Friday, November 20, 2015


Dearest Johannians - teachers and students,

We would like to take this opportunity to wish all of you happy holidays!

The school term officially ends today and resumes tentatively on Monday, January 4, 2016.

Please note however that the school office will remain open for the duration of the school holidays (except on Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays of course).

Students, before you get all excited about the holidays, please observe the following things:

(i) Make sure that you keep up to date with your revisions throughout the holidays. Take your time while doing so. 

(ii) Complete any homework assigned to you over the holidays. From experience, there is a very good reason why they were given to you in the first place (Hint: I think it has got to do with tests).

(iii) Take some time to reflect on your performance throughout the year. Identify your strengths and weaknesses and come up with a strategy for the new year.

(iv) Of course, take some time off and enjoy yourself. Do things you never had a chance to do. With that however, stay out of trouble and harm's way. Don't lose any limbs, or publish malicious statements that can land you behind bars, or go for a swim in flood waters.

With that, see ya in 2016!

P.S. SPM and STPM candidates, don't give up. Keep going. Freedom awaits you in a fortnight. 

Images courtesy of Google

Wednesday, October 28, 2015


Dear Johannians,

As the old saying goes, "better late than never". Nevertheless, I would like to take this opportunity to wish all Johannians the very best in your respective exams!

Forms 1, 2, and 4 - Final Examinations
Form 5 - SPM
Form 6 - STPM

PT3 candidates, enjoy the rest of the term and we shall await good news from you soon. 

As a reminder to all members of the Johannian family, we may be graced by the attendance of DYMM Sultan Nazrin Muizuddin Shah, Sultan of Perak, for the 2016 Prize Giving and Speech Day. 

We hope that all of you will do your best in your exams so that you have the honour of being recognized for your achievements by His Majesty and the rest of the Johannian family.


Images are courtesy of Google

Friday, October 23, 2015

St. John's Institution 39th Awards Day (Hari Anugerah Kecemerlangan Kokurikulum dan Hal Ehwal Murid SJI ke-39)

Last Saturday, October 17, 2015, St. John's held its 39th Awards Day ceremony to appreciate and celebrate the achievements and services of our fellow Johannians to the school.

The guest-of-honour for the event was Dato' Pardip Kumar Kukreja, Executive Chairman of Paradise Group of Companies, a Johannian from the batch of 1975.

Dato' Pardip signing the guest book

At 8.00am, the guest-of-honour and other invited guests were paraded in by the bagpipes. A guard of honour by the Councillor Prefects greeted the guests as the procession moved to the assembly area. It was then followed by an inspection of parade by Dato' Pardip with the company of Dr. M. Puvanendran, Principal of St. John's.

The procession towards the assembly area. Dr. M. Puvanendran (in purple) with Dato' Pardip.

En. Wan Abdillah, PIBG chairman and the school administrators

The inspection of parade

Upon completion of the inspection, the Naval Cadet Band of St. John's played the national anthem, Negaraku. This was then followed by the recitation of the do'a, remarks by the Principal, and the opening speech by the guest-of-honour. Dato' Pardip decided to address fellow Johannians in the national language, Bahasa Malaysia, and reminded them of the importance of being equally active in the field of sports and how we should explore sports as a profession as people recognize professional athletes more than professional doctors.

The guests, parents, and Johannians were presented with a variety of martial arts performances, a marching display and the highly anticipated band performance throughout the event as intermission between prize-giving ceremonies.
 Silat with parangs

Look at him fly. Do not try this at home, lads.

The Cadet Corps in full uniform.

This year, there were close to 500 awards given out to Johannians for various levels of achievements, their services, and their pristine discipline records throughout the year. The members of the Naval Cadet Band and the Robotics Club topped the list of recipients with their participation and success in international level competitions.

This year's Awards Day also recognizes Johannians who have made the effort of maintaining their good behaviour as individuals and as a class collectively. This is a positive addition to the full attendance certificates handed out to Johannians who ensure they show up to school every single day.

