go and see him to ask him probing questions pertinent to what I had in mind. I had exactly nothing in my mind so how on earth would I know what to ask of him? The most important thing is to find out why on earth that he set up shop in Kota Bharu such a long time ago when the place was just a tiny dot on the map of Malaysia.

Finally barely a month ago my friend Datuk Dr. Mahmud Awang Kecik, a urologist and former surgeon at Ampang Puteri Specialist Hospital was down in Kota Bharu and he called me for lunch. After exhausting all ideas to talk about, I broached to him about my idea to sort of interview Dr. Bates. I told him I was having problem on how to break the ice with him. Smilingly Dr. Mahmud asked me to take him to see Dr. Bates. They are aquaintance!

It was some 38 years ago that a young boy of 19 years of age by the name of Mahmud Awang Kechik had come to see Dr. Bates to get his health certified. This was a prerequisite for him to enter medical College under the Colombo Plan. Later when Dr. Mahmud had qualified and became a doctor in Kota Bharu they get aquainted again. So I came with a mutual friend to see Dr. Bates. The meeting between two close friends was a happy one as Dr. Bates had been trying to locate Dr. Mahmud for sometimes. I recorded it on camera. After that it was easy for me to personally tell him about my project to which he said you can come and see me any time.

Datuk Dr. Mahmud, not a practitioner anymore but a successful businessman on the international scene.

Dr. Mahmud posing with Dr. Bates.Two good friends reunited.

On 9th August 2008 I went to see Dr. Bates again to get some basic informations about Dr. Bates. He was in a hurry so I had to work very fast to get some basic informations about him.

Dr. Thomas James Bates graduated as a doctor from Adelaide University Asutralia. It was also there that he met a Miss Yeip I Bee an Art student from Kelantan. The young Dr. Bates had fallen head over heel for Miss Yeip. His proposal for her hands in marriage was accepted on the express condition that they get married and live in Kota Bharu.

The love was so strong that Dr. Bates readily complied and thus in 1968 he opened up a private clinic in Kota Bharu. When his parents were alive they used to to travel to Australia to meet them. Since they have both died, there is nothing much to go back to anymore. Malaysia is home to Dr. Bates and his family. From his marriage, he has two children, Steven and Christopher. Steven is the head of anaesthetist in a hospital in London whereas Chris is a dentist working in Singapore.

When I mentioned JT to Dr. Bates he remembered her as a small child of a certain height which he gestured with his hand. That was that long ago. JT remembered Steven as the leader who lead her siblings to Church in Kota Bharu.

Of the five pioneering private clinics in Kota Bharu, The Bates Dispensary is the only clinic that is still going with its founding doctor still practicing. The others like Aziz Clinic was closed soon after the demise of Dr. Aziz. The picture below shows where the location of Aziz Clinic near the Kota Bharu Bus stand. Mrs Lim, an avid reader of my blogs who used to live five doors away from Aziz Clinic and she confirmed the location of this place as the former Aziz Clinic, which is now a phone shop. The shophouse where Mrs. Lim's family used to live in is now a convenience store of the 7 Eleven chain..

Aziz Clinic was located where the phone shop is after the Super Roti.

Another clinic that is still operating is The Merican Dispensary belonging to the late Datuk Dr. Ezanee located not far from The Bates Dispensary. I remember going to his clinic once and had the chance to be examined by the good doctor himself. His sight was so bad that his glasses was almost an inch thick. On top of that he still had to use the magnifying glass to write. Despite all that many loyal patients insist to be examined by Datuk Dr. Izanee himself.

The Merican Dispensary is located infront of Bazaar MPKB.

A close doctor friend of mine used to work for Merican Dispensary. It was good business while he was working there but he was not happy with his salary. He experienced the wrath of Datuk Dr.Izanee when he proposed that he be paid on per patient basis instead of a fixed amount. This young doctor later set up his own clinic in Gua Musang and made his fortune there.

I don't have much information about the other two great doctors by the name of Dr. Ng Oon Hwee who owned Victory dispensary and Dr Choo Eng San who also had a clinic in Kota Bharu. Both have ceased operation. Of the two only Dr. Ng is still alive and he is living in Singapore.

