The Xaverian Journey is a chronicle of the founding, growth and progress of a Lasallian school in Penang. The first period of growth occurred in the 1920s and 1930s and St Xavier’s became one of the top schools in then British Malaya. Its students were among those who won the coveted Queen’s Scholarship to study in Oxford, Cambridge and London. Using St Xavier’s and Penang as their regional base, the La Salle Brothers spread and founded schools throughout the Malayan peninsula and in East Asia.
This progress was rudely interrupted by the outbreak of World War II. Alas, the entire school was destroyed in an Allied air raid on Penang in 1945. Hence when the war ended and schooling resumed, teaching was conducted in attap-huts in the St Xavier’s field. After nine years and much fund-raising efforts, St Xavier’s was rebuilt.
Thereafter, regeneration and a second round of growth occurred due to Independence in 1957, the formation of Malaysia in 1963, and a general demand for education. Amidst this growth, the absorption of SXI and other Mission schools into the National Education System (NES) occurred. The book discusses not only the growth but also how the Brothers and St Xavier’s adapted to these challenges, the resultant loss of autonomy, and a burgeoning sense of a loss of identity in following decades.
This book honours those Brothers, Lay Teachers and students who served the school. It also recognises Xaverians who contributed towards nation-building and the making of the modern Malaysian economy and society.
Finally, this book also discerns how good values and practices took root among students not only via diligent studying in the classrooms but by their active participation in clubs, uniformed units, sports and other activities after school hours. These meaningful experiences embedded good values and practices, which became lasting traditions – a Xaverian cum Lasallian ethos – a shared living heritage. The Xaverian Journey continues into the 21st Century.
All the La Salle Brothers who taught in St Xavier’s Institution and its affiliated schools. Many of them left their homes in Ireland, England, Canada, France Germany and elsewhere when they were still young and grew old with their students in Penang. Some suffered through the Japanese Occupation, yet returned to serve in St Xavier’s. Many of them are now buried in the Western Road Christian Cemetery.
All Xaverian students who answered the call to become our “local” La Salle Brothers. Like the foreign missionary Brothers, they too left their homes when young and dedicated themselves to become teachers. Some served in St Xavier’s while others served in other La Salle schools in Malaysia. Through their examples they taught us to serve “the Last, the Lost and the Least”.
All the Lay Teachers, some of whom were trained in the St Joseph’s Teachers’ Training College, Pulau Tikus, Penang. Their efforts in the classrooms, in conducting sporting activities and extra-curricular activities for the students, and everyday interactions with them made the learning experience in St Xavier’s that much more special.
The non-teaching staff who ran the school office, the laboratories, the hostel, the gardens.
Thank you All for being a major part of this Xaverian Journey.
Book Launch, St Xavier’s Institution, Penang
21 November 2019
Book launch, Xaverians’ Club Kuala Lumpur
22 February 2020
with the Book
St Xavier’s Schools