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


Joe Cheun said...

yup you say correct.. now mco quite much of the probleam....
our teacher advisor??? is MISS WONG CHIN FUI...
last year we got plan adi to go penang competition...
but just because the competition adi held so much probleam...
if we got go competition... then AMCCO wun get 2 gold medal adi...
because suddenlly we heard it say CANCEL......
BUT DUN WORRY next year we try our best to plan concert by the way...
now the member are quite lazy....
got practice they dunwan come...
when they batch haven handover to us before that time are quite many member come...
but after we all taking the batch of mco... then member say PMR LA can't come...PMR ARE NOT THE REASON FOR THEM..
PMR just to know your result then see what class you can in only..SPM IS THE MOST IMPORTANT IN FUTURE LIFE...
they are taking PMR SO SERIOUS.what for???just to put you in what class what class only no difference..

and we trying to find china also...
but after that if we take adi the new music but member not coming then how to perform a good performance???
all this is member lazy... haiz...

09/10 mco exco...
alvin ng
i from 4..
in class 4VT3
prisedent of mco also in 4VT3..
transurer of mco also in 4VT4..

Henry Yew said...

I disagree with Alvin's views on PMR exams. I can understand the students' and parents' anxiety on every public examination, be it PMR or SPM. While exams may be important, there is no rush or need to reduce activity in co-curricular activities during the first half of the examination year so abruptly.

Also, co-curricular activities should also be emphasised just as much as curricular ones.

As for members' commitment being such a big issue, a rebranding is needed to turn the MCO into a prestigious orchestra where it isn't just a place where students can come and go as they wish. Some of us old seniors are willing to come back and assist in management and publicity of the orchestra. We just require initiative from the side of the orchestra also.

(Form 5Sc1 Year 2005)
Civil Engineering Programme
Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS

Joe Cheun said...

ok i understand and somemore that i now only mension you are who haha..

Peter Khiew said...

All present and past members of MCO have the passion for the orchestra to grow strong and firm. In fact, I see that the present batch of members are performing splendidly. They might have something up their sleeves this or next year perhaps. The school will throw in strong support in whatever endervour it embarks on. MCO must be kept relevant!

Wai Keong said...

They key of success depend on the Excos and members. You want something, you have to work it out. Not by just standing and looking at it. If the board fails, the whole thing will just collapse. Let's forget about teacher advisor. Their job is to guide us not feed us everything. So, if you guys really want something, go for it. Don't just stand there and wait for people to give you everything. Nothing comes easy in life.

Members skip practices?? MMB faced the same problem too. But do ask yourself why?? If practices are fun, I believe they will turn up for every meeting. Let's have something different to attract members.

Exco, you play an important in managing the team. So let's do something different here.
Being an exco, it's very important to ask yourself why??

When there's a why, there's always an answer for that.

I wish you guys all the best in future.

Henry Yew said...

Yes, I have heard that they have something up their sleeves next year or so, and I hope that everything will work out find.

While it is true that the teacher advisor is there to guide, much depends on the teacher advisor to give the green light on a particular project or otherwise. As such, to belittle the teacher advisor's role is inappropriate.

There are many factors that will affect members' enthusiasm and past members had experienced the same. Even I still do. It's up to you to turn the practices into something more meaningful for them.

Harvey and I still do come back to help out whenever we can. We just hope that the new batch of committee members will continue to catch up with us. We are just either an e-mail or a Facebook message away.

(Form 5Sc1 Year 2005)
Civil Engineering Programme
Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS

Peter Khiew said...

Dear Michaelian bloggers,
We welcome positive and constructive comments. The blog was set up to inspire and encourage so that we can be united to strengten one another.
Our theme for this year, To Uphold the Great Michaelian Ethos, is to hold one another. When one falls, another serves as a pillar.

Wai Keong said...

I agree with Mr.Khiew

kenwooi said...

Perhaps a concert by the MCO to boost up the morale of the members?

I was in MMB from 2001 till 2005, and concerts are certainly exciting!

Henry Yew said...

Apparently a concert is being planned for next year. It will certainly help matters. However, a concert will require much support from the orchestra members and full cooperation. Before they can get down to practise, they (especially the EXCO board) will need to know how to handle the orchestra in a professional manner.

