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Gurney Paragon [St. Jo's l Photo Gallery]


A Follow-up Chat with Brother Felix

Official opening of St. Jo's
On January 16th 2012, St. Jo’s was officially opened by the Chief Minister of Penang, YAB Tuan Lim Guan Eng. St. Jo’s is the name we have given to the building that was previously known as St. Joseph’s Novitiate. We wanted a name that has connectivity to its illustrious past, yet is hip + modern and reflects its position as the heart of Gurney Paragon.

Main

Amongst our hundreds of guests to this momentous occasion is Brother Felix. So I took the opportunity to catch up with him over the evening. He is now 81 years of age (cannot say old-lah) and is still as sprightly and full of vigour and passion as he was when I first met him 6 years ago.

His 1st Impression
He’s very pleased and impressed with the efforts Hunza has put in to preserve St. Jo’s. Coming from KL, he was apprehensive that this 90+ year old building would be dwarfed/lost amidst a concrete jungle. He was delighted that this is not the case at all. In fact he liked the way the 2 residential towers (to the left and right of St. Jo’s) were positioned as if they were 2 arms, with St. Jo’s as the head, to welcome all and sundry. At ground level, looking in from Gurney Drive, these 2 towers “frame” St. Jo’s beautifully – “postcard pretty”.

The 2 towers also act as if they were sentinels, standing guard over St. Jo’s.



99 Marks

Brother Felix gave us 99 marks for our efforts. “There is always room for improvement as long as we are humans” he exclaimed, with a twinkle in his eyes.

Football + Memories
When shown the construction work that is on-going (for the mall), he shared with me that memories of him rushing on to the field to play football, came flooding back. Yup, this was accompanied by the widest of smiles splitting his face.

Goodnight
All too soon, it was time to send him back to SXI, where he was spending the night. Along the way, we chatted on numerous topics. Hmm…these learned Brothers of the cloth – they sure have contributed mightily to the growth of this country via the education system. Alas, they are now a thing of our past, and are “fading gracefully into the night’. But oh! wow! the lessons we learned from them, they sure burn bright in our hearts and minds. And I for one, see it as my duty to pass these lessons on to the younger generation. I trust this is not a minority view amongst the thousands that have gone through the Lasallian schools.

By Phaik Huat

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