This blog of The Xaverian Journey (TMJ) was launched virtually by Dato’ Brother Anthony Rogers FSC on 3 December 2020 – the Feastday of Saint Francis Xavier. Saint Francis Xavier, the great missionary, is the Patron Saint of St Xavier’s Institution (SXI,) Penang. Brother Rogers is one of the co-authors of TMJ.
This blog contains the contents pages and a preview of chapters from the book that chronicles the history of the Instituition from 1787 to 2019; congratulatory messages from Xaverians far and wide; photoessays of the launching of the book in SXI on November 2019 as one of opening events of The George Town Literary Festival and at the Xaverian Club Kuala Lumpur (XCKL) in KL on February 2020.
A third launch of the book was scheduled in March 2020 during the La Salle Fest in Taiping. The guest-of-honour was to be Brother Visitor from Hong Kong. Alas, due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the La Salle Fest was postponed and Brother Visitor had to cancel his trip. With this launch of the TXJ blog, we hope to re-seize the initiative to publicise and distribute widely the book.
Yes, the three authors played the usual important role of researching archival materials and other historical sources, wrote and redrafted the text, organised and reorganised the storyline, all of which was not easy.
For this SXI of ours was more than a school! It was linked historically to the the beginnings of the La Salle Mission in the Far East which used Penang as its initial base. The Brother Visitor resided in Penang until the 1950s.
SXI was also closely linked to the St Joseph’s Teachers Training College on Kelawei Road (now the site of the Paragon mall).
At one stage, SXI had four feeder primary schols – St Xavier’s Primary School, St Xavier’s Branch School in Pulau Tikus, La Salle School in Air Itam, and Assumption School in Butterworth – and several Associated Schools in Balik Pulau, Sungai Petani, Kulim and Kangar, under its charge. It was not easy therefore to develop the storyline for The Xaverian Journey, but ultimately the authors succeeded.
More importantly, a classy book like this one could have only been published through group effort. So, apart from the three authors we wish to recognise and honour the publisher, the design director, graphic artist and our printer.
We also remember the late Uncle Vincent who helped search the many rooms in the school for photographs and documents published and cited in the book. He offered a unique “corporate memory” of SXI across many recent decades.
The publisher Mr Chin Saik Yoon framed the book. He decided that each chapter should open with a double spread featuring a historical vista. And he insisted that the book must be illustrated with “a few hundred pictures!”
The design director, Mr Chin Mun Woh and his graphic designer, Ms Liz Tan photoshopped, restored and cleaned up more than 300 photographs; a few of them were 100-plus years old; some of them were faded and mouldy. They also worked on the cover – wrapping the mural painted on the walls of the SXI lobby, depicting St Francis Xavier’s journey to the Far East, onto the front and back covers of the book. Mun Woh also personally designed and webbed this blog you are now reading and optimized its search-engine index to reach the Xaverian diaspora scattered right around the world.
Look at the lovely book. Feel the embossed hard cover. We thank one of Malaysia’s leading printers, Dato’ Tan Leh Sah and The Phoenix Press, for this world-class production. It is only because Leh Sah offered us a frugal production cost that we are able to price this handsome, full-colour hardcover book modestly (at RM60 per copy if you purchase it from the SXI school office).
Indeed, our three authors, the publisher, the design director and the printer, all of whom are Xaverians, have offered their services and talents gratis toward this TXJ project.
We take this opportunity to thank all who donated generously towards the building of the SXI Heritage Centre including the Karpal Singh Hall on the ground floor, at St Xavier’s Institution, Farquhar Street and the Old Xaverians’ Associaton Hall, at St Xavier’s Branch School, Jalan Brother James, Pulau Tikus.
We are also grateful to the Xaverian Club Kuala Lumpur who sponsored the distribution of books to all teachers of SXI and the two primary schools, and to an anonymous donor who sponsored the distribution of the book to all the Lasallian educational institutions in Malaysia and throughout the Lasallian East Asian District.
Support us by purchasing this book. Buy a second copy for a friend or relative during this festive season. It will make an excellent Christmas and New Year gift.
All profits from the sale of The Xaverian Journey go towards the welfare of students in SXI and the two primary schools.
Labor Omnia Vincit! Peace and Blessings!
St Xavier’s Institution (Main Office)
Lebuh Farquhar, 10200 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Tel: +604 261 0411
Monday to Friday
8:30am to 5:00pm
2 Jalan Bukit 11/2, 46200 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia
Tel: +603 7954 1355
Monday to Sunday
9:30am to 5:30pm