Wednesday, July 31, 2013

This Story Wins Me a Samsung Galaxy S4

Took part in the national level essay writing competition in conjunction with Teacher's Day celebration organised by INTI. I was thinking how I could focus my theme and make an impact on the judges. After an hour of reflection, I decided to send the article I wrote about my years in Sarawak and how my time there impacted not only people around me but I myself gained a lot of experience and memories that last...
Here is my story.

INTI International University

We are proud to announce the winners of the INTI's Teacher's Day "Sharing Your Best Teaching Memories" Contest. To all winners, INTI would like to congratulate you and thank all teachers for their continuous effort in nurturing the leaders of tomorrow. 

The grand prize winners walk away with a brand new Samsung Galaxy S4. Congratulations! 


Those Years In Sarawak...

caption: Mr Migin(left), Mr Nicholas and the blogger.
It was more than 21 years ago, I was posted to a very interior place of Nyelitak in Sarawak, precisely 200 km from Kuching. It was only accessible by foot and on good days, when the narrow muddy path dried up, then a scrambler motorcycle would make a reliable transport.                      
The first school, Sek. Keb. Kerajaan Nyelitak accommodated 36 pupils of Year 1, 3 and 5 for the year, and Year 2,4 and 6 for the following year. Meaning, no intake of pupils for a year. We had four teachers, including the headmaster, Mr Migin Ruai anak Rugus. We had our hands full almost daily, including preparing breakfast for the pupils who had to walk for miles from their respective villages. Breakfast was a cup of Milo and a few pieces of biscuits as interior schools had no canteens. It was not easy to attract them to school as they were required to help out their parents in the farms or padi fields. The teachers had to ensure that although they were needed to assist their families, the pupils must also get basic education.
My years in the school were filled with memories as the teachers transformed a storeroom into a mini library, to make the pupils read a little and at least, to let them know how a library look like. We introduced many innovative methods in our teachings. We brought in new teaching aids and we organised trips to town.
Our efforts paid off as attendance soared. The school was now filled with some noise and laughter. Sports day was a grand affair as it was also a platform for parents to turn up in drove as we had also drawn up events for them - a tradition in Sarawak. Another activity they looked forward to was cock-fighting.
At night, at least once a month, villagers would come knocking on the door - to share their catch of wild boars, deer, ant-eaters and many more. These Iban folks were good hunters and to celebrate, they would never miss out the teachers.
The sign at the entrance to school- it took me two weeks to make.
The second posting was to SK Lepong Emplas, in Simunjan. It was a place popular for its sweet, juicy rambutans. It still is. I spent three years there. Unlike the three classes in the earlier school, we had six classes here. The number of staff, however, remained at four, including the headmaster, En Halip.
The location of the school was scenic but we had a problem- it frequently flooded. When it did, the teachers had to fold their long pants and helped the pupils with their school bags. It was encouraging to see that they came to school despite the situation. When nature called, it was not like the 5-star toilets in St Michael's. It was made of wood by the villagers. It looks dilapidated but it served us well.
The toilet
We printed our own exams papers, we brought provisions from the nearby hamlet and we ensured that the pupils had their essentials. The pupils could be a bit weak in class but they were excellent in their drawings, skillful in jungle survival and swift when it came to tree-climbing. I had savoured the local rambutans, highland durians and myriad of catch from the river, items which parents freely shared.
Yes, those years in Sarawak. They were many others which made my years in Sarawak memorable. The experience had made me stronger, more courageous and more importantly, I have cared for the last, the lost and the least!       

Friday, July 26, 2013

Brother David Hawke Visits SMI

Old friends...Brother Vincent shares about St Michael's with Brother David.
The banner to welcome Brother David and Brother Anthony Rogers
School administrators greet both Bro. David and Bro. Rogers
General councillor of De La Salle Christian Brothers (Pacific-Asia Region Conference) Brother David Hawke paid a visit to St Michael's Institution and met up with the Principal and her administrators. A brief discussion was later held at the OMA Secretariat. Also present at the simple session were Sector Leader Malaysia Brother Anthony Rogers, Brother Vincent Corkery and Brother Matthew Bay.
The entourage, obviously amazed with the efforts of the school in keeping the Lasallian ethos and tradition alive, also met up with some teachers and students. At the school parlour, Brother David was similarly impressed when he noticed that awards for the "Michaelian of The Year" were presented in honour of the past Superior-General Brother Nicet-Joseph. (Brother Nicet visited SMI in 1962 and the first recipient of "Michaelian of the Year" was accorded to commemorate his visit. Brother Nicet was S-G from 1956-1966).
According to Brother David, St Michael's is the only school which remembers Brother Nicet this way.
Thank you Brother David and Brother Rogers for spending some time with us.      
A warm welcome accorded to our special guests..pix by Bro Matt.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Happenings At St Michael's, Ipoh

Brother Vincent speaks to the old boys from the Class of 90'. Some 60 of them had their annual get-together at the alma mater on June 29, 2013 in conjunction with our 87th Sports Day. Among the old boys who turned up were Nizam Noordin (the chief organiser), Dr Ong (dentist) and Soo Lai Kok. 
Navin was rushing to the toilet when he fell so hard that he was in intense pain.His friends came to his aid and consoled him. After a few minutes, he was well again and together they walked to the canteen for their recess - happily. Scenes like this happened daily at St Michael's - the Michaelian spirit prevails and very much alive at SMI.   
Try out the food at the foodcourt- there are 10 stalls selling variety of specialties.  
Blood donation campaign at St Michael's. A total of 80 students. mostly Form Six, rolled up their sleeves to do their part for the community
Our students and their advisers in a jovial mood after being declared that SMI will represent Perak at the National  Science Challenge 2013 in UPM Serdang. The boys stand a chance to represent the country in Stockholm, Sweden.
Master Timothy Chee posing infront of the mural he produced with some 8 students more than 30 years ago. All the murals (only a few though) are in bad shape, due mainly to the elements. More of these murals depicting Lasallian or Michaelian heritage or something of national icons should be produced. Master Timothy Chee has agreed to touch up the present murals with new paint. Yes, we need to preserve these iconic art pieces.
Themed, "Onward Michaelians! Valiant and True", St Michael's Ipoh's 87th Sports Day, managed to exude the charm of yesteryear with the marching of all classes, parading of class flags and the presence of the Michaelian Military Band.   
One of the flag designs by our boys. Look how creative they are.
More to come. Keep the Michaelian spirit alive!