Thursday, September 29, 2011

OMA's 73rd Annual Banquet

Class of 1971 with Brother Vincent

Old Michaelians by the hundreds, to be exact 800, turned up excitedly at the alma mater on September 24, 2011 for a real fellowship and reunion. One could see dozens who came as early as 6pm, exploring the school and entering classes, possibly to reminisce their good ole' days with their classmates and teachers. A group of them even came up with stickers of SMI school badge and wore them proudly in and out the main hall. What an amazing spirit! The class of 60s did not lose out. They had their version of old Michaelian badge which they also wore throughout the function. Others? They just 'yam seng" and "yam seng" throughout the occasion, making the atmosphere splendidly lively!


The Class of 1981
Celebrants included those receiving their Diamond, Golden, Ruby and Silver jubilee salutation certificates.   Dato’ Bro. Vincent Corkery gave out the certificates. Among those who left St Michael's 70 years ago (1941)-what a feat- are Dato’ Yeoh Kian Teik, Mr Ng Khoon Hong, Mr Wong Hon Choong, Mr Wong Kee Fah and Mr Chang Kong Foo. It was during the time of Brother Patrick O' Donovan that the Second World War broke out. The batch sat for their senior Cambridge in 1941 and the situation was tense. The answer scripts were sent immediately to Cambridge by the British. The scripts arrived safely. The boys took 4 years for them to see their results! They done well. 
Dato Yeoh is the father of Michelle Yeoh.
OMA president Mr Adrian Tsen taking a shot with his idol, chemist cum writer Mariam Mokhtar. 
Mariam with Diana Yeoh (left) and Lawrence Brindes.
Among the guests who turned up were Lasallians from the SMI KL Alumni (Mr Michael Lip), Old Paulians Association, Old Georgians Association, Old Xaverians Association, the MP of Batu Gajah Fong Po Kuan, writer Mariam Mokhtar and Tan Sri Lee Oi Hian. We are also honoured to have Brother Matthew Liew with us.
"Thank you, YB" - MP Fong presenting a prize to Cheong, Class of 60'.
We thank all Michaelians and guests for joining us at the dinner. Look forward to another great year, "Yamm.......Seng".

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Brother Matt - A Brother Extraordinaire


He's Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother. Students saying "Happy Retirement" to Brother Matthew
He is known as the "Batik Man". He is also known as the man with many talents. Brother Matthew Bay called it quits on 19 September 2011, a day after his birthday. His students best remember him for his knack in batik painting and his preferences for motifs on floral and the environment. Always seen holding a bunch of keys, sometimes a few bunches,
A pewter plaque presented by Mr Louis Rozario on behalf of the OMA 
Brother had never failed to look into the details as far as building maintenance was concerned. During his tenure at St Michael's, virtually all areas of development were under his stewardship. The total revamp of the tuck-shop turned canteen turned foodcourt, the inter-locking bricks along the main building, designing and supervising the construction of the primary school building, the painting of the school, the La Salle Auditorium, the refurbishment of the main hall and recently the Chapel - just to name a few.
Gracing the occasion were Mr Louis Rozario (far right), Mr Joseph Michael Lee (PIBG chief), Dato' Brother Vincent, En Zahir (PK1) and Mr Joseph Lau, OGA president.
The La Salle Centre was devoid of lush greeneries, the pond, the aquariums and the unusually large fish tank until the arrival of Brother Matthew in 1991, exactly 20 years ago. The rambutan trees, the mango trees, starfruit, "dokong langsat", the giant palm trees and so many other plants and shrubs are results of a person full of patience, gentleness, meekness and knowledge. Yes, he also knows what friendship is all about.
Honoured guests - from left Mr Joseph Lau, Brother Anthony Rogers, En Zahir (PK1), Brother Matthew Bay, Dato Brother Vincent, Mr Joseph Michael Lee and Mr Louis 
Thank you to Brother Director Anthony Rogers and Dato Brother Vincent Corkery for gracing the occasion.
The stylish arrival of Brother Matthew at the occasion.
No goodbye for Brother Matthew as we are going to spend more time with him. His presence will be felt more after his retirement as he has been commissioned to carry out more duties at St Michael's.
For all you have done, Brother, our sincere thank you. From us at St Michael's.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Coming Up!!

Articles On:
1. Brother Matthew Bay's retirement
2. OMA 73rd dinner at SMI
3. Thanksgiving Mass at SMI Chapel

Note: St Michael's never rests.


A NOTE FROM AN OLD MICHAELIAN
A big thank you for this interesting site..yes, i was in SMI in the 80s, (my frens n i were always in a confusion over all that was going on), it didn't rest then , it still never does, and hope it never will... By the way, my dad was a Michaelian too, now 80. I found about a dozen old pics of his. I thought some people may like to see them. Any suggestions?
From the Editorial,
Pictures are great treasure which we need to update our database. Please e-mail me at peterkhiew@yahoo.com so that arrangements can be made to brief you. Thank you for following our school blog. 

