Saturday, November 19, 2005

Cyber Debate - A Disciplinary Issue

While we were recently discussing discipline, a debate was brewing out of history; the history of St Xavier's Institution, Penang.  Involved was one of the biggest names ever in the history of SXI.  The name of Rev. Brother Michael or “Lau Hor” (Tiger) who recently passed away provoked contrasting views from everyone who passed through the gates of this institution during his tenure as the custodian of discipline.  While his other duties included teaching of music, he walked his daily rounds with his cane hidden up his sleeve. 


Much has been debated over the methods of discipline in schools.  While we are pussyfooting around with this issue, some ‘tough’ kids of today are growing up with the idea that they could get away with anything.  Eventually they found they’re already adults, yet they could still do what they’ve always been doing i.e. breaking the rules with impunity.  Now we even need Parliamentary intervention in the form of a National Integrity dept to try to bring back some dignity; a case of too little, too late.  We’re not doing it right and we know it.  But we’re still arguing about it. 


Disciplinary actions do not come in just one form.  Different kids need different approach and it is also up to the disciplinarian to dish out whatever he deems fit for the occasion.  In other words, the punishment should fit the crime.  As I said before, I’m not for beating kids half to death for slight reasons or in a fit of temper.  But I do know that the cane was wielded by “Lau Hor” more with love than malice.   Those who had the discipline to go by the rules didn’t need to fear him at all. 


Meanwhile the debate goes on.  Below, in order of sequence are the mails from Ex-Xaverians, for or against “The Cane of Brother “Lau Hor”


[Excerpts from emails forwarded by  CB at Chin B Ho & Xaverian Dispatch]


From: Mick Cullin
Date: Fri, 11 Nov 2005 02:43:43 +1100

My name is Mike Cullin and I was at SXI from 1956 to 1964 - failed my LCE
and completed form 5 at the "private" school in Pulau Tikus.
Remember those days when you had to pass Bahasa Kebangsaan or else....see
you later....

Anyway, I have fond memories of my time at the school. I was a Scout in the
6th Troop later joined the Corp of Drums playing bass drum with Mr. Khoo
Lock Sen as Drum major- whats happened to him. A great art teacher who
inspired many students in the persuit of the visual arts.Also played rugby
for the school with a great friend of mine - Hugh Pestana who sadly passed
away in the early 70's.Playing soccer and hocky and
Rugby practices with
Brother Cornelius.Athelatics on the field across from the school in

But Brother Michael!!! What an ****hole !!! He wasn't there to teach, his
sole purpose was to put students through fear and intimidation - I'm so glad
that education of the young has come a long way from those days. Perhaps
thats all he knew - how to handle situations - with the cane. I saw him cane
students for not comming to school with the school badge!!! or not being
able to recite the school anthem or the National anthem!! Come on what
sought of attitude is that ??? I'm sorry but I feel there seems to be a lack
in christian morality with regards to his attitude towards the majority of
young students.Perhaps he took out his frustrations on little boys !!!!

So many friends I've left behind. I have come back on occasions but
has changed from the Leafy, easy paced tranquil
Island I left
behind.Condominiums towering, painted in lollipop colours that scar the
hillsides.Penang Road and the shopping going into decay.Very little thought
for the asthetics!!!!

About Myself - I left
Penang in 1968 to further my studies. I studied
Photography, Filmmaking, the visual arts and Graphic Design and for awhile
worked in the film and TV industry. Later went back to study and became a
teacher in the visual arts. I also studied the Indonesian Language and for a
while also taught the language in schools as there is a big push for
languages other than English to be included in the school curriculum. . I am
now the Education Manager and lecture in the Visual arts Department at the
Sunraysia Institute of TAFE.