Finally, it was time to hand out the four highly-anticipated prizes. The guest-of-honour, Dato' Pardip, was invited to present these four awards to their respective winners. The first award, the "Anugerah Olahragawan Johannian Harapan" (Promising Johannian Athlete Award) was again won by Akid Daniel Mohd Jeffry Lee. This year marks the fourth consecutive year this archer has won the award since its introduction in 2012.
Our Promising Johannian Athlete, Akid Daniel

The second award, the Matthew Raphael Danker Sports Excellence Award, was presented to Muhammad Harith Izzuddin Zali. This award was presented in 2009 by the late Mr. Matthew Raphael Danker, a fellow Johannian and father of Tun Jeanne Abdullah, to recognize Johannians who excelled in the field of sports with participation in competitions at state, national, and international levels. As an avid rugby player, Harith has been involved with the school rugby team throughout his years in St. John with several wins at the national level since 2013.
Harith, our Matthew Raphael Danker Award recipient. Generous smiles are visible.

The third award, the Johannian Team of the Year Award, is won by the St. John's Drama Team. The Drama Team has had some resounding success this past few years, with three consecutive wins at the State Drama Competition, runner-up in last year's National Competition, and Best Script Award for two years in a row. The Drama Team is the second team to win this award after the Naval Cadet Band's four-year streak since the award's inception in 2011.

The Johannian Team of the Year

The final award, The Johannian of the Year Award, was presented to Muhammad Azwar Aza Azhar. The present award, presented by Johannian Dr. Nag Subir Kumar during the school's centenary celebrations, is presented to Johannians who excel both academically as well as extracurricular activities. Azwar, a councillor prefect and former Naval Cadet Band First Command and Conductor, participated in various competitions from school level to international level throughout his seven years in St. John's. The Upper Sixer believes in the motto "Failure is the foundation of success", and his strong believe in it has indeed earned him the honour of this award.

Our Johannian of the Year. Congratulations, Azwar!

The four awards' recipients posing for a group photo

The 39th Awards Day ceremony was closed with the singing of the School Rally and Onwards St. John before the guests and parents were ushered to the concourse for the reception.

Congratulations to all Johannians for your success and thank you for your services to the school and the wins you brought for the school. You have indeed made all of us proud. For those of you who still have some time in St. John's, make your award-recipient friends your motivation so that we get to celebrate you in next year's ceremony.

Fide et Labore!

Pictures are courtesy of Darvind Sivakumar

More pictures from the event:

Friday, October 16, 2015

Are All Our Ships Sailing in the Same Direction?

Anyone who has watched The Godfather:Part III might recall the meeting in the Vatican, where Don Luchessi tells the dejected Michael Corleone, "We'll gladly put you at the helm of our little fleet, but all our ships must sail in the same direction". I think we all saw what happened when Don Corleone decided to sail the other direction - misfortune after misfortune struck Michael.

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Wait a minute. This is a blog about a school. Relevance?

I think I just bore witness to a rather similar situation in our grounds earlier today. How is it that higher school officials can run into deep miscommunication over one of our most sacred events - Hari Anugerah Kokurikulum a.k.a. Awards Day?

First introduced in 1976 by the late Rev. Bro. Joseph Yeoh, Awards Day was the ceremony where St. John's expresses its gratitude not only to those who brought glory to the institution by winning competitions, but also to appreciate the numerous other students who contributed their time and effort through the various clubs in service to the school. It was a ceremony full of regal, splendour, and honour. The uniformed units parade was a compulsory component; the various bodies in their full attire standing in three straight line, inspected by the guest-of-honour. This was then followed by the long roll-call of students and their achievements or services to beloved St. John's.