A concert may also consume a significant amount of money. (My recent April performance, whch was a gigantic project, consumed almost RM10000.) This money isn't spent to outsource some external expertise but rather to make some necessary purchases, for publicity, ticketing, etc. etc. The MCO would require a particular amount of capital to start the project.

Being still school students themselves, we do not expect them to deal with all the higher managerial or ministrial work themselves. Therefore, the assistance of the teacher advisor(s) would be instrumental. I really hope that the teacher advisor, Ms. Wong, will not only advise and guide them, but to support in their endeavour, too.

Civil Engineering Programme
Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS

Joe Cheun said...

wai keong,peter khiew,henry yew-thank for you all the tips..and thank for you guys idea hehe..

david said...

Henry , actually i've already ask teacher perhaps to organize a concert next year . But she giving such reason that the mmb is going to have so she told us that v cannot organize concert.

As the ex president i always will contribute in any co events held

Aaron Chan Chee Kin said...

Hi everyone,

Let an old giser say a few words.......Well in my time (which is not that long) MCO was know as MCIG (Michaelian Chinese Instrumental Group). The MMB and MCIG at that time had always been the musical alternatives to the uniform unit. Over the years I have known of great musicians in the MCIG, some even pursuing the path of Chinese Orchestra in the future. I was a MMB member and for many years, we have tried to foster good relationship with the MCIG for some musical creativity. Dance of the Yao tribe, one of my favourite pieces, we ended up playing together combining western and eastern instruments.

If I remembered history correctly, MCIG became MCO because the MCO wanted to be more seroius player in the Chinese Orchestra field. And I applaud that move. I think it's important to realise, that the MCO should not become a replacement uniformed unit but an interes uniformed unit. When you ask a member of any society, why they are in it, they should answer because of interest and not because I have to. Inductions are always a great opportunity to grab new members, make your club interesting and dig out musical interest.

I know for a fact, that the MCO has always been active with concerts, cause MMB was always invited to play with them. You don't have to do a major concert, just do a simple one in the school hall, that's the MMB did first before we went to bigger halls (the MCO has performed in ipoh city hall before...I went to help). You don't need RM 10000 to have a concert. In my times, MMB had very little resources in terms of instruments. A lot of us shared our intruments and those who can afford got their own instruments. But we strived and had concerts that was suppose to help us get money and with supporting seniors, I'm sure you can. Harvey and Guo Zheng are juniors whom I saw growing and I can say they are great people to help you guys.

Competitions should be secondary, it should not be the reason why you want the MCO to go on cause I think competitions only give you the exposure.

The EXCO do make a difference because they should have the heart and soul for the club. They are the ones who will help the club's direction and also the club's success. Don't give up, just push on remember you are not alone!

PMR is important.....or any major exams are. Please don't forget that your first priority in life is your education. Not saying put MCO second, but balance it up.

I have always great admiration to the MCO and any Chinese Orchestra. From MMB I have become who I am today and also it is keeping my love for the musicals alive :)

Aaron Chan Chee Kin
5Sc4 2000 ;)
Production Engineer

loh kok hoong said...

Dear Mr.Yew,
Please check some of your facts before having it written publicly.

'It is sad that the MCO, which has a history of over thirty to forty years, has remained stagnant for so long.'

It is not easy to handle a chinese orchestra in a school like SMI, and comparing MCO with the other chinese orchestra out there is impossible. Please be more mature in doing this comparison.

Quality leader is rare and team work in the EXCO is very necessary to face all those challenges (financial, members discipline...etc) which the past EXCO faced before. The current EXCO must reflect on themselves...'do you committed enough and willing to sacrifice your tuition time, time with your family, etc, just for the purpose of orchestra practice? Is there enough communication among the EXCO members, and the teacher advisor?

Whatsoever, i can proudly said that MCIG taught me and all my friends a lot. We learnt and realized the importance of team work as managing MCO alone is totally impossible. We learnt the importance of effective communication with the teacher advisor and the school authorities And I can say that the role of MCO in the school system is very relevant and had it's objective achieved....'membina insan yang seimbang dari segi jasmani, emosi, rohani, dan sosial', according to the National Education Policy.

Best wishes to all of you.

President of MCIG 1999/2000
Department of Foreign Languages
IPGM-Kampus Bahasa Antarabangsa

khaw said...

Please do understand the difficulties that MCO is facing. A comparison between MCO with SamTet, AMC or SanMin is totaly unfair.

1) Majority of the students are Chinese, unlike our case where students are multi-racial with different cultural background.

