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Thread: Remembering Rev. Fr. A Julien (1917 - 2004)

  1. #1
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    Remembering Rev. Fr. A Julien (1917 - 2004)

    Datuk Rev. Fr. A Julien, a Belgian missionary whose name is synonymous to Heng Ee High School and Chinese education in Malaysia, returned to Him on September 11, 12:43hr. He was 87.

    FrJulien_040911_web.jpgFuneral is on September 14. He will be put to rest at the Catholic Cemetry, Jalan Kelawei.

    Father Julien, alongside Rev. Fr. Chao Chong Sen, expanded the Heng Ee school on public donations after coming to Penang in 1952. The school was made up to provide basic education for children from poor homes who had exceeded the school-entering age.

    To develop the Heng Ee primary and secondary schools and kindergartens, Father Julian gave up the RM60,000 his Belgian family willed to him and channelled the money to the schools' education foundation.

    Today, Heng Ee school stands erect beside the Seven Sorrows church along Jalan Macalister in Penang. It's a monument of Father Julien's lifelong contribution to the country though he was never recognised as a Tokoh Guru under our education system.

    However, his merits were ultimately given due recognition. Rev Julien was bestowed the Datukship by the Penang State Governor in July 1995.

    He became an inmate of Batu Lancang Old Folks Home after his retirement in 1999. It was then discovered that Father Julien was suffering from Parkinson's Disease.

    I hope Penangites in Subang Jaya-USJ could use this Web Forum to eulogise him for all the good deeds he has done to his chosen home.

    I have not the privilege to be his student, but I cherished him from afar. He has been a living saint to me.

    Father Julien is also remembered as a good scout and a fine harmonica player.

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    From Screenshots reader Edmund:


    When I looked at the orbituary. I felt a sense of great loss. His name and Heng Ee's was synonymous. Under his tutelage and patronage, Heng Ee rose from a school that received boys and girls unable to get into Chung Ling, Chung Hwa or Perempuan China to become one of the premier and much sought after schools in Penang. Just last year, one of my neighbours was pleading for his son to be admitted to SMKC Heng Ee although he got a place in another premier school.

    His devotion to, and his fight for, Chinese Education was legendary in Penang. Once he visited us over donations for Heng Ee. I remembered him sitting there, imposing, tall, ram-rod straight, and speaking flawless mandarin albeit with a shanghainese accent. When we commended him on his good mandarin, he insisted, "I am not Belgian, I am Chinese!" Of course, some didn't quite like it when he harangued them for their inability to speak Mandarin although they're Chinese.

    Here was a man who worked selflessly to help the young in Penang. I remember him going after those who dropped out of school due to poverty. He would go after and even scold the parents. Then he would somehow get money from somewhere to pull them back to school.

    His contribution to education in Penang was immeasurable. Tokoh Guru? It doesn't matter to me, and to him too I must say, whether he was officially recognised as one, for to me, whenever I hear 'Tokoh Guru', I would automatiocally think of Father Julien, the educationist par excellence. May his soul rest in peace.

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    From Screenshots reader Lucia:
    URL: http://jogalong.blogspot.com


    jeff, i'm glad to see you blogging on fr julien's death. i was going to do it on my blog but laziness got the better of me. never mind, i will make a very short one and then link it to your post here.

    i was one of the earliest to learn of his death as at that time i was at the office of the church of our lady of sorrows (btw, the name now is 'our lady of sorrows' not 'seven sorrows'. the 'seven' had been dropped). my friend was at his bedside prior to his death. my friend left his bedside, came to church, and just 10mins after she reached the church suddenly she was informed that fr julien passed away. if only she had stayed longer she thought but she had to get back to church for work.

    actually we already got word on friday night that his condition was very bad and he would be going any time. my friend told me that, that saturday morning, there were so many people there by his side, especially those young people from sitiawan. you see, he served the sitiawan parish church at one time and started the 'young christian students' society, and the young people there are very fond of him.

    well, i only know fr julien as a priest but not very well since he had never serve at the churches i want to. when he was serving at our lady of sorrows church (the parish i am now attached to), it was a very long time ago way before i was born. i only met him occasionally. before he was admitted to the little sisters of the poor, he was at one time residing in the church of our lady of sorrows. that was when i used to meet him now and then. at that time he was already senile. i was kind of scared to run into him because i can't speak mandarin! when i spoke to him in english, he answered me in mandarin. he stubornly refused to speak in english at all.

    though i only know him as a priest but of course i heard so much of his contribution to chinese education. indeed i fully agree with edmund that fr julien's contribution to chinese education in penang was immeasurable.

    well i will be attending his funeral come this tuesday. i'm sure it will be a grand one. datuk fr. arthur julien will indeed be remembered fondly as the 'mat salleh man who become chinese in the process of his contribution to chinese education.'

    eternal rest grant unto him, o lord, and may perpetual light shine on him.


    P/S: btw, forgot to point out something.

    jeff, the heng ee school you mentioned that stand erect beside the church is the primary school. the heng ee high school (secondary) which you have a link, is at hamilton road. can't remembe where the kindergarten is now. used to be at somewhere near weld quay.

  4. #4
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    From Screenshots reader BE Chuah:

    I am one of HEHS student, graduated 1975. I was probably the third batch to study in HEHS. In 1969, there was only a single 4 storey building with the canteen. By the time I left, we have an additional block of science lab. Since then a hall and another block were added.

    My son studied in the same school from 1997 - 2001.

    We have the opportunity to continue our edcuation in a fine school as a result of the tireless labour of love of Rev. Fr. A Julien.

    Thank you Fr. Julien.

    Beng Ee and Wei y

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    From The Digital Awakening weblog:
    URL: http://www.petertan.com/blog/

    The Passing Of A Great Educationist



    There was no Mass this morning. The parish priest is attending the Priests Annual Retreat at Stella Maris which began on September 7. Instead, a Service was conducted by a lay leader in his absence. A service without a priest felt somewhat different. Nevertheless, the essence of the worship was still the same. We came together to as a community to strengthen our faith and to renew our spirituality.

    After the Service, Peter and I went to pay our last respects to Father Arthur Julien who died September 11. He was eighty seven. His body is laying in state at Dewan Holy Spirit which is adjacent to the Cathedral. I do not know Father Julien personally. What I knew about him I heard from my parents a long time ago. They had had talked about Father Julien and had high regards for him for the immeasurable role he played in the realisation of the Heng Ee schools.

    He was a well respected figure in Penang for his ceaseless effort in supporting Chinese education here and for being able to speak fluent Mandarin. Many older generation Catholics and those whose lives have been changed for the better by Father Julien's works remembers him with affection. To quote Lucia Lai: “Father Arthur Julien will indeed be remembered fondly as the mat salleh man who became Chinese in the process of his contribution to Chinese education.”

    Jeff Ooi and Lucia Lai also blogged about the demise of this great educationist. Father Julien had touched many with his generosity and effort in promoting literacy here. Foreign Catholic priests like him who had dedicated their lives to the educate Malaysians are a dying breed if not already extinct. Father Julien’s funeral is on September 14. May the Lord grant him eternal peace.


    Posted by petertan at September 12, 2004 07:51 PM

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