Kota Bharu had quite a number of expatriates family back then and these are Dr. Bates major clientele. I have met a few of them such as Datuk Wrigglesworth who was a lawyer. He came to visit my foster father the late Raymond Hall when I was staying with him when I was schooling for three months in Sultan Ismail College Kota Bharu. During that time my foster father brought me to see another expatriate ex planter residing in Kota Bharu.

English was well spoken by the people of Kota Bharu then so Dr. Bates had no problem communicating with his patients. Over the years Dr. Bates caught up with the local dialect and converse well with them in the Kelantanese dialect. The locals have faith in him as a good doctor. I remember my wife's late grandmother insisting on to be taken to see Dr. Bates whenever she was ill.

Mrs Foo my ex teacher reminded me of another Indian Doctor by the name of Dr. Aru who set up clinic almost opposite to Dr. Bates Dispensary. He was a comtemporary of Datuk Dr. Izanee of Merican Dispensary meaning that he set up clinic even earlier than Dr. Bates himself. His family moved away from Kota Bharu after his death.

Beside medical doctors Mrs Foo recalled two private dentists by the names of Dr. Chiam (deceased) and Dr. Wee who opened up private practice from the 50's. She remembered Dr. Chiam as a thourough person who would look into every nook and corner of the her mouth. Using the foot powered drill (never had the chance to see one myself), Dr. Chiam would drill every cavity however minute. She remembered the pain to have reached the 'bone and the head'. No wonder Mrs. Foo still has her own set of teeth as the fear of another drilling even with the latest laser drill made her look after them well. The thought of going to the dentist bring shivers down her spine.

These are the great doctors that had served in Kota Bharu. Dr. Bates is still serving after 40 years at it. If it was money that these doctors were looking for, then Kota Bharu was a wrong choice. So money wasn't the main criteria for them. Service was and still is paramount.

Looking hale and hearty, I guess Dr. Bates will continue to serve his patients for many more years to come. He is the last of the great doctors of Kota Bharu who is still serving.


LadyZ said...

Zawi, What a coincidence! Datuk Dr Mahmud is also our friend. We were sent to Indonesia in early 70s, he went to do his medicine in Surabaya, I did biochemistry in Bandung. we've not seen for so many years. Please convey our salam to him if you meet him again. Re Dr Bates, there is a mention of Christine Anna Bates in this article at research #40
It is an interesting connection.

Zawi said...

Something good in blogging then. He is based in KL and recently he had a grand wedding ceremony for his daughter which I didn't manage to attend. I did mention about it in one of my earlier blogs but maybe you didn't realise it was him that I was referring to.
I will convey your regards to him and if you want to reestablish contact with him, I will email you his email address. He will be very glad to establish contact with you again.
He was my classmate when we were schooling in SIS Pasir Mas.
Thanks for the info in Dr. Christine Anna Bates.

Mat Cendana said...

What an excellent post, Bang Zawi!
I've never met Dr Bates, but I've sure heard A LOT about this man and his clinic. I'd say he's one of the symbols of Kota Bharu!

Congratulations, for coming up with such a high quality post. This kind of thing merits PAYMENT!

Zawi said...

mat cendana,
Thank you for your exuberant accolade on my effort. I am not even putting any advert on my blogsite so who would pay me? Just read and enjoy it la.
Yes Dr. Bates is an icon of Kota Bharu. Visit his clinic and you will be surprised that the clinic remains the way it was since 40 yrs ago. Nothing fancy, just a simple place where the good doctor tends to his patients.

kbguy said...

hei, these are all familiar names in KB. The doctors, and Mrs Foo of central Book Store, right ? I used to stay at the Bata shop at jalan Temenggong opposite Sun Too, more than 40 years ago. Mrs Lim's is closed just a few row behind us. And Raymond Hall was my teacher too in SIC. And the lawyer Riggersworth.. we went to look for job from him after my form 6th, and my pal got a free trip with him to Europe. His office was behind Maybank at that time. And we were also invited to his japanese garden house party by the side of a river at jalan pengkalan chepa (uda murni).

