Friday, August 31, 2007

Merdeka Celebration Bash at SMI

The school's theme for the Merdeka: "Combining Efforts, Experiencing Success" - St Michael's celebrates the country's 50th year of independence.

caption: Flags and buntings are proudly displayed to usher in the spirit of Merdeka. Notice the newly replaced roof and the freshly painted coat of paint. The building itself, as grand as ever, is a magnificent display of our loyalty, commitment and patriotism to the nation.

.....Morning session

Mr Thomas Choo (former teacher) and Mr Gibert Chai (1959- Form 5) returned to the Alma Mater to share with us what Merdeka is all about. A speech by Dato' Prof. Dr Khoo Kay Kim, another old boy of SMI, was read out.

caption: Mr Gilbert Chai in his elementscaption: Proudly displaying the banner (Second from left, Mr Joseph Lee, PIBG chairman, Mr Thomas Choo, Mr Gilbert Chai and second from right, Mr Phoon, principal)
Jonrae Wan Wing Fye, a Form Four boy, also spiced up the euphoric atmosphere through his 10-minute speech, infront of 1800 students in the morning session. He was later invited to speak to another 750 afternoon session students.

All these messages had powerfully enlivened the spirit of Merdeka in fellow Michaelians.

.........Afternoon Session

caption: Our salutation and gratitude to members of the Michaelian Military Band who continue to demonstrate their undivided loyalty to the school by performing in almost all school, district and state events, year after year.

caption: Afternoon session boys, Form 1 and 2, listen attentively to the speeches by Jonrae, Professor Khoo and Tn Hj Meor Idris, our guest speaker. Patriotism is evident throughout the celebration.

caption: Tn Hj Meor Idris looks more relaxed and cheerful after his retirement.

Signing off,
Selamat Hari Kemerdekaan Malaysia.. from us at St Michael's Institution, Ipoh.

My Nikon Camera Has Been Repaired.

Sent my Nikon Coolpix 4500 for repair - faulty shutter button and back panel fpc. For that, couriered it to Nikon Malaysia in KL. Referred to someone there, named Paul Lee. After that, e-mailed him.

Dear Paul,
Thank you for your pleasant approach when I called on Monday. I am sure my camera will arrive Tuesday. Please go through the necessary checks on the camera. Please consider keeping the cost of repair to the minimum as the camera is used for school programmes to keep our old boys, former teachers, current students and teachers informed. Please feel free to visit my blog at

Paul replied, Products Consumer-Products ConsumerSubject: Camera Nikon coolpix 4500
Dear Peter,

Thank you for your invitation to your blog.
I'm a Michaelian myself and proud to be one of the silver spoon too...does the school still give away silver spoons? I'm from the batch 1974-1986 (Upper 6).

I'm indeed very proud to be associated with the school, teachers and fellow friends which I always cherish in my heart forever. Proud to be a Michaelian, always be and always will.

Saw Mr. Timothy Chee in the blog pic. I really take my hats off for him. Got a story....
I'm very involved in athletics, sprints especially, during my schools days from 1981 to 1986. Think you can still track my records,,,...or someone may have broken them already :). Well, in 1982 while taking part in the high jump event, I landed in the sand pitch (the long jump pit at the back padang near the Brother's quarters, beside the canteen) and broke my arm. Mr. Timothy is so very kind to help me back to my home and even let my mom to brag on him. I can always remember that for my whole life.
I happened to bump into Mr.Timothy sometime back in One Utama, Bandar Utama. So glad to bump into him and the feeling inside me still sometimes make me want to cry.....:) love that cannot be bought.
Played tennis with Brother Vincent before, by the way, where is he now?

I have not gone back to Ipoh for a long long time. Can I just walk into the school if I happen to be around?
You mentioned about the safe story. Is there a story too for the statue located in the upper part of the building? I've heard one from a fellow Michaelian that Brother Paul protected the statue during the Japanese occupation. Never heard it from an official channel before.

Brother Ultan Paul...he is simply awesome. I don't know how to put it but he gives me so much encouragement with his simple, down to earth talks and advice. Everytime when we talk to him, he makes us so comfortable to be with him. He's so approachable. I do miss him in my heart.

Would want to go back to Alma Mater one day and also the OMA dinner to meet up with some friends. Is there any website that I can register to be OMA members?

Note: It was only when Paul replied that got to know he is an old boy. Michaelians are everywhere. They remember their teachers and the deeds they have done to touch students' lives. They remember the alma mater and the things that are around them. They also remember the wonderful traits, gentleness and the inspiring words of the Lasallian brothers. All these, make lives worthwhile in St Michael's.

