Sister Winnie, Catholic nun and kindergarten teacher. 62 years old. SK Convent, Tanah Rata, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia.

Doesn't she just look like a kindergarten-teaching nun? Such a kind face.

Sister Winnie sat down with me for a few minutes between her classes and her lunch. It didn't give me enough time to delve into the deeper questions about being a nun and or to cover the '10 questions' but the conversation is worth a peek anyway.

Why did you decide to become a Catholic nun?

It was a call from God.

Yes, but how were you introduced to Catholicism?

Well, I was educated by nuns in primary and secondary school. When I was 19 years old, I chose to be baptized. The next year I started training to be a nun. It took three years and I became a nun in 1963 - so I guess that's almost 40 years now.

This may sounds like a silly question, but are you happy as a nun?

Of course. I'm serving God. I'm close to God. Being a nun is my vocation. I'm bound to be happy.

I understand that you're also a teacher here at the convent.

Yes. I run the kindergarten. Over twenty years ago, I went to Hyderabbad , India to the Maria Montessori program to train for my profession. You know Montessori? It was an intensive course that took 9 months.

School kids at the SK Convent - always ready with a pose.

Are you from the Cameron Highlands originally?

I'm from Kuala Lumpur - a city girl. But I have been at this convent for more than 30 years. I prefer it here - the air is clean and its healthier. But life can be a little dull at night.

What do you mean? You're a nun!

Well, we can't make home visits to the parishioners. The road are too dark. So we just have to consult them when they come to the convent.

My husband and I went to Easter mass on Sunday. It was in Chinese and most of the attendees were Chinese. Are you of Chinese descent as well?

Yes, of course! And all of our parishioners are Chinese farmers - they own the land. So of course they are Chinese.

They are calling me to lunch ...

It smells good - lots of garlic.

Yes today is Indian cuisine, my favorite!

The SK Convent sits on a hill overlooking the town of Tanah Rata. It's one of the few European buildings left in the Cameron Highlands.

The SK Convent was built in the Cameron Highlands of Malaysia by French nuns in the 1930's. It was later leased to the British as a military hospital until 1971. The following year, Catholic nuns reclaimed the building and turn it into SK Convent. Today there are six Catholic nuns, all of Chinese descent, and a thriving primary school. There are 500 church members who are also Chinese and come from various surrounding villages.


home | itinerary | notes | gallery | nuts & bolts
food wonders & blunders | prices & incomes
conversations | about us | guestbook | links
join our mailing list

please email us anytime at

All Rights Reserved 2002 - Nigel & Julie Snow