Monday, August 31, 2009

The Old Smokehouse

A Short Note From Mr Harneak Singh

Hi Peter, one of my cousin told me that they used to puff in this "smokehouse" in the 70's. It was also known as "smokehouse" then. Maybe the name originated way back in the 70s' or maybe earlier. I got a feeling it got to do something with the "puffing".
I am having the oldest surviving approved plans for this "smokehouse". It was approved by Ipoh Sanitary Board then. It is not done on paper but on a piece of cloth. Of course, over the years, the piece of cloth has turned yellow. Maybe I will show it to you and get it photographed for history purposes.

From the Editor:
Very interesting, Harneak. I believe visitors to the blog are waiting for the first-hand look at the plan which interestingly was drawn on a piece of cloth.

A Little Update:

The old smokehouse was built in 1940 by Brother Patrick O' Donovan to replace the bucket system toilet which Michaelians had patiently used up to the late 1930s. The smokehouse, even from the time it was slated for renovation last month, did not change much. It was used by the British army, the Japanese during the war and by generations of Michaelians.
A toilet which is going to be 60 years old next year actually deserve a mention.
Thank you, Brother Vincent for the information.

How this name came about was unknown. Perhaps very old Michaelians can shed some light on this. The dilapidated and aging conditions of the boys' toilet for the past ten years have caused great inconvenience to fellow students.

The school had plans, over the years, to carry our complete makeover or perhaps to refurbish the toilet but limited funds prevented us from doing so.

The good news is that proceeds from the drama, "The Warlord of Terror", has made it possible for the school to make the toilet a more pleasant place to visit.

Works are currently on-going and completion is expected to be another month as the roof tiles are going to be replaced as well. We thank the principal Mr Phoon Chong Chee for initiating the efforts and Brother Matthew Bay for overseeing the whole concept of the refurbishment work which include the colour scheme and layout.
We must also thank Mr Joseph Michael Lee, the chairman of PIBG and Dato' Seri Lee Oi Hian, BOG chairman for their strong and continuous support in looking into many areas of needs at St Michael's.

St Michael's wishes to express our gratitude to Dato' Aru Suppiah, chairman of Johnson Suisse Sdn Bhd for his kind donation of sanitaryware like urinals, sinks and squatting pans.

To Mr Adrian Tsen, OMA president we record our utmost appreciation for his influence and persuasive skills in getting Dato' Aru to send over the items to us all the way from Shah Alam.

The completion of the toilet will set another milestone in our quest towards the centennial celebrations.

"Upholding The Great Michaelian Ethos".

Saturday, August 29, 2009

On Brother Lawrence Spitzig's Demise

This is a message from Brother Vincent Corkery.

Dear Peter,
This is a response comment on the tribute to Br Lawrence in Malaysian Insider.
You may find it interesting, from an old Michaelian.

Thank you, Brother Vincent.

Written by ROBINS, August 28, 2009
Terima kasih Markus untuk mengongsi pengalaman anda semasa berada si sebuah sekolah La Salle. Saya juga merupakan bekas pelajar sebuah sekolah La Salle, St Michael, Ipoh. Saya amat sedih apabila mendengar pemergian para Brothers.
Saya betul-betul berharap para alumni sekolah-sekolah La Salle dapat mengusahakan sesuatu yang boleh berfungsi sebagai peringatan kepada jasa rahib-rahib ini. Mungkin kita boleh usahakan satu buku yang menceritakan kesusahan dan sumbangan mereka dan biarlah buku itu diterjamahkan kedalam semua bahasa org Malaysia.
Mungkin saudara Markus boleh mengirim artikel ini kepada akhbar bahasa-bahasa Melayu, Mandarin dan Tamil. Disaat-saat sebegini rakyat Malaysia memerlukan contoh-contoh yang mengajak mereka berfikir diluar batasan bangsa dan agama.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Visit Of SMI Alumni KL

caption: From left: Mr Lee, Mr Phoon, Mr Hor, Mr Fong and Mr Lee Keen Seong.
It was a planned visit of members of the SMI Alumni KL to the alma mater on August 14, 2009 to coincide with the first day of the drama performance.