Note: I got my camera back in perfect condition - with a Michaelian touch of an old boy who still remembers a teacher. Thank you, Paul Lee.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Bobby Chew Yat San Shares...

Through The Corridor Of St Michael's Primary-Remembering Our Teachers
Picture One: "That's how you dribble a ball, boys", said Bobby Chew to his pupils. (1962)
Picture Two: Bobby with a pack of "wolf cubs" (anak serigala). The teacher Miss Lim Cheng Gaik (fourth from left) later became Mrs Bobby Chew. (1962)

Picture Three: Bobby Chew( back row, third from right) and teachers of SMI in 1962. HM that time was Mr Lim Guan Choe.

Said Bobby Chew: My contributions to SMI Primary could go on and on, but I maintain that if more Old Michaelians lend a helping hand, the society would have a more pleasant place to live in.

I have always been inspired and guided by this saying, "I come this way but once, whatever I can do, let me do it now, for I shall not pass this way again". There is no more gratifying and satisfying than to see the appreciation and the faces of someone you have helped.

During his 25 years in SMI, teacher Bobby Chew had contributed some RM120,000 for SMI, through his personal efforts by going from shops to shops, neighbours, church members and people on the streets. His colleagues, parents and pupils remember his warm, pleasant and approachable personality, the traits of a worthy Michaelian. Currently, Bobby Chew is a committee member of the Old Michaelians Association.

Note: Mr Bobby Chew, 66 this year, started teaching in SMI beginning 1962 and retired in 1996, years of illustrious and dedicated service in producing and grooming thousands of pupils, who I believe, still remember this man who firmly advocates a vibrant Michaelian spirit among the fraternity. On his last day of service, on Sept 25, 1996, Brother Ultan Paul presented Mr Bobby Chew with a plaque with the inscription, " A Token Of Sincere Appreciation From The LaSalle Brothers For Excellent Service At St Michael's Institution, Ipoh."
He can be contacted at 012-5163924/05-5466753 (Address 117, Jalan Raja Kam, 31400 Ipoh)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

SMI Primary School - What The Old Boys Recall

The lorries, the cranes and the bulldozers should be, by now, prepared to get the work done. It will not be long when the SMI primary school buildings are torn down. Old boys (irrespective whether they are from Primary One or Two) have responded. Below are what they have written to express their feelings.

