What's in a name?

You could be forgiven for not knowing the name of one of Seremban's oldest schools, after all the founding happened in October,1904 which was a long, long time ago.

This particular school was called the Holy Infant Jesus Convent and it was demolished in1994, relocated 5km away much to the parents dismay in order to make way for a large commercial development, as the location was in a prime position, smack bang in the middle of the town centre.

The development soon ran into problems with water mysteriously flooding the area designated for underground car parking and the area has now become somewhat an eyesore, dominated by what looks like a big stagnant swimming pool surrounded by barbed razor wire.

More than twenty years has passed since that development was abandoned and the area, currently named Dataran Seremban on a wall in a small garden, contains no reference to the rich history of what stood there for almost 100 years.

Former student and part-time teacher from the convent Sharen Seneviratne is passionate about the school she attended from 6 years old and believes the area could be renamed Dataran Convent, or at least have some memorial reference so as to retain a positive, rich memory of the school and the area.

Sharen has launched a campaign to determine the public and official opinion on the matter.

"The memory most people will have of the square is the big pool of water that has been there for the last ten years courtesy of a failed development. To remember those who actually really put in all the effort, the teachers who educated us and not just my generation, but since 1904, would be special, it's a gratitude thing-it would be great just to keep a good memory to point back to," she said.

Looking towards the edge of the square, a smiling Sharen talks about where large trees once grew, saying, "that's where we used to sit and have our chats and stuff, just on the corner there..in the cool shadows of the big trees."

"At the convent we had all sorts of races and religions, so we want to capture and maintain that feeling of sharing and multicultural harmony because when people come here they can perhaps read a plaque or see something that memorialises what the area used to be."

"It would be nice to acknowledge the sacrifices made by so many teachers over the years as some of them were so passionate and it was not just education but child rearing as well with many orphans left at the doorway for the sisters to care for their needs."

Sharen has already reached her target aim of procuring one thousand supporters in her online petition campaign (click on link here to register your vote), https://www.causes.com/campaigns/7910-renaming-dataran-seremban-to-dataran-convent and hopes more people will come on board to help swing official opinion so visitors to the square are reminded of what was an integral part of Seremban's rich and diverse history.

"It was a pretty special place for many people and I for one can't forget just because the building is not there anymore."

Convent Petition Call: The Holy Infant Jesus Convent was located in the very heart of Seremban town. This Historical site should be recognised and remembered as it is part of Seremban's history. We, past students, teachers and all connected to our beloved Convent school in one way or another, have very fond memories that will live on. Let us come together and sign this petition as a humble request that 'our school 'padang' which now is Dataran Seremban be renamed to DATARAN CONVENT. "Simple in Virtue, Steadfast In Duty"..THE CONVENT SPIRIT LIVES ON!!


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