2) Almost every students in SMI could not read nor write chinese which is a huge setback because every material from musical score, notation to training mediums are all in chinese.

Perhaps a more appropriate comparison could be done between other non-SMJK(C) school, in which neither of them have a functional Chinese Orchestra group.

I'm glad that I'm part of MCO during my secondary time. Till these days, I'm still telling my friends about MCO achievement and how fortunate I was to be in a La-Salle school that offers me the exposure to traditional chinese culture.

While MCO is moving along or even struggling to make ends meet as you have stated, a post like this is unneccesary as it will only further damage MCO's reputation and demoralize current members.

Khaw Yee Khai
President of MCO 2000/2001
Bachelor(Hons)Electrical&Computer System Engineering
Monash University Australia

Leow Hong Keat said...

Dear All,

As a former MCO member, I am truly disheartened by the contents of this letter. I wonder what is the purpose of publishing these, as Mr. Yew (GZ hereafter) himself said, internal problems, publicly.

I am concerned that GZ also compare the MCO, formerly the MCIG, with the MMB, the chinese orchestras of Sam Tet, Ave Maria and Hua Lian. Perhaps it is not in his knowledge that the SMI is the only national school in Perak, if not in Malaysia, that has its own chinese orchestra. This makes the MCO unique and dare I say, the MCO is incomparable. Since the foundation of the MCO, supports from students had always been a challenge. Unlike the chinese-medium schools of Sam Tet and Ave Maria, it is not easy for the MCO to get a big piece from a small cake. Also, just as much as the MCO encouraged participation from our Malay and Indian friends, the MMB is clearly their choice of uniform body.

There is no short solution to a long-standing problem. Whilst I agree that new instrument is necessary for growth, it is worrying that GZ planned to expand the inventories without knowing the financial status. It makes no sense to purchase new instrument whilst the account clearly indicates the lack of members. This is not the way to "revolutionalise" the MCO. The root cause is the lack of interest in the MCO and you need members to play the instrument. Money will be better spent by doing small scale performances to promote the MCO, in hope of attracting new members. This exercise should then be carried out repeatedly henceforth.

Perhaps GZ could not recall, I would also like to clarify that the MCO have had wonderful years, even when GZ was a member then. Apart from inductions and fun training camps, there were numerous concerts being held since 1997, during the MCIG's 30th anniversary and the Rev. Bro. Ultan Paul Diamond Jubilee. In 1999, the Strings in Harmony concert was held in the school hall. The Millennium Cultural Night, which attracted thousands of audiences, was held in 2000 at the Ipoh City Hall. Apart from winning the inter-school competition as mention by GZ, the MCO continued to promote itself not only to the SMI students but to also the public in Ipoh Parade in 2002. If one chooses to ignore these highlights, it is not a surprise to see the knowledge and experience in achieving these successes going down the drain and not being learnt and utilised.

As mentioned, it is a challenge to recruit members. To have enthusiastic members is even more of a difficulty. We do not always live in an ideal world and have to be realistic. If there is a limited number of passionate members, we can only utilise whatever we have and build on it. Something is better than nothing, and sulking on our weaknesses will not bear any fruit.

I echo GZ's opinion for not asking for dissolution of the MCO. The thought of dissolution should not have arised in the first place. Whilst competition is good, we should again always be realistic and recognise that Sam Tet, Ave Maria and Hua Lian all have bigger pools of members and financially better. To treat these orchestras as our competing enemies will only lose you the war and end up demoralising the members. Perhaps we should emulate rather compete with them.

In this difficult time, if it is, we shall all building on the positives and be supportive. I thank all the past and present members and Michaelians for their continued efforts to support the MCO.


Vice President of MCO 2000/2001
Civil Engineer
United Kingdom

lee said...

It's sad to hear the latest update regarding MCO. I think the comment/remark will give a sharp pin etched into the heart of all ex-member of MCO and MCIG (1967-nowadays).

I joined MCO (1997-2003) with a group of friends that shares the same interest in chinese classical music and committed fully. In these few years, i saw lots of ppl come and go. Some just can't get along because they dun put their fullest effort into the club. Hence, do they deserve to comment the club? Mr Louis Rozario in the past always said, "dun ask what the club can give to you, ask what you can give to the club". I always apply this saying while i'm the member of the club.