St Michael's looks forward to the visit as it symbolically links the coming home of fellow Michaelians to the school.
It was customary that members of the MMB got ready to welcome our guests. In fact, it was something the old boys actually looked forward to. For them, it was an honour to have a group of serious looking and highly experienced bandsmen waiting for their arrival.
This year, the alumni awarded ten needy recipients with bursary.
Among our guests that day were Mr Lee Wei Seong, Mr Ronald Hor, Mr Lee Keen Seong and Mr Fong Mun Toh. Already into its fifth year, the entourage continues to hold a special place in our hearts.
Our principal Mr Phoon Chong Chee welcomed our honoured guests that day.

Note: The group, led by Mr Lee Wei Seong, returned at 7pm for the drama. They supported the school by acquiring 10 tickets of RM50 each. Thank you guys. We look forward to meeting all of you again next year. To Ronald, thank you for the tedious arrangements and Wei Seong for a remarkable speech that day.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Bee Hive At SMI Exterminated!

Spot the beehive...

A very big beehive, colonised by some 500 bees, was exterminated by workers from the Ipoh City Council.
The hive, grew from a size of a fist to twice the size of two footballs, in just hours. Feeling alarmed by the number of bees hovering around the school car park, teachers alerted the authorities. Two workers, equipped with a long stick, a container of kerosene and a long stick, went to work. Within minutes, the whole hive was burnt to ashes. Perished together were the bees.The trees within the car park compound, noticeably, attract colonies of bees.
Over the years, bees would stop at the branches for a rest before continuing their journey the day after. The problem is that some stray bees, sometimes by the dozens, pose great danger to schoolchildren and parents nearby. That's when actions have to be taken!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Letter From An Old Boy

Er-huAfter reading the write-up about the success of the Michaelian Military Band (MMB) in their recent competition, the time has come where I feel concerned about the future of the Michaelian Chinese Orchestra (MCO), as I believe that it has not been making much progress even since my days when I was part of the MCO.

It is quite sad that while the MMB enjoys and gets to savour success after success, the MCO is still languishing in its internal problems, lack of support from students, financial crisis, etc.

I remember the year 2000 when I was a Standard 6 student in SK St. Michael 2, the MMB actually came to the primary school to promote the band and encouraged us to participate in the band early even before we went into Form 1. Of course, a lot of my friends were initially attracted by the band and got inducted into it, and eventually produced some of the best MMB performers I have ever seen. The response from the students of the MMB was immensely good and till now, it still remains as one of the most prestigious uniform units in St. Michael’s Institution.

However, the MCO has had its share of problems, namely lack of members, lack of funds, lack of good quality instruments and poor musical understanding or knowledge. Besides the success in 2001 by beating Sam Tet, San Min and other schools in a competition organised by the MCO itself, it has since failed to get a good standing even within the school itself. While the Chinese orchestras from Sam Tet and Ave Maria are improving tremendously, the progress of the MCO has been sluggish and discouraging.

The MCO, at some point of time, had been like a “refuge” for students who did not participate in any uniform unit. In the year 2003 or 2004 when our former principal Mr. Louis Rozario Doss imposed a mandatory participation in uniform units for all students, the MCO had an influx of members, which, to our dismay, were mostly sleeping members. However, as the MCO was not in the position to dismiss members (due to lack of members and funds), we had no choice but to keep them in the orchestra, hoping that they would be somehow proactive.

The MCO, over the past many years, has had lots of financial problems. There are instructor’s fees which it must pay monthly, thus constantly draining their funds. At the same time, there are many instruments in the MCO which require repairing or replacing but the MCO simply has insufficient funds to do so. When my friends and I helmed the leadership of the MCO, we had thought of upgrading and adding more instruments so that we could expand the MCO, but when the issue of finances was invoked, the whole project had to be shelved. Over the years, we could only afford to make small purchases of perhaps one or two instruments, but such purchases were not enough to revolutionise the MCO.

