On the 20th of July
2016, Johannians bade farewell to SJI’s third lay principal, Dr. Puvanendran
Maruthavanar. It was a simple, yet memorable occasion, as the Johannian
community celebrates the retirement of the third son of St. John’s who has had
the privilege to lead our alma mater.
A very calm and composed commander-in-chief bidding farewell to Johannians
Wait, Dr. Puvanendran was a
Believe it or not, Dr. Puvanendran
was a student of SJI; not as long as our former Principal, Mr. Lim Hean Hwa,
yet long enough for him to be acquainted with our heritage and to be part of
our Johannian family.
Born on the 21st of
July, 1956, in Setapak, Kuala Lumpur, Dr. Puvanendran received his primary
education in SK Jalan Kuantan, and was also schoolmates with HRH Sultan Nazrin
Muizzuddin Shah of Perak. He then received his secondary education up to the
Malaysian Certificate of Education in Setapak High School.
Dr. Puvanendran receiving HRH Sultan Nazrin during SJI's Speech Day, April 2016
Photo credits: Kementerian Pelajaran Malaysia
HRH the Sultan of Perak pacing the halls of SJI accompanied by Dr. Puvanendran
Photo credits: Kementerian Pelajaran Malaysia
Dr. Puvanendran then pursued the
Higher School Certificate in SJI through the Federal Evening Class program, in
which he completed with a full certificate in 1977. He was probably among the
last batch of FEC students and who was lucky enough to witness St. John’s at
its height under the leadership of the one and only Rev. Bro. Joseph Yeoh.
Dr. Puvanendran then went on to
the Kinta Teachers’ Training College in which he received his teaching
certificate in 1980. He then pursued his Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry at UKM
in 1987, Master’s in Education at UM in 1993, and his PhD in the University of
East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom in 2000.
Dr. Puvanendran served in seven
schools between 1980 till 2004. In January 2005, he was posted to SJI as the
Senior Assistant of Student Affairs. When SJI was made a cluster school in
2007, Dr. Puvanendran was sent to represent the school administration to
undergo the Postgraduate Certificate for School Leadership & Management programme
in King’s College, London. Upon his return in 2008, he was promoted to Senior
Assistant of Administration and Curriculum.
With a doctorate in Information
Technology and experience as the head teacher in IT at SMK Putrajaya 1, Dr.
Puvanendran was instrumental in the establishment of the second Smart Lab and
ensuring that SJI was keeping up with the latest technology in teaching
methodology. One such example was the introduction of smart boards, which
eventually was not fully utilized sadly.
After a seven-year stint in SJI,
Dr. Puvanendran was promoted as Principal of SMK Taman Yarl, Kuala Lumpur. At
that time, we felt saddened that we lost the service of a very dedicated
administrator and teacher. However, this was to be only a temporary farewell.
May 2014 saw the retirement of
Mr. Lim Hean Hwa, a Johannian who had the privilege to serve his alma mater
just like his Director, Rev. Bro. Joseph Yeoh. After weeks of waiting in
anticipation, SJI was delighted to receive the news that Dr. Puvanendran was to
be the successor of Mr. Lim Hean Hwa to lead SJI.
Dr. Puvanendran listening to his 'ucap jasa'
Just like his first return to
SJI, Dr. Puvanendran was very quick in getting straight to work. He emphasised
on the use of IT in teaching and learning in SJI and made sure that Johannians
are kept abreast with the latest technology in school. Notebook computers were
used widely, smart boards reintroduced, and a plan to provide comprehensive
internet coverage throughout the school premises was drawn up.
After two years of service as
Principal, SJI bade goodbye to Dr. Puvanendran as he reached the
mandatory retirement age of 60. Throughout his nine years of service in SJI,
Dr. Puvanendran is fondly remembered as a strict disciplinarian who had a charming
aura in commanding respect from students, teachers, and management. His persona
exhibits great wisdom and composure that he rarely needs to resort to physical
punishment for students who commit disciplinary offences. Whenever he paces the
hallways of SJI, he commands respect and admiration from those in his
Dr. Puvanendran is also widely
remembered for short and simple speeches. He makes sure that he delivers his
message in a very concise manner and avoids addressing the assembly unless it
is very necessary. This helps a great deal in keeping the assembly on time and
makes the message delivery very efficient. His signature is the deep booming
voice in greeting SJI ‘Good morning’.
The last address to Johannians as Principal
The most important event that took place under his administration was the reverting of the name SMK St. John to St. John's Institution. The good news was announced by none other than HRH Sultan Nazrin during SJI's Speech Day back in April this year. It was a very historic and proud moment for all Johannians when HRH the Sultan broke the news to the audience.
Personally, it was a great honour
to work with Dr. Puvanendran during his tenure in SJI. Like Mr. Lim Hean Hwa,
Dr. Puvanendran is very easy to work with and is ready to listen to opinions
before making any decision. However, the one trait I find most unique and
commendable of Dr. Puvanendran is his ability to keep his cool despite being
faced with issues on multiple fronts. This is a skill not many leaders have,
and to be able to be alongside one with such quality is an experience to be
On behalf of Johannians, I would
like to take this opportunity to thank Dr. Puvanendran for his dedicated
service to SJI all these years. It is our hope that Dr. Puvanendran be blessed
with good health and visit us in SJI from time to time.
