Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Class of 1980

Michaelian band of brothers..
Every year without fail, the class of 1980 has been having our very own reunion on CNY eve at the Foh San restaurant (next to Yik Foong and behind the Ipoh Main Market). It has been customary we get together to share about our work, family and friends. Friends, all 45 years old, like Stuart Lee, Waran, Harneak, Cheong and others make the get-together a memorable affair. That's Michaelian spirit.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Meeting Up Again After 34 years

He was my Civics and PE teacher. I remember him as a firm, no-nonsense and yet a teacher who knew his subjects well. It was in 1975 when Mr Jimmy Ng of SK St Michael One walked into the class of 6C as our class teacher. I have been tracing Mr Jimmy for many years and instantly phoned him after I got his number from another Michaelian teacher, Mr Noel Oliveiro. When we finally met for breakfast at Ipoh Garden the other day, it was a time I expressed my gratitude and appreciation to him for his unflinching dedication and hardwork.

Mr Harneak from 6E (1975) was also there with us. Pictured here is Mr Noel (sitting next to Mr Jimmy). At the foreground is Mr Paul Liau (another Michaelian).

Saturday, January 24, 2009


From St Michael's, a Happy Chinese New Year to everyone.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Story of the year! The FIRST badge of SMI

Picture by Mr Harneak Singh.

Mr Harneak Singh (Form Five 1980) possesses a tremendous desire for things Michaelian. Over the years, he has collected an array of relics and artifacts that hold dear to his heart. His search for items which bear the rich Lasallian and Michaelian tradition and heritage keeps him energised. We thank Mr Harneak for sharing another chapter of the Michaelian legacy with us all.
Received an e-mail yesterday.
Dear Mr Peter,
This morning I managed to chance upon our school's very first badge. Even though it is not in mint condition, I am happy that my long search for it has ended.
Bro Vincent, as we were discussing yesterday, can you please elaborate on the badge. What each of the signs signifies? When did we switch to the new design - "the Scale of St Michael" with our motto - "Quis Ut Deus". Attached a scanned copy of the badge.
Harneak Singh.


Dear Harneak & Peter,
I am not sure when the earlier badge was designed, It was certainly pre-war, and was beautiful in its way, colourful and diverse.
However in 1958 or so, Brother Joseph McNally came visiting and he had a passion for heraldry and coats of arms. He was horrified to see that our badge violated every heraldic law.
He strongly suggested we adopt a new motto. I asked him to suggest a design. Already he had designed the badge for St Patrick's School in Singapore, upgraded the badges of St Joseph's Institution in Singapore, St John's in KL and St Xavier's in Penang.
He felt SMI should focus on the name Michael. Michael was associated with justice and equity, and is often portrayed holding the scales of justice.
The former motto was "Ora et Labora" [Pray and Work]. Several schools already had this motto. He suggested we adopt the distinctive Latin meaning of the name Michael which is "QUIS UT DEUS" [Who is like God, or who can be compared to God].
The new badge and motto were adopted at once and when Brother Paul returned as Director three years later, he was very happy with the change.
Br Joseph donated two important sculptures to SMI: PATERFAMILIAS [Parent] in the foyer, and THE FALCON AND THE FALCONER in the library. Both are regarded as beautiful, but may need explaining.
I hope this will help clarify a little.
Brother Vincent.
From Peter Khiew: Thank you Brother for shedding some light on this matter and I believe this discovery by Mr Harneak is sure to impact the whole Michaelian community. St Michael's has such rich history that it amazes me. I trust the same goes for every Michaelian, current and past.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


The first meeting of the OMA took place 76 years ago - 8th September 1933 with Mr. P. J. Morsingh, who had been SMI's first headmaster, as chairman. Brother Dositheus was then Bro. Director of SMI.
The year 1998 was the diamond jubilee year for the Old Michaelians' Association.
caption: The OMA works closely with the Brothers, the Board of Governors, the PIBG and the school in making possible many facilities for Michaelians. Pix by Brother Matthew Bay

