Monday, April 28, 2014

An Email From An Old Boy..remembering his former teacher

Dear Mr. Khiew,
I am writing to enquire if you could assist me in contacting my former tutor, Mr. Lee Kah Chee.(Maths Teacher, Retired 1987)
My name is Subhash Chandran, I was the Class Monitor of Form 5 Arts 1 (Class 1987). The year Mr. Lee Kah Chee retired in November 1987. He was very inspirational with my studies, especially my Maths.
I left Malaysia in 1989 to study in London and have been a UK resident here ever since.
I am planning a visit to Malaysia in May 2014 and would like to contact Mr. Lee and thank him personally.
Thank you for your prompt reply and your dedication to the Michaelian blog. I do enjoy reading your news from abroad. I am pleased to hear that Master Lee is in good health. If you do speak to him please remind him that I was the student who baked cakes as a gesture of gratitude.
I will be in Ipoh from 6th to 8th May and then catching a train to Penang.
I will scan the classroom photograph of 87 and send it to you.

......  a day later .......

As promised here is the photograph of Form 5 Arts 1.
It is with great interest and pleasure as a former Michaelian to read your blog from far afield.
I am writing firstly to congratulate you on your remarkable dedication on giving us Old Michaelians abroad snippets into the daily like of our alma mater. I read with pride of the achievements we Michaelian continue to produce.
I first joined St. Michael’s primary (One) in 1981 as a Standard 4 pupil and left in September 1989, (Form Six) to London to complete my A-Levels and I have remained here ever since.
I feel I owe the countless teachers who taught me over the years naming a few Mr. Herbert Spykerman (1984 Form 1 – Agricultural Science Teacher, Mr. Lee Kah Chee (1988 Form 5 Arts One – Maths Teacher), Brother Vincent( who enrolled me into West Side Story(1987) aged 16, youngest cast) and the late Brother Ultan Paul (my Bible Knowledge teacher)
I wasn’t born an academic and I must admit that I was few of the lazy ones who was happy to scrape pass my exams until I encountered Mr Lee Kah Chee in 1988 as my Maths teacher. I had no interest in Maths or lessons when I was in Form 4(constantly getting red marks in my report card). Mr Lee found a way in teaching and connecting with us unruly boys and suddenly I found myself actually enjoying Mathematics. He was and an exceptional teacher but even greater is that he was a truly inspirational man. A man of few words but his teaching did all the talking and so did the way he conducted himself. A true gentlemen. He always had time to show students like myself who are eager to learn even during his break time in the staff room. He would not turn you away if you cannot solve a problem. His method of teaching was exemplifying and it has held a lasting impression in one as myself and countless other I am sure.
1988 was also to be his final year of before retirement but something strange happened one morning with three months prior to our SPM examinations, the inter bell rang for the next lesson to begin and in came a new Maths teacher… usual we greeted him and my first question to the teacher was ‘ Where is Mr Lee?
He did not reply and ask us to continue with our lesson. Mr Lee had an aura about him and was able to hold his students in complete silence and utter concentration when teaching. No explanation was given as to why we were deprived of Mr Lee when it was crucial with the exams approaching. We watched Mr Lee for the next 3 days going to teach the Science Stream classroom.
I felt my duty as the Class Monitor to speak to my fellow classmates. We all agreed that we should write a petition to the Bro. Director, Brother Vincent. I wrote the letter and each and every one of my fellow classmates signed the letter. We then marched in silence to the Bro. Directors office. I and my deputy Nava handed the letter to Brother Vincent and went back quietly to our classroom. Nothing else was said. (I am sure Bro.Vincent would remember this incident).
The following day when the school bell rang for the Maths lesson, in walked MR. LEE KAH CHEE! I have never heard a chorus of boys greeting any teacher so overwhelmingly. The mood of the classroom changed at that very moment and nothing else was said about the matter and the lesson continued as usual. It was done in a very Michaelian spirit, the gentle way that all the Brothers instilled in us through their actions. Mr Lee remained our Maths teacher until his retirement day, few weeks before our exams. I got 85% in Maths – which considering a year before in Form 4, I was only achieving 0-10%.
I never saw him again after his retirement day and moved to England soon after the SPM results were announced and have remained since.
I have never been able to say to him- THANK YOU SIR, without his inspiration and guidance I would not be the person where I am today. He gave me an opportunity and countless others (who are not super achievers) a platform to start in life and I can happily say that I have never forgotten it.
I have a good career in London and now a permanent resident in the United Kingdom, thanks to Mr. Lee’s guidance.
I would appreciate if you could pass my heartfelt thanks to Mr Lee and hope very much to see him on my visit to Ipoh soon.

Master Lee Kah Chee( Second from left) and the writer Subhash (seated, second from right) 
The photograph attached is of the group- (Form Five Arts 1 1988) who marched to Bro. Vincent’s office. Mr. Lee obliged our request for a photo shoot with our classroom teacher.

From the Editor: Thank you Subhash for the write up which has obviously brighten up our day. Drop by at SMI when you are here in Ipoh. Have an enjoyable trip back to Malaysia. 

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