Dr. Puvanendran cutting the farewell cake. On his immediate left is his spouse, far right of photograph is Pn. Nor Laila Lambak, former Senior Assistant 1
Presentation of the vintage metal chair by Tuan Megat Mizan Nicholas Denney,
Chairman of the Board of Governors
Thank you very much and all the
best in your future endeavours, Dr!
A send-off fit for a king.
Photo credits to Jenko Chugani (except photographs with HRH the Sultan of Perak and the final photograph)
Greetings! Sincerest apologies for the two-month absence of the This Month in History section. LET US LOOK AT THE EVENTS THAT TOOK PLACE IN THE MONTHS OF SEPTEMBER, OCTOBER & NOVEMBER September 1946 - The longest serving Director of SJI, Rev. Bro. Cornelius Nulty leaves after a 16-year tenure at the helm of the school. Brother Cornelius materialized the construction of the Hall, an idea first mooted by Rev. Bro. Gilbert. He was also responsible for the construction of the East Wing (now the St. John International School). Brother Cornelius was also successful in keeping SJI running during the Japanese occupation. 1962 - Due to deteriorating health, Rev. Bro. Director Ignatius returns to Ireland. His place was taken by Rev. Bro. Joseph McNally, Sub-Director. September 16 1960 - The new Primary School building was officially opened by Rev. Bro. Fintan Visitor, Provincial Superior of the La Salle Brothers. SJI Primary was the largest English Primary School in Malaya then.
Excerpts from the 1960 Term 3 Term Review
1955 - SJI welcomes Rev. Bro. Lawrence O'Toole, Assistant Superior General of the Christian Brothers.
1958 - Major A.J.A. Petrus resigns as Officer-in-Command of the SJI Cadet Corps. He is replaced by Captain A.I. Howe.
1968 - The official closing of the St. John's Institution Development Fund by Y. Bhg Tun Dr. Ismail Abdul Rahman.
The programme booklet from 1968
1954 - His Excellency Sir Donald MacGillivray, the High Commissioner to Malaya visits SJI. He is accompanied by Mr. K.D. Luke, the Selangor Chief Education Officer
From the 1954 Term 3 Term Review
1960 - The school chapel was officially opened and used.
November 1916 - Rev. Bro. Claude Marie is appointed Director of SJI. He was at the helm of SJI for almost 5 years before his transfer to St. Francis Institution, Malacca. November 3 1906 - The foundation stone of the Main Block was laid by His Excellency Sir Conway Belfield, Resident Councillor of Selangor. November 5 1977 - The Scouts Den was officiated by Datuk Hj Mohammed Yaakob, Minister of Public Enteprise
EVENTS THAT TOOK PLACE IN SJI IN THE MONTH OF AUGUST: August 1 1955 - Public performance of SJI Dramatic Society's adaptation of 'Twelfth Night'. August 2-3 1968 - A Food & Fun Fair was held, aimed to pay off debts incurred during the rapid expansion of SJI over the past 4 years.
Souvenir booklet for the 1968 Food & Fun Fair
August 5 1953 - The second issue of the Term Review was released.
August 10 1908 - The Main Block was officially opened by the High Commissioner, Sir John Anderson.
Taken from the 1954 Golden Jubilee book
August 18 1984 - The 80th Anniversary Dinner at SJI Primary 2009 - The Good Shepherd of SJI, Rev. Bro. Datuk Lawrence Spitzig, passes away at the age of 91 in Assunta Hospital. The wake was held in SJI the next day. August 19 1972 - The Charity Big Walk was held at the Lake Gardens and was officiated by Tan Sri H.T. Ong, Chairman of the Board of Governors. Johannians managed to exceed the initial estimated target of $25,000 with a final figure of $44,440.94. August 26-27 1984 - The 'Pesta Karnival Ria' was held as a fund raiser for the School Development Fund. The Carnival was declared open by Datuk Abdullah Badawi, Minister of Education
August 28 1965 - The completed Arts Block (now Form Five block) was blessed by His Excellency Monsignor Dominic Vendargon, Bishop of Kuala Lumpur.
Greetings! Due to unforeseen circumstances, the June edition of This Month in History could not be completed within the month of June. In this edition, we will explore the events that took place over the months of June and July. June 1906 - Rev. Bro. Imier of Jesus, Provincial Visitor of the United States visited SJI June 5 2002 - The last Director of SJI, Rev. Bro. Michael Wong officially retires June 7 1971 - To emphasize the importance of Bahasa Malaysia, Rev. Bro. Joseph Yeoh announced that Bahasa Malaysia was to be spoken at all times on Fridays except during lessons. 1984 - The Job-A-Long campaign raised RM42,344.67 June 14 1969 - The opening of the play "The Government Inspector" by the Dramatic Society. Bro. Celestine stars in this play. June 21 2004 - The launching of the "Limited 2D Art Piece" by then Raja Muda of Perak, Raja Dr. Nazrin Shah July July 6 1957 - The Cadet Corps receive their Colours from General Sir Francis Festing, Commander-in-Chief of the Far East Land Forces
July 8 2002 - A new beginning as SJI welcomes its first lay principal, Mr. Peter Yii Sing Chiu
July 9 1955 - After one year since the extension project commenced, the new field was opened with the school Annual Sports. July 21 1989 - SJI bade farewell to its school bus due to financial constraints
July 28 1960 - Rev. Bro. Vernier Augustus, one of the pioneer Brothers in Malaya, passed away. Bro. Augustus was the architect of the Main Block of SJI. He was also the founder of St. Michael's Institution as well as the architect for the St. Francis Institution chapel.