PeterKhiew 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Preparations For the Pre-Centennial Dinner

Workers started work at 1.30pm today (Friday) and when school ended at 6.45pm, they were still around putting up the canopies.This year's OMA 73rd dinner is covering three main areas - the main hall, the entire badminton court and the passage between the basketball court and the hall.


Saturday morning would be another busy day for another batch of workers as they prepare a total of 80 tables for our Michaelian folks to dine and fellowship.
Look out for specially-designed Centennial T-shirts. They are up for grabs with each costs RM50 but if you opt for a set of two, then you pay RM80. Colour? Green and White.

Car parks - There will be a few designated car parks which the committee has worked out.
1. Primary School Car park
2. TAIKO car park
3. SMI car park
4. Parking bays along the riverside, Jalan SP Seenivasagam and any designated bays.

Scouts, prefects and RELA personnels will be at hand to assist. The car parks have been fixed with lights to ensure security and safety. Please take care of your property.

If you need help, the people to call are: Mr Terry Yip-0195567913, Mr Steven Lee- 0165052848 or Mr Harneak at 0165629517.

Have an enjoyable evening.
 

Friday, September 23, 2011

A Glance At The Chapel - Architecturally and Aesthetically Superb!

The Newly-Refurbished Chapel. It was completed in the late 1930s. Its design was inspired by the celebrated Sainte Chapelle on the Ile de la Cite in Paris. 
The touched-up antique wooden chairs
The altar. Look at the meticulously-polished candle stands. I was told the brass stands had not been polished for more than 20 years. 
The statues of John Baptist De La Salle and one of his students.
Making sure the chapel is in tip-top condition for Saturday, September 24, 2011.
Side view of the chapel. Look at its impressive artistic design.
Outstanding woodwork. Hand-crafted from one single block.

It's all system go for tomorrow, Saturday at 10.30am. Turning back the clock, the chapel was just another "room" tucked at the 2nd floor corner of the main building. No one noticed its significance and importance. In fact, nobody talked about it until a few old boys recollected their past experiences. The Centennial Committee team moved from there and today, the chapel sees the light of day again.

Little is written about the school chapel. This under-publicised heritage of SMI, located on the 2nd floor of the main building and is linked to the quarters where the Brothers stayed, has been long "abandoned", as OMA president Adrian Tsen put it. He said during the 60s' until the early 80s' the chapel was a focal point among students who congregated there to sing hymns and started the day with words of prayers before proceeded to their respective classes.

"I remember the chapel was a place students would come together after school every Friday to have fellowship together. The singing created such pleasant and sweet atmosphere within the school compound. In other words, it was a place students found solace and peace," said Adrian, who studied in SMI during the 60s.
"They brought along their guitars and others would join in to sing along. It was such a pleasant sight to see Michaelians at a place they considered a sanctuary," said Cikgu Meor Idris, who has taught in SMI for the past 30 years.
He said the chapel was a favourite place among students.

"Some would sit outside the chapel reading their books and others would just fellowship inside. Masses would also be held for Catholic students. They liked the serenity and the soothing effects in the chapel," Meor said.

Background:
During World War 2, before St Michael's was occupied by the Japanese, its soldiers machine-gunned the building and seriously damaged the school roof. Looters stole furniture and books. They even tried to wrench the tabernacle from the altar of the chapel. It was soon that the chapel was converted into the State Legislative Council Chambers. The altar was removed and used as firewood. Here, the European and the Chinese with Japanese wives had to take a promise of allegiances to the Japanese Emperor.

Interviews with former teachers and old boys reveal that serious infestation by termites on the wooden panels around the altar, walls and ceilings also attributed to the closure of the chapel. Presently, the chapel is under the care of Brother Matthew Bay, who personally looks into its posterity, upkeep and maintenance.
Currently under extensive repairs in line with the roof replacement works of the main building, the chapel is set to shine again. Plans are afoot to restore the originality of the chapel, including looking into the architectural aspects and its outstanding work of art - the paintings and stained glass windows.

School principal Mr Phoon Choong Chee and OMA president Mr Adrian Tsen have expressed their desire to see a complete restoration of the chapel, after which the great activities of yesteryear are brought back again to resonate the atmosphere long missed by the school community. Many feel that, after decades of neglect, the chapel is to be accorded the status and recognition it truly deserves.