There is undeniable that there are other better orchestra in the world. I believe every orchestra has it's own unique characteristics. Like MCO has excelled much in the small group orchestra and won the competition in year 2003. Isn't dat wonderful?
The judges are not from MCO itself. It is because the time we practiced together was longer than the inactive member sleeping time.

It's no doubt that MCO was popular last time. Wanna know more, can search in school magazine and newspaper. Sure u'll find lots of them.

For the younger generation, I hope that u can refer MCO's past achievement for making a better MCO in the future. DO NOT GIVE OTHER PEOPLE A CHANCE TO TELL YOU WHAT YOU SHOULD DO!!!

Kah Wai
Bachelor Mineral Resources Engineering, USM
Oil n Gas Engineer

Joshua said...

Dear all,

I was really saddened by the letter from Mr. Yew when I read it this morning.
There are a few old boys who stood out to clarify the matters in the above comments, but I'm still surprised that this type of content is posted in this blog publicly.

My dua sen on the letter:-
These are all extracurricular activities and should be of secondary importance after proper education. Mr Yew maybe half-right about the lack of commitment and I'm sure every club does have this problem now and then, but I plead Mr Yew to stop and ponder, how many people have the privilege to be committed to extracurricular activities? I guess not many. Certainly, you cannot everyone's level on par to your expectations (ie, expecting them to commit a little on studies and they can make the grade).

The point is that, the current excos have to manage their expectations properly. Sleeping members, they are everywhere in almost every club. It is how you put in your effort to manage them.

I was part of MCO (@ MCIG) from year 97 to 01, the full duration during my secondary school years. And I'm still proud to know that I was part of a group of excos that were not only committed to manage the club well, but we made friends and acquaintances that were indifferent of age and religion. That's something to applaud about!!!
The experiences we had, the tiredness we endured during endless practices. I still recall the baggy eyes we had during the practices for the competition, repetition after repetition of the same musical piece. BUT, the most important thing is we truly enjoyed the whole experience!

Chong Wai Chun
Senior AP
Retail Banking - Mainframe
Standard Chartered PLC

YS Chan said...

Dear Mr Yew,
First of all, I would like to express my respect towards your letter and the concerns you had shown to MCO all these while but the contents of the letter meant a shocked and rather tarnish the reputation of the MCO to all previous beloved and loyal members and teacher advisors.

The whole letter for I believe that you are praising and comparing the current Chinese Orchestra that you joined in UTP with MCO. Theoretically, comparison in the healthy and balanced way is well acceptable. However, the comparison you made is totally meaningless and pointless which obviously the comparison of a well systematic established company with a moderate fair company.

You’re only judging the book by its cover and yet we were taught not to do so. What you have written in the letter seriously undermined all the efforts from the previous boards.

From my point of view, comparing one individual with another is truly shallow especially when pointing out other’s weaknesses. It only shows indirectly that you looked down on that individual while trying to tell others how superior you are in everyway. Every individual has their own strengths and as well as weaknesses. That is what made each of us and every one special and unique in their own way.

I remembered what my grandfather told me years ago and I still bear it in mind till today. “Don’t ever use your own ruler to measure someone else’s length”; which roughly means don’t ever set yourself as the common standard when commenting or viewing other’s words and actions. What is considered right or acceptable to us may be offensive to others and vice-versa.

You may not disagree with what I’ve said or might even feel offended (I sincerely apologize if you do) but I can tell you that few years down the road; when you are older and wiser, you will think how insensitive it was for you to have written this letter.

~ MCIG – A Living Heritage ~

Kind Regards,

President of MCO 2002/2003

YS Chan said...

Dear everyone that is concerned to MCIG/MCO,

This is my feedback to the article entitled ‘A Letter from an Old Boy’ dated 23/8/2009 which is written by Yew Guo Zheng. I was a member of MCO of year 2002/2003, under the leadership of Master Chan Yoon Suiew.

I think most people in MCO will not know me, as I was what you are referring as ‘dormant or sleeping’ member. So, you must be thinking, of some many people, I must be the one that have the least privilege to voice out. Well, you are wrong, in a way.

Personally, I was and I am very proud to have spent my Form Six life as Michaelian and as member of MCO. Being a student of Convent School from Standard 1 to Form 5, never had I thought to see a Chinese instrumental based uniform body in a Sekolah Kebangsaan. I was so amazed to know such fact.