I live four hours drive from
Melbourne in a small country Town of Swan HIll
on the edge of the
Murray River. We love it here. I left the rat race of the
city about 20 years ago. I am married to Wendy who comes from a farming
background here in Swah Hill and we have four children.Kate 23, Emily 19,
Peter16 and Tim 11 I work in one of the campuses attached to the TAFE
institute in the district.I am very involved in the community and am
involved in public art in the community and the Gallery here.I guess that
most of my life I have been involved in the Arts and I wouldnt have it any
other way.

Anyway,It would be great to hear from fellow classmates and thanks to
Richard Foley in Huston
Texas for this opportunity to make contact.

Mike Cullin


From: Mike Chin
Wednesday, November 16, 2005 6:30 PM

I think it's highly inappropriate of Mike Cullin to make such disparaging
remarks about a much-respected Brother, especially one who has passed on.
The unsubtle reference to 'taking his frustrations out on little boys' is
beyond the pale and borders on the libellous. Mike Cullin should adhere to
the basic tenet of accepted protocol - If you have nothing good or kind to
say, say nothing!

I will not be able to access any responses to this e-mail for a while as I'm
off home to
Penang for the big 5-O reunion for the Class of 72 this weekend!


Mike Chin


From: Mick Cullin
Sent: Wednesday, November 16, 2005 8:54 PM

Mike Chin,

Perhaps I am somewhat harsh in my comments about Br. Michael and I
apologise if I offended anyone, but I strongly detested his attitude towards
the young and the vulnerable. It was totally unnecessary. The draconian
attitude of inforcing the cane as a means extracting discipline on young
boys, even primary school students surly you too can see that it contravenes
Christian morality and should by no means be condoned. Perhaps you were one
of the lucky ones who escaped the heavy hand and scars of Law Hor????
There was no reasoning with him. His legacy as far as I am concerned will
fall short of respect for the man.

Mike Cullin


From: oklak 333
Sent: Wednesday, November 16, 2005 10:21 PM


Much as unothordox Bro Michael was, I think he has touched our lives (mine
at least) and taught us to persevere from our school days.

Yes, he caned me for not wearing a tie (which I could ill afford) on Monday
but it has made me respect life better.
I remember fondly how we used to search for him during our Civics class even
though we might face the rotan.
Mikey ... I cannot be there for the bash due to my work commitments but my
thoughts will be there on that day.

Tony Chua


From: "Anonymous."
Thursday, November 17, 2005 1:30 AM
** Normally we will NEITHER encourage NOR condone the use of a fake
email address to make public comments.

The thoughts from Mick Cullin, while harsh, reflects his sense ofchumanity
and sense of justice towards that of what he witnessedcthroughout his years
as a student in SXI. Should he have not been there and was merely stating
things from a 3rd person perspective, yes, it could have been considered
libelous. The truth is, unfortunately for him, that he was there, and was
witness to what (I assume) he considers highly unnecessary, repeated violent
acts, however justified, committed by Brother Michael.

Like other great men in history, Brother Michael may have been respected by
some, but may have also instilled (as demonstrated by Mick Cullin) a long
and deep sense of ill-feelings and resentment in others.

Mike Chin states that if we have nothing nice to say, say nothing. Is
Brother Michael so perfect that regardless of action taken, he is neither
accountable, nor liable? Are we only allowed to sing praises but turn a
blind eye towards misdeeds? Are principals infallible?

Both Mick Cullin and Mike Chin are living historians of events that
havecoccurred under Brother Michael, and since they have lived and
witnessedcthese events, they should both be given the chance to state the
merits of this individual, deceased or not.

- Anonymous


From: Soo Kar Peng
Sent: Thursday, November 17, 2005 7:05 AM

All Xaverians, while Mick Cullins has a balanced and true picture of things,
Mike Chin has lost his blind loyalty to Brother Michael with a stupid
perspective. Not all Brothers were or are Saints. We now know that, among
the Catholic clergy, etc, some "bad apple" types have surfaced to be capable
of misdeeds and child abuses. Lau Hor today would be reported and hauled up
by the Ministry and sacked. That is, if he is not himself assaulted by
parents and sued out of his white habits!

Sent earlier, also by KP Soo: Wednesday, November 16, 2005 9:58 PM

I think Cullin said the right thing. A teacher with that free reign
nowadays would be hauled up by the Ministry or battered by the parents,
packed and sued. Not all Brothers are Saints. Some were sinister
underlying monsters and fitted most of Michael's observations. I am one
with such a view too. But I am a staunch undying supporter of La Sallian

From: Cheah Cheong Tian
Sent: Thursday, November 17, 2005 7:50 AM

Hi Mick

I think Lau Hor's cane up the sleeves did instill discipline into many
generations of Xaverians. Look at what is in the world today -- Malaysia
Boleh is heard all over the country but we have to even chain our rubbish
bin to our fences.

There are so many human rights activists around the world. What about those
victims of Sept 11, the
London bombing, terrorist plans of the Jemaah Islam
terrorist groups and the victims of other Al Qaeda attacks -- don't the
victims have rights too?

What I want to drive at is that succ Lau Hor tactics may be cruel but it
brings about discipline and perhaps countries have to get tough in order to
instil discipline as well and peace. Think of what is happening in
cultured but does the country have to tolerate immigrants that put the fear
in the old and children in buses by pulling them out and torching their
buses in front of them?

I guess for many of us living in multiracial countries like MY and AU, it is
easy to think of cruelty, human rights and the horror of kids having to face
such simple disciplinary measures as being caned. I see that being caned in
the past at least made gentlemen out of kids and the "would be" roughs of
Love Lane, Muntri Street, Chulia Street instead of being extortionists,
rapists, robbers, snatch thieves where there are so many today.

May Lau Hor rest in peace.



From: Louis Moay SXI O-1962

Sent: Saturday, November 19, 2005 1:16 PM

Dear Mike,

My personal experience with Lau Hor was somewhat
different. I found that he did not use the cane
without cause. During our days we had weekly report
cards. One week I scored top marks for Maths and the
following a big fat zero. Lau Hor called me up to
explain. I told him I was also puzzled how it
happened. He advised me to be more careful in the
future. So I came out without a scratch from his
office. Not sure if others had a similar experience.

Many of my classmates used to put an exercise book in
their pants when they were called to Lau Hor's office
and their fake cries were very convincing.

During that period caning was common in all
schools...Oh Boon Tat as the deputy principal in BMHS
was also an other displinarian but he also had a heart
of gold towards students who deserved help. Under him
BMHS came tops in sports meets and games due to his
dedication to his vocation as teacher. He was highly
respected as a teacher and mentor.

Though some may feel otherwise, displine is the only
way the young can learn how to behave and respect
their elders and society. Without discipline this will
lead to the decay of society as we are facing today.
The behaviour of the youth today is a result of "you
cane we sue attitide". So teachers do not care if the
students study or not or play truant, for fear that
they will be sued by the parents, most of whom have
little time for them and allow them do what they want.

How I wish they still have teachersike Lau Hor and
Boon Tat around. They are teachers dedicated to their



From: khchan Chan Kwai Heng SXI O-1969 / A-1971

Sent: Friday, November 18, 2005 2:26 PM

Hi guys

Whatever Lau Hor had done is done, and considering that he had long passed on his way, and probably receiving what's due to him from his Creator, and is no longer here to defend himself against things said about him means that taking potshots at the man now is somewhat uncalled for.

While it is so true that if Lau Hor were still here today, his methods would certainly have resulted in serious repercussions not only for him, but for the school and the Christian brotherhood as well, we should understand that perhaps his disciplinary style reflected the times he lived in and was certainly not because, as suggested by Mr Mike Cullin, he wanted to take his frustrations on the boys ("a most unkindest cut" comment if I may say so). And don't talk about Christian morality; remember the Spanish Inquisition? The burning of witches in Salem, Massachusetts? The Crusades? The war between the Catholics and the Protestants? The colonisation of the non-Christian world so that the pagans can learn about the glory and the greatness and the mercy of the Christian God? Don't get me started on Christian morality here. In hindsight, we will say that those things should not have taken place but then they have, and those events occurred in light of the conditions existing at those times.

Parents of my generation (I am 53 now and was in St Xavier's from 1959 to 1971), and even some of the current enlightened generation used corporal punishment quite liberally and at that time, it was an accepted mode of bringing up and disciplining errant behaviours in children. My 13 years in that once beloved school had me once at least caned by Bro Charles, Bro Joseph, and Bro Coleman, the last who was my form teacher while I was in Std 6, and also by Mr Lim Gim Boon, the headmaster of the SXI primary school, and I wasn't even delinquent by today's standards. But I definitely have not the slightest of ill-will towards the aforementioned for the simple fact that I accepted the punishment because I broke the rules. But did this scar me for the rest of my life? Certainly not. These people had a job to do and they did it using what was acceptable at that time.

Of course, there are now many bad apples masquerading as religious men of the cloth (and there have also in the past), but to include Lau Hor in that category is certainly much too disrespectful. It was not as if Lau Hor used his cane repeatedly on certain selected individual students only, he used it on all and sundry whom he felt had crossed the line. The only complaint here could be that he used the cane perhaps a bit too liberally, but even then, for every student that he had caned, I am sure we could find at least another 10 whom he had not.

Lau Hor was certainly not perfect, but neither was he the devil so I don't think he deserved the type of disparaging remarks levelled at him at this time. Even God will only judge us on the LAST DAY, so who are we to cast the first stone?


K H Chan


From:Steven.Yeoh SXI O-1968 / A-1970

Sent: Friday, November 18, 2005 10:32 AM

My fellow Xaverians,

Harken you all for your voice is resounding...your voices are certainly
resounding through ether ...that is, the views of the Mike and Mick
(Chin and Cullin) who kick started this thought provoking LauHor
discipline "debate".

Bravo, Mick Cullin for the courage to openly say it as you see it. The
issue is not one of being disrespectful to Lau Hor nor was it whether the
man has or has not led a righteous life etc; we best leave that judgement
to our maker. So let's not pussyfoot around; was his disciplinary method
appropriate? It might seem in keeping with the era but have you wondered
why other teachers and brothers do not share the same method of instilling
discipline? Is it better to control using fear and terror or to win the
hearts and minds of people ? I would go for the latter anytime. There
are many examples of brothers and teachers having preached the latter are
long remembered for their kindness.

Why should talking about our "beloved" teachers and brothers be a taboo?
The sacred cow syndrome! Remember we are all humans, students become
adults, teachers were once students. So far this forum hasn't inhibited
anyone's expression, so accolades to Chin Beng.

Back to Lau Hor's disciplinary tactics. Personally whilst I have not
experienced the wrath of Lau Hor, I have always sympathised with those
who had. I can imagine the psychological scars ( not to mention physical)

left on many over the years ie those who are not smart or fast enough to
put a book over their bums. Not forgetting the trauma experienced by those
humiliated with a public flogging. I can't imagine any sane man would,
after being canned; say thank you ....I know you mean well give
me two more just in case I go off the rails in my adulthood !!! unless of
course you are a damn masochist (you heard the story of the saddist and
the masocist?).

So let's call a spade a spade. The discipline dished out our subject
brother was draconian, harsh, counter productive and goes against the
teachings of compassion. It is quite laughable when you hear others
defending such "disciplinary" tactics as a necessary evil. It is akin to
chopping people's fingers off for stealing. Ask these people if they wish
to have more fingers chopped off for their own good . So to the goody
gooders who see such disciplines as a means to an end, I would suggest if
their kids have been treated this way they will be up in arms...sign of
the times?

It would be interesting to hear from fellow Xaverians who had been harshly
disciplined "stand up" (figuratively if you still can that is) and tell us
what effect it has on their adult life. Remember, a country and its
people are judged by the "compassionate" its shows to others. I am glad,
canning and fear tactics is the order of the past. From a fellow
"Victorian"...good on yer Mick from Swan Hill. Hava drink on me mate !!.

P/S I'm from a batch of form sixers 68 to 70, the usual composite of
scientist, artists, non artists, now high flyers, non high flyers, smooth
talkers (still), wine buffs, pro-Elvis hair stylers or what's left), Matt
Monroe emmulators, elixir of youth seekers .... but all still with a
healthy zest for life I hope. Having gone through school is a phase of
life to be cherished, not one rather forgotten (I'm thinking of those
publically flogged) .......Toast to those who escaped the warth of harsh
discipline and are good citizens.... the one and only Hon San (dare I say
aka my " feather " chested brother), PohChye (aka Tua Pooi) , Soon Kooi
(aka still water), Eng Chew (aka tua Koh) , Patrick (aka Louis Armstrong),

Mun Yee (aka sanguine) Danny(the masterdebater) , Paul(the perfect
prefect), FLoh(name says it all), Federick(long lost brother), Boudeville
(aka cassius clay), William, Dr Kildare, Kean Leong not to mention
ChoonSim ( where art thou Juliet?).....and many more


From: Poh Chye Maung SXI O-1968

Sent: Thursday, November 17, 2005 11:47 PM

Hi all,

Let's call a spade a spade. And if someone is an ****hole, then rightfully he should be called that. In that sense, Cullin owes no one any apology. I, for one, have never agreed to the way those young teens were punished by Lau Hor.

I have had the misfortune of having my class next to Lau Hor's "Torture Chamber". No, I've never been caned by him, but visualise this!!! A KANGAROO JUMPING BACKWARDS WITH BOTH PAWS RUBBING HIS BUTT WITH A VERY PAINFUL FACIAL EXPRESSION.

Only this kangaroo was a Form 1 or 2 SXI student. The boy hopped backwards, out from Lau Hor's Chamber, into the open with tears rolling down his cheeks - partly from pain but more from shame. Hell, that was only the first stroke!!! The boy was yelled into the Chamber again, another cracking sound was heard and the boy hopped out the same fashion. Jesus Christ, this boy is barely into his teens. What did he do to deserve such severe punishment. For all we know, it could be true that Lau Hor was taking out his frustrations on young boys - as some suggested. He was a saddist; a Saddam Hussien of the 60s; a terrorist and a big big bully.

This incident happened well over 30 years ago and I can still remember it so clearly. So, can you imagine how much I hated Lau Hor. Frankly, Cullin is being polite by calling him an ****hole. I have other names for him but I'm not going to pen it down for fear of offending his 'fans'.

Was he a teacher, really? No. To me he was there just to instill fear. He did a great job; enjoyed and was proud of it. Once in a while, over the PA system, he would ask that we give him a loud Lau Hor-ish 'roar'. Oh yes, we all obliged and I can imagine him grinning from ear to ear at the other end - feeling proud.

If that boy was my son and I was told about this punishment, you can bet on your last dollar that Lau Hor would have been walking around minus a few teeth the very next day after the incident. No question about that.

Lastly, excuse me, I just have to conclude with this note. I was told Lau Hor died at an old age. To me he had lived too long. His passing away is no loss to this world. If the saying that "good guys go to heaven" is true, then I know where Lau Hor is now.



From: Teoh, Jade (Corp Credit - NY) SXI A-1975

Sent: Thursday, November 17, 2005 10:56 PM

I agree with Mike Cullin. While not having experienced autocratic rule under Lau Hor, I went through a similar regime at Convent Light Street. Such a regime was unnecessary, cruel and demeaning. I remember the little girl who was made to run round the field in her underwear because she forgot her shorts for PE. I remember the little girls who were made to wear trash cans over their heads for one minor infraction or another. I remember the school girl who suffered a nervous breakdown and never back came to school. Why? She could not bear another day with a teacher who was prone to epileptic fits and before her seizures would slap her and others, and fling books and book bags from the second floor classroom. The teacher would work herself into such a state that she would have seizures. Why did those teachers behave in such a despicable fashion? Because they could; the school implicitly condoned such behavior. Their victims were invariably the less fortunate – they were certainly not the daughters of the rich and influential.

