Book & Media Reviews

New Straits Times

22 Nov 2019

Dato’ Dr Ooi Kee Beng

Penang Monthly, Nov Issue

Xaverians Say...

The main objective of the Xaverian Journey is not a retelling of the glorious past rather it is journey of the Lasallian Educational Mission down the ages by Brothers and lay partners who ensured that the students who passed through those corridors have become men and women who have made a difference in the lives of others.

The educational mission has no ending, the principal, teachers and support staff have to work together strategically for a long term plan to equip students not just academic knowledge (scientia) but also wisdom (sapientia) to meet the challenges of new realities in Malaysia. Take initiatives and plan ahead, don't wait for directions.

The question is, "What is so special about St. Xavier's Institution since 1852 that parents are longing to register their children here?"

~ Dato' Brother Paul Ho FSC
Brother Principal St Xavier's Institution (1993-2009)
Congratulations to the co-authors of TXJ, namely Francis Loh, Cecilia Ng and Br Anthony Rogers for a very informative account of Lasallian Education in Malaysia beginning with SXI in Penang. This journey is a legacy of the De La Salle Brothers which will be remembered and cherished for many generations to come. Every Lasallian should possess this book with pride and for inspiration.
~ Brother Andrew Loke FSC
Brother Director, La Salle Brothers Malaysia
Congratulation to Francis Loh Kok Wah, Cecilia Ng & Bro.Anthony Rogers FSC for the successful publication of the book entitled ‘ The Xaverian Journey ‘. I would highly recommend all Xaverians to read this book in order to understand and appreciate the contributions by the De La Salle Brothers , lay teachers and the community in making SXI a highly respected and renown education institution today.
~ Mr Loh Kea Yu
SXI Principal (2010 - 2015)
This is a very comprehensive book and we assure everyone that some of the photos in this book have never been seen by the public. The book is definitely something worth keeping as it details our 160-year history and we are a part of the history now.
~ Dr Sim Hock Keat
SXI Principal (2016 - 2019)
A great book that takes us through the history of Lasallian Schools in Penang particularly St. Xaviers Institution. “The Xaverian Journey” is a must-read for someone like me who is not from the Lasallian background; to understand the spirit, values, struggles and contribution of this Lasallian school towards nation building. Kudos to the writers for their efforts in gathering information, in-depth analysis and exposition. Well done proud Xaverians!
~ Mr Murugan Muniandy
Current Principal St Xaviers Instituion
Heartiest congratulations to Francis, Cecilia and Bro Rogers for coming out with The Xaverian Journey! Reading the book was a wonderful walk down memory lane during my time at St Xavier’s Institution. So many touching events and tales of teachers, fellow boarders and students reverberate in my mind as I turn the pages of the book in its painstaking, and almost loving documentation of the Lasallian Journey through the years. Yes, The Xaverian Journey is a crowning accomplishment of the idea of St Xavier’s Institution, made possible by the hardwork and inspired writing of Francis, Cecilia and Brother Rogers. We, Xaverians, owe much to them. Again, I extend my congratulations and thanks to them. The book is a true reflection of the ideals and spirit of St Xavier’s which I believe are embedded within all Xaverians.
~ Emeritus Professor Tan Sri Dato Syed Jalaluddin
Current President, Xaverian Club Kuala Lumpur
A Xaverian Heritage. From Standard 1 to Form 6, our aptitude, attribute, resources are nurtured by people and tradition. Our life’s beginning started with valuable character markers. FORWARD WITH COURAGE IN WAYS THAT ARE JUST. We must this pass on to our own children. In print as well. Thank you. Blessings and empowerment in your labour for value education
~ Mr Michael Quah
Former Senior Teacher and Head of the Art Section, SXI
I very much appreciate the publication of The Xaverian Journey. As a former student and teacher ,going through this book brought back so many memories and renewed my sense of appreciation and gratitude to the La Salle brothers who suceeded so wonderfully and for so long in providing educational opportunities for so many. This publication records the fruits of their endeavours with accuracy and affection. I thank the writers for their dedication and hard work in bringing this project to fruition.
~ Mr Anthony Gomez
Long-serving and outstanding teacher of literature
I entered the sixth form at SXI in 1971 after having spent a year on an American Field Service scholarship in the USA. As people in education often say, you always remember the names of the teachers who had the greatest impact on your Education The names: Miss Dickerson and Mr Ladensack (Scarsdale High) and Mr. Anthony Gomez and Brother Lewis (SXI) ring clearly in my head till this day. SXI offered me the best quality education I could’ve asked for.
~ Dato' Judy Cheng-Hopkins
Former UN Asst Secretary-General and Asst High Commissioner for Refugees
Priceless! To flip through pages of The Xaverian Journey is to relive my own years of youthful education and formation in SXI. To read about the contributions and achievements of earlier generations of my own family who studied in the same halls before me. To learn more about humble beginnings and the quiet dedication, steely commitment and deep sacrifices of the amazing La Salle Brothers, the local teachers, administrators, and general workers of St Xavier’s to the education of the people of Penang, Malaya/Malaysia, and Southeast Asia over the last 233 years.... This well-researched and excellent book is an inspiring tribute to all their labours that resulted in the wholesome formation of young men and women who after spending time in the classroom, school field and halls went out SXI’s gates to enrich communities and build nations.
~ Dr Andrew Aeria
Former Associate Professor, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak and campaigner for Indigenous Peoples' rights
The Xaverian Journey is certainly a commendable efforts by three distinguished Xaverians to record the history of St Xavier’s Institution. Francis Loh, Cecelia Ng and Brother Anthony Rogers took the arduous task of putting together a comprehensive but readable journey, an appropriate title of the book, of how SXI began.