Fauziah Ismail said...

Salam Pak Zawi
If we have an East Coast pullout like that of Johor Buzz for the southern edition, I would want this story for print.
It is a good story idea.

Zawi said...

You seem to know them all and met them all. I stayed with the late Ray Hall when I was in SIC before quitting sixth form to do my Agric Diploma. Mrs Foo tught me in Form 5 when she was my class teacher.
The Wrigglesworth law firm was later bought by my wife's great uncle but later resold to somebody else. I never had the chance to go to his house.

Zawi said...

Definitely you will have such great doctors in JB that you can do a similar story. I remember going to the clinic in jalan Ah Fook. There was also a dentist somewhere near there and his name seems to ring a bell in many of the younger dentists as a model of a great dentist. Johor Baru has many iconic figures in the medical line.

LadyZ said...

Yes, please send me his email address. Thank you. If you had not included his photo in this post, I wouldn't have realised you're referring to him. Now I wonder why he left his medical profession, he's a good urologist.

Zawi said...

His medical career was just a stepping stone to greater things. He is also a fellow to a certain elite organization which I cant recall.
Now he has found an easier way to make a living which allow him to travel all over the world which also allow him to make more money than while he was operating people.
I intend to do a story on him after our planned class of 68 Pasir Mas gathering this Dec.
His email address will be in your mail soon.

Akmal said...

Pak Zawi,
Truth be told, I don't know any of the names you mentioned. Am I too young for all the names? I guess so hahaha. I mean, 40 years ago or so. 40 years! Simply put, this posting is enlightening to me ;)
And anyway, you did it great.
Oh ya. Come over and check out my 1000D. Nothing compared to your a350, but it's a good catch ;)
Have a nice day.

J.T. said...

Hi Zawi

Thank you very much for this post. One of the names you mentioned struck some memory. Dr Choo - Is he Dr Philip Choo? I hope I got his name correctly.

Also, I thought Dr Bates had two sons - Steven and Christopher? I cannot recall a Christine. Then again, we are talking about the 70s. I have not been back since we left in 1979. So, I may have forgotten some names and faces.

It's a small world, isn't it? We have a friend in common in KB - Mrs Foo.
By the way, thanks to you, I am now in touch with Mrs Foo's daughter. She lives in the States. :)

Hopefully on my next trip back to Malaysia, I will be able to take a day or two in KB to meet some of my parents' good friends.

Thank you once again. It is an honour for me that you took the trouble to get this story out.

yeappie said...

Pak Zawi,
Excellent article. The late Raymond Hall was my English teacher and Mrs. Bate taught me Geography. Please convey my best regards to Mrs. Foo and Mrs. Lim.

Zawi said...

Earlier I was so sure that Dr. Bates has two sons Steven and Chris (Which could be Christoper) until Lady Z came up with that link to Dr. Christine Anna Bates (see LadyZ's comment)which confuses me and made me change Chris' name to Christine. I will have to amend it to Christoper until I get further confirmation from anyone of them. I remember Dr. Bates never mentioned a daughter when we talked.
I am not so sure too about Dr.Choo but I think you are right. I will confirm that too.
I think you should come back to Kota Bharu while your family friends are around. Since Mrs Foo has offerred you a place to stay while here, you can time your return with her. I can take you around and let you relive your childhood days.
I am sorry for the overdued posting and I hope it was worth the wait.

Zawi said...

Those doctors were of your parents generation. Being from Rantau Panjang it may not be worth the effort for your parents to go to Kota Bharu to get treatment from private medical treatments for their illnesses. While you were at Falahiah they won't send you there either.
Shall I say my Sony Alpha 350 is nothing compared to your 1000D? If you think of my Alpha s highly I dont mind if we trade off at par hahahahaha.
Now you will be inundating your flickr with new photos. Remeber after every 100,000 shots you must service the thing. Ask Mazle if you think I am bluffing you. Knowing you are capable of shooting 1000 pics in one session, your 100,000 clicks may happen after just 10 sessions.
Enjoy your new toy and come and show it off to me this Raya. I want to see how cute Balqis will be thru the lens of the 1000D.

