Najib on a tour of the school that "had provided him the sound grounding which eventually made him the prime minister of Malaysia."
He is the Prime Minister of a country. I am not. I am the product of a mission school, St. Michael's Institution, Ipoh. Back in the days when I was taught by dedicated, qualified Christian teaching brothers of the order of De La Salle. They came from Ireland, England, Scotland, Burma. Dressed in their white cotton robes. With only 1 mission. To teach and educate. Malaysians of all colours and creeds went to mission schools. Nobody was afraid of being converted or robbed of their faith because the teaching brothers had, in the words of our prime minister, "...a special ethos which promote(d) unity...". But not at the expense of education standards. Sadly, in my opinion the heydays of the mission schools role in Malaysian education are long over. Dismantled by an over-zealous administration on the pretext of nationalism, patriotism and the unshackling of colonial ties and tempered by the irrational heat of discrimination. When I re-visit my alma mater I cannot help but feel a sadness as I witness an almost complete transformation of S.M.I. into ... just another sekolah jenis kebangsaan. A national-type school. Just like any other although allowed to retain a name that is sooooo un-Malaysian!
And so it was not with a tinge of sadness and irony that I laughed upon reading the recent story of Najib Razak on his visit to his alma mater, St. John's Institution, Kuala Lumpur. Where he acknowledged that his alma mater "had provided him the sound grounding which eventually made him the prime minister of Malaysia". He might indeed have been the last of the lucky Malaysians to have benefitted from an education provided by the then mission schools.
“The ethos of mission schools shaped the values and beliefs of students which is in line with 1 Malaysia", he said. And so even used his visit to his alma mater to continue to sell his mystifying concept of 1Malaysia.
And I presume that after the handshakes, the speeches and the march past by the school band it is back to business as usual.......Whether it is English or BM to teach Math and Science......Whether Umno is more Islamic than PAS or not? Not much time left to cultivate the ethos that shaped values and beliefs that are in line with whatever, is there? Anyway, by his own admission he only spent 3 years of secondary school in St. John's. So I guess most of his values and beliefs were shaped somewhere else.