Thanks to Cynthia Lim for forwarding the following message and link.

This article is from The Star Online ( 5 May 2012.


Proud of Kirkby tradition

I HAD the honour and pleasure of attending a grand ceremony at Kirkby
International College in Cyberjaya and was deeply touched by the
presence of so many ex-Kirkby-ites, the then young Malaysians who were
sent to the small town of Kirkby, Liverpool, England, to undergo a
two-year teacher training programme sponsored by the then young
Government of Malaya.

I wish to salute this group of Malaysians who were at their time the
cream of the crop.

They undertook the challenge of pioneering an education system for our
newly independent nation. Some of these people had the choice of
embarking on some other studies or course in life, which perhaps would
have opened the doors to a more lucrative career and glamorous

However, they realised that their mission on their return was to be
far more important and significant than anything else they could have

But what struck me most at this function was the optimistic
nationalistic spirit which these teachers brought from Kirkby to

On completion of their studies in Liverpool, the graduates were sent
all over Malaya, some to the furtherst rural areas, to teach in

In some schools, I was told, these young graduates taught all subjects.

When I spoke to them, none of them harboured even an atom of a
complaint about their teaching conditions or the children they taught.

They all spoke with great pride about their job, schools and students.
They had such optimism about them, and I am sure that they brought
that into their classrooms.

These pioneers of our education system have touched Malaysian lives
and I am sure many of them have students who will remember them and
pray for them to this day.

Education is not about just learning languages, arithmetic and other
rudimentary skills. It is about moulding a citizen, creating dynamic
families, placing the foundations for civil communities and, most
importantly, building a nation.

I think at this point we have to stop and ask ourselves how far have
we succeeded in the development of building a truly Malaysian society
with values and aspirations we can all be part of.

By the way, my family also has a glamorous Kirkby tradition with two
uncles and an aunt who were ex-Kirkby-ites and to this day are the
best teachers in the art of life and science of living!