Saturday, November 17, 2007

Special Tribute To SMI Bus Driver Pak Din

caption: UNFORGETTABLE... Pakcik Din (left) and the Ice-cream man. Two faithful Michaelians.

St Michael's takes pride in having produced individuals who have contributed to society and become prominent figures in the community. The alma mater never forgets these personalities. Here, we pay a fitting tribute to SMI Bus Driver for his service and zeal to all Michaelians.

Pakcik Din, full name Tuan Haji Jamaluddin was born on 4 September 1934. He came to work at SMI in 1952 as lab assistant. Brother Denis Hyland was Brother Director then. Many did not know that we had a fleet of nine school buses to ferry our boys to and fro school and Pak Din was commissioned to drive one of the buses.

He continued to drive privately even after his contract as a lab assistant expired. He recalls the time when there were no traffic lights in the early days and bullock carts were a common sight then. St Michael's was merely a small structure then compared to the magnificent building today.

At 73, he is still going strong and up to Nov 16, 2007, Pak Din still ferries young, energetic Michaelians to school from the Ipoh Garden and Canning Garden areas. His amber-coloured bus, AT 8551, has been on the road for more than three decades, four perhaps. (extracted from SMI 2002 school magazine)

The antique-looking bus carries with it prominently the logo of St Michael's, displaying the "green and white" proudly around town for many,many years. Pak Din arrives punctually everyday and parents are rest assured he can have their kids "delivered" to school safe and sound, just like when the parents themselves got delivered to school when they were young. By whom? Yes, by the same reliable and trusted man, Pakcik Din.

He has seen through eight directors and principals- Brother Denis, Brother Pius, Brother Paul, Brother Vincent, Mr Chong Suan Ee, Mr K. Balasubramaniam, Mr Teh Chor Aun, Mr Louis Rozario Doss and now, Mr Phoon.

Note: In the newspaper on Nov 19, 2007 : No more long trips for buses older than 15 years, says the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (CVLB). It will no longer issue temporary permits for school buses older than 15 years for long distance trips.

"The buses would only be allowed to fetch the students between their homes and schools", the Entrepreneurial and Co-operative Development Ministry clarified.

We were worried initially. First it was the Ice Cream man, now Pak Din. After some clarifications, Pak Din is exempted from the directive as his bus fetches students between their homes and school. Thank you Pak Din for all the years of faithful and exemplary service to us Michaelians.

A note from an old boy Mr Robert de Silva:

Dear Mr. Khiew,

I would like your permission to copy Pak Din's picture and paste it in our website. I traveled by the school bus to school from Lahat Lane during my primary schooldays and from Kg. Simee during my Form 1,2,3 and maybe part of Form 4 days. I remember the Bus Drivers then were a Joseph, a much younger Chinese Gentleman then ,Pak Din, Ahmad and a much elder Chinese gentleman Leong ? I cannot remember his name. He was a detective in the Police Volunteer Reserve. Maybe a Sergeant. Had fun travelling in the buses at that time and used to greet them whenever I see them after school days but it has been a long time. How are they faring? Thank you. Robert.

Our reply: Dear Sir, go ahead and use the picture. Joseph Chai has retired. It was in 2005 he decided to call it quits. He is still in Ipoh, staying in Simee. I can run a story about him later. As for Leong, we can get his update from Pakcik Din. Cheers and good day. Been to your blog. Pretty creative.From the alma mater, Peter Khiew.

Note: Robert de Silva, who currently lives in Washington DC, was in class 5A3, year 1967. His site is smi.robertdesilva.com.

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