My friends and I did not really participate in learning instruments, but we contributed by doing administrative work in keeping the organization running. Our deepest memorable event was when Master Chan came to us to inform us that we will hold an exhibition in Ipoh Parade. We were stunt to know about this, but at the same time we were excited to prepare for it.

It has opened the eyes of the public that SMI has a Chinese Orchestral Organization. I still remember when I was performing my duty to introduce ‘gu zheng’ to the shoppers, they blinked their eyes a few times and asked me the same question repeatedly:

“St. Michael? Chinese Orchestra?”

I took quite some time to inform them of MCO history and to make them believe me. I strongly think that this exhibition had created a very large impact and deep impression to the public, in knowing SMI in a different angle. Don’t you think that it was successful in a way? To me, the exhibition was a great success.

Well, many of you might not agree with me and may even think that this is nothing to compare to MMB’s achievement. But I must quote the phrase from Master Saw: Think big, start small. And I definitely have to highlight that this start was not small at all. Moreover, many other prior events by the earlier leaders were undeniably huge achievements too!!!

About MCO being stagnant for many years, I will not give further comments as MCO has been passed to younger generations, which is always willingly guided by seniors like Master Saw, Master Loh and many others ex-leaders. But guidance from seniors and leaders will not help if the members are not strong from within. Looking at Yew Guo Zheng’s article, I would say that the writer himself is not proud to be a member of MCO, so how could MCO grow with such members…

His pride on how he felt for ‘UTP stepped into international arena’ and his criticism on MCO has obviously showed us that bad egg has been embedded within MCO.

To the seniors and supporters of MCO: Do not feel humiliated by his article. We feel proud for what we are and what we feel for ourselves. Should a person think otherwise, there is not need to persuade or make him feel what we felt, for that is just a waste of time….

For the new generation and current leader, aspire yourself to achieve more. Give your best to MCO and no one will doubt your effort. Those who understand are those who appreciate. Never let those that do not how to appreciate you to de-motivate you, because you know yourself best. There is no need to prove or compete with others; one’s biggest competitor is his/her own self.

Thanks and Regards,
(Sixth Former & MCO menber of Year 2002/2003)

david said...

so many seniors wrote things here ..
so impress !.
actually mco would be very happy if you old exco could come back too teach something or introduce yourselves to the members =]

soo kok keat
president term 2008/2009

Danny said...

Dear readers,

Greetings to Mr. Peter Khiew, TS, ex-members of MCIG/MCO, current MCO members and my fellow Michaelian. I am MCIG/MCO member from year 1999 till 2003

First of all, i would like to express my disappointment with the article above written by Mr. Yew. Talking about comparing, perhaps, Mr. Yew was unaware that he is actually doing an unfair comparison for MCO with parties enjoying extra advantages. MCO is unique with its own way as it was established in a school where multi racial is rather quite balanced compared to SMJK (C). We should be proud of ourselves rather than disgraced when MCO is not as "gigantic" as the Chinese orchestra from SMJK (C) because Chinese Orchestra existed since 1967 until today in SMI, a SK school.

MMB is another wrong subject to be compared with. Well, I do think MCO needs a little bit of internal competition as such competition is healthy for the club but not such comparison in term of size of club, activities, assets, and supports. But I will strongly recommend both MCO & MMB to organize activity together. For instance, organize camping together annually. Bond created will benefit both members and imagine what the experience shared between both clubs can do for them? A lot! As both can learn from each others from music to management. (Current committee can actually do this if it is possible for you guys to organize it as the MMB)

Like Master Loh had mentioned, quality leaders are rare but i believed that if the management is well maintained and improved, normal leaders can do wonders for the club. Team work is always a critical element for the success of MCO regardless of the number of member in the club.

To be honest, I myself regret on my way to lead my club when I was in sixth form. For your information, I am the President of the Board of Quartermaster (BoQ) for 2004/2005. One of my major problems during my time was overloaded with members due to Mr. Louis Rosario Doss, the Principal of SMI during the time announced that every student must be part of any uniformed unit. The number of BoQ members increased from 100+ to 400+ (The largest uniformed unit during 2004). It was too sudden for me as i have no idea what I can do with such numbers.

Although there were few times Mr. Louis commented on the "Phantom" members in BoQ, but there were also times where BoQ was being praised during the assembly for job well done in organizing the annual school Sports Day and providing human power supports for MSSPK and MSSM basketball competition.