Zawi said...

Thanks for the praises. I will convey your regards to Mrs. Foo cos I often chat to her or husband online. As per Mrs Lim, how about you calling her personally? She mentioned your name when I was with her. It would be nice for you to call her personally.

mrs.lim said...

Good afternoon, Pak Zawi.

It is always such a pleasure to read your blogs... :)

I was really happy that you dropped in the other day. Sorry I din't want pic taken for though my father used to own a photo studio at our old shop (currently rented out to 7-11 by my brother), I was never his model.. hahaha..

I am sorry I couldn't contact the aunty who used to be Dr. Aziz's nurse for you. Failed to contact Mrs. Wee (the daughter-in-law) of the Kelantan Commercial School on top of Kedai Buku Shanghai, Jalan Sultanah Zainab.

KBguy mentioned about Mrs. Foo of Central Book Store, but I think she is the sis-in-law of the Mrs. Foo you mentioned, right?

I have attended my former boss(friend)'s birthday party at the late Datuk Wrigglesworth's house(Taman Uda Murni)twice. A compact and unique house and I don't remember seeing iron grills..

Yeappie was my class-mates since primary school.. We were in different class when we were transferred to SIC. An old buddy. ;D ..

Have a nice day, pak zawi. :)


Zawi said...

Thanks for inviting me to invite your work place and thanks for helping me locate Aziz Clinic.
I am not sure if there is another Mrs. Foo. The on Mrs. Foo that I am referring to is Mrs Foo Say Ghee and my ex teacher in Pasir Mas who was later transferred to Chung Hwa Kota Bharu with my other favourite teacher Mr. loo Hock Guan who taught me English and English Literature.
It is Ok if you couldn't contact the auntie as I have already posted the blog. I am so happy if you enjoyed reading it. These doctors are familar people to KB people like you as we rarely go to them being from Pasir Mas.

Hi&Lo said...

Pak Zawi,

Sorry for being AWOL. It's so heartwarming you connecting all the long lost friends thru your blog.

What a community the people of KB. Everyone knows every one.

Pak Zawi, you have a blessed Ramadan.

U.Lee said...

Hi Zawi, was so thrilled see your callsign at my pondok. Terima kaseh.
And yes, your this posting brougt back memories shrouded in cobwebs, covered with rust, but that 'Dr Bates' clinic I remember seeing but was healthy enough not to have visited him.

Your beautiful pics of KB always brings back memories to me....ayam percik, ikan percik comes to mind.
By the way, I like your new profile pic...I think you need a bigger belt, arhaaa ha ha. Just kidding.
Happy Ramadan Zawi, keep well, Lee.

Zawi said...

Kota Bharu was a small place then. Anyway that is Kota Bharu for you. Don't worry about been missing.

Zawi said...

I have been pretty busy lately as I am a part time stringer to a new magazine. Been doing some research for my articles and barely enough time to surf around beside updating my own blog once in a while.
I know you can always relate to Kota Bharu having made the town almost your own hometown due to the frequency of your visits. Since you have beem very healthy and strong I don't see your need to visit any doctors and get aquainted with any of them. Afterall there ain't many private practitioners of the gentle kind that may necessitate faking an illness just to get close.
Thanks for the reciprocal visit.
Fortunately the fasting month is helping me abit in reducing a notch in my belt. I do still look puffed up though hehehehee.

Mat Salo said...

Bung Zawi.. syok dengar cerita Dr.Bates ni. A lot of colorful characters once graced KB. Ini kalau tak pasal hal2 semasa yang meng-distractkan (ya Bang, kesian sama keluarga sheih) I would love to find the time to profile world famous writer like the late Anthony Burgess who was once at the the Teachers' Training College, kalau tak silap. Kat mana tu?

Good of you to reunite old friends!

-Every good thing starts with opening one's eyes... and be curious about the world-

pB said...

salam ...

akae kelik petae jumaat 26hb.