It is sad that the MCO, which has a history of over thirty to forty years, has remained stagnant for so long. Even since my days as an MCO member, the Chinese Orchestra has never been really viewed as a prestigious uniform unit to participate in. Those who are genuinely enthusiastic about the MCO are normally the ones who helm the leadership of the orchestra, and more often than not, these are the individuals who try their best to make the MCO shine. However, the MCO should not be about just the few of these genuinely enthusiastic ones, it should be an orchestra which inculcates the spirit of brotherhood within the orchestra, as well as the mutual spirit to produce beautiful harmonies to captivate not only our Michaelians, but also the public. The MCO must function as a big group, just like the Michaelian Military Band, and not just a group of perhaps eight to ten members who are exceptionally excellent.

I am truly not asking for the dissolution of the MCO. It is of my opinion that over the years the MCO has been nothing more than just a uniform unit for some students to “seek refuge”, as an orchestra to perform for some internal functions such as the Speech Day, etc. Many of the past presidents and vice presidents of the MCO had had the vision to transform the MCO into an orchestra with highly competitive capabilities that can match those of SMJK Sam Tet, SMJK Ave Maria, SMJK Hua Lian (Taiping) and many more. However, the lack of funds seems to be the main stumbling block of every vision, and so far the MCO itself has not been able to make much income out of anything. I am not sure who is the teacher advisor of the MCO today; however I sure hope that the teacher advisor could be more supportive in the development of the orchestra.

The MCO and the MMB are both musical groups where each has its own distinct appeal and characteristics. Given the support from students, the teacher advisor and other parties, the MCO should be able to flourish just as well as the MMB. The MCO can also participate in competitions that are organised yearly and fight to be one of the best Chinese orchestras in the country.

I had been in the MCO for five years from 2001 to 2005, and when I entered UTP, I was again part of the newly formed Chinese orchestra till today. In just a matter of three years, the Chinese orchestra from my university has stepped into the international arena and actually had our inaugural public performance in April earlier this year. I personally credit such success to the financial support given by my university, the public and also the connections that we enjoyed with Chinese orchestras from other schools.

Personally, I plead that the school (students and staff) and perhaps the OMA, the PIBG and the Board of Governors of SMI could also pay some attention to the MCO which is fiercely struggling to maintain its presence. I am very sure that they are trying their best to upgrade themselves and to produce high quality music, but they also have many other problems that require the assistance of our students and staff, both past and present. I intend to help out with the MCO as best as I can when I have the capability to do so after I graduated from university. I am, after all, a staunch supporter of the musical arts.

Please consider helping them to create a niche for themselves, for many of them have worked really hard but could never really achieve what they have visualised so far due to circumstances that are simply not within their position to handle.

Civil Engineering Department
Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Brother Lawrence Spitzig Passes On

The late Brother Lawrence, pix courtesy of The Star

Got An SMS from Mr Adrian Tsen. OMA president
"Brother Lawrence Spitzig passed away at 4.45pm today, Aug 18. Body will be at St John's Inst. tomorrow from 9.30am onwards. Funeral service at St. John's Cathedral at 10am on Aug 20 tentatively.".

To Spitzig, the perils in life are but challenges. To overcome difficulties is to make a mark on the lives of others.
Perhaps Spitzig's achievements can be encapsulated in the following lines:

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And departing leave behind us
Footsteps on the sands of time;-

By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Rest In Peace, Brother Lawrence.

Sunday, August 16, 2009



Very limited bannerettes and posters are on sale tonight!

Get the posters for RM1 each and a bannerette for RM5. Thereafter, get the director or any cast to sign on the items. They are going to be collectors' items.