The thing that I regretted was I never organize something that can include every single member in the club. Only when I was doing my degree, some ideas pop up from my mind that we can actually do something big-scaled for all members, for instance, annual whole school area gotong royong project involving all members. I am telling all this not because to agree on the "sleeping" members issue is unpreventable but to share my experience and my mistake so that you guys (who are studying at SMI now and a member of any uniformed unit no matter you are MCO,MMB,BoQ,St.John and others) will not repeat the mistake that I did. "Sleeping" members will not happen if the committee itself takes initiative to organize sometimes to do together. My overloaded members issue started because it happened too sudden when the rule of having all student to join at least one uniformed unit implemented during my tenure as the President of BoQ and I had limited time to plan something to fit the whole club but you guys who still at school can actually make short and long term planning for your own club as you are no longer surprised with the implementation.

Danny said...


All we gain will be experiences that craved in your heart from the day you joined the club till old. Take Master Saw's words seriously "Think big, Start Small"

Memories of my days in MCIG/MCO with the wonderful leaders such as Master Saw Horng Yuan, Master Loh Kok Hoong, Master Teoh Wai Leong, Master Khaw Yee Khai, Master Leow Hong Keat, Master Chan Yoon Suiew as well as Sifu and Master Chin is still fresh in my mind as if all my 5 year's moments with MCIG/MCO were just happened last night. I always telling myself that the experience (which is so "intangible" that I can't express it here with any words!) that I had is the most priceless gift from my Alma Mater. And because of that, it groomed me into what I am today.

To all current members, put effort, heart and soul with MCO and you will get the unforgettable priceless moments what I and the rest of the ex-members and ex-leaders had during our days. Believe me, the memories are irreplaceable. Enjoy your moments with MCO and I am sure you will cherish and appreciate it as long as you live!


Asst. Secretary of MCO 02/03
President of BoQ 04/05
President of Consumers' Club 04/05
Bachelor of Business (Hons) (Entrepreneurship)
Universiti Malaysia Sabah

Advertising & Promotion / Operation / Security Executive
1Borneo Hypermall Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

Victor said...

Dearest members of the Michaelian family, especially the teachers namely Mr Peter Khiew and to all fellow Michaelian Chinese Orchestra members,

It saddens me to see that MCO issues are still the same... Inactivity, lack of practices, sleeping members etc... Over the years since I became a member of MCO in Form 1 all the way till I was in Form 5, MCO have been able to produce spectacular performances, as long as they put their mind into it. However, I always noticed that it all depends on the EXCO members to put the effort to make any event they plan a success. Now, some may say this is unreasonable as the club or I should say, Uniform Unit, comprises of both EXCO members as well as normal members and it can only function as one. This is true but how can we get the members to participate actively in any of the Uniform Units activities? It is up to the EXCO members to drill it into their members about the importance of attending and participating in meetings and activities and the consequences otherwise. Do not make empty threats, make the effort of ensuring should any members be absent from any activites or meetings held by the Uniform Unit, proper actions will be taken against them if they are unable to provide a valid reason.

The Michaelian Chinese Orchestra has what it takes to perform splendidly, if only they put the effort into it. We have gained publicity through performances at Jusco as well as in Ipoh Parade. If other Chinese Orchestra's can continue with their excellant performances, why cant we? Do not use the excuse of "St. Michael is the only national school in Perak, if not in Malaysia, that has its own chinese orchestra, that makes it unique"... What is the point of being unique if in the end, it disappears altogether? If its unique, make the effort of ensuring that it remains unique and is able to outshine or at least be on par with other Chinese Orchestra's from other schools. That is the whole point of a Uniform Unit besides ensuring school students are active in co-curricular activities--To bring fame and glory to their own school by being the best in what they do. What is the point of obtaining music scores from Penang, Singapore and even China if you are unable to even play simple songs from good old Ipoh properly? I only see that as a waste of money from the Uniform Unit's fund.

