On the Beat | By Wong Chun Wai

Proud to be Xaverian

As I walked along the corridors, memories of my
schooldays came flooding back. My daughter then asked why many features at SXI
were not found in her school.

She was fascinated by the chapel, the statues of La
Salle brothers and the energetic school band playing nostalgic tunes
such as the Saints Go Marching In.

Although we grew up together in SXI, in many ways we had
become strangers over the years. But we left behind our jaded spirits and over
the course of that evening we exchanged memories and naughty jokes of time
together in school.

While many of us now have expanded waistlines and
receding hairlines, our former teachers seemed to look the same.

Many of them could not recognise or remember us, as we
were neither the brightest nor the most notorious, but we were certainly
thankful to them for the education they gave us.

They were good teachers, with a sense of mission and
dedication. They had studied in SXI and eventually became teachers in their
alma mater. Even after having retired from the school, they continued to play a
role there.

The Christian brothers who taught us – many of them are
still around – instilled in us a sense of discipline. Although they did not
spare the rod, most of us are thankful to them.

Despite the many strokes of the rotan meted out, we always
felt that the punishment was justified.

One friend was still complaining about a certain
discipline teacher who slapped him in the face for no apparent reason. Until
today, he still cannot forgive the teacher.

But that was the difference between the Christian
brothers and the other teachers.

The school has certainly produced many prominent figures
such as former Penang Chief Minister the late Tan Sri Wong Pow Nee, former KL
Datuk Bandar Tan Sri Kamarulzaman Zainal and lawyer Karpal Singh, who sent his
children to study there as well.

SXI, like St Michael's Institution in Ipoh
and Victoria Institution in Kuala Lumpur,
were premier schools. Today, most have probably lost their shine.

Previously, most parents who studied in these schools
would send their children there as tradition – until the Education Ministry
began to place students in schools according to their addresses.

The academic performances of these schools, in some ways,
have dipped because the students would now come from a particular area. Some
schools, located in more affluent areas, have fared better because of the
advantages these students enjoyed and this had helped boost the school's exam

But for many of us who walked out the gates of SXI on
finishing our secondary school, we will always hold our heads high because we
are the sons of St Xavier's.