The OMA continues to maintain its high profile image and a distinguished association under the leadership of Mr. Adrian Tsen Keng Yam, following the footsteps of his predecessors, Tan Sri Lee Loy Seng, Datuk K. K. Lim & Mr. Lim Keng Hoo.
Regular meetings are held faithfully every year and strong relations with the school have remained close and supportive. The SMI building continues to look remarkably splendid, with the grass in the field looks fresh and green, and on festive occasions, the building is beautifully floodlit.
The entrance to the school was upgraded and given a new millennium look, in keeping with advance times. The landscaping design was the work of Brother Matthew Bay and the expenses were shared, with the OMA making its usual significant contributions.
OMA began a project in 1999 to upgrade the roads within the compound and cover them with modern inter-locking bricks. This project was done in stages as funds became available and was completed by early 2000.
All these, together with several sets of classroom furniture, testify the commitment and timely action of the OMA for the alma mater.
To honour the immense contributions and solid dedication of Mr. Adrian Tsen to SMI, the school pavilion was named after him, The Adrian Tsen Pavilion, as a loving reminder of his attachment and close partnership with the school.
The Annual OMA banquet is held in Ipoh every year on the last Saturday of September. This is the high point of the year for all old Michaelians who gather in numbers from far and near to renew acquaintances, share memories and make new friends.
We will continue to ensure that St Michael's upholds its rich legacy of strong traditions.We support the theme, "Upholding The Great Michaelian Ethos" which carries the distinctive brand of La Sallian tradition that stands for high personal and academic standards, excellent moral tone and discipline.


At a meeting held on Sept 15, 1933 with Mr PJ Morsingh as Chairman, a decision to form an Old Boys' Association was reached.
Bro Dositheus, Director was elected as President. The tradition of the School Director to preside OMA continued right till the Second World War. Reverend Bro Director allowed the newly formed association to use part of the large outhouse as Club House for the Association. A Billiard table and a library was housed at the Club House.
You will be suprised that an OMA member pays 50cents a month as membership fee, while the school boys members paid 25cents p.m. (Present membership of RM10/- per year is very much lower in term of money value now, @ 83.33sens p.m). Come the 2nd War, the Club suffered as its furniture was destroyed by the occupying forces.
OMA did not cease but fight back for survival.OMA has seen ups and downs but we always managed to pull thru and survived.
We owe it all to the untiring efforts of its past presidents and its present president - Mr Adrian Tsen.
OMA has "always respond to your duty's sweet call" and "Render with joy to your mater her due".

From the administrator, thank you Mr Harneak Singh for a more complete article.

The Regional Lasallian Education Council

caption: The members at the meeting room before the discussion.

The purpose of RLEC is to effectively facilitate formal and non-formal Lasallian education that promotes human and spiritual development of the person in a multi-faith society particularly the poor and the disadvantaged.
RLEC seeks to promote -
1. Holistic education for youth, especially the poor and the disadvantaged.
2. The development of a Lasallian spirituality open to all faiths, for a truly inclusive Malaysian society.
3. Universal human rights and social justice.
4. A sense of community in all Lasallian works – “together and by association”.
5. Accountability in respect of the mandate received from the Malaysian Lasallian Education Council.
6. A policy of transparency in respect of all dealings both internal to RLEC and in relating with the various Lasallian works.

caption: In front of St Anthony's School. Photos by Brother Matthew.

It was at the previous meeting at St Anthony's School, Teluk Intan that the committee is working hard to set up the Board of Governors at the school.
We also discussed the programmes for the upcoming seminar on the Roles of Board of Governors at the La Salle Centre on February 21, 2009.
Our next meeting will be in Taiping, St George's School. The Perak Regional sector is headed by Mr Chan Kok Keong.
Brother Vincent Corkery, Brother Matthew Bay, Mr Isaac Stephen and Mr Ambrose Alexander represent the La Salle Centre while St Michael's is represented by Mr Phoon Chong Chee (principal), Mr Harneak Singh (OMA) and Mr Peter Khiew.
We also have Mr Tan Chee Sin and Mr Yeap Thean Hock from St George's and from St Anthony's we have Mr Chew (principal), Mr Lim Chong Ho and Mr Balasingham.
All suggestions and proposals by the regional sectors (of other states) will be deliberated and looked into by the Malaysian Lasallian Education Council at its meetings.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

