SENIOR assistant S. Dhorai Raja has called it a day after serving 30 years, three months and 17 days at St Francis Institution (SFI), a premier secondary school in Malacca.
Despite his reputation for being a disciplinarian, students turned up in full force with teachers, parents and old boys of the school to give the longest-serving and much-loved senior assistant an elaborate send-off recently.
“I have always gone on stage to discipline the students and can't remember once giving them good words,” Dhorai said in his farewell speech, adding that he was leaving with a heavy heart.
He reminded the students to study hard and give their cooperation to the principal, Ong Chong Wee, and his team of dedicated teachers.
“The school has been my second home and I will be here to join my retired colleagues once a month,” he said. (It's been a tradition that every first Friday of the month, teachers who have retired from SFI have a get-together at the school.)
Dhorai inspected a guard-of-honour mounted by the prefects and the various uniformed groups before the school band gave a 20-minute performance, and teachers and students dedicated songs to him. Part of the grand send-off were two lion dance troupes which escorted him out of the school.
Also present were SFI Parent-Teacher Association president Dennis Casimir Lee, SFI Board of governors chairman Datuk Laksamana Mohd Ali Faardon, SFI Brother Visitor Emeritus Michael Jacques and Brother director Ambrose Loke, St Francis Association president Ong Eng Khiam, SFI primary headmaster John Tay, SFI primary PTA chairman Dr Eugene Nicholas and several old boys.
Dhorai had his early education at SRJK Brickfields Dua, and his secondary education at SMK Cochrane, in Kuala Lumpur, before obtaining a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) degree in Geography at Universiti Malaya in 1971 and a Diploma in Education in the following year.
“I had reservations when, as a 26-year-old, I received the appointment letter to report for duty at a missionary school in Malacca on Jan 2, 1973. But my fears were unfounded as I found the Brothers to be very helpful,” Dhorai recalled.
He taught English to fourth and fifth formers, and Geography to Form Four, Five and Six students, and was also the school's hockey coach from1973 to 1986.
Those who have trained under him include former Malaysian international players Martin Arrias (Junior level), Chin Boon Ghee, V. Sasidharan, Brian Carvalho, K. Embaraj, K. Dharmaraj and Michael Chew.
Dhorai was SFI's acting senior assistant from Aug 1, 1985, to May 15, 1987. Thereafter he was senior assistant. He was awarded the Pingat Jasa Kebaktian by the Governor of Malacca, on the recommendation of the state education department in 1995 and was conferred the “Benefactor” by the De La Salle Brothers Malaysia in conjunction with the SFI Twin Celebration last year.
In his speech headmaster Ong said Dhorai was a pillar of the school and had contributed significantly and substantially to the moral growth and physical development of SFI.
What do you think of this article?