Doa doa selamat , deh

(sorry , luar tajuk la pulok)
hi hi hi

CJCM said...

Bro, I think my late grand father used to visit Dr Bates very often and he liked it very much being looked after by Dr Bates. Somehow, this Dr connects quite well with the old folks... am glad you did a story on him.

BTW... I am sure there are many KL-based Kelantenese bloggers who will celebrating Aidil Fitri in Kel. What do you think of a small gathering of bloggers in KB this Hari Raya holiday? Courtesy visit to Bariah's (Sheih's spouse) house perhaps? Care to organize one?

Zawi said...

Mat Salo,
Anthony Burgess once taught at the Teachers Training College in Kota Bharu? I didn't know that bro. The College is in Pengkalan Chepa right beside the present University Kelantan.
I really sympathise with Sheikh. It was just a small sin by him and he doesnt deserve to be so treated. Mungkin bagi orang yang takutkan hantu tunggul pun disangkakan hantu.
I always enjoy being helpful bro.

Zawi said...

Hari tu Balqis juga balik dari Labuan. Seronoknya Pak Zawi nanti.
Beli suratkhabar The Star dengan gambar Kak Lah dok buat pulut bakar?

Zawi said...

Dr. Bates has his way with the elderly. He treats them with love and respect though he wasn't born a local. That must how he gets by very well with everybody.
I will have to consult Sehikh's wife first. If Sheikh is not released before Raya, most probably she will be in KL. I am keen to organize a gathering so that we can help cheer up his children provided they will be in KB.
We will see what we can do about it. I cant promise anything yet.
Most important thing to do now is to collect donation to help Sheikh's defence. I wonder if Perbadanan Meneteri Besar Kelantan has done something about it. I trust Dato' Husam Musa has thought of something already.

Sang Kelate said...

Mr Zawi..

It is indeed a small world. My dad used to run a bookstore next to Aziz Dispensary called Kedai Buku Aziz Al-Bakri (where super roti is now located). Next to it at the end is Kelantan Hotel whose owner Mr Lim who later became MCA ADUN of Padang Garong (Now Kota Lama and I used to help him after school in late 70s. Sheih is my classmate in SRK Ismail 2 where Mrs Foo of Central book store used to teach us. I have a strong feeling that Mrs Lim is rite abt Mrs. Foo.

Good idea abt blogger meeting after raya. Bariah and family (hopefully Sheih will be released soon) is planning to celebrate raya in Johore this year. My contact told me that Datuk Husam will appoint Zainal (he also represent Nik Sapiei in Tun M 's pepper spray case) of Zainal & Mariani to represent Azidi.

Dr Izani was ou grandparents family doctor and my late grandmum used to visit Dr Bates before.

Have a nice weekend Pak Zawi


Zawi said...

Sang Kelate,
I am glad this posting has evoked so much memories from us all.
So it is confirmed that Bariah wont be around for Raya in KB as long as Sheih is being detained. I definitely feel that they should release him before Raya so that he can be with his family.
Good news that DatuK Husam is taking care of Sheikh. Maybe we should embark on some fund raising for Sheikh's defence.
Please suggest some place for the gathering. I am lost for ideas. I would like to ask Ridel Hotel to give us the use of a place at the Hotel for the gathering. How do you all feel about it? Please suggest a suitable date.

Rusdi Abu Bakar said...

Tak g ambik gambar kat pasar ramadhan ko?

Zawi said...

Dok gi, rasanya ramai ore lain buat kot. Tak nak buat benda sama la.
Selamat berpuasa. Dah tau bila balik Mesia?

J.T. said...

Hi Zawi

It was definitely worth the wait. Thanks, once again.

Thanks for the offer to take me around KB. I will take up on that when I finally get to that once sleepy town. :)


LeefromKL said...

hello Zawi,

This is off topic but after seeing your comments about Sheih, i had to comment here. If you nice people are STILL collecting funds for Sheih (i read that he's already been released), please post the A/C number here.. my friends and i would like to contribute as well.

Lee from KL

Zawi said...

