Thursday, October 18, 2007

SMI Ice Cream Man

A Tribute To Michaelians Behind The Scenes ICE CREAM MAN (right) with Pakcik Din, SMI Bus Man (pix taken early this year) courtesy of Brother Matthew Bay.

For more than six decades, the familiar ice-cream man had been bringing smiles and joy to thousands of Michaelians with his varieties of goodies. That man of few words and his knack for orderliness in arranging the ice-cream, has stopped selling two months ago. His absence has raised many questions among us. What has happened to him? Why did he stop selling? Is he still in Malaysia? Will be be back?
We will return with his story...

At the foodcourt, SMI ice-cream man always cuts a lonely figure. He is also a man of few words and because of that, not many people know that his name is Mohd Ali. That lonely man of 82 is not lonely anymore. He is now back in India, a country where he came from when he was a very young man. His wife and two daughters are still there.
SMI kacang putih man Solaiappan (right), who is Mohd Ali's very close confidante said Mohd Ali was already selling ice-cream in the 40s, even before the arrival of the Japanese.
Solaiappan, who operates the kacang putih stall, took over the stall from his father.
"My father took over the trade from my grandfather. That means the selling of kacang putih in SMI has run for three generations", he said.

Solaiappan said when he was in primary school, helping his grandfather at the stall, the ice-cream man was already operating a stall selling "ais kerim potong" which he made himself.
That time, he said, the stalls were operating behind the Masjid India mosque. It was called tuck shop then.

All the years of selling ice-cream, Mohd Ali had not used any motorised vehicles to transport his weighty metal container to and from school to his Kinta Height flat - a distance of at least a km. For five days a week, Mohd Ali (imagine his age) would cycle on his trishaw(beca), struggling on his pedal power when he encountered the slopes and patiently enduring the blaring horns from vehicles when he moved too slow. He had to cycle from the school to the French Bakery every two days to get fresh stock of bread as "he knew pupils and teachers alike like it".

All the years of hardship had somehow weakened him and that contributed to his frequent bouts of asthmatic attacks. "It was getting very serious early this year, rendering him very fragile and weak. Still he wanted to come to school to sell. The noodle man, Ah Fatt, helped him greatly by carrying his goods to school," Solaiappan said, adding that Mohd Ali would just sit at his stall and attending to his young and eager customers.

His health deteriorated further in June 2007. Mohd Ali decided to vacate his humble abode at the flat and to return to India. He was also advised by his sons-in-law who are working in Johor and KL to stop working for good. At last, he relented.

SMI ice cream man left behind only two items in St Michael's. One is his faithful trishaw, the other is our sweet memory of this faithful old man, one who has spent virtually his entire life in St Michael's.

Mohd Ali had to go without saying goodbye to all Michaelians. Deep down, Mohd Ali considers himself a son of St Michael's and he left with a very heavy heart.

"He spoke highly of the school, the Brothers and the old boys. He remembers Brother Paul and Brother Vincent vividly and always spoke on the ways they managed the school. His greatest joy was being able to serve here in St Michael's," Solaiappan said.

Mohd Ali now resides in Southern India. Those who want to say hello to him, call 00914567-259993.

From St Michael's, thank you Master Mohd Ali. We hope that you will have a fruitful and happy retirement with your family.

Signing off, Peter Khiew.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Our Sincere Thanks To A Competent Organiser

caption: Mr Yip (right) with Brother Vincent ...."Thanks to you, Mr Yip, for a job well done".

Working behind the scene to ensure the success of the OMA banquet dinner year after year is none other than Mr Yip Chee Thong. Being the social and cultural secretary, he has to look into virtually all areas that make a successful and memorable get-together of old-boys.
He has to find out the recipients for various categories of former students who would be awarded certificates. That is no easy task, considering some have left school as long as 50 to 60 years ago.

Next, besides looking into the area of ticket sale to make sure all tables are taken up, he has to ensure that the food is comfortable with guests who are from very different age groups.

Mr Yip also has to ensure that the certificates are prepared, rolled up and tied neatly and honorably before they are given out. He has to arrange for the services of the prefects and Michaelian Military Band members to help out that night, making sure guests are treated like "old boys".

While others are seated with their comrades comfortably, he has to go around to make sure that the beer promoters are doing their job fast enough to fill up the glasses on all the tables.

We salute you Mr Yip for a job well done -for the past 14 years. He had indeed made our reunion an evening we truly remember.

Note: During his heydays at St Michael's, Mr Yip was a renowned rugger and footballer, winning accolade and admiration from his friends and teachers.
He represented St Michael's at the prestigious Burnley Cup Youth Tournament when he was in upper form, a feat a few had ever accomplished during that time. Mr Yip left school in 1962. Brother Paul was the Director then. He joined OMA in 1991.
Mr Yip can be reached at 019-5567913.

