HAPPY RETIREMENT MR.LIM HEAN HWA
By Nizhan Faraz
University of Toronto
Close to 4 years ago, history was made when St. John’s Institution welcomed one of her own sons to lead her. His name - Lim Hean Hwa.
Born on June 15, 1954, as the eldest of six siblings, Mr. Lim spent all his school life in St. John’s. He did his elementary education in St. John’s Primary (1) from 1961 to 1966, and secondary education up to Form Six in St. John’s Secondary from 1967 to 1973. He is one of those who lived through the development phase of St. John’s. This was the decade when the Main Block went from brick red to white and finally in its current red and white livery. This was also when the vast Dewan Tun Dr. Ismail and the Arts Block (now Form Five Block) were built. Most importantly, this was also the time when the old school coat of arms was replaced with the existing one.
In his message in the 110th Anniversary Celebration Programme Book, Mr. Lim said, “Never in those 13 years did I ever, even in my wildest dreams, imagine that I would one day return to serve as the principal of this great institution”. I guess Mr. Lim and St. John’s are destined to meet each other again. After 37 years, the student returns to his alma mater, this time as the captain at her helm. Mr. Lim Hean Hwa was appointed the third lay principal of this great institution effective August 16, 2010. The Johannian community rejoiced, knowing that the spirit will be revived since St. John’s is now in the hands of a fellow Johannian.
Mr. Lim’s administration saw the return of a long lost tradition – the celebration of Founder’s Day, an event to commemorate the founder of our institution, Jean Baptist De La Salle. It also saw a streak of success in the fields of academics and co-curricular activities. The 2013 SPM and STPM examinations saw St. John’s achieving the highest student percentage of all A’s since 2005. Our Naval Cadet Band managed to win the Best Drum Major award at national and international level competitions for two years straight. Our archery and badminton team won gold medals in national-level tournaments.
I personally had the honour of working alongside Mr. Lim for the past four years, starting with the tower clock project up to the management of the RM680 000 received last year from the government. I am grateful for the opportunity and trust given to me by Mr. Lim in handling these projects for the school. I found that our common goal of protecting the welfare of the school resulted in the both of us being able to work together very well. At the same time, I took the opportunity to get to know St. John’s during Mr. Lim’s days as a student.
Every time I returned to Malaysia for the summer, I never missed the opportunity to join the Johannian community and celebrate Mr. Lim’s birthday. This time around, although missing the 110th anniversary gala dinner, I was glad that I made it to Mr. Lim’s farewell ceremony yesterday. I was also glad that yesterday’s ceremony went well, it was a very touching and memorable event to everyone present yesterday.
On behalf of Johannians, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Lim for his service to St. John’s over the past four years. One thing is for sure, we will miss that pleasant smile. Personally, I will miss working with a man who shares the same sentiment on what is best for St. John’s and strives to bring the school back to its glory days. It was indeed a great pleasure working with you, sir. It is my sincere hope that you will continue visiting St. John’s from time to time and join the Johannian community in all future events in the school.