Note: Above is our story dated July 1, 2007. After four years, things can actually happen at St Michael's. 
"Cherishing Our Past, Embracing The Future"

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Unsolved Mysteries At St Michael's

The school basement is believed to be the starting point of the popular underground tunnel 
“Last two tickets for the day, last two tickets”  That is the call for people who want to travel in the “tunnel” from SMI to “Main Convent”.
Is there a tunnel at St Michael's? If yes, where is it? Tunnels have been discovered at the High Court, Railways Station and even the police station. It is not impossible to have one at St Michael's. There is no smoke without fire. Generations of Michaelians had this question and the only answer given by the Brothers or fellow Michaelians is “There is no such thing as a “tunnel” at SMI”.
Michaelians being Michaelians, never giving up their quest for the truth and have found a lead in solving the mystery. Since there is no way leading to the “tunnel” from the Chubb Door under the grand granite staircase, the only way will be from somewhere else.

“Mystery is finally resolved” 
Upon close examination of a couple of photographs under Peter Khiew’s blog dated Friday, February 26, 2010 - http://peterkhiew.blogspot.com/2010/02/grand-clean-up-do-at-st-michaels.html one will notice that there is a mysterious “ticket counter” at the basement of school stage. 
The keeper of the Underground Tunnel. Question remains - Why a ticket counter at the basement? 
It has wire-mesh barrier and a small window. As a student way back in 1980, I don’t quite remember this mysterious window for I only go under the stage for other reasons. As from the surviving architectural drawings of the stage, there is no indication of this mysterious window.  Could it be a dark and well-guarded secret that it does not show even in the architectural drawings? I am sure it is not used as a window to hand over play costumes or apparels as it is too small in size.
There are several doors which lead to the front and back of the building and there is also a door that leads to ‘nowhere” !!!!. 
Going back to the story of a mysterious “tunnel” that exists at SMI, could it be that you must buy your ticket here before moving through the “door to nowhere” into the “tunnel”.
An air outlet? St Michael's has always generated interests in many areas.
Perhaps Mr Timothy Chee, who has been actively involved in the production of school plays for more than 40 plays would be able to shed some light on this “mysterious window”. Brother Vincent and other retired teachers could share their knowledge on this “ticketing window” at the basement of the school stage. 
On the other hands, we have to bury the ghost of the “Tunnel”, “door to nowhere” and the “Mystery Ticketing Counter” before our Centennial in 2012 as it has haunted us for long now. If Discovery Channel or National Geographic Channel comes to know about this “Underground City”  the school will be placed as national treasure under Badan Warisan or Muzium Negara.
Oops, before I forget, there is another mystery to be solved. The recent Lower Six girls claimed that the “tunnel” is not from SMI but from the Mosque. Hmmm…. Tunnel from the Mosque to Main Convent. What could be the connection here.  Well, it is not our mystery anymore. Now it’s theirs. 
As a reminder, SMI is not Sekolah Misteri Ipoh but St Michael's Institution.

Other Unsolved Mysteries at SMI.
1. Why are there flag poles at the top of the roof?  They are located at the rear annexes of the main  building. (Right at the top of our OMA Secretariat roof for which entrance is only through the chapel and the other pole at the roof of former OMA Secretariat which also houses the kitchen for the former Brothers’ Quarters)
2.The letter drop opening at the door of a classroom. A classroom door on the ground floor, right in front of our main assembly stage, has a cutting that assembles a letter drop cutting. What is it actually for and why is it here?
3.The answer for the following extract from Peter Khiew’s Blog :Thursday, October 08, 2009, Do You Know That...
Today, it came to our knowledge that a piece of iron ore, easily more than 100 kg, is kept somewhere in school. How is it got here and why it was acquired? These are answers we want to find out. Only the size of a rugby ball but a few people are needed to carry it! 
4. SMI used to have a shooting range for the Cadet Corps. Where was the location of the shooting range?
5. Where was the old tuck-shop located at a distance from the school building?
6. Where is the location of the first school building, The Malay Bungalow?
7.There were three (3) LaSalle Brothers who served as Directors of SMI on two terms. Who are these Brothers? 
8.Was there ever a bomb hoax at SMI and if yes which year?
9.There are hooks at the main granite staircase. Who placed the hooks there and  for what purpose?
10. The Mystery Continues......at St Michael's.

By Harneak Singh

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. 

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Michaelian Talentime - An Update!

1. Ticket sales are picking up with Saturday tickets almost sold out! Be quick to get yours before tickets for other evenings are snapped up.
2. Mr Adrian Tsen and Mr Joseph Michael Lee have both garnered a generous sponsorship of RM46,200 as at August 26, 2011 - personal contributions and their business associates.
3. Old boy Wong Kin Tung sponsored RM500 cash. He is attending the Talentime for two  consecutive evenings! Many parents and well-wishers are doing likewise.
4. Bookings have been received from the public and old boys from the 70s and 80s to attend the Talentime which according to them is special and a recollection of yesteryear.
5. Many newspapers are carrying the news on Michaelian Talentime!! This event is special  because Michaelians have so much talents to showcase. It's time to show our strongest support by getting tickets from your teachers or anyone authorised by the school.
6. For more details, e-mail peterkhiew@yahoo.com