Thursday, September 08, 2011

A Written Expression From An Old Boy About The Chapel

SMI's chapel holds a special place in my heart for numerous enriching reasons. Firstly, it was my spiritual sanctuary during the most trying period of my school days. I had numerous seemingly insurmontable problems between my Form 3 and 5 years. 
My mother passed away in 1963 (when I was in form 3) and I fell into deep depression. I neglected my studies and was spiraling towards inevitable failure in the looming senior cambridge exam. On top of that I had to contend with 2 over-domineering and abusive elder brothers who were bent on breaking my spirit in their misguided belief that it was for my own good.
I was not a Christian but I turned to Mother Mary and Jesus Christ for help. I would go to the chapel daily and prayed for guidance. My prayers were answered through numerous indirect ways.
Rev. Bro. Dir. Ultan Paul gave me the reponsibility of painting "the stations of the cross" for the chapel. A Form Six female student, who was a very good painter, was assigned to assist me. We completed the paintings and they were hung in the chapel.
I managed to scrape through my senior Cambridge in 1965. And the following year, even managed to be the first Michaelian to be selected for the AFS student exchange programme for a year of stay in Illinois, USA(1966/67). 
I believe strongly that it was my daily prayers in the chapel which gave me the spiritual strength to overcome all the odds and obtained divine grace for my success.
Today, I am a successful portrait painter with my own studio in Batu Ferringhi. But the greater miracle is that my spiritual beliefs have expanded and I embrace Taoism, Buddhism, Hinduism in addition to Christianity and Islam as divine truths.I believe that if we open our hearts to God, He will come to us in whichever form that our spiritual age is able to accept Him. After all he is omnipresent. And SMI's chapel was the starting point in which I experienced this truth.
by Ong Hean Tooi 

From the Editorial: Thank you for sharing with us your enriching moments when you were here at St Michael's. This serves as a motivating and inspiring factor especially for the young ones at school now. Feel free to drop by at the alma mater whenever you are in Ipoh. Regards, Peter Khiew. 

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