Look for the boys who will man a stall at the school foyer. Puviendra, Choo Wai Hong and Alvin.

Do You Recognise Him?

You must be wondering why he appears on the blog today. He is one capable guy I have noticed since the day he walked into the main hall for the drama audition. He was picked by the director Timothy Chee to play the role of one of the "followers" of The Warlord of Terror.
Master Tan Yew Chuan, a Lower Six student, is not only skillful in wushu.
He is equally superb in modern dance. You can see him perform tonight on the final evening of the school drama.
Tan Yew Chuan was in the limelight when he performed during the Inter-School Band competition under the colour guard category.
We wish him the best in his study and are proud to have him with us at St Michael's.

Note: The one on the left is Tan Yew Chuan.


Winner: Form Two Excellence (2A7)
In recognition of his outstanding and immense contributions to St Michael's, Mr Louis Rozario Doss, the school community is honoured to dedicate two trophies under his name.

Former principal and an illustrious old boy, Mr Louis Rozario Doss is instrument in propelling St Michael's into an era of many achievements in the fields of academic and curricular activities. Under his principalship, Michaelians witnessed the construction of the walkway, the Adrian Tsen pavilion, the new toilet for boys and girls and refurbishment of the lecture hall.

Winner: Form One Diligence (1A8) Class teacher: Cikgu Sohot
En Zulkarnain Daud, a PE teacher, (below) is commended for coming up with the suggestion to name the challenge trophies under Mr Louis' name.
A message from an old boy, Henry Yew.

It's great to see that the inter-class football tradition has been revived with even more excitement. My uncle, an old Michaelian who graduated Form 6 in around 1984, remembers fondly of the days when he and his friends would be excited about the inter-class football tournament which was held after examinations.
He recalls clearly of the day when the late Mr. David Teh came to school on a Saturday just to support my uncle and his classmates in the finals of the inter-class football tournament.

Yew Guo Zheng(Form 5Sc1 Year 2005)

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Mr Louis Rozario Doss Is Coming To SMI

Newsbreak! Mr Louis is coming to SMI on Monday, 10 Aug 2009 at around 4pm. He will be presenting the "LOUIS ROZARIO DOSS" Challenge Trophies to the winners of the Inter-class Football Competition (Form One & Form Two).
Michaelians have long missed his inspiring words of encouragement. Students from the morning session can stay back to meet up with Mr Louis. Pass the word around.
For details, contact En Zulkarnain Daud.

Top In The Country!

Hats off to Eddy Chow Mun Tik (above) of Upper Six for bringing glory and fame to our alma mater. He was awarded a gold medal for the highest score among all the participants in the whole of Malaysia under the Upper Six level in the prestigious International Science Competition & Assessment For Schools 2009 organised by the University of New South Wales, Australia.

Out of 198 Michaelians who sat for the test on May 12, 2009, Eddy Chow Mun Tik, Tan Wing (Form 4) and Kenneth Mano (Form 2) scored High Distinction while 18 others proudly received their distinctions. They are Lee Koy Yew and Yap Voon Chuan (U6), N. Sanjeevi and Tan Kian (F5), Teoh Jia Heng and Noel Anthony Mano (F4), Chuah Kai Jian, Wong Khai Jian and Sean William Howell (F3), Satish Varma, Brandon Chee, Kevin Mano, Goh Yong Qian(F2) and Aw Jia Hang, Edward Kwan, Saw Ray Mond, Tan Wei Shern and Loh Yap Kuen( F1).

The internationally-acclaimed test, which is conducted across Australia and 12 others countries like Singapore, Brunei and New Zealand, provides extensive independent evaluation of students' skills, knowledge and understanding in core learning area.

Report submitted by Mrs Yee Chee Yoong, Head, Science and Maths Dept.

From the editorial:
We congratulate Mrs Yee and teachers from the SMI Science department for the outstanding and shining accolade. It definitely reflects and upholds the great Michaelian ethos. Well done!