Message from Joseph John Pillai, 6 July 2005


Dear Kirkbyites and friends,


On behalf of my late brother's family and myself, I would like to record our sincere thanks for your condolences. It was more than comforting to be consoled in person at his home and later at his funeral service at the church. To be among so many Kirkbyites was almost like a reunion albeit a very sad one.


Lawrence and I were not only at Kirkby together but were also classmates from Year One in primary School (1946) till we completed secondary school (Form V) in 1956. Later, after marriage, our two families were always in close contact. So you can understand my loss. Even now his death has not fully registered as it was so unexpected.


Thank you.


Joseph John Pillai

434 England Garden

70400 Seremban

Negri Sembilan



Tel:  06-7630416



Message from Gerry Pillai,  Son of John Pillai, 2 July 2005


This is to inform that John Pillai has passed away on 2 July 2005.


For information, pls contact me (his son) Gerry at:


+603 772 75709

019 207 2077


House no 116 Lorong Zaaba

Taman Tun Dr Ismail

60000 Kuala Lumpur





Gerry Pillai



Message from Rama, 2 July 2005




It saddens me to inform you all that Lawrence Loga John (Kirkby 1959/1960) – otherwise known as John Pillai – passed away this afternoon at 4.30 p.m. This sad news was conveyed to me by Shanmuganathan (Shan 0f PD) at 7.45 p.m. I had sms-ed this news to some Kirkbyites requesting that they inform the others.


Adeline responded: “I just spoke to John’s son. Body at home – 116 Lorong Zaaba, Taman Tun Dr Ismail. Amrit and I will go tomorrow.”


Incidentally, Shan will also be going to KL tomorrow to convey his condolences to the family.


This year has not been particularly a good year for the 1959/1960 batch of Kirkbyites. In less than 5 months we have lost 4 Kirkbyites from this batch: Yong Ah Kau, William Sabaratnam, Sakthianathan and John Pillai.


Who knows how many more will bid us farewell before the year is out?


You will recall that John also had a brother, Joseph John, who was from the same batch. I know of no other case when two brothers went to Kirkby the same year.


Shan tells me that he and John went to the same school in Tampin and were classmates for a year in Primary 1. Then years later, they met up in Kirkby and remained in touch all these years.


John, Ling Suan and I worked together in producing the PANDUAN in 1960. He was the Editor; Ling Suan and I were the Sub-Editors.


He was in my group when I organized a tour of Europe during the Summer vacation of 1960. It was the year when a group of Kirkbyites travelling in a rented car were involved in an accident in Austria in which Navasothy passed away. Our group visited the cemetery in Vienna where Sothy was buried. Sothy’s grave had a lot of flowers on it. As we said a prayer for the repose of his soul, I observed, “Part of Malaysia lies buried far away from home in a foreign land.”


John had included this photograph capturing this poignant moment in the Golden Panduan that he produced for the 50th Anniversary on 15 September 2001.


After Kirkby our paths did not cross until the occasion 0f the 50th Anniversary, though there were a few occasional letters until 1969. His father died that year and it was just about the time when I lost my dear mother. I still recall the words in that letter written to John to express my sympathies: “I know what it means to lose a loved one. I understand the sorrow and the pain that you must suffer because I too lost someone dear to me. My mother passed away recently.”


Then sometime in 1985 or 1986, when I was in KL attending a Workshop on the Education of the Blind, I telephoned John and we had a chat.


After that, and 15 years later, I saw him at the Grand Kirkby Reunion on 15 September 2001 but we did not get to chat. Then finally I met him at Shan’s son’s wedding dinner at PD on 9 February 2003. I was at the entrance of the hall when he and his brother, Joseph John arrived. We talked this time. And we all sat at the same table: Hamid and his wife; Sukdev Singh and wife; John and Joseph. Sakthinathan was there also.We had a very pleasant time together.


It appeared to me that like the rest of us he was out of circulation until 2001 when he played a pivotal role together with the rest of the Committee Members in organizing the highly successful 50th Anniversary.  


It was rather unfortunate that he was unable to be present at the Penang Reunion in June 2004.


May he rest in peace.


Those of you wishing to visit his residence or wanting to drop a note or make a call, the following particulars may be helpful:


116, Lorong Zaaba, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, 60000 Kuala Lumpur.

Tel: 03-7727 5709; Fax: 03-7727 5709; Hp: 016 277 0936



With very warm regards,



2 July 11.30 p.m.




Message from Rosalyn, 2 July 2005 


Rama SMS me a few minutes ago informing me of the passing away of our dear friend John Pillai(1959-1960) at 4.30pm this afternoon.

I'm sure you are as shocked as I was to receive this sad tidings.

As you know  the late John Pillai was the one who organised the Kirkby 2001 Golden Anniversary Reunion in KL & was instrumental in bringing us Kirkbyites closer togerther.

We have him to thank for cementing the bond that we Kirkbyites enjoy today.

Please pray for his soul.If possible,those who can,try to attend his funeral.

We all share the grief of his passing with his bereaved family.



ps; Please pass the sad news to those who are not on the net & to those whose names I have inadvertently left out. Thanks.



Message from Chiam Tah Wen, 3 July 2005

Dear Kirkbyites and friends,

We have lost a dear friend and a great Kirkbyite who succumbed to heart attack on Saturday evening July 2, 2005.

Not only was he a great teacher, a media specialist and a crusader against drug abuse, he was also a loving husband, a doting father and a very caring person.

He brought the many Kirkbyites together from the first batch in 1951
to the last batch in 1962 in the mammoth Kirkby Golden Jubilee Reunion
in Kuala Lumpur on September 15 2001. