A Tribute To A Student & Teacher Of MBS PDF Print E-mail

 

 

A TRIBUTE TO A STUDENT AND TEACHER OF MBS – DR JOHN GURUSAMY

 

 

 

It’s not very often that an old boy could one day come back to his school and served as a teacher. This was the case of our late Dr. John Gurusamy. He was a teacher of MBS in the late 50s until the mid-60s. If some of you were his classmates, he was in Std 8A in 1953. I had the grateful opportunity to be his colleague and friend. I still remember that he played good hockey. He was in the forward line when the staff team played with the school’s 1st X1. John also played badminton and table-tennis. Yes, he was a great sportsman. Friendly and approachable, he was indeed well liked by the students. I still remember I had to take down phone messages for him when calls came in the staff room (there was no mobile then). This was during the heyday of NUT when he was a busy trade union leader, more precisely, the Secretary General of the National Union of Teachers.

 

John always had MBS at heart. When he left the school, he came back to serve the Alumni. He was a one-time Vice-President of the MBS Alumni Association.

 

Teachers must not forget the sacrifices of John and his union colleagues when they organized and led 10,000 teachers in an industrial action – the first ever in the history of the teaching profession. According to the words of Mr. Yong Chee Seng, a former principal of MBS:

 

That was when, among other things, he fought for the rights of Mission School Teachers to receive parity treatment in obtaining study-leave on half-pay for 18 months followed by no-pay leave until our further studies were completed. Because of the success of this strike, the teachers as a whole received better treatment and later obtained parity with the Civil Service. I am one of the beneficiaries of this struggle for parity for Mission School Teachers.

 

Furthermore, the teachers of today and yesteryears owe this to John. He had brought dignity to the teaching profession. Teachers today are government servants who are entitled to medical benefits and pension, among other things. A Royal Commission was established and the Unified Teaching Service was removed and brought all teachers under one scheme: the Aziz Scheme.

 

John also taught in St. Gabriel Secondary School. As a friend, I found John to be gentle and soft-spoken and he had a lot of compassion for students. Whether it was his strength or weakness, John did not know how to say no to people.

 

A Memorial Service was held on 18th October 2011 at St. Paul’s Church and it was well attended by relatives and friends.

 

John is survived by his wife Datuk Ramani, three children and two grandchildren.

 

Indeed, we thank you John for the great things you had done for students, teachers and friends.

 

Dr. Eric Wong

 

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