Like Mrs. Foo's offer for a place to stay, my offer for a guided tour will stand forever.
We will wait for you.

Zawi said...

Nothing has been started yet. We will wait for Sheih to come back first and agree to it before we will start anything as we don't know whether he will need financial help or not for the moment.
Thank you for your kind gesture. Such gestures speaks volumes for the solidarity among bloggers.

leefromkl said...

Thanks bro Zawi! Keep us posted!

Lee from KL

Daphne Ling said...

Aiyo Pak Zawi,

Pn Sabariah's house looks like a pandan cake with yellow-cream trimming ler...

I really wouldn't want to live there lar...Scary...And would make me hungry 24/7!

changgeh said...

What a wonderful postings. You mention Mr Foo Say Ghee.There was this teacher at Tengku Bariah Secondary School(TBSS)K.Trg 1966 by the name of Mr Foo Say Geok.Is there any possiblity that they are related.Could you please find out. Thanks Zawi.

Zawi said...

I think you were in a hurry and posted this comment here and not the later post.
Anyway I know what you are referring to.
If you have a big family it is alright to have such a big mansion. I think what Puan Sabariah did is to attract attention to the house hence the customers to her products. She needs the big house because when Raya comes many people will come to her open house as everybody is welcomed to visit her on that day. I feel like doing a post on Hari Raya at her home if I could find the time.

Zawi said...

I will find if Mr. Foo Say Geok is related to Mr. Foo Say Ghee. There is a likelihood that they are brothers. I will get his email or contact number for you if he turns out to be one.

Zawi said...

Mr. Foo Say Geok is not related to Mr. Foo Say Ghee.

changgeh said...

Thank you for the info. Have a nice day and Selamat Hari Raya to you and all at home.

Zawi said...

You are most welcomed.
Thank you for the greetings.

rainstorm said...

Hi Zawi. Those great doctors you mentioned brings back old memories.. Another doctor which is also quite famous at that time, Dr. Singh. He met an accident back in the late 70's or early 80's. He has his own clinic in Klang & the last time i saw him was at least 10 years ago.


Zawi said...

Did he serve in Kota Bharu? You mentioned that he has his own clinic in Klang.

Anonymous said...

I'm not of your batch but Shabera Sheik was the same batch as my sister Catherine Bates. BTW I'm Martin Bates but not related to Dr. Bates. There are two Bates' families in KB. As I know, Dr. Bates originated from Australia and he is still practising today.
Martin Bates

Zawi said...

Mr. Bates,
Thank you for dropping by and clearing the air about the other Bates. Sure glad that you have stumbled upon this post since it had been posted quite sometime ago.I guess you are located somewhere out of Kelantan now. Woud be great to learn up more about how your family came to be settled in such a place as Kelantan.

Chris Bates said...

Hi there!
I was back in KB for Christmas and my mum told me about your article. Its a great article and it reconfirmed how proud I feel about my dad and what he's achieved. Just to clarify the Christopher/Christine business, as much as my mum would have also liked a daughter, her and dad only have two boys. Stephen and me. So that no one thinks I've changed that much!
I'm a dentist in Adealide. Feel free to look me up if your're in town.
Chris (Christopher)

Zawi said...

Chris Bates,
Thank you for dropping by. So now you are now in Adelaide and no more in Singapore. Should I be in Adelaide, I will definitely look you up as meeting another Kelantanese in faraway land is like meeting one's own brother.
It seems to be so timely as Martin Bates had also made a comment before you. Martin and Christine are siblings and they are the children of the other Bates. Now the air is cleared. Thanks to you and Martin Bates.

David said...

Dear Zawi and LazyZ,

My name is David Bates. My family is one of the Bates family's from Kelantan and some of us are still there.

Your post has been very interesting indeed... but I would just like to point out on the first comment of this post where LadyZ points out an article where a Christine Anna Bates is mentioned.

Christine Anna Bates is my aunt, and not the daughter of Dr. Bates. The reference in the article is mistaken. Yes she did go to Zainab school as the article mentioned, it's just that she isn't Dr. Bates' daughter. Like one of your comments said, Dr. Bates didn't ever mention having a daughter.