Henry Yew Guo Zheng said:
I also remember the days when I spent my primary school days in SK St. Michael 2 (Year Six 2000).There were indeed bitter sweet memories from primary school. Among my sweetest memories there was the intimacy between the teachers and I. I do treasure them very much and till now I still keep in contact with at least one of them. The saddest memory I have was when my music teacher back then (also my teacher-in-charge of the choir team) passed away very young due to breast cancer. A year before that, circa 1996, a good friend of mine passed away due to gastro-intestinal complications.I must say that in those days while I was still in the primary school, life was so easy. All you had to do was just be obedient and pay attention to the teachers, and you will definitely be their favourite student. It was so easy to appease primary school teachers, actually. Perhaps we were very young, small and naive, so they would treat us differently from how secondary school teachers would treat their student.Although I am sad that the old building will have to be demolished, I am glad that it will be demolished for the greater good of the school community. It is indeed time to let go of something dear to prepare a path for a better future.
M3lV said:
Hi Mr.Khiew! Good thing that you setup this blog, as could see the updates about SMI!!It's been some time that I've not been in the school, missing those moment that I had with my classmates as well as with all the teachers. I only came to know that the primary school block will be demolished after an update from my friend. It was then I spent my childhood time in SK St. Michael 2 (Year Six 2000). I still remember those fun moments with my schoolmates. Haha.. Hope I could make it on time before the primary block being demolished for some photo shoot in the old building =) Keep it up SMI!! Michaelians who are still studying now, make yourselves a part of SMI history! Be proud of your school!! Regards,Melvin Phun (Form 5 2005)
Raymond said:
Hi!! :) Thanks Mr. Khiew for setting up this blog... after I have learnt that the primary school building will be demolished, my heart really sank... it was there where I was educated to be a true Michaelian... memories of great teachers like Mr. V. Nathan, En. Zabaruddin , Mr. Ram
Singh Molik, Ms Shanti and many more will be deeply remembered and missed by me. I have cherished a lot of memories in every classroom that I have studied in..... memories of my primary school friends, primary teachers, the big trees, the dental room... it's a lot... lastly I hope the school will keep the round tyre which has our Michaelian emblem drawn on it.... QUIS UT DEUS.. INDIVISA MANENT...
Wong Kin Tung said:
It's a good suggestion to maintain the round tyre.The round tyre brings a lot of memories to every Michaelian who had studied there.The building may be demolished, but at least let the tyre to be there. Let it be a symbol or a mark of the 1959 primary school building. As it's a part of the originalities and historical items, it should be preserved. Let's have the initiative to keep it and repainted it well. Have a nice day.Wong Kin Tung, Member of St.Michael's Institution Alumni Association Klang Valley
AOCY said:
I can be considered a true Michaelian because I had been in that block since standard 1 (1996). Call me cruel but I think the building should be demolished. However, looking back at my history...I feel that I had lots of memories that I left behind during my primary days. I believe that other Michaelians from SMI (1) and (2) would think so. To tear the building down is like tearing away all your memories. I feel sad but still life has to go on. Only the pictures can revive such memories as pictures paint a thousand words. But I'm still glad they are still preserving the trees. Oh, I loved those trees. I used to play 'aci duduk' under those shady trees. They provided us shade and memories that I truly treasure a lot. It's been already 12 years (including this year) since I came in and out of the school compound...if you ask me, I'm never bored of stepping into my alma mater...rain or shine, I will walk through...Coz everyday is an exciting day. I have one resolution now - grab a camera & a few friends. Primary school, here I come!!!
NW said:
Tearing down the primary block will be like erasing my childhood memories.I was a student in St. Michael 2 and finished my Standard 6 studies in 1991. My only hope is that the names of the top achievers for the UPSR examinations which are displayed outside the primary school office be preserved and moved to the new primary block. Having my name displayed there is one of my proudest moment, apart from being a Michaelian , of course!
Mr Joseph Michael Lee, PTA chairman said:
Peter, please ensure that the boards within the Primary school where the names of Head Prefects and other luminaries of the school are remembered are dismounted and remounted in the new school. It will be a shame if these are lost in the destruction of the old school. I hope that the school will value the invaluable. Thank you.
Justin Ong said:
Dear Mr Khiew, Good day. As one of the past students of SRK St. Michael 2, I would like to share some thoughts on the demolition of the primary block.It is with great sadness to see the primary school that I've been studying during 1993 to 1998 being demolished. There are so many memories that I will not forget till now. One of them is the area where the assemblies are held every Monday. That's the place where we play catching, running around, get punished and lots more. It's the place where we meet new friends during primary school. The trees provided nice shade for us during sunny days. Next is the big wheel with the logo painted. I hope it stays where it is for the future generation. Amidst all the sadness, there's joy in seeing that there's a new primary block which is more modern and safer for future Michaelians. May I suggest that all the trees which are very old stay where there are. It not only provides shade to students and teachers, but it reminds us of the heritage of Michaelians past and the future. Regards,Justin Ong B.S.
Andrew Lim said:
Mr. Khiew, the boards in front of the SMI(2)'s office which contains names of 5A achivers for the UPSR exams, please retain those too. A spot somewhere in the Bro. U. Paul Memorium will be nice.
Note: The rare picture above was taken in 1962 of a group of 110 teachers from the Secondary, Primary One and Two to commemorate the golden anniversary celebrations of St Michael's (1912-1962). Thank you Mr Bobby Chew for the snapshot. Mr Bobby Chew, who considers his years in St Michael's as joyous and meaningful, started teaching in SMI primary One in 1962. During his tenure there, he had marvellously contributed in his own special way to make the school a place many would call home. Retired in 1996, Mr Bobby Chew continues to assist SMI, earning admiration and salute from those who know him. More pictures and story on this outstanding personality soon.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


It was such a solemn and dignified occasion. An occasion worth waiting for every year. Michaelians who received the spoons were obviously proud but somehow humbled, having been in the institution for 14 years. The formative years of wise and reflective tutelage of teachers and the La Salle brothers were their greatest treasures.

Leaving with a heavy heart, they brought home an item they earned- a silver spoon as a symbol of great loyalty and a successful completion of a long, tedious but fruitful journey.

Unfortunately, this rich and meaningful tradition of awarding "Silver Spoons" to those who studied in St Michael's from kindergarten to Upper Six had discontinued. Why? Who stopped it? Was it found to be not viable? I believe those who had received the spoons after years in St Michael's still treasure the moments until today. Perhaps, they themselves are perplexed.

Note: Our evergreen and still-vibrant Master Timothy Chee was one of the recipients in 1960.

To enlighten me further on the subject, I rang up Brother Vincent this afternoon. Below is his reply...

Dear Peter,

The tradition of the silver spoon goes back to the early 1960's when Brother U Paul was director. At the annual farewell for upper sixth formers those who had been with the school from kindergarten to sixth form received a silver spoon. It was highly prized by the recipients, as they were usually a small group, rarely more than 20.

