PETALING JAYA: La Salle Brother Harold Reynolds, who spent his adult life as an educator in Malaysia, has died in the Philippines.
The 95-year-old Reynolds, who retired in 1989, left for the Philippines to continue his teaching career with the La Salle schools for another 23 years until May 2012 when he was forced to stop after a fall.
Reynolds, who was a chemistry teacher with the Roman Catholic missionary order, volunteered to be posted to Melaka in 1951 but continued to live there for the next five years until he returned to Australia to further his studies.
When met by The Star in Cavite, near Manila earlier this year, he said he fell in love with the then Malaya when he set foot here.
“The idea to serve as a teacher in Malaya was to see the country but somehow I fell in love with the place and found there were so many things to do with the education system then.
“I decided to continue serving in Malaysia, ” he said.
In 1959, he returned and accepted a post as director of St Joseph’s Training College in Penang where he taught would-be La Salle brothers from South-East Asian countries.He subsequently applied for and obtained Malaysian citizenship, he said.
In 1968, Reynolds was posted to La Salle Klang to head the school.
Former Franciscan Club president James Lai said Reynolds was responsible for the expansion of La Salle Klang, setting up an additional 27 classes when he took over.
He taught in Klang for nine years before he moved to St Francis’ Institution (SFI) in Melaka where he was the school principal for 12 years until his retirement in 1989.
“He was a strict disciplinarian. He was known for his anti-long hair campaign and used to walk in the school with a rotan, ” said Ashok Kumar, one of his former students.
“He would go to every class after each examination and hand out report cards. Those who failed would be caned.
“The punishment, year in, year out, frightened many of us. Indirectly, he made us study hard. Many of us did well in school because of this, ” he said.
During Reynolds’ tenure at SFI, he encouraged sports and the school produced many national hockey and football players.
Among the hockey players were Michael Chew Kok Keong, Tan Soon Seng, Lim Chong Yau, Ariffin Mohd Ghani, Paul Lopez, brothers Embaraj, Dharmaraj and Vijayraj Kandiah and brothers Glen and Gerard Sinnappah.
The national footballers were Lim Tiong Kim and Averistus John Collar.
“Hockey thrived in SFI under his watch. He hired ex-national footballer V. Kalimuthu to teach fitness in school and he was also responsible for grooming most of us to play harder, ” said Gerard, a former junior hockey squad player.
Reynolds was also noted for SFI’s expansion where he had a hand in helping to raise part of the RM3.2mil to build a three-storey building to host classrooms.
The funeral will be held on Sunday. He would be buried at the Brothers’ Memorial Cloister in Lipa City in Batangas, Luzon.