On the 6th of August 2016, the VIOBA held its Annual Dinner at the Royal Selangor Club, Kuala Lumpur. This dinner marked the 123rd Anniversary of the founding of the school as well as the third in a series of five dinners to honour Victorians.
As part of the five year plan, the VIOBA would honour Victorians with a theme each year. This year's was to honour Victorian Service to the Nation; previous themes were Victorian Scholars and Educators, and Victorian Sports Personalities. The themes for 2017 and 2018 will be The Corporate Victorian and The Victorian - Scholar, Sportsman and Gentleman, respectively. The final theme will coincide with the 125th Anniversary of the Victoria Institution.
VIOBA’s Service to the Nation award gives due recognition to Victorians who have excelled in public service. From different fields covering service in the Government, the Armed Forces, Police, the Judiciary to the Civil Service, all these award recipients have made an indelible mark on the history and growth of our nation.
This was one of the reasons why the VIOBA chose to hold the dinner at the Royal Selangor Club for it was in the early moments of August 31st 1957, on that large field outside the Club, that the Union Jack was lowered to signify the birth of a new nation. Some of our honourees may even have witnessed that significant event in person! These Victorians have contributed tremendously to our nation in various fields.
Selecting the award recipients for the VIOBA night was no easy task, for there are many Victorians who have served our nation in one form or another. When taking into account the luminaries to honour, we looked at how their service had impacted the country. It was not so much how well known they are or how popular they may have been, but rather how their service helped develop the country as well as raise the image of the country and the quality of life of our fellow Malaysians. Their support over the years to the VI and VIOBA was also taken into account.
Despite a bit of traffic congestion due to closure of some roads leading into Dataran Merdeka, Victorians started rolling up as early as 7 p.m. There was good cheer around as everyone mingled to catch up with old friends and to make new friends. As the invited VIPs arrived they were escorted into a holding room.
Promptly at 8 p.m., the Guest of Honour, General Prabowo Subianto, and Special Guest Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, Minister of Tourism and Culture were escorted into the Ballroom. They were accompanied by the VIOBA President, KC Kwek and other dignitaries, with members of the VIOBA Management Committee following behind.
The guests remained standing as the event was officially kicked off with the singing of the School Song. The singing was loud and boisterous and full of pride. This was followed by a 'roll call' based on the School Houses and as the name of each House was called out, its members roared in approval.
K Ganes, the Organising Committee Chairman then gave a welcome speech full of humour and good cheer. He was followed by the VIOBA President. In his speech, Kwek Keng Chye highlighted the importance of maintaining the traditions of the VI and hoped that all Victorians present would contribute in some form or another to ensure that the present VI was brought back to its glory days.
General Prabowo then took to the stage to address the audience. It was a great privilege to be invited as the Guest of Honour, he said, and he felt greatly humbled. He touched on his time in the VI and how he had visited the Old School a few years back to see how he could replicate the traditions of the school in a private school he planned to build in Jakarta. He also mentioned the possibility of establishing a Victorian Alumni network in Indonesia.
Dinner was then served and many Old Boys took the opportunity to move around the hall to meet old friends and old teachers. A number of present teachers as well as ex-teachers were present. Notable amongst them were Mr Ngui Thiam Khoon, Mr Chan Bing Fai, Mr. Yap Chai Seng, Mr. Dharam Prakash, Mrs Chong Hong Chong, Mrs Benedict Goh and Mrs Belinda Seet.
Midway through dinner came the Awards ceremony with General Prabowo presenting the Awards. The Honourees were former Minister of International Trade Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz, Chief of the Malaysian Armed Forces General (R) Tan Sri Mohammed Hashim bin Mohd Ali, Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Rahim Noor, Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam, Rear Admiral (Rtd) Tan Sri Dato' Seri K. Thanabalasingam, Tan Sri Wan Mahmood PawanTeh, Justice Datuk Mahadev Shankar and, posthumously, the Tallala Brothers, Henry and Cyril, World War Two fighter pilots.
Each recipient received a crystal plaque with his or her name engraved on it. The Dinner and merriment continued as the crowd was entertained by the NJ band and a chamber music ensemble. Datuk Zainal Abidin Ali then took the stage and rendered a few songs including “My Way” as requested by General Prabowo.
It was a truly enjoyable evening and it came to an end just past 11 p.m. with lots of old friendships renewed and new friendships forged amongst the Victorians.
Glory, Glory Victoria!!!
1) Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz
2) Tan Sri Hashim Ali
3) Tan Sri Rahim Noor
4) Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam
5) Tan Sri Thanabalan
6) Tan Sri Wan Mahmood Pawan Teh
7) Datuk Mahadev Shankar
8) The Tallala Brothers
Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz
Tan Sri Hashim Ali
Tan Sri Rahim Noor
Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam
Tan Sri Thanabalan
Tan Sri Wan Mahmood Pawan Teh
Datuk Mahadev Shankar
The Tallala Brothers
Last update: August 26, 2016.