I support the suggestion that we revive this tradition, adapting it to our present realities. We could consider those who were Michaelians from standard one to form five. This would have more meaning today and for more students.

Continued appreciation for your wonderful blog.

Brother Vincent

A Note From Master Timothy Chee

As a former recipient of the silver spoon, I am honored that the school remembered me for my loyalty as a student in past years. I believe that this tradition should be revived, amongst many other rich customs and traditions of SMI.

On the same topic, I would like to suggest expanding the criteria to former pupils who have started from Standard One to Form Five. This is because we no longer have a kindergarten and many students don't go beyond Form Five.

On the same note, I wish that the school could revive the Heritage Gallery. We were the only school in the country that had the resources and the passion to document, inform and visualize our rich history into a gallery for posterity. It is indeed a waste and a heart-wrenching moment for me when the gallery fell into disrepair and subsequently dismantled.

Thanks a lot Peter and may I take this opportunity to wish the school success in the upcoming school play.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Current Status of the Primary School Block

The entire primary school premises, including the dental clinic, book shop and toilets, are expected to be demolished in three weeks. Works to tear down the blocks, constructed in 1959, will be carried out by the same contractor who built the new primary school block. I was told by Brother Matthew Bay that the huge trees, sandwiched between the two main blocks, will be preserved.

Talking about this, I still remember vividly having my BCG jab under the trees when I was in Year Six in 1975 (SK St Michael One). The nurses came with boxes of bottled solutions, syringes and plenty of cotton. With a few desks and chairs set up neatly by the nurses, we sat there quietly and nervously waiting for our turn to be vaccinated. I have plenty of fond memories there, especially those spent with our fellow Michaelians. We still keep in touch once a year. It's easier now to keep them updated on the school's happenings through this blog.

Do inform your friends about the impending status of the primary school. Get that camera out from your closet and have some snapshots of yourself and the school before the premises are gone. As for our old boys and their families in Kuala Lumpur, consider a journey back to SMI primary. There are still plenty of things to see and appreciate.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Calling All SMI Former Teachers!


All former teachers of St Michael's are cordially invited to attend St Michael's staging of "HERCULES" on Parent's Night this Friday, August 10, 2007. Time: 7.45pm.

The evening will be a tribute and home-coming of sort for many former teachers and staff who had served dedicatedly and sacrificially to the Alma Mater.
The school is looking forward in meeting this group of old Michaelians who can, perhaps, share with us your vast experience and moments you had in St Michael's.

Thank you.
The Principal, Mr Phoon Chong Chee

Monday, August 06, 2007

Press Review

Splendid presentation!

Good show. Pressmen were impressed with the colourful costumes and excellent selection of cast for the respective characters. The tedious work by the director of getting the right people for the right job needs special mention here.
St Michael's congratulates Corrinne Mah and Ling Lidi for their initiatives to keep the fire of drama tradition burning bright and strong. To the music team and stage crew, we salute all of you for making this year's drama possible. Note: All Pictures courtesy of Brother Matthew Bay.

RM20 and RM50 tickets for the three evenings are still available- 17, 18 & 19 August 2007, Time:7.45pm. Venue: School Hall.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

School Toilets And Canteens To Be Graded

IPOH, July 31 (Bernama) -- Toilets and canteens in schools are to be classified into Grade A, B and C starting today to ensure cleanliness, said Deputy Education Minister Datuk Hon Choon Kim.The grading is implemented with cooperation of local authorities which had already implemented the system for public toilets and food stalls."Canteen operators and toilet supervisors who failed to meet the standards set after repeated warnings will have their contracts terminated," he said after visiting the toilet and canteen of St Michael national secondary school here.With the grading system, the ministry could ensure a conducive, clean and safe environment to prevent food poisoning cases.Hon said he was amazed by the cleanliness of the toilet and canteen of St. Michael school which should be used as a model for 10,000 schools nationwide.
Caption: The deputy minister visiting the school toilet and the foodcourt.

Tn Hj Meor Retires

SMI bids farewell to Tn Hj Meor Idris
By Brother Vincent Corkery fsc

He retired 12 July after 30 years of quiet, devoted and selfless service as a teacher at SMI. He identified so completely with the school that he became something of a Michaelian icon, warmly appreciated as great teacher and colleague. In recent years, he served as afternoon supervisor for the lower forms.

The ceremony was attended by members of the OMA and PTA, and included many warm tributes to his devotedness and his concern for people. Staff and students were clearly sad to lose his warm presence among them. A few were moved to tears.

OMA wishes to express appreciation to Tn Hj Meor for his long service to SMI and wishes him many fruitful years in retirement.

caption: Tn Hj Meor receiving a gift from Staff Club president En Zulkarnain Daud. Below: A shot to remember.