Parting is such sweet sorrow…

We interrupt our “regular programming” for this very special post.

It was indeed a sad day yesterday – the 16th of November, 2010 when the Sacred Heart family bade a tearful farewell to someone so dear and close to their hearts – the vibrant and dynamic principal of  the school, Mr Vincent Liong Shou Chuan…

Mr Vincent Liong's farewell assembly 1

A grand assembly was held in his honour during which some important guests sang his praises and he himself gave his farewell speech to all present. Then, there was the presentation of gifts and souvenirs…

Mr Vincent Liong's farewell assembly 2

…and there were so many that he probably would have to hire a lorry to cart all of them home.

Mr Liong has been transferred back to his hometown, Sarikei, to become the principal of Sarikei High School. If I remember correctly, he came to Sacred Heart Secondary School, Sibu in 2006 and I retired in 2007. We had to work very hard but very willingly as he was always there – ever supportive, ever appreciative, so much so that we did not mind sacrificing a lot more of our energy and time for the school and the students…and in that brief period of time, I would say that we progressed from colleagues, from superior and subordinate and became very close friends.

It is obvious that he is very close also to many, including the students. At the assembly, he joined them in singing this Emil Chau’s song, Friend

Mr Vincent Liong's farewell assembly 3

…and during their video tribute to him, he could not hold back his tears anymore but it did not matter as at that point in time, there was not a dry eye in the massive school hall – the biggest in Sibu and probably the state of Sarawak or perhaps even in the whole of Malaysia. Such was the affection that everyone had for the man.

The night before, there was a special farewell dinner for him…

Mr Vincent Liong's farewell dinner 1

…and I was invited even though I have retired for almost three years now.

Mr Vincent Liong's farewell dinner 2

In fact, I have been invited to every dinner the school has had all this while – be it for Teachers’ Day or the annual one at the end of the year.

Mr Vincent Liong's farewell dinner 3

That is Vincent – he will always remember everyone’s contribution and will continue to show how much he appreciates it.

Mr Vincent Liong's farewell dinner 4

The highlight of the evening was when he sang Teresa Teng’s evergreen favourite, “The moon represents my heart” with his dear wife…

Mr Vincent Liong's farewell dinner 5

Vincent’s leaving is indeed a great loss to Sacred Heart. With him as principal in these 4 years plus, the school has successfully swept all kinds of state and national-level awards, a feat that is indeed very difficult for anyone to equal.

In the words of William Shakespeare, parting is such sweet sorrow…and here, I would like to wish him the very best in his new station. For someone with his vision and passion, there can be no doubt whatsoever that he will continue to achieve success in every endeavour wherever he may be.

Goodbye, Vincent…and God bless you and your family always.