I had the privilege of being part of this ceremony during my 5-year stay in St. John's secondary. Every time I stood in the ranks, there was an air of pride, and each and every one of us made sure we created a fantastic impression to the honorable guest. At first, we fussed about the rehearsals, It was dreadful when something went wrong during the rehearsal. It meant starting all over from the very beginning. The man at the helm, doing all the shouting and scolding till we did to perfection, was none other than Mr. David Fernandez. Very quickly our fussing ended, and was replaced by determination to get the ceremony right.

Why? Because Mr. David reasoned it out with us in the words I will never forget, "The guest standing before you on the podium is either visiting for the first time or is very well versed with the protocol. No one would ever want anyone to say, "The parade by the boys was awful". We want them to walk out of the ceremony saying, "Johannians are fantastic, just look at how perfect that parade was". If we can do that, we made it, boys. We made it".

We would rehearse two days before the event, and run through it from the very beginning to the end. It allowed us to tune in to the atmosphere of the day of the event (and made sure we finished on time, or early). Mr. David stood with us in the scorching heat as the rehearsal commenced, and would not dismiss the participants until everything was flawless. Traditionally, St. John's took no more than three runs to get the order of events perfect.

This year's Awards Day takes place tomorrow, October 17. Due to the PT3 examinations, the traditional two-days-before-event rehearsal could not be conducted yesterday. The purpose of a yearly calendar, or 'takwim' was to ensure that all ships are sailing in the same way. And since the date for Awards Day has been fixed, it should be common sense to note that the two days before the event are reserved for rehearsals. I suppose it is natural that people forget at times. However, scheduling an exam at the eve of a major event is not only unreasonable, the fact that the exam is flexible in date yet refusing to postpone it prior to a major event is ridiculous.

Being in a boys school since Standard One till today, it is a known fact that come Friday afternoon, regardless whether practice is adequate or not, there's no returning after leaving school grounds until the next morning. Thinking that everyone is willing to stay back until things are complete is naive; thinking that one run through is adequate for an event of decorum is naive, and we can only accept naivité from amateurs. If seniors fall for the trick as well, then it is obvious that they have lost touch of reality.

That is, however, not the main issue. We can still somewhat tolerate naivité. What we cannot tolerate is when the newer generation of Johannians - teachers and students - think that St. John's is all about utter disorganization due to actions of seniors. THIS IS INSULTING AND DISRESPECTFUL. Insulting and disrespectful not only to those who understand tradition, but also insulting and disrespectful to St. John's itself. Instead of sailing everyone, junior or senior, toward better understanding of our rich traditions, certain parties are sailing St. John's into disarray.

This is not an administration issue solely. This is an attitude issue, spiraling out of control, and is becoming increasingly noticeable to the student population. Please do not get me wrong, not everyone is at fault, but there are several 'key players' stirring trouble, and do not like it when other people try to bring back the correct practices or when things go well in the school. Such despicable acts most of the time take a toll on innocent parties - new members of the Johannian family who make an effort to do good for the school.

Some time ago, I wrote a piece on how St. John's was treated second-class compared to Government schools. While this is still the case, these acts of sabotage (if I may use that term) by straying the new generation of Johannians from what St. John's is all about will make all efforts of crawling out the pit of darkness to strive for success further doomed.

I pray that the Almighty will protect St. John's and its rich cultures from fading away and that the new generation of Johannians will not be led into false impressions of St. John's.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Thank You, Mr. Lim Hean Hwa - St. John's Very Own Son At Her Helm


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.

Thank you, sir, and all the best in your future endeavours!  

