Friday, October 12, 2012

Centennial Get-Together - A Review

Yes, after a week of rest I am finally back blogging. That past week, my e-mail was filled with messages asking the reason the blog was not updated and some expressed concern that the blog might take a long break as the dinner is over. Well, worry not. The blog will continue to churn out current developments of SMI and announcements to keep all Michaelians informed of happenings.
For me and all of you (more than three thousand Michaelians) who joined in the get-together, the months of planning, time and expenditure involved, were worth it. The fellowship, the very loud laughter, catching up with old times and some who finally found their long-lost classmates at the Centennial Dinner were just invaluable, priceless.
The souvenir program books which were given out that evening. It carries the word 'sau", depicting the Chinese symbol for longevity, vitality and prosperity.
I take my hats off to those who actually made plans months ahead to come back to the alma mater from overseas and then chose to stay back for a few more days in Ipoh before flying back. We had those who could not get tickets to the dinner yet joined in the fun on Saturday morning and returned to the alma mater on Sunday morning to take some photographs and reward themselves with some centennial mementos.Their hearts are still very much with St Michael's. As OMA president aptly said in his welcoming speech, "We are Michaelians Forever".
Many observe that Michaelians are different. Their conversation has always revolved around the catchy "Once A Michaelian, Always A Michaelian",  "Michaelian spirit" and about SMI, their teachers, how they were punished (and still did not know the reasons for that punishment), the years they spent in school etc. But the one that still goes strong and dear to many is, yes, The School Rally.

I was told that one group of a few old boys stayed on until 4.30am that dinner day and continued with their chat at the nearby "dim sum" restaurant. That's great!
For me, SMI still has strong aura and ethos to garner so much spirit from the old boys. When some asked how many VIPs would be at the Centennial Dinner, I told them all are VIPs. Even the IGP who joined us that evening made away with the convention of being accorded a heavy police presence. He chose to walk into the school compound instead of the planned arrangements of having outriders to accompany him right into the school grounds. My salute to Tan Sri, from the class of 1970.
Adding to the festivities of the occasion, the school had also played a pivotal role in ensuring that the compound looked spick and span.

The pavilion was spruced up

The Heritage Gallery was tidied up too for the big day.  
The principal and her team ensured that all facilities in the school were in good order. Damaged taps were replaced and all cisterns in toilets were in good working condition. Doors were painted and repaired. Boys were undoubtedly excited to know that thousands of old boys were coming to visit the alma mater so they made sure the floor was clean and classrooms were tidied up.
Mr Ng Khoon Hong, a Michaelian and founding member of St John Ambulance in Perak, sharing with the boys the services rendered during a landslide incident in Cameron Highlands.
There was an exhibition in the morning, participated by some eight societies which took them a week to prepare. St John Ambulance, Cadet Corp, Military Band among others. The scouts started their work two weeks before the 29th. At the end of the day, all were exhausted but as I said earlier, it was worth the time and efforts. Visitors were very pleased with the preparations and the welcome.
Band members, the ever ready and enthusiastic Michaelians. Photo courtesy of Alex Morris
Scouts...Constructing a Welcome Tower.
Centennial Mass at the school chapel was also organised in conjunction with our Centennial Celebrations. The turnout was amazing as the chapel was filled to the brim with more than 200 turning up for the celebration.

Father Michael Cheah with Brother Matthew at the chapel. Pix by Alex
The congregation at the school chapel. Pix by Alex
The Mass was celebrated by Rt Reverend Sebastian Francis, Bishop, Diocese of Penang. Pix by Alex 
Before that, new wooden pews were acquired for the occasion. We wish to thank Mr Joseph Michael Lee for this initiative. Mr John Bosco, Brother Vincent, Brother Matthew Bay and Mr Lawrence Brindes deserve a mention here in making the occasion a tremendous success.
The pews arrive at SMI

On its way to the Chapel. The pews will be a permanent feature at the Chapel.
Young Michaelians preparing the table numbers and menu for the Dinner. Many were silent heroes in making the Home-Coming a huge success. 
The meeting of great minds - From right (OMA president Mr Adrian Tsen, Tan Sri Lee Oi Hian, Tan Sri Ismail Omar and Mr Hanson Lau) 
A tremendous turnout of fellow Michaelians. Almost all areas of the school were covered, recollection of their formative years at SMI.

Senior Michaelians who will continue to support the Michaelian cause

Hello Brother, pleased to meet you. 

Mr Joseph Michael Lee (PTA chairman) and the IGP
Old Georgians members with Mr Chan Kok Keong and Mr Phoon Chong Chee

Mr Choo Ah Chye with boys from the class of 1987
The get-together ended with a bang. It was an occasion that still lingers in the mind and conversation of those who could make it to the school that day. September 29, 2012 would always be a day to remember. All parties actually worked together so closely to make the occasion meaningful. To the OMA committee, led by Mr Adrian Tsen, my congratulations. It was hardwork but we could see the labour bearing fruits.

See all of you again, fellow Michaelians, next year!


Sons of St Michael's Valiant and True.

Signing off,
Peter Khiew

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