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School CP - June 2002

masthead The Star, Kuala Lumpur, 10 June 2002

BBSS old boys meet first HM

By M. Krishnamoorthy

PETALING JAYA: Old boys of the Bukit Bintang Secondary School (BBSS) are today grateful that the school's first headmaster, Dr Alastair McGregor, used the cane liberally back in the 1950s and 1960s to discipline them. It changed their attitude towards studies and life itself.

Take for example, S. Ganapathy, press secretary to Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, who realises now that it was the fear of the cane that made him and his schoolmates study harder and develop a better character.

"Today caning may be termed as child abuse, but back then it was necessary to mould our character and instil discipline.

"It was for this reason that the school's students were among the top of the list in the Senior Cambridge examinations then and today many of the old boys have done well for themselves," he noted.

According to Ganapathy, Dr McGregor, 70, who was BBSS headmaster from 1958 to 1966, also implemented several innovative programmes during the formative years of the school, which started with just six classrooms and little else in Section 8 here.

ex-headmaster with old boys
GET-TOGETHER ... BBSS old boys (from left) Rajah, Chan Meng Kong, Dr McGregor, R. Kanagasingam and Steven Lim in a show of solidarity at the reunion dinner in Petaling Jaya on Saturday.

"When he introduced the first mock parliament in 1964, my party won and I was elected the prime minister," he recalled on Saturday at a dinner hosted by the old boys association for Dr McGregor at the Armada Hotel here.

It was a nostalgic moment when the old boys - successful businessmen, doctors, accountants and other professionals - took the mike to express their feelings for their former headmaster.

Star Publications (M) Bhd senior human resources manager S.M. Rajah said whenever students were sent to Dr McGregor's room, he would say: "Son, fetch my cane and touch your toes."

Noting that it was the cane that made the old boys perform well in their studies, Rajah remembered a time when a group of them met up with their former headmaster and presented him with six gift-wrapped canes.

"We love him for his warmth and sincerity. He was an excellent Grammar and English Literature teacher because he made these subjects interesting," said Rajah.

In his speech, Dr McGregor said it was humbling to note that many of the old boys had done well for themselves.

He advised them to serve society and help the unfortunate and needy.

"In whatever you do, remember to invest in people because people are an asset. If you keep them happy, you will profit from it."

As a final reminder, he told his old students: "Know yourself - what good is it if you are a knowledgeable person but fail to understand yourself?"

After retiring from the school, Dr McGregor joined Universiti Malaya and trained English teachers for 10 years.

A Scot by origin, Dr McGregor now resides in Perth with wife Kathleen.

1995-2001 Star Publications (Malaysia) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)

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