OBITUARY - Mr Eugene Almeida

Mr Eugene Almeida
An article written by Brother Vincent Corkery
"I first met Mr Eugene Almeida in January 1965 when he was transferred from St Michael’s School in Alor Star back to his old school, St Michael’s Institution in Ipoh. We found him friendly and very happy to meet up with teachers who had taught him as a student, notably Br U Paul who was now his director, and with teachers who were his classmates in school, such as Mr Louis Rodrigues.
He soon made a name for himself among the fourth and fifth formers as an excellent teacher of Mathematics. They liked his no nonsense approach and his insistence on the students doing their assignments on time. Later he helped with the soccer team working closely with Br Ambrose Loke. SMI was a leading school for soccer at his time, and names of leading players are still remembered.
He was invited to join the cast for the school’s production of My Fair Lady, taking the part of Colonel Pickering, a role which he played very convincingly, with his slightly military bearing. The role of Professor Higgins was taken by his old teacher, Brother Casimir Hannon. This was in 1969.
As he moved into the 1970’s he became a member of the Police Reserve Corps which took up hours of his free time every evening. This was a valuable experience for him, as he came to understand the problems of young people, especially those who took liberties with the law.
When he was appointed discipline master in the school, his free periods were largely taken up with students who had problems, and in turn had given problems to their teachers and classmates. He was painstaking in his methods and while appearing at times to be angry with repeated offenders, he always had their best interests at heart. He doled out punishment in a measured way, and the recipients came to appreciate it as they moved on in life and gained some maturity. Years later when Eugene’s wife passed away, several of these were present in Church to express their sympathy and as a token of gratitude and respect.
Sadly he was not destined to finish his teaching career at SMI. This was in January 1982. His loss to the school is reflected in the following paragraph from the school magazine:
Mr Eugene Almeida was one of our most respected Maths teachers and in his spare time managed to attend to a great variety of additional tasks. He was a very experienced career guidance teacher, he looked after school security, he coached our footballers, he formed the AVA group to look after the sound equipment, and was unfailingly on hand for all kinds of emergencies. We thank him for his years of exceptional service.
He was posted to Sam Tet school where he became instantly popular as a great Maths teacher. Later he was promoted as senior assistant to La Salle School in Canning Garden, and finally was transferred back to his old school for his final years as senior assistant in SMI Primary.
In retirement he maintained a close links with the school, notably through the Old Michaelians’ Association, and was president of the OMA Council for one term. He was faithful for all meetings, and was regular at school functions. He was indeed a Michaelian to the end, a Michaelian forever.
May he rest in peace."
Note: Mr Eugene passed away on December 15, 2008.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


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

We have an alert from an old Michaelian, Mr Harneak Singh from the Old Michaelian Association that Pakcik Din has stopped ferrying students to school. Below is the e-mail I received.

"Just wondering if you noticed that Pakcik Din has called it a day ferrying children to school. After serving about 56 years with SMI, I am to understand that he has officially "retired".
I met him a few days before the school holidays and he did not mention anything of his "retirement". He was still talking proudly about his experience at SMI. Maybe, age has taken toll on him.
At 74, it's not an easy task ferrying school kids. If I am not wrong, the last school bus displaying our school badge is off the road now.
I wish him happy retirement and thank him for the service rendered to the school.
Harneak Singh.

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: I will be tracking down Pakcik Din and the bus and take a few shots of Pakcik Din and his old faithful. St Michael's wishes him well and many years of fruitful life. Thank you Mr Harneak for the alert.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Came across an interesting site managed by Ahmad Amzar, currently studying engineering in Japan. He was in Form Three in 2001 and 5Sc3 in 2003. He writes:-

As I embark on a long soul-searching journey,I came across the picture above on St Michael's Institution's blog, administered by Mr Khiew, a few days ago. How fortunate was I.
The school is so dear to me,more than any other school I've ever attended. It's there where I discovered myself and my self-confidence,it's there where I really saw my dreams and gained that fierce fighting spirit, although it has actually faded over the past 2 to 3 years and not to forget, it was there where I met great people, friends and teachers and re-established the family bond with one of my relatives. My father's decision to send me there, which is also his alma mater, is indeed one of his many decisions I will always be grateful of. Thanks abah. I will always remember the memories, the fellowships, the struggle, the joy and the pain,the rivalries and not to forget,the glories and the failures back then. The school has "saved" me many times in the past,and now,I believe,she has "saved" me yet again. I'll make sure that the next time I visit you again my dear SMI, I'll be someone you can be proud of. I'll promise, InsyaAllah.

My fellow Michaelians,I hope to see you guys in 2012.

P/S : The picture above was taken right after the results for PMR 2001 were announced. It's the only public exam which I got straight A's. Thanks Mr Khiew for uploading it!!

Quis Ut Deus

Note: From us here at St Michael's, keep your spirit high and continue to uphold the great Michaelian ideals. Best wishes to you. p/s: Amzar (standing, far left)