After the recent terrible events in Paris, Lebanon and the continuing nightmare unfolding in Syria, I am unusually aware of what a wonderfully tolerant society we have at KYUEM. I am by no means complacent about this, but nonetheless I do think we should be proud of ourselves.
As the dreadful news dominated the media this last week, I was struck by the number of wise postings I received daily on my Facebook page from KY students, past and present. I honestly think I should rename my Facebook account to include KYUEM in its title, such are the numbers of former students who are classed as my friends. This, too, makes me very proud. The fact that young people now studying overseas wish to maintain links with their A level college speaks very highly of what we do here.
However, this post is not written to pat ourselves on the back - far from it. Instead, and I know this is not a new sentiment from me, I wish to acknowledge and pay tribute to our students. They may only be in their late teens, but they represent a hope for the future, not just for Malaysia, but the whole world that far exceeds their years. Daily, I witness racial and religious tolerance in action. This is not taught or part of the training at KY. It happens of itself because of the wisdom and maturity of our young people.
Last Monday we enjoyed a wonderful Diwali Night's celebrations, the dancing of which (with one rather lamentable Headmasterly exception!) would not have disgraced Bollywood. On November 29, we will have our annual Bangsawan Night, which I have no doubt will be of its customary excellent standard. The very next day will see our Christmas party and finally, on Wednesday, December 2, we have our End of Semester Dinner. The sheer talent on display at these events often takes my breath away, but of much more value is the fact that students from all kinds of ethnic and religious backgrounds take part. There is a real lesson for humanity to be learned here.
This time next week we will be hosting our annual visit of British teenagers from Wiltshire. As a culminating event of this semester, we are always delighted to host them in the certain knowledge that friendships forged during the week they are here may well last for years, and potentially for life.
This will be my last post of 2015, although I hope to see many of you on Parents' Day, Friday, December 4. I write this a couple of weeks beforehand in the knowledge that our second Open Day of the semester is ahead of us tomorrow. I look forward to welcoming many new potential students and their parents to KYUEM.
To everyone else, I wish you a very pleasant time with your sons and daughters over the long vacation that is ahead of us. Give your children the chance to relax a bit - they have heavy-duty responsibilities coming up with CIE examinations next semester. For Helen and me, we are headed to the antipodes in December and a cruise ship, where I am confidently assured that email, WhatsApp and the Internet generally are an endangered species. We, too, need to charge our batteries for the year ahead.
Let me be one of the first to wish you all a very pleasant and peaceful 2016.