I made some wonderful friends at CLS (they know who they are). However, the corporal and psychological punishment at CLS leaves a very bad taste.


Jade Teoh


From: Mick Cullin SXI O-1966

Sent: Thursday, November 17, 2005 8:47 PM

Dear Philip,

Yes, my grandfather Charles Reutens lived in a house belonging to the Brothers on the field before the war. My mother used to tell me tales of the happy childhood days living there.

I met Jimmy Masang many years ago in Melbourne perhaps in the mid 70's. He had just riden a motorbike across the Nullabour Desert from Perth to Melbourne and was looking for a bed to sleep before heading back by bike to Brisbane. - a total distance of approx. 3,000 miles. He worked for the Australian Broadcacting Commission - Radio and I think he had just retired and wanted to visit relations and friends in Perth, Melbourne and see more of this vast country.

Perhaps I am somewhat harsh in my comments about Bro Michael and I apologise if I offended anyone, but I strongly detested his attitude to the young and the vulnerable. It was totally unnecessary.

Mike Cullin


From: Philip Lee HC SXI O-1959

Subject: Re: Lau Hor's Larger-than-Life LaSallian Legacy

Pity most of you guys, and Julie Chin, were not yet in school when Bro Michael spent countless afternoons rehearsing with our school troupe for the operetta, The Royal Jester, in 1957.

If I only have the chance to sing for you all some of the songs he wrote (words and music), some of you might forgive him for his penchant for using the cane on the slightest pretext. He once caned me on the palm for failing my maths test. But it was not a wicked whack although it did hurt.

Back to the operetta: The words and music, in my opinion, were of the standard of Gilbert and Sullivan,

He was mighty talented. I wish SXI still has Bro Michael's operetta scoresheet somewhere.

The students today can put up the show again.

Let me, from memory, give you a sample of some of the songs:

When Trumpets Call

When trumpets call, with joy we march away,
Our country and our king to serve,
And though fierce the foe and deadly be the fray
And comrades around us fall.
With cause that's right, we'd never fear the fight
But gladly march to death, or glory bright
For never shall shame be brought upon our name
Nor dangers our stout hearts appal.....

Then marching should to shoulder,
Forth to the fight we go,
Our hearts ne'er fear all the danger,
When marching to meet the foe!


The king of Prittania calls for report from his military chiefs about the state of the country's defences.

Here is an excerpt of two reports in song:


We shall always have a right good navy
At the bottom of the deep blue sea,
Which ne'er again shall sail the main,
Nor follow on to victory.


So we say we have an army in the air,
When we really mean there is no army there,
When our hearts with joy abounding,
For we hear the trumpets sounding
But we haven't any army anywhere.
Still we say we have an army in the air,
When we know quite well there is no army there.
When our hearts go happy buns,
You can expect to hear the guns
Of our brave and noble army in the air.

Aren't the words wonderful? Wait till you hear it musically.

So you see, I forgive the man for his little lapses.


Philip Lee


From: Summer King (Sunny Y H Ong, PJK, SXI O-1972)

Sent: Thursday, November 17, 2005 3:21 PM


 People.....from my point of view, - I am what I am today. A good man,

a good family man, in fact you could say, a gentlemen. And I know

how to behave at the right time at the right places,...I know what forks,

spoons,knives,glasses, wines and what appropriate words and actions to

carry out in the situation I am in..,I know what clothing I should wear

for the occasion I am attending, I know how to treat and win a lady's

heart, I know how to understand the problems we are facing, I know

how to search myself to find the meaning why I am still here....I didn't

learnt all these in our M'sian eductaion system nor any civic books.

.I may not like the Man, but I've great Respect for him for turning me

into that kind of man I am today.