Pazhani JayTo be honest, from my Tadika till my Form 6 schooling, Mr. Lim Hean Hwa, Headmaster of St. John's Institution, Kuala Lumpur is my favourite Headmaster. He is very dedicated and most important, He is a very patient human being. I feel so sad and sorry for him when he was admitted at hospital few months due to illness but he bounce back and gets back to his duty and thats where he is so determination. He is really a wonderful person and never seen a headmaster as him in my schooling time. Really proud to have a headmaster as him during my schooling time and now he is retired so wishing him a very good journey ahead in his life and May God bless him with lots of happiness.Fide et Labore

Sunday, March 2, 2014

In Memory of Mr. Gana - SJI's Most Avid Watchman by Nizhan Faraz

I am still in shock over the news of Mr. Gana's passing on Thursday, February 27, at 8pm Malaysian time. In fact, his death is something that never crossed my mind for one bit. It just sounded impossible given how long he has been in St. John's and the things he had gone through over the years. Whenever I wanted to hear updates about the school from halfway across the globe, Mr. Gana is one of those people in my call list, and we would spend almost to an hour talking about St. John's in every session.

Please allow me to share the memories I have with him over the past decade I got to know him.

Mr. K. Kanapathy, whom we all know as Mr. Gana, began his service with St. John's sometime in 1967, when the Main Block was pure white, Dewan Tun Dr. Ismail just officiated, the Arts Block (now Form Five Block) in its second year and Bro. Joseph McNally the Director. At that time, he saw St. John's just as another place to work, nothing more. Who would have thought he would eventually become one of the most attached man to this beloved institution.

Over the years, he worked in various departments in the school. While we all know him as the great handyman who knows every electrical and water supply and outlet in the school, Mr. Gana used to be a watchman as well as an office assistant. I remember him telling the story of Bro. Joseph Yeoh paying him overtime during examination season to make copies of examination papers (Please bear in mind that this was 40 years ago, and I don't think photocopiers are as simple as they are in today's world).

During the Brothers' administration, he was also entrusted to manage the bookings of the badminton hall after school hours. The income from the badminton hall rentals was what St. John's used to fund any maintenance works needed in the school premises, and the fact that the Brothers leave the management of the badminton hall and the rental collections to Mr. Gana shows how reliable and trustworthy he has been over the years he has been in St. John's.

As a believer in preserving sentimental values, Mr. Gana was an active advocate against any attempts to remove working antique equipment or furniture from the school premises. He once expressed disappointment over the unnecessary removal of a number of light fixtures from the Form Five Block and Lower Lecture Theatre. At first I did not see it as too much a deal, but when I managed to catch hold of the same light fixture, I saw his point of frustration and agreed that it was a bad decision.

I also remember another incident where Mr. Gana called me at 11pm one night to report the disappearance of the school hall's old metal chairs. I was aghast as these was furniture from the 1950's, which existed way before he even came to St. John's. I had a search party look high and low for those chairs, only to learn that the chairs were relocated to avoid contact with the weather and are still in the school grounds. This shows you how concerned is he for the school despite no longer officially in service with St. John's.

His concern for the school is such that most of the time he takes no remuneration for the things he did. If you walk past the portico, take some time to observe the wooden boards hanging in the hallway. Notice that the School Rally board looks rather new, with fresh varnish and polished white letters. We have no one but Mr. Gana to thank for it. Over one of the school holidays, the board broke away from its mountings and came crashing down. It was Mr. Gana who took it to his workshop at the basement and had it fixed, all without asking for a single cent from the school.

Unfortunately, all this is now a thing in the past. We will no longer see Mr. Gana making his rounds in the school premises after hours to report possible electricity wastages, water leaks, or unauthorized personnel. We will no longer have someone skilled in carpentry and iron works conveniently close to the school. We will no longer have someone experienced enough to offer advice on how to go about restoration projects in the future.

As for me, I will no longer receive detailed reports about problems with the tower clock. I will also no longer be able to ask for spare parts for antique things I fix in the school. I will also not be able to learn more things about St. John's past from the perspective of a man who spent a chunk of his life in our beloved school. Most importantly, I have lost a dear friend whom I can express my ideas and concern about St. John's and shares the same undying passion for it.

So long, Mr. Gana. Thank you for your dedicated service to the Brothers and St. John's all these years. You certainly are irreplaceable, and will be missed by us here in St. John's. May God grant you eternal rest.

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