Even though we share a surname, my Bates family is not related to Dr. Bates though we do know him and at one point attended the same church, if I am not mistaken.

Just wanted to point it out, to help you with this little 'mystery'. Anyway, Christine Anna Bates now resides in KL.

If you need anything more from me, though I am not sure what I can provide, please do email at davidalanbates at gmail

David said...

oops, after going through all the comments again, I discovered that Martin Bates (my father) already cleared up the 'mystery' for u. Anyway, no harm done. Cheers :)

Howard said...

Pak Zawi,

I was referred to your blog post about Dr. Bates, and spent many happy minutes reading about him. My wife and I were Peace Corps volunteers in Kota Bharu in the mid 1970's, and Dr. Bates was our physician. All of us who served in Kelantan owe him a lot for keeping us healthy, and serving as an unofficial counselor as needed. My wife and I have managed to see him several times since, but not recently. When we were in KB a couple of years ago, we found his clinic shuttered, but I was told by the proprietor of Sun Too that Dr. Bates was out of town that day. Your blog shows us that Dr. Bates is still going strong, God bless his soul!

Another historical point (since we're talking about doctors and dentists of KB): When I served in KB in 1975 thru 1978, our dentist was Dr. Chong, whose office was, if I recall correctly, across from the Hong Kong Bank in the Padang. I didn't see him mentioned in your blog (but it might have been in the comments).

Your blogs are great. I have just subscribed to them in Google Reader. Keep up the great work! Cheers!

Zawi said...

It is definitely very encouraging for me to have people like you benefiting something from my blogging. It will definitely spur me on to write more about KB and Kelantan in general.
I didn't know about the dentist as I never had the opportunity to visit any of those in Kota Bharu. All the more so since I was talking about MDs and not dentists.
If you have anything in particular about Kelantan that you would like me to highlight, just give me an inkling and I will spare time to work on it.
I will inform Dr.Bates about your remembrance of him. I believe his children are readers of this blog too.

Howard said...

Pak Zawi,

Thank you for your response. When something about KB today (which has changed so much from 30 years ago) gets us curious, we will ask you to investigate in your blog! Please tell Dr. Bates that Howard and Patricia Yamaguchi say hello, and please let him know that Patricia is working on the second edition of her Malaysian music book! Cheers!

Zawi said...

Will gladly do that the next time I get to KB. He will be surprised to hear that. Email me you email address at and I will relay it to Dr. Bates so that he could get in touch with you via emails.

Joe Fernandes said...

Hello everyone..this is Joe Fernandes originally from KB now living in Sydney. I completed SIC in 1973 and my father also taught at this school till 1970. Other teachers included Mr Jerome (now in Klang), Mr Leong, Sivadas, etc
All these blogs bring back so many memories..keep them up. I think we forgot one of the doctors...Dr Arul who was a few doors down from Choo clinic I think. No one liked to go to Dr Arul as he loved administering the dreaded needle. My email is
We have a SIC Alumni yahoo group with about 30 colleagues including Martin Bates.

Joe Fernandes said...

Just remembered another doc...Dr See who ran the See Clinic..he moved to Sydney in early 80s


Professor Faridah Abdul Rashid said...

Dear Zawi,

LadyZ cited my website re Christine Anna Bates. I am Faridah Abdul Rashid (, 012-963-2218). I presently work in USM in Kubang Kerian. Christine and I were classmates at Zainab 2 Primary School in 1969-1970. I didn't know there were 2 Bates families in KB but I know Bates Dispensary. My mother is (arwah) Tulip Rashid/Tulip Che Lah who taught Civics, English and Geography at Sultan Ismail School and later at SIC. My dad is (arwah) Abdul Rashid Mohd Yusope who lectured on Bahasa Malaysia/Maths/Physics at Maktab Perguruan KB. I'm writing a book, The Early Malay Doctors. I need a photo of Aziz Dispensary for my book. This is my TEMD blog: I have 2 blogs on KB - Got * no * time and also What's cooking in KB.
Prof Faridah (USM)

Anonymous said...