Friday, October 12, 2007

OMA 69th Annual Banquet

It was the catching up on old times which prioritized all others. Even the scrumptious eight-course dinner and the evergreen songs had no match for people to get around saying hello and to talk about those old days. Only the Tiger beer was able to pull them back to their seats once in a while.

It was a reunion that really etched in memory of more than 650 old boys and old girls who attended, with many already made appointment to meet each other again next year.

Old boys studying in Form Five, (1957) were presented with their Golden Jubilarian certificates. Our old brothers are Toh Hee Nam, Narian Dass, Foong Weng Yeow, Lee Sin Hean, Lim Cho Hock, Loh Heng Khan, Phang Meng San and Bill Teoh.

Forty-one others also received their Diamond, Ruby and Silver certificates.

From St Michael's, our warmest regards and see all of you again at our 70th year Bash on Sept 27, 2008 , which I believe would definitely be a merrier and a more dynamic get-together.

Pix 1: I still remember what you did in 1957.
Pix 2: The class of 1960s
Pix 3: Our guests from St George's Taiping with Mr Louis Rozario Doss.
Pix 4: Old boys from the the 1950s.

pix 5: Our SMI teachers
Pix 6: Brother Matthew (left) ..."The prawns are good. Go get some before they are gone"

pix 7: Former SMI teacher and now Kuala Sepetang state assembyman YB See Tean Seng with Master Timothy.

Note: Please assist me in identifying the wonderful old boys in the pictures (esp pixs 1 to 4). Indicate which pix and name the individuals from left to right so that I can acknowledge them in this blog. Cheers from SMI.

Stories Coming Up

Three outstanding stories - of grit, perseverance, sacrifices and their strong fighting spirit - are on the way.

1. The Ice Cream Man (finally got a shot of him from Brother Matthew)
2. Mr Aw Koon Lum (It's time to know what he has to say about SMI and how he feels teaching here)
3. Captain Ho Weng Toh - The Flying Tiger (met him in person).

They are the courageous Michaelians worthy of a mention here and read how they can continue to inspire us.
Coming up soon.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Welcome Home, Michaelians.

KL SMI Alumni members, our cherished old boys and girls came a calling on Saturday, Sept 29. Led by Dr Chin, the entourage of some 20 members, including Dr Jim Lai, Mun Toh, Patrick Teoh and Jeannie Khoo arrived at 9am. After walking down memory lane, the group, together with the present students, teachers and OMA committee members had a session of treasure hunting. Assisted by the scouts, Master Timothy Chee and Mr Ronald Hor were the co-ordinators. After the session, we had lunch in the food court, the preferred place of our guests-of honour. Hope to see all of you again next year.

caption: Dr Chin, Dr Jim, his daughter, Jeannie and Master Timothy Chee.

Ronald (standing) with Esther and her family

Mun Toh and his family

Mr Phoon and OMA members

Lunch time.

More Shots On The Demolition Process

Dear Kin Tung, Alex and Henry Yew,

It's the Michaelian spirit that pulls us through. Looking back at our wondrous past, SMI has never retreated. It continues to grow and grow. While we might feel the sadness of witnessing a building being pulled down, it consoles and inspires us when we see the strength of another building standing tall, a strong testimony of the Lasallian ideals of Faith, Zeal and Community.
The school takes a break until Oct 21. School starts on Monday, Oct 22, 2007. By then, clearing works at the primary school grounds would have been completed.

That's all for now. After this, the blog will focus on other happenings at St Michael's. Cheers and best wishes. Signing off, Peter Khiew

Friday, October 05, 2007

Demolition Starts

Above is a newspaper cutting on SRK St Michael, Ipoh, published in theSun on Friday, June 16, 2006.

Six men were sent to get the work done. Still standing steadfastly like it used to since 1959, the grand old primary school has to go. Electricity supply was cut off last week, followed by a notification to the Lembaga Air Perak. Contractors had to make sure the wiring, fans and lights were taken down before the actual works begins.

Yesterday, notices were sent to parents of primary school pupils informing them that the entire primary school premises had to be cordoned off.

Entrances are currently under heavy chains and locks. Secondary school students watched the demolition works carried out from afar with sadness and a heavy heart.

They remembered the years they spent in the classrooms and playing under the big, shady trees. Here, we post pictures of the myriad of areas many would relate to, in their own way.

caption: The first to go - the asbestos roof.
caption: All classrooms have been cleared, furniture and window panes removed.

caption: The corridor, used to be filled with excited pupils, is currently deserted.

caption: The dilapidated premises waiting to go. Thank you for decades of selfless service, producing thousands of Michaelians.

Slated to be used temporarily for only five years when it was built in 1959, plans to build a permanent building had not materialized. The premises had undergone decades of maintenance works and repairs. We acknowledge the old boys, parents, teachers, the Board of Governors and former headmasters for their years of toil and labour.

"Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things" - Philippians 4,8