Monday, May 30, 2011

St Michael's Building To Be Spruced Up

Grand Old Dame - Our Pride 
Works are currently underway to give a new coat of paint to the building. The massive project, part of St Michael's centennial line-up, does not only involve the facade but all the classrooms as well. The colour schemes for the classroom were discussed during the centennial committee meeting held on May 27. Pink and violet are totally out.
Students can look forward to studying in a more positive classroom which creates a cheerful and inspirational environment soon when we see coats of medium green or light blue adorning the walls.
The facade, currently spots a pale yellow tone, will soon get a coat of Banana White ICI paint. It would definitely make St Michael's even grander.
Works are carried out during the 2-week holidays. After that, painting resumes only on weekends. Completion is expected in September 2011.
"Cherishing Our Past, Embracing The Future" :
4 December 1912- 4 December 1912
Happy Holidays all.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Visit of Sixth Formers To The Michaelian Heritage Gallery

Boys going through the heritage items displayed
Among the items displayed are newspapers cuttings on St Michael's.

The Drama Section- A Visit To the Gallery was one of the programmes planned for the students.   
Trophies, once abandoned, have now found a place at the gallery. Notice the bell?  Despite the missing holder, it still stands proud.
Undoubtedly, a visit to the gallery was a worth-while affair. To think of it, I am proud to categorically say that St Michael's has never lost its lustre. 
As of May 28, 2011, there are 220 Form Six students. We have 5 Science classes with 150 students while 70 students are in three Art classes. We welcome all of you to St Michael's. 

Sybil Kathigasu Remembered At SMI

Come June 12, it will be exactly 63 years since Sybil Kathigasu, the freedom fighter, died.
A Video On "The Forgotten History of Sybil Kartigasu" - An Interview With Dato' Brother Vincent Corkery and Mr Law Siak Hong, president of Perak Heritage Society.

Sybil is the only Malaysian woman to have ever received the distinguished George Medal (GM) for gallantry and bravery. Instituted by the late King George VI, the GM recognises both civilian gallantry in the face of enemy action and brave deeds.
She wrote a book “No Dram of Mercy”, which gives an insightful account of a woman of great courage who should be held as a beacon and role model to all Malaysians.
In the 1940s, Sybil sacrificed a great deal in the fight for freedom of Malaya.
Born on Sept 3, 1899 in Medan, Indonesia, Sybil Medan Daly a Singhalese Sri Lankan was a trained nurse and midwife.
In 1919 she married Dr Abdon Clement Kathigasu and they were blessed with two daugthers, Olga and Thavam. Later on, the couple adopted a son, William Pillay.
Sybil and Abdon operated a clinic in Brewster Road, now known as Jalan Sultan Idris Shah in Ipoh, Perak, for 14 years before the war descended on them.
Sybil’s warmth, readiness to help and her fluency in Cantonese made her popular with the local Chinese community.
Then came the war and the invasion of Malaya by the Japanese army in 1941.
When the Japanese army occupied Ipoh, Sybil and her family moved away to Papan, a small town fringing Ipoh.
Papan would soon prove to become a turning point in Sybil’s life.
It was here that Sybil began “consolidating” her commitment to helping the local community who were members of the Malayan People’s Anti-Japanese Army (MPAJA).

Sybil secretly supplied medicines, medical services and information to the underground guerilla forces of the Fifth Independent Regiment of MPAJA freedom fighters who camped in nearby hills and jungles.
She also secretly kept shortwave radio sets and clandestinely listened to BBC broadcasts to keep in touch with the situation around the world, especially in Britain and Europe.
Those acts were, at the time, considered criminal and highly subversive by the military administration of Japan in Malaya.
No betrayal
It has been told and retold by many that Sybil and her husband had treated more than 6,000 guerilla fighters who fought relentlessly for the independence of Malaya.
Eventually Sybil and her husband were caught. The Japanese army arrested them in 1943.
They promised to release Sybil and her husband but on condition that she revealed the names of the MPAJA forces.
But Sybil was adamant and refused to do so.
In fact, she is said to have told the Japanese government that she was “willing to die with my family, then disclose the 30,000 MPAJA and family members who fought for independence of Malaya”.
Sybil was prepared to face the punishment by the Japanese army.
They punished her husband, son and her daughter Thavam, who was then seven years old.
But Sybil, who suffered the anguish of knowing her family’s pain, did not relent.
She refused to betray the MPAJA members and their families. Finally, Sybil was sent to Batu Gajah prison where she was further tortured.
Tortured and tormented
According to her memoir, the Japanese army sprayed soap water into her vagina and forced her to sit for hours on ice cubes and she was not allowed to sleep.
Sybil survived three years of torture and torment under the Japanese army and was only relased after Japan lost the war.
Following her release, Sybil was flown to Britain for medical treatment. It was there that she wrote her now famous memoir, “No Dram of Mercy”.
She went on to write a second book “Face of Courage”, which gave a revealing insight into her family.
But the three years of incessant torture by the Japanese army took its toll on Sybil.
Sybil died on June 12, 1948, in Britain, seven months after she was released from her Batu Gajah prison cell.
Her body was initially buried in Lanark, Scotland, but was later returned to Ipoh and buried at the Roman Catholic cemetery beside St Michael’s Church.
The older generation who are familiar with the Sybil Kathigasu story recalled how her remains arrived in Penang from Scotland by ship and transported to her home in Ipoh’s Brewster Road.
It was one of the largest funeral processions ever seen in Malaysia.
Royal-style sendoff
Sybil, the Malayan heroine, was treated in royal style. Some 100,000 people from all over the country turned up to say goodbye. 
Even people from as far as Thailand, Vietnam, Borneo and Indonesia came to pay their respects.