Going through the book flooded my memories with the happy times spending in school, teachers and brothers who impacted my life, the worship at the chapel before the tests and even the delightful char koay teow at the school canteen! The journey of SXI has not ended and we hope to see a stronger SXI ahead. 'Go Saints Go' will forever ring in our ears.

~ Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai
Group Adviser, Star Media Group Berhad
Why is a Xaverian outstanding? In my humble opinion Xaverians have a knack of doing "small" tasks best without any bravado and clamour. Just like Francis Xavier our founder and patron, started his voyage nearly half a millennium ago,those of us who are privileged to be branded by a Xaverian education hold the torch for a moment before passing it on to the next generation. The Xaverian Journey becomes synonymous with our personal journey and this volume reminds us that we live the ethos of being Xaverian by our lives and deeds. This is a good reminder and in return we bless our Alma Mater and St Francis Xavier for being the tree that has bourne us.
~ Dr Francis Tan
Class of 1968, Consultant Physician, Lam Wah Ee Hospital
. . . a finely crafted, lovingly produced masterpiece . . . . Meticulously researched, this book should be of interest not only to those who have passed through the hallowed classrooms and corridors of SXI. It would also be of more than a passing interest to all other alumni of mission schools in the region who are interested to know how the ethos of St John de La Salle arrived and took root in this region.
~ Mr Anil Netto
Writer, Blogger and Citizen Journalist
I started my Xaverian Journey at SK St Xavier's, Jalan La Salle, in February 2014. It was a great challenge to be the headteacher of an all boys' school. During my 5 years, I saw my students from different backgrounds learn and grow together. Thanks to the Xaverian ethos and traditions which must have lingered on in our midst, they cultivated the spirit of give and take, humility and perseverance, discipline and hard work, as in our school's motto. I am proud to have been part of this Xaverian family, the story of which is told in the lovely book TXJ. May God continue to shower us with his Blessings.
~ Ms Oh Hooi Sue
Headteacher, St Xavier's Primary, 2014-2018
'The Xavierian Journey' truly captures the essence of what it means to be a Xavierian-a journey steeped in immense history and evolving to spread the La Sallian ethos and spirit. It is with much pride that so many of us can trace our beginnings back to this wonderful institution and continue to cultivate and build on the relationships and experiences made. Many congratulations to the authors for the successful creation of "The Xavierian Journey" and thank you for officially recording and archiving such a significant part of the lives for so many Xavierians.
~ Dato Seri Kenny Ong
Group Executive Chairman of the MTT Group of Companies
Member of the Board of Governors and Managers, St Xavier's
TXJ is a very informative book with it rich history of the institution and its students. Every Xaverian should read and own it.
~ Mr Tan Kar Aun
President, Xaverian Club Kuala Lumpur, 2015-2019
‘A must read book if you are interested in the history of SXI. Brings back memories of the Brothers, teachers and schoolmates.’
~ Tan Sri Ong Gim Huat
Director of Kwong Wah Yit Poh Press Bhd
Chairman of St Xavie's Redevelopment Committee (2016-2019)
Member of the Board of Governors and Managers, St Xavier's
"A riveting history of one of Malaysia's premier schools. An eye-opening account for even an old Saint like myself!"
~ Prof. Johan Saravanamuthu
Professor Emeritus and former Dean of Social Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia
TXJ is a very readable collector’s book with a systematic compilation of profound observations and anecdotes starting with the La Salle founder’s dedication in education for underprivileged children in France and the life long educational work from generations of our La Salle Brothers in Malaysia. Illustrated with episodes of our history and Xaverian personalties, it is indeed a journey not to be missed.
~ Ms Ho Chee Kit
President, Xaverian Club Kuala Lumpur, 2001-2007
TXJ is a book for all Xaverians and those who are curious about the school. A humble beginning that became a shining beacon and evolving into a legacy for all. This legacy has led to nation building and good values the world over. Xaverians continue to do so even now. Labour Omnia Vincit.
~ Mr Chuah Eng Keat
Headteacher of St Xavier's Primary (2008-2012), and St Xavier's Branch School (2017-2020)
A Xavierian journey is a time capsule of all Xaverians, the past, the present and a legacy for future Xavierians the journey of the school and its students as well the community it has help shape through time.
~ Mr Alex Oon
State Member of the Board of Governors and Managers, St Xavier's
The Xaverian Journey compresses into its 192 pages some 168 years' history of the Lasallian Mission in Malaysia beginning with the founding of SXI in Penang. TXJ informs us about what occurred in the past so that we can better understand where we are today in 2020. It has been my greatest honour to serve SXI via the PIBG. My thanks to the Brothers, Board members, Principals and Teachers for giving me the opportunity to work with them. God Bless St Xavier's.
~ Mr Adrian Lee Ching Kiang
Chairman PIBG (2007-2017)
Member of the Board of Governors and Managers, St Xavier's
TXJ is a publication which every Xaverian should have to keep. Please buy an extra copy for your brother or friend who have spent some of the best years in school given a good start on the journey of life. Congratulations to the co- authors for such a fine effort.
~ Dato' John Loh Soong Chew
President, Old Xaverians Association (1975-1982) and founder-president Malaysian Federation of Lasallian Alumni Associations (MFOLSA)
THE XAVERIAN JOURNEY preserves the contribution of the La Salle Brothers to education in Malaysia. Treasure a copy!