Is this Datuk Dr Mahmood Awang Kechik on the blacklist of the US govt for doing business with Mugabe regime?

Sylvia Yong said...

I chanced upon your blog and enjoyed reading about Kota Bharu. I was born there and studied in the Zainab Sec School. Anyone from the Class of 1968? I remember some, like Hamidah Ismail, Ma Wai Keng, Sabera Sheik, Maraimas, Tik, Kamariah, Siva, Mek Som, Zakiah etc. Any chance that I can get in touch with them? I have a blog, called 'Contemplation' at

Prof Faridah said...

Dear Sylvia Yong,

I was in Form 1 in 1971 at Zainab Secondary School 2 in Telipot. I'm sorry I don't know the names you mentioned. Zainab School should have its own website.

B. Z. said...

Sad to inform that Dr. Bates just past away today. May him Rest in Peace.

Steve said...

We are all sadden to say that Dr. Roberts Bates was called home to be with the Lord on Tuesday 13 August 2013 at around 13 30 hours. Let's prayed for his soul...SCRC

Zain said...

Nobody mentioned Mrs Bates in the above writeups/comments. I wonder whether she is still alive. She, by the way, was my class teacher, Form 4&5 DC, way back in 1968/69. Can anyone enlighten me about Mrs. Bates please. I would love to see her if I happened to visit KB!

Anonymous said...

Hello everyone ...
Terima Kasih Zawi.
am so excited I discovered this page. have not read all but enough to keep my heart dup dap...
macheh jupa sedaro, even if its just sedaro bau macahng.
Pardon me for the bahasa campur....

minta tanya sikit kbguy....
demo sebut dumoh demo kedai depeh SunToo ....prehaps our parents know each other....
I am from the Ang brother side...remember the shope selling ammuniations & taxidermy service on the top floor.

Mohon maaf terlebih dahulu for using mixed lingo. Hope not breaking any clause En Zawi. Will do my best to remain in one language.
salam to everyone

Anonymous said...

Hi Howard ,
I remember Dr Chong well. I last heard he migrated to Australia after his foster parents passed away & left him their property.

Anonymous said...

Hi Prof Faridah
I am from ZS too. Left in 1975 after MCE.
There is a group ZS75...with some of our teachers.

Hi Slyvia , try locate ZS75 group...
Sabera sister is in that group.

CheLyn said...

Please note 3 comments , 4 inclusive of this dated 01.Nov 2016 Tuesday under anonymous are from me...CheLyn.
I understand someone trying to locate Christina Bates....
There was a Christina Bates who lived at Jalan Pintu Pong. She was in my class but she is now known as Nurhana Abdullah....teaching at SMK TTDI

Unknown said...

I read the posting that Christine Bates resides in KL What profession is she in?

Unknown said...

Hi do you happened to have Mr Raymond Hall's photo. I had lost mine....

Roz said...

AssalamAssalam Zawi n SangKlate. Greetings Mrs Lim. I am the nephew of Dr Aziz. Lived above the dispensary from early 60s to early 80s. Dr Aziz lived in Pintu Pong then Jalan Telipot. The dispensary actually occupied two lots. Another uncle lived next door. We were the only malay families on the block.Kelantan Hotel, bookstore, electrical shop, a few general merchandising shops, photoshop n BATA(Mrs Lim?), two sundry shops(Ah Tong?) and another shoe store(selling Fung Keong shoes). The street was Jalan Pendek hosting the SKMK bus station.I lived above the bookstore. The bookstore rented the lower front of the lot 1856.Dr Aziz nurse was Kim Sing. She was like family.Kelantan Hotel owner was a state assembly man. Wow. Memories. Thanks for the revisit.

Prof Faridah said...

I interviewed Hjh Rashidah bt Dr Abdul Aziz at her late father's home in Telipot. She said her dad's clinic (Aziz Dispensary) was 2 shop-houses, and after the Bata corner shop. It is both the bakery & the phone shop today. There is another Aziz Dispensary (Aziz Clinic) at 605 Jalan Masjid Lama in Pasir Mas.