Monday, December 7, 2009

Sibu In The Blue Ocean - Part 27

Councillor Robert Lau, a lawyer by profession and a planter, is certainly an aspiring politician on the rise.

When Tan Kee Hian came back last month to speak at the public forum, Robert Lau did his part by personally forwarding invitation messages to his contacts. I was one of the recipients and I really appreciated it.

Councillor Robert Lau turned up at the forum to show his keeness on the topic and his deep concern for Sibu.

More than just that, he penned an article to express his views on "Sibu In The Blue Ocean". He mailed it to me and asked me to upload it to the forum site ( for sharing.

We really need more Sibuians to develop burning urge to turn around Sibu. However crazy they may be, please put forward your views for sharing to arouse wider and deeper interest on the subject.

The picture shows Councillor Robert Lau (second from right, front row) at the public forum. Photo: iong


Anonymous said...

Polytechnic celebrates 100 years of vocational and tertiary education in Sri Lanka

By Kirthie Abeyesekera, Sunday Island December 30, 2001---

Reflections on the Polytechnic at Wellawatte from distant Toronto in Canada, mirror a myriad images of an era gone by.

‘The Polytechnic Ltd.’ was founded in 1901 by Lawrie Muthu Krishna, an imposing personality. He wore a long coat and waistcoat with winged collar. In keeping with the trend of his generation, he wore his hair long and, like all good Colombo Chetties, he always carried a folded, black umbrella. He was held in high esteem by the business community.

A man of broad vision, he realized the importance of tertiary and vocational education and catered to that need. It was a time when the country’s educational system, based on academic study, was not geared to the realistic labour-market. From humble beginnings as a private business college at San Sebastian Hill on Hulftsdorp, Muthu Krishna set up the Polytechnic, first at Bambalapitiya and then at the present location in Wellawatte.

Today, Poly students are scattered around the world, in many professions. I’ve met them in England and Australia. Many are here in Canada. They speak with warmth and affection of the friendships made in their Poly days which have endured over the years.

I still remember the clutter of the heavy old Remington Standard typewriters in the Polytechnic. It was known as the Charlemont Road symphony. The Galle Road had been widened, the Wellawatte bridge over the canal had been drained and re-built. A generation of teenagers and school-leavers made a bee-line to the Polytechnic to hone their skills under Lawrie's supervision.

It was the age of Pitman and Gregg where shorthand and typing were necessary skills for the employment market. There was a craze for commercial subjects, and business skills and accountancy. The Government education system lagged miserably in spite of Lawrie Muthu Krishna's call for a re-orientation of media and communication skills.

With Wellawatte and Bambalapitiya and Colpetty South adding to the exodus into the 'Golden Mile', we saw crowds of young women, flocking to the Poly. The traditions of Holy Family Convent, St. Paul's Milagiriya, Lindsay Girls School were brought to the Poly classes. Parents felt safe in sending their daughters to learn shorthand, typing and accountancy under Lawrie and his professional staff, where the family was the backbone. The branches at Fort and Wellawatte were a boon especially in a post-war world.

The century of the Polytechnic Foundation is indeed an accolade to its founder. Lawrie Muthu Krishna had a heart of gold. He had a great love for his students. He was a pioneer in every sense. His firm of 'Public Accountants and Auditors' saw a wide clientele.

A hundred years for the Polytechnic are also a tribute to Olive and Violet, the Muthu Krishna sisters who were the real pioneers. Three generations have seen this Business University as alive and significant and up-to-date as ever. It has weathered political and economic storms. It brought in a new world of media and today with modern computer skills, there are giant strides.

The Polytechnic centenary is a simple acknowledgement that the future of a country lies in the vision of its teachers, of its pioneers, of men and women of vision who saw the full spectrum.

Lawrie Muthu Krishna saw the intense need of tapping the talent of the young, of helping them to perfect those skills, that would help them in life. Little wonder that it was in the heart of his own family that he found his inspiration and achievement. There is no doubt that the Polytechnic has in a way moulded the social fabric of Colombo South.

The Centenary is no doubt a deserving accolade to the man, who played no small part in the Polytechnic saga.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

"moulding the social fabric" of the society/town...I like that.

A school or a polytechnic should be able to do a lot for the town. Founders should not think of making money (some universities are just doing that). \

Local universities should not charge high fees ( e.g. 13 000 ringgit a semester) which may in fact encourage parents to send their children overseas.

Degrees granted and the syllabus designed should also enable the graduates to use their knowledge to benefit the society and also improve the social and economic conditions of the town (e.g. Canterbury University)

But I would really like to see Sibu becoming more and more like Kyoto (which has a good university) and Adelaide . Islamic universities like Baghdad and Alexandria were some of the earliest think tanks in the world!!...all these towns/cities grew as the universities expanded although very slowly at the beginning.

From the university we can have a music department which can preserve our local music. Its art and design can help re-create limitless art forms and styles. More books can be published on our culture.

We have lots of Masters degrees and PhDs in Sarawak - we would really like to see more of them publish their works and put them on sale....These people should come out to share their knowledge in huge forums to help motivate the people.

There is no point having so many titles after their names if they do not make public appearances or even give comments.

Sibu needs every one to contribute.

Anonymous said...

The community of North College Hill, approximately ten miles north of downtown Cincinnati, OhioCincinnati, was once part of a 1 million acre (4,000 km sq) tract of Springfield Township, Hamilton County, OhioSpringfield Township that was purchased in 1787 by John Cleves Symmes, a New Jersey delegate to the Continental Congress and a pioneer in the Northwest Territory.

In 1813, Robert Cary (father of Phoebe CaryPhoebe and Alice Cary) bought 27 acres (110,000 m sq) of the land and called it Clovernook Farm. Within a year, he laid out the first community in the area, called Clovernook, on the east side of Hamilton Avenue (now also known as U.S. Route 127). The Cary home is now known as Cary Cottage; it stands on the campus of the Clovernook Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

In 1916, Clovernook combined with two other subdivisions, Meyerville and Sunshine, to form the village of North College Hill with a combined population of about 500. The growing popularity of the automobile and the promise of affordable housing helped the village grow from about 1,100 to 4,100 in the 1920s. In 1941, with a population of more than 5,000, the village was incorporated as a city. The population grew to about 12,000 by 1960, then stabilized until the completion of Ronald Reagan Cross County Highway (Ohio State Route 126) required the removal of numerous homes.

In November, 2006 a ballot initiative to make North College Hill a charter city was passed by the voters.