Leaders with lifetime achievements can impress and inspire the young ones. With the imprints of the stories of substantive leaders, students will not be easily swayed or influenced by upstarts considered leaders who are empty barrels or loose cannons.
Students of Kolej Yayasan Saad (KYS), had the opportunity to listen to Tan Sri Halim Saad (former Renong Berhad executive chairman), Tan Sri Razali Ismail (former United Nations secretary-general’s special envoy to Myanmar), Professor Datuk Dr Mazlan Othman (former director of the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs in Vienna and former director-general of Malaysian National Space Agency — Angkasa), the late Datuk Dr Zainal Aznam Yusof (a member of the National Economic Action Council) Datuk Mohammedd Nor Khalid (cartoonist Lat), Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah (former deputy minister of higher education), Datuk Seri Jamaludin Ibrahim (chief executive officer of Axiata Group), Tun Mohammed Hanif Omar (former Inspector-General of Police), Raja Tan Sri Arshad Raja Tun Uda (board member of Khazanah Nasional Bhd and chairman of Maxis Bhd) and Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah.
|Datuk Seri Syed Danial Syed Ahmad was the guest of honour and provided rare insight into the symbols of the nation Professor Datuk Dr Mazlan Othman, the former director of the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs in Vienna, was among the speakers|
The sharing of lessons learned, the life stories and critical incidents in the lives of such people when recorded become valuable materials of national history and full of lessons.
KYS itself now has a valuable corpus of the stories of the leaders and their advice to students and staff.
Recently, on the 20th Speech Day of KYS, Datuk Seri Syed Danial Syed Ahmad, Keeper of the Rulers Seal, was invited as the guest of honour. Syed Danial is from George Town, Penang. He grew up in Kelawei Road in the vicinity of Gurney Drive, Burma Road, Northam Road and Pulau Tikus.
From that environment were many distinguished leaders including Professor Emeritus Dr Omar Farouk Sheikh Ahmad from Hiroshima University, Datuk Seri Syed Ali Alhabshee, senior lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah and Datuk Huang Sin Cheng, the former deputy governor of Bank Negara Malaysia. Tan Sri Wan Mokhtar Ahmad, former menteri besar of Terengganu, Tengku Ahmad Rithauddeen and the Raja of Perlis Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Putra Jamalullail also stayed in the area and studied in Penang Free School.
George Town was a city, the first city in Malaysia and students went to school by trolley buses among other means of transport.
Professor Datuk Dr Mazlan Othman, the former director of the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs in Vienna, was among the speakers
Syed Danial provided rare insights and perspective regarding the symbols of the nation, the coat of arms and the meanings of the flag, Constitution, the institution of royalty and the Rukun Negara.
Among the valuable advice he delivered: students must be readers, involve themselves in the culture of volunteerism, manage time well and internalise the culture of excellence as sacred responsibility, focus on mastering the skills of good self-presentation, be always ready to assist others, hone patriotic ideals and become courageous citizens with integrity, develop global competencies, high moral calibre and thinking skills which will ensure that they are as good and better than students in their generation from anywhere in the world.
John Anthony Burgess Wilson was a teacher at Malay College Kuala Kangsar, which was then regarded as the Eton of the East, and at Kota Baru Teachers College. He was a renowned writer, novelist, poet and playwright, who wrote scores of novels, including the Malayan Trilogy. Syed Danial quoted Burgess’s Ode on the Malay College Kuala Kangsar: “
We offer our youth
To the world we build
With courage and truth
And love fulfilled.
A city will rise
That is bright and fair Into cloudless skies
And fresh clean air.
Proudly we will serve With faith we’ll strain
Muscle and nerve
And heart and brain. ’til wisdom descends
Like a silver dove ’
Til evil ends And the law is love.”
With respect, humility and love, Syed Danial quoted his teacher Mr Ganesalingam who mentored and coached him to achieve his potential:
“I will today keep my thoughts riveted on my work, and be courteous to everyone but waste no time.
I believe I shall have a successful day and that I will do my work quicker and better than I have done before and with less worry and fatigue.
” The influence of teachers and writers remain lifelong.
Respectfully, learners remember teachers who teach life lessons they do not fully understand in younger years.
They carry the lessons learned inside or outside the classrooms until later, when they are ready to understand, reflect and live lives guided by lessons from early impressionable years.
Good teachers guide their students sincerely irrespective of race, religion, culture, social class and family backgrounds.