~ Dato' Dr. Anthony Sibert
1948-1956 Xaverian / Past President of Penang Eurasians' Association
"Well researched and very insightful. Historically intertwined with the founding of Penang. A must read especially for those who have passed through the hallowed halls of this learning institution".
~ Ms See Swee Sie
Member of the Board of Governors and Managers, and the PIBG, St Xavier's
Kudos to the authors for such a comprehensive and yet marvelous take on the “Xaverian Journey”. It will tie many generations of us, Xaverians, together as we reminisce the rich tapestry of different eras that is so beautifully woven together. A real gem of book!
~ Mr Ooi Gim Ewe
Member of the Board of Governors and Managers, St Xavier's
The Xaverian Journey is a well thought out narrative of the Lasallian journey from its early days until modern times. "Well done!" to Francis, Cecilia, and Rogers. Through The Xaverian Journey you have given us a good sense of the past, so as to help chart the future.
~ Christopher Lee
Member, Board of Governors and Managers St Xavier's and La Salle Learning Studio at St Xavier's Primary School
" SXI is listed as the 5th oldest school in the country. Naturally we have a long and interesting history.

A memorable sight here, a familar face there, all these bring back fond memories of our school days.

You can discover them when you embark on a journey with The Xaverian Journey.

Truly this book must be a treasured item for Xaverians.

~ Mr Quah Boo Hock
Member of the Board of Governors and Managers, St Xavier's
It was a niche yearning to be filled. Generations of Xaverians have wondered about their origin. Where, in the global historical setting, did SXI evolve from? ... Who is John Baptist De La Salle and why did his statue have pride of place in our school foyer? Why is there this particular mural in the lobby of SXI?

The Xaverian Journey is not merely timely. It answers questions asked over decades past, and seeks to be the historical reference point for Xaverians to come.

~ Dato' Danny Goon Siew Cheang
SXI Class of '68
Chairman, St Christopher's International School
....Kudos to the three authors for putting together what must have been a difficult volume to produce, given the lack of early sources on the subject and the amount of details they nevertheless managed to collect and comment upon.... For those many Xaverians who now populate Penang and beyond, this book should be a welcome addition to their bookshelves – and a necessary and very personal reference book.
~ Dato' Dr Ooi Kee Beng
Managing Editor, Penang Monthly and Executive Director of Penang Institute
The Xaverian Journey chronicles not only the beginnings of a great school by dedicated teachers but also the head start in education gifted to so many young people in Penang. Three generations of my family benefited in this way. My late father, Wong Pow Nee, woke up at 4:30am every morning to catch the 5:30am train from Bukit Mertajam to Perai so that he could arrive at SXI in time for his lessons. He went on from SXI into Government; eventually served as the first Chief Minister of Penang and afterwards, as the first Malaysian Ambassador to The Holy See. While in Rome he reconnected with his close friend and SXI classmate, Br Michael Jacques, who had been appointed Assistant Superior General La Salle Schools in Asia. Warm compliments to the three coauthors for their years of research and months of synthesis and writing published in this handsome volume. It succinctly chronicles not only the founding and impact of a venerable Institution but also traces numerous Malayans and Malaysians who dispersed across the country and around the world after school to work on a host of projects which helped shape many pivotal moments of recent history.
~ Mr Peter Wong Tet Phin
Co-author The Unsung Patriot: Memoirs of Wong Pow Nee
The Xaverian Journey is a labour of love which will pass the test of time as an invaluable resource. It is highly recommended.
~ Brother Jason Blaikie FSC
Brother Director, SXI Community

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