Look at the young people of today at our St.Xavier's Inst.? Look and

observe them, talk to them ....whatever interactions you could possibly

have with them and to be able to 'communicate' with them.

Draw your own the Sons and Daughters of SXI are

of today....would you like them to be your children, whom you could be

proud of ?

My friends, the answer is 'blowing in the wind', the chinese say 'Wind'

Say what you want, say how you's your rights.

To me, my ever grateful thanks and appreciation to a Man,

I dislike yet my great respect for his 'teaching'.


   ~  Sunny Y.H. Ong,



From: Tony Lim SXI O-1972

Sent: Thursday, November 17, 2005 2:52 PM


Hi all,


Just my 2 sens worth.


Lau Hor made us realized what was RIGHT and what was WRONG.


He taught us that rules are there to be FOLLOWED.


My years in SXI  were from 1962-1972.  I've only got caned ONCE.

A classmate was reading comics under the desk and old Lau Hor

was prowling the opposite block with his eagle eyes.  I was trying

to warn my buddy when Lau Hor happened to look across at us.

He promptly walked over and showed up at my class.  I was the

one hauled up.  He thought I was the one playing the fool.  I was

sent to his room for his trademark whack on our backside.  I did

not raise a protest.


Was I wrongly caned?  I don't think so.  I never begrudged that man.

He was a strict and good disciplinerian.


If you don't believe that there are now no discipline in school, just stand

at a busy crossroad in Penang and see how the young drivers

and motorcyclists behave on the roads.  It's just chaotic.  You see

people rushing across even when the lights are red.  These are all

indisciplined people.


We all need a Lau Hor in our lives.  Long live Lau Hor.


And please, don't compare Lau Hor with the behaviour of priests we

read in the newspapers nowadays.  Has anybody heard that Lau Hor

tried to sexually assault any student?


I would say that he only had our interest at heart.  He wanted us all to

grow up to be GOOD men.




From: Jimmy Yeo SXI O-1972

Sent: Thursday, November 17, 2005 2:19 PM


Dear Guys,

Bro Michael was indeed my hero.  I was caned by him a couple of times on my hands and a couple of times he even pulled my hair (I had more then and was it long!).  I must say I had a fair share of moments with Lau Hor.  Despite the caning and fear, I like him.  Rest in peace " Lau Hor"

Jimmy Yeo alias Apple


From: Richard Foley SXI O-1966

Sent: Sunday, November 20, 2005 6:02 AM


Hi Chin Beng,


This discussion is DYNAMIC.


So many Countries can learn so much from this discussion.

So many Corporations around the World can learn so much from this.


The advantages & disadvantages of having a 'Lau Hor'


A short sharing. On a hike, once sometime ago, I was marooned in the United States

desert. All I had around me was prickly (like the 'cane') cactus. But the prickly cactus was

my savior. It was both my food & water.


It emphasizes everything has its Pros & Cons. Some are wise, some otherwise.

So the wise learn from things that happen, they learn from the Lesson (ZEN teachings)

and become wiser then they proceed in Life with a Go Forward attitude.


Dale Carnegie is correct that, "You do collect more with honey" and then again, one

has to have King Solomon's wisdom to differentiate "What's RIGHT from WRONG."


How do we improve, WRONG, once we have decided and agreed upon - what's WRONG?

Would Singapore be so GREAT or GREATER or LESS, if it did or did not have 'a taste of Lau Hor'?

Would we, in the United States, be a better country if Timothy McVeigh (Oklahoma Bombing 1995)

had a "Lau Hor' in his Life?

Would we have Terrorism, if every Country's Leader rewarded each and every citizen of theirs

fairly and justly but penalized adequately their own citizens that do WRONG?


Michael Cullin is and will always be one of my best friends. He steps up 'to the plate'

without Fear or Favor. Mike, you have, perhaps, made us all re-read Rudyard Kiplings'

" IF " [A copy of Kiplings's " IF" can be obtained from the Internet]


Thank you, Michael (Mike) we will take this important Continued Education...

