I would like to wish a wonderful happy birthday to YABhg. Tun Dr Mahathir Bin Mohamad.
He is 84 today.
On this day, I wish he’d knew that a group young Malaysians achieved something that all Malaysians can be proud of; the boys in the Victoria Institution Cadet Corps Band (VICC Band) won the International Band Competition held in Modena, Italy a few days ago.
They beat several other school bands from other countries including the defending champion from Holland which came in second.
The VICC Band has a rich history which many do not know. It is the oldest school band in Malaysia and is exactly 100 years old this year.
It was established in 1909 as an extension to the school cadet infantry which was established 8 years earlier. With only fife and drums as their musical instruments, it expanded with the inclusion of the bugle section in 1915.
In 1965, it received the first batch of bagpipes. Making it the oldest school in South East Asia to have the bagpipe section.
In 1967, the brass section was established, culminating to the demise of the bugle section a couple of years later.
When the American President, Lyndon Baines Johnson visited Malaysia in the mid 60’s, VICC Band had the enviable task to be the marching band in the guard of honour.
Towards the end of the 70’s, the reputation of VICC Band as the best school band in Malaysia reached its peak by winning the first National Band Competition in 1980. The drum major at that time was Warrant Officer II Ahmad Nordin. He was an Upper Six student.
VICC Band defeated 13 other bands representing each state in Malaysia to become the champion. Numerous band championships were won by them in countless competitions from thereon. Until now, it is also the only school band in Malaysia known to organise its own military tattoos (copying the more famous Edinburgh tattoos).
Life as a VI cadet bandboy is a hectic, grueling and demanding vocation. They put blood and tears into it. The mottos for the VICC Band are ‘Rise to the Occasion’, ‘To Perfection’ and ‘Never Say Die’.
And believe me, they follow those mottos to a tee.
They are the most disciplined, proud and honourable student in school. They excel in everything that they do. The officers (usually Form 4 onwards) sometimes are accorded with the same respect the VI Prefects get.
With this kind of mentality, attitude and the constant need to be the best in everything, it came as no surprise that they managed to be the Champion of the World.
And these are just a bunch of 13 to 18 year old kids.
I am proud of them.
(All the dates and facts came from memory. Please correct me if any of the above is wrong. Thank you)