The most important thing in any organization is unity. In MCO, unity must be present between the teachers, EXCO members, members themselves as well as parents of the members. WIthout it, MCO will crumble. During my time in MCO in the year 2005, the EXCO members were able to organize a competition which brought schools from all over Perak to compete against their own members. In 2007, my batch were able to organize a competition themed "An Evening With the Dragon's Melody" which brought a hefty sum to fund the purchasing of new instruments for MCO. Why were we able to pull off this feat? This is because we took the effort of ensuring unity is present among us. As EXCO members, we ensured that practices were held as often as possible at the most suitable time with the presence of our music instructor. We took the effort of making sure members came to our practices, insisting that any absentees must produce a valid reason for the absence. If they are unable to do so, we bring them up to the principal for actions to be taken. We ensured that our teacher advisor knew wat we were doing by inviting her to come and observe our practices and to know that we are not wasting our time. We even invited parents to come to see that their children are not wasting their time either and that they are actually practicing in order to shine wen the time of their performance arrived. All of these were efforts taken by us as EXCO members to bring unity in our members, to show to everyone how important we are. Have any of these efforts been taken by the current EXCO board? I leave that question to be answered by yourself

Victor said...

On many occasions, I have been asked to return to SMI to help out the orchestra, which I have. However, why must I return over and over again to something that does not seem to improve despite all that have been done to help them? Is it just because I was an ex-member, I am obligated to return to aid the orchestra? I apologize, but I have my own life to live. Help once, help twice yes, but several times more to the point of asking me to return at every holiday I get? I am sorry, but my family is certainly much more important. I offer my contact details should there be any problems or questions they might like to ask but I have never been contacted. Is this the effort that is being put into MCO? I say I am not surprised to see it declining in standard.
Dreams only remain dreams if no actions are taken to realize it. Seeds will not grow into trees if proper care are not given to them. Why say "we might have a concert/competition etc next year, but it depends"... Be firm and say "we W I L L have a competition/concert etc next year" If you dont have the resources, work for it. Ask for aid from the school, I am sure they will lend a helping hand. Mr Khiew always puts the school's uniform units in high regards, ask him for guidance if any problem arises and I am sure he is willing to offer his ideas.

As an ex member of the MCO, it is of course my hope and dream to see MCO flourish for many more years to come. But this will only happen if efforts are put into it. I am always willing to come to provide aid as long as I see improvements and I can see that something is being done to make things better. I am only an email away or a phone call away.

Take care, may MCO shine once again.

Victor Ho Seong Tuck
Former Vice President MCO
Nautical Studies Department
Malaysia Maritime Academy (ALAM)

lee said...


There are many things in this world i would like to share. After seeing a quite number of blogs, I will not talk bout the history of MCO but rather a few values to share based on my working experience.

1) Respect Seniors. This is the most important of any organization in this world. Give time for senior to explain and do. If u think is not correct, talk softly. Dun rebuttle harshly. Everything will be fine once we that time and talk slowly.

2) Emotion quality (EQ). Good emotion controlling can help u work happily and safely. Carry a good emotion to everywhere, your home and to your work place.

3) Low profile. Always keep low profile when dealing with everything. 1 thing that is very obvious is dat, do u noticed the manager in big company most of them very sombong, but in O&Gas world, even a low educational worker also earn more than the manager land ALOOOOOOT but the offshore guys are very friendly, low profile. Hence they manage to work happily even apart from family and town fren. Be humble.

3) Plan ahead. If you start to plan ahead and u'll be surprise how u carrying out a job easily. Always have a backup plan.

4) To make yourself happy in any organization, always apply these 2L & 2G.
LOVE: care for your members
LEARNING: try to learn new things everyday. Learn until die lo.
GIVING: Share your knowledge by giving to others.
GROWING. Grow your knowledge and emotion everyday.
All this will help u feel ur life more meaningful.

I hope all this can be adopted by all ppl whose reading this blog. Be comtemporate in writing, dun always put others in your situation. Stop Comparing. Stop rebuttling. Stop complaining. I dun think Michaelian taught of all these values. Back to Original. (Faith, Zeal and comminuty by Mr. Louis Rozario Doss).

Kah wai
Former MCIG&MCO (1997-2003)

Peter Khiew said...

Dear Michaelian bloggers,
I have mentioned seriously that we welcome positive and constructive comments. The blog was set up to inspire and encourage so that we can be united to strengten one another.
This blog welcomes serious and respectful discussion.

Danny said...

Greetings Mr. Peter Khiew & readers...

Dear SengHoo,

Out of topic question, i wish my question will be answered. are you a good buddy to the article writer? Do you know any of us, the 90's and early 00's leaders who commented here?