"All through our College" & LIFE.


Please let me hear from all of you.


'Vaya con Dios'


Richard W. Foley

Houston, Texas, USA


From: weiwei lee SXI A-1992

Sent: Sunday, November 20, 2005 2:17 AM


Dear Chin Beng and all


With due respect, I would surely hope that we could put a stop on this negative feedbacks that we are getting from various people with regards to Bro Michael.  It is indeed not my business to interfere, but as I continue reading some comments, it is disheartening that after all these years, some are still holding on to the grudge and hatred that they have some 30 years ago.  I only did my Form 6 in the 90s and I indeed have pleasant experience and fond memories of SXI.  Of course, all these incidents which you all are writing and complaining about Bro Michael happened before I was born, but it doesn't mean that I don't understand the situation then.


As for those who are so hard and harsh with your comments on Bro Michael, perhaps you may have been born in the wrong era.  It is only in recent years that the slightest punishment from teachers are looked upon as a crime and parents would take immediate action upon those involved.  I believe at the very time that all this happened as per the comments, it is not uncommon in all education institutions to have this kind of punishment.  In my opinion, you all should be thankful for what Bro Michael has done for you all and for whom you all have turned out to be in your respective lives!  Why pick on him?  He may have been harsh or may have overdone some actions, but he surely didn't kill anyone ... so why punish him with such cruel comments?


It is sad that we tend to remember the "bad" thing of a person (even though it could be only one bad thing), though that person may have done more "good" things.  Perhaps it is time that we focus on the positive part.  For whatever reasons or harsh actions that Bro Michael has done, please do think of how much sacrifices he and other Brothers have made to make SXI a better place for our education and for what we are today.  Think of all the sacrifices that the Brothers have to go through - leaving behind their family and their worldly possessions just to serve God and for the good of the people.  The very least that we could do is to at least respect this.  Am sure Bro Michael has other positive attributes as mentioned in some emails that we could be appreciative of.


Punishments long time ago as told to me by my parents were way harsher as compared to now ... and am sorry that you all ( those who were born then) were born during those times.  We can’t turn back time, but we can surely make the best of the remaining time that we have now.  Of course you may not forget the past, but am sure you can forgiv ...


May his soul rest in peace.


Best rgds

Wei Wei

(A – 1992)


From: Ooi Chan William SXI O-1968

Sent: Saturday, November 19, 2005 4:48 PM


Hello to Everyone!


I am from Class of '68, which was the rowdiest class during that year, and that was when all lady teachers shed tears teaching our class - wow what a class!  I was caned by our beloved Lau Hor for smoking, coming late to class, forging his signature for  the 'going out of school' permission slip.  How do I feel now about Lau Hor - Thank God for such a disciplinarian!  I am okay now, gave up smoking and became a Born Again Christian - all these because I remembered those caning days and though it took quite awhile, I changed for the better.  I believe 90% of my class of '68 - form 5 Arts1 guys gave up their smoking habits and long hair (except me,  I still sport a pony tail).


Hey Guys, leave the poor soul alone - surely we can find a lot of better and positive things to say about him than his caning spree. Let Lau Hau roar wherever he is now!


William Ooi Chan




  1. Folks, I've added a few more mails that sum up the debate on this issue. Read especially the comments by Richard Foley from Houston, Texas, in which he gave us a "stepped back" view. The Chinese saying, "Tui4 I-Bu4, Hai3 Kuo4 tien1 kong1" (Take a step back and view the wide ocean and clear sky). Hope my Pinyin spelling is ok. Hope you learn something from this.

  2. indeed... many people in SXI have touched many hearts.... i do agree with this... as i have only been in there for 2 years and i felt much at home and treasured compared to my old school.... i felt i learned more about life in there for a short period of 2 years compared to my 5 years in my secondary school...and the people in SXI will fight for your rights if they felt its the right thing to do .... unlike my old secondary school.. always thinks that they are always right....