In Ipoh, a road is named after her to commemorate her bravery and Sybil’s shophouse at 74, Main Road, Papan, is now being presevered by Law Siak Hong, the president of the Perak Heritage Society.
In 2008, the Actor Studio’s in Kuala Lumpur produced a play and trained her grand-niece Elaine Daly to play the title role of “Sybil”.
There’s also a Singapore TV drama series titled “The Price of Peace” about her life.
Sybil’s life is perhaps the best example of unity – an Singhalese Sri Lankan women who willingly sacrificed her life for MPAJA members who were mostly Chinese who fought for the independence of Malaya.
By Zakaria Junid | May 24, 2011. Article was sent to the blogger by Noel Oliveiro. 
The Kempetai Interrogation Room. It was the very room Sybil was interrogated by the Japanese at St Michael's Institution. The room is located on the first floor, the first room after you walk up the staircase. A marble plaque has been placed there. Among the words engraved on the marble were...
" whose moral courage remains an inspiration for all". smipix by the Michaelian Heritage Gallery

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The table after it was refurbished. Look how it has been transformed.

Duty's Sweet Call......The Form One boys who willingly help out anytime. It is truly a demonstration of their spirit of service. To think of it....we have not failed in our duty to groom these boys to be true Lasallians. I take my hats off to them. 
Some of the rare Science apparatus retrieved from the drawers. We even discovered some important notes and cards.
Signing off,
PeterKhiew, SMI

Sunday, May 22, 2011

How We Salvaged A Forty-Year Old Table

Just like an unpolished stone, this table was discarded and left to rot outside the school main hall, unwanted. Probably no one realised its aesthetic value and hidden charm. 
It was left there for quite a while.We did not know how it got there. 
The table top was in bad shape with its surface all roughed up over the years of neglect. The Michaelian Heritage team recognised its potential, believing that the table, probably about 40 years old, can be restored. 
Quickly, we enlisted the help of about ten Form One boys to get it carted from the ground floor to the first floor. It was hard work, considering its weight but the writing table finally found a safe place. 
We then contacted our regular carpenter man. He was somewhere at the old town when he received our call.   
The condition of the table when the team spotted it. It is so heavy that we needed about 10 Form One students to carry the table to the gallery.

The table is examined closely before works are carried out. The Heritage team ensures that items meant for restoration are strictly reinstated to their original condition.
The first thing he said about the table was it is an exquisite item. "Just take a look at the wood. It is hardwood and nowadays we cannot find anymore of this material. Look at the drawers and the four legs. They are all hand-made using basic carpentry tools," Ah Choy, who has some 30 years of experience under his sleeves, said.  

Tomorrow...we shall take a look at the writing table after it was restored.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Together, we can make St Michael's a better place.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Happy Teacher's Day

Happy Teacher's Day (16 May 2011) for all teachers who had taught me and all educators at St Michael's. 
Happy Founder's Day (15 May 2011) for all La Salle Brothers in Malaysia and all around the world. You are doing a great job in educating the young, the last, the lost and the least.

Friday, May 06, 2011

The Chapel At Its Prime

SMI Chapel. This black and white picture, processed during those time at Kok Kin Studio, is among the collections we managed to preserve for posterity. Pictures like this help to reflect and think when we talk about "Cherishing Our Past" - it's all about remembering our roots and rich tradition at St Michael's.  

Reminicence Of Yesteryears

This shot was taken at St Michael's kindergarten (the bungalow next to current Bank Islam) during the directorship of Brother Ultan Paul (1961-1971) and (1975-1985). He can be seen distributing gifts to these children, who are waiting patiently for their turn. Parents and teachers are participating in the occasion, which could be Children's Day. Note: These invaluable images dated 28 August 1970 are of reduced resolution. 
Property of the Michaelian Heritage Gallery.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

A Booklet To Cherish Our Past

A booklet, The Michaelian Spirit" to commemorate our achievements and accomplishments

Each student will receive a booklet. Look how proud they are. 
A book to refer to. It contains the history of SMI, our founder John Baptist de La Salle and the values on what make a true Michaelian.
Lower Six students, who are reporting at St Michael's next week, will also be receiving a copy each. It will be a useful tool for them to know and understand more about our alma mater. Congratulations to the centennial committee for publishing these tiny books with a great impact.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Bandboys - You Are The Pride Of SMI

A write-up on MMB in 1963

Michaelian Military Band has been around since 1960. For more than 50 years, the boys have never failed to impress everyone, in school, at state functions, National Day parades or exchange programmes between schools. This indispensable entity of SMI plays a very important  part in school functions during visits of foreign and local dignitaries, ministers, guests or old boys. They are the ones who, with their drums, clarinets and trumpets, make the occasions joyous and meaningful. We salute these disciplined and highly committed young men for their untiring efforts for the love of St Michael's.

Today, Michaelian Military Band is strong, steadily growing in sync with St Michael's. The recent public concert at Dewan Puan Sri Leong Wan Ching said it all. Strongly supported by parents and public at large, the hall was filled with eager and enthusiastic audience, about 400, wanting to witness the group many people have been talking about. Just after the second number, "Romanesque" by James Swearingen, the audience knew the band has the substance.
Concerts like this should be performed at a hall with acoustics properties, emphasizing on how sound travels from the musicians to a listener, including reflections from the walls, ceiling, floor and other objects. They were at a multi-purpose hall. Overlooking all these, the boys still managed to pull through with gusto! 
Their final numbers of "Bridge Of Glory" and "We Are The World" by Frank Bernaerts, a verdict was reached. The boys were able to impress the crowd.
Hats off to advisers, Mr Liew Boon Keat and Mr Tiong Hong Chai for a marvelous job. To the boys, a splendid and superb performance.         

The audience that evening
The boys in action
Look at their determination and confidence.
The evening's programme book