You sure know some of these name i will mention here, the article writer,Mr. Yew, Gooi Harvey, Lee Tsen Loong, Chow Kam Fee, Lee Kitt Leong, Chuah Khien San, Weng Loon?
(forgive me if i spell some of yr names wrongly guys, but at least i remember) The above names are my juniors during my last year @ MCO which is 2003...

To get your silly fact right, allow me to share my life story between 2003-2005, the above mentioned names are some of my juniors during my last year at MCO @ 2003. During 2004 (Form 6), i was appointed to be the new Board of Quartermaster President. Therefore i remained as a senior instructor to MCO (check out the 2005 MCO picture where i was sitting at the most left of the picture). Sometimes, when i was free during Friday afternoon, i visited the MCO practice between 2004-2005 when i was doing my form 6. The President of these years are Master Chow Kam Fee & Master Lee Tsen Loong.

During 2005 (i assumed you are in MCO by that time), Inter-School competition was held under the tenure of Master Lee. During the organizing process, i managed to catch up with some of the exco and Master Lee to chat and discuss as well as giving opinion regarding the preparation of the competition. Not only that, i took part too in the competition group A, string section and emerged as first runner-up.

Until i continued my studies at higher education level, i was less connected to MCO as my juniors itself has 'retired' and i barely know the latest members already. Not only me, the rest of the ex members back before but the time they back you might be still studying for your UPSR. During my time at MCO as Assistant Secretary, my seniors who are no longer in St. Michael back to advise and provide guidance on how to improve the club.

So, basically what i am trying to say is your comment shows all the reader how immature you can be with all the nasty words came out from a Michaelian, i know you got the Michaelian spirit but you applied it wrongly here... Master Victor is right about the obligation of us, the ex-member to come back to aid the club. We are not obligated but it doesnt mean we do not want to help. I can tell you the ex-members here who are rather quite irritated by this article still has MCIG/MCO's spirit flame burning in our heart. It just that our generation is far away from yours and that is no way you know who are us if the generation in between you and me never introduce us to you guys... we will always open our door to help the MCO and of cuz non of us here want MCO to be collapsed. But you guys have to get the idea right on who's advice you are seeking.

Another thing is, with such an attitude from people like you, Mr LeeSengHoo, is that the way you gonna ask some ex-members to assist the club? the that the proper attitude to talk to the seniors or someone older? or you did talk that way to your family members and friend then i won't be surprised.

Anyway, the main thing that i wanna tell in my comment here is, you are absolutely wrong about what you've said here, my dear SengHoo. 11hours before you post your nasty and immature comment (Friday), 3 of the ex-President commented here had visited MCO in the afternoon and they are having a meeting with current Excos today (Saturday) at Simsons to discuss the club's issue, and where are you this time,huh?? Get a mirror and God Bless...


Asst. Secretary of MCO 02/03
President of BoQ 04/05
President of Consumers' Club 04/05
Bachelor of Business (Hons) (Entrepreneurship)
Universiti Malaysia Sabah

Advertising & Promotion / Operation / Security Executive
1Borneo Hypermall Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

Victor said...

Thank you Sir Khiew, for bringing this blog back to its actual purpose. I apologise if I have been irrelevant in my earlier posts, and I am glad you have removed those posts.

In the Michaelian Spirit
Quis Ut Deus

Gooi the Blur said...

Dear all,
Thank you for your concern over the issue of the Michaelian Chinese Orchestra (MCO). Many of those who replied, I know and respect greatly, as your names are well known, even to this time. However, some clarification has to be made as I feel that Mr. Yew’s letter was misinterpreted by many.
The letter was written with the intention to bring awareness of the problems that MCO is facing to the school board, PIBG, teachers, seniors, and members (And boy, was he successful, with all the responses coming in), and also as a plea for help and assistance. Some of us, who are also part of the MCO alumni, has been around to help the new batches of MCO to the best of our abilities. However, our best isn’t enough as we couldn’t help out as much as we’d like due to the constraints that come along with being a student. Thus, the aim of the letter: To bring forth as much support and help from other parties as well. How it was misinterpreted to be the way it is now, I do not know.
Should anyone else would like to discuss this matter further, I think it is more appropriate to discuss in MCO’s own blogsite, Do send in your letters to this e-mail address:

Gooi Harvey,
Vice President, 2004/2005
Michaelian Chinese Orchestra.
B.Ed TESL programme,
Universiti Industri Selangor.