I CHOSE to go to Methodist Boys Secondary School Kuala Lumpur (MBSSKL) several years ago because it is well-known for its high standard of discipline and excellent academic results. It didn’t take me long to discover that the school's success has to do with its illustrious principals. Mr Loo Wan Yong is one of them.
So when it was announced sometime last year that he would be retiring on March 12 this year, I, the school captain, was given orders to form a committee to plan for his Retirement Day.
Six months of hard work followed. The committee comprised prefects, librarians and students. I chose former school captain Leong Sher-How, a Form Six student now, to head the committee. We held regular meetings to monitor the progress made by each sub-committee. All went according to plan. As the day drew nearer more hard work was put in. Behind the scenes, the teachers were working overtime too. The grand retirement banner and the limited edition souvenir booklets were prepared.
On the eve of the actual day, we saw the fruit of our labour. The stage was set up and the school was decorated. Seeing the students working hard to have everything in place, I realised that I was witnessing the legendary MBSSKL spirit – they were working so hard for the school despite knowing that they would not get any direct rewards from it, except a good farewell for their beloved principal.
However, on the day itself, an early morning rain threatened to spoil our plans. Students and teachers looked in despair at the bare stage on the school field as it got drenched by the rain. It was clear that none of us liked the idea of our principal retiring without a proper show of gratitude.
So when our prayers were answered and the rain stopped about 8am, a sense of relief was felt all around. Immediately, work resumed and the stage was redecorated. At 9am, the school was ready.
When the man of the moment walked down the red carpet leading to the field, he was greeted with a standing ovation and thunderous applause.
When Mr Loo was principal of MBSSKL, the school won many awards – including second place in the Microsoft Whiz Champ competition last year. Two of our teachers also won an award in the Intel Teach to the Future Program organised by Intel Malaysia.
For co-curricular activities, the St John’s Ambulance team emerged champion in the Pertandingan Kawat Kaki in March 2002 (Federal Territory-level); while our Special Education students won the Football Carnival at the Federal Territory sports meet in 2002, and one of our students won the 2002 Real UK Competition organised by British Council.
However, one of the biggest achievements has to be MBSSKL's consistent top performance in the STPM. The school has often gained top place in the Federal Territory – for example, last year when we had three students getting straight As (5As).
Mr Loo’s vision, however, goes beyond academics and co-curricular activities. He had seen to the upgrading of school facilities. For example, the school hall and office underwent major renovations and we students now fear the school toilet no more. The lecture hall and the staff room are now fully air-conditioned and MBSSKL has a state-of-the-art computer lab.
Mr Loo's contributions did not go unnoticed and in 2003 he received the Ahli Mangku Negara from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
Our farewell do for him began with speeches, followed by various performances by students. After that, Mr Loo was presented with certificates from the school and lots of souvenirs from students. Teachers and students who shook hands with the outgoing principal could not hold back their tears
Auld Lang Syne was sung as the principal left the school for the last time, waving to the students who had lined up along the road to bid him a fond farewell.
The following night a dinner was held at the Royal Selangor Club, attended by many old boys who are now professionals.
The family of Methodist Boys Secondary School Kuala Lumpur would like to wish Mr Loo a Happy Retirement!