From the RELC Staff

The RELC staff compiled their memories of their former boss, whom they miss dearly.

As a Boss

Miss Yolanda Beh set up the RELC Library and Information Centre from scratch in 1968. From assisting the RELC founder Director to source for a location to house the then Regional English Language Centre to purchasing the first piece of furniture for the Library and to adding the first book to start the Library’s collection. She was a perfectionist in every aspect of work, from the neatness of the arrangement of every book on the Library shelves to each and every punctuation mark on a card catalogue and to a perfectly written report or letter, making sure that every sentence complied to all grammatical and linguistic rules. She had carefully and meticulously built up the collection that was  known as the “World’s Best Library specializing in Applied Linguistics.” —Vicky

Besides specializing in Applied Linguistics, she also compiled add-ons to the Library’s collection by collating related articles, textbooks used by the schools among SEAMEO countries and course projects done by RELC course members. These add-ons contributed to the uniqueness of the RELC Library collection. She was also involved in leading important events such as the RELC Regional Seminars and Governing Board Meetings. —Hashim

I enjoyed immensely working with her and both my ‘brother and sister’. She had contributed a lot to this Library and I had always supported and appreciated the knowledge she provided to us, especially her advice. We owe our greatest intellectual debt to Miss Beh. She would check and comment strictly on our work, and over the last few years, had generously corresponded with us through emails and also set aside time to discuss a wide range of issues. I am very grateful for her attention and interest. Most important, was the example that she had set as a responsible intellectual worker in linguistics and as a supportive boss who would always stand up and fight for the rights of her staff.  I am not alone in being very grateful to her for inspiration. Her sharp mind and insightful comments had helped to improve us in our work. Her careful reading and editing had clarified many drafts and helped us to construct a perfect work manual which made it easy for us to carry out our duties. Her support and encouragement had made all problems possible to endure. —Hanita

As a Mentor

She was like a mum to us, we grew up under her wings—all three of us from as young as 18 years old and now two have reached 55 years of age. She taught us a hundred and one things, from library-related topics to essence of life, and lots and lots more. We used to be very scared of her but slowly we realized that her sternness had led us to become better not only in our work but also our lives. — Vicky

She was caring and systematic in distributing work duties—something which I have learnt and still value.  Because of these qualities in her, I came back to work under her again after leaving RELC for three years. —Hashim

She has taught me to be very strong when facing life and to overcome all with peace.  Even my family could not pull me out of all my burdens, but she had opened a door with light for me to pass through. —Hanita

As a Friend

We became friends after her retirement in 2002. We would meet up for lunch and she would insist on paying for all of us, except for the last time. We met exactly one month before she left us, and we “conned” her into allowing us to foot the bill for the first and last time! —Vicky

After she retired, she still remembered to keep in touch with us especially to wish us on our birthdays. She also met us occasionally which drew us even closer to her until she left us on 17 December 2010. —Hashim

I will always remember all the support, encouragement, forbearance, and love that she had showered us with until her last days. Hanita

I have known Miss Beh throughout my adult life.   She expected perfection and excellence in everything I did.  She had always shown graciousness, empathy towards others. I will remember her kindness and laughter … always …with fond memories and love. —Fionna

Although I met her only occasionally at LAS functions, I appreciated her more after I joined the SEAMEO RELC Library three years after she retired. She had left behind a legacy of a library with a good collection and a team of well-trained staff—staff who work conscientiously on their own without a need for someone to prod them, providing helpful and friendly service to all users. Even now, the staff continue to receive compliments from all levels of users—staff, students and external members of the library. The team spirit is also strong among the staff, and it makes working with them a pleasure. My respect for Miss Yolanda Beh is immeasurable, and I wished she could have lived longer. — Kim Lian

Miss Beh, you live in us forever.  —Hanita, Hashim and Vicky