Monday, November 09, 2009


November 10, 2009: Another Reply From Alexander: In your blog you wrote that " ...A shade, for protection against rain and shine, is another option as it is costly and near-impossible for the safe to be shifted to the gallery due to its tremendous weight...."

Although it is costly, it's not impossible. We can't afford to lose this heritage treasure. Something has to be done. The current venue is not really suitable as I have said before that it's subjected to rain, shine and vandalism. There are good students and there are naughty students. Some know how to value  heritage but some don't. I'm sorry if what I say is harsh but that is the fact. A few naughty students will not keep their hands quiet, they will try to do something to it. I'm afraid that something bad might happen to the English “S. Withers & Co.” safe. Please try to do something. The best option which I feel the best is to move it to the Heritage Gallery. Please do seriously consider my suggestions.

Nov 8, 2009: An E-Mail received from an old boy Alexander.

Hello Sir, I'm curious as to why the S. Withers safe box is still placed on the ground floor and subjected to rain, sun and also it is a bit vandalized. If I'm not mistaken, I have read in your blog that the safe box will be restored (painted, polished and broken parts repaired) and placed in a safe place which is the Heritage Gallery. Why is the S. Withers safe is still placed there? I hope it will soon be restored to its former glory and be placed in the Heritage Gallery.

An Earlier Respond From Mr Harneak, an old boy.

This safe has been in the school since Brother Patrick's era. The safe was originally in the Director's room before being moved to the corridors next to the chapel. This must have been done when the Brothers Quarters was turned to classrooms. During the Japanese occupation, the Seal of Royal Decree was kept in this very safe. Upon liberation, the British Army came to school and removed it from this very safe. It was thereafter used by all the Brother Directors till the retirement of Brother Vincent in 1988. It must have been used by the Brothers till 1993, as it was at their official Quaters till they moved to the LaSalle Center. The safe have served 5 Directors - Bro Patrick, Bro Denis, Bro Pius, Bro U Paul (2 terms) & Bro Vincent (2 terms). In short, it has served SMI for more than 50 years.

I was talking to Bro Matthew and he has already identified a place for it. It will be placed opposite the Chubb safe- under the granite staircase. This is an ideal place as the Chubb Safe also has heritage values. The door was placed by the Japanese Millitary and was used to store their important documents here. The place is now being prepared and once completed, this safe will be safely placed here. The Michaelian spirit is still very strong at SMI and young Michaelians are groomed daily to follow the rich tradition and spirit.

Go to these links for more information:

From the Editorial: As I see it, the safe has to be moved to the gallery for safe-keeping. The current location is not suitable as it is constantly exposed to the elements. An item of this standing should be accorded a place befitting its status. A shade, for protection against rain and shine, is another option as it is costly and near-impossible for the safe to be shifted to the gallery due to its tremendous weight. Yes, it has to be restored, with a signboard put up to explain its significance. That goes to the Chubb wall safe as well.


michael said...

It is very easy for Michaelians to come up with comments and suggestions on what to do with our strong box but i have yet to hear of any suggestion of a contribution to its movement. Please do not think that the safe can be moved without cost.

Leong Yew Zheng said...

In my former school, Methodist Boys' School, Kuala Lumpur the principal has a safe as old as this and maybe larger and it's housed in his room. Perhaps the principal could have it in his room, just a suggestion as the principal's room is visited by everyone.