Sunday, April 10, 2016

Remembering Harneak Singh, a true Michaelian

Harneak (second from right) with his friends
I remember meeting Harneak Singh only after my first or second year in St  Michael's Ipoh. He had a penchant for vintage items particularly those which were related to the school. He came to me and introduced himself as an old boy. We struck up a conversation and the topics went from the masters (teachers) he encountered in school, the Brothers and his years at St Michael's.
Harneak was instrumental in setting up the Michaelian Heritage Gallery. He started by lending his collection of old school badges, neck ties and some books and magazines. We started from scratch. It was tough and back-breaking but we managed it through the assistance of many quarters.
Harneak, who left us in 2013, April 8, was a true blue Michaelian. "I have never left school" - was his favourite line he uttered occasionally to anyone who knew him. That's true - his service to the school was impeccable and praise-worthy. Whenever he had a day off from work, he would be in school. He assisted in ensuring that the ethos and tradition of the school was preserved. He advocated the Michaelian spirit and made it relevant. He ensured that the Lasallian way of life at St Michael's Ipoh was practised. Once the air-cond compressor was placed facing the main road by the electrician, marring the school facade. Wasting no time, Harneak pointed this out to the school authority. The compressor was immediately placed to where it belongs now. Over the years, I realise that he was also the one who was behind the production of "Our Story", the A4-sized green book which documents the history of the school.
Harneak was instrumental in getting back the British Battalion plaque from the late Mr Chye Kooi Loong to where it belonged, St Michael's Institution, Ipoh. We were in Kampar to get this done. 
Harneak was also a person who was calm and collected. Once after dinner of the Old Michaelians Association at the old town, he discovered that his car was broken into. A thief gained access into his car by breaking the rear side window. He lost his money but his more treasured possession was his laptop - in the hard drive he stored the data and findings of the school history. He did not feel sorry for himself. He made a police report and a few of the OMA members accompanied him to the police station.
The next day, using his daughter's laptop, he was already at the La Salle Centre to gather again all the documentation he tirelessly collected over the years which demanded a lot of time and energy. He moved on.
Harneak's passing was a shock to many because he went away in a sudden. It has been for more than three years. I am wondering where his son Tasminder Singh is as after his Form Six, I have not heard from him. Do let us know where you are Tasminder.
For many, Harneak was truly a good friend, a reliable buddy and a good listener. For us at St Michael's, he was a gentle soul, an outstanding Michaelian and he will never be forgotten.

By Peter Khiew

2 comments:

T.C. Chuah said...

From a posting in the St Michael's Institution, Ipoh group on Facebook by Alexandar Alex, I understand that you are looking for Tasminder Singh. For your information the obituary for Harneak Singh is available online at the following URL:

http://death.my/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/HarneakSingh.jpg

With the 3 contact phone numbers, plus the home address in the obituary, I wish you luck in finding Tasminder.

Sarmukh Singh said...

Good day Mr. Peter Khiew. I m Sarmukh Singh the younger brother of Late Mr. Harneak. Thank you for the lovely words shared about my brother. Yes indeed he never left St. Michael. As for his son and daughter, they are both doing law at present in KL. Thank you once again. May long live the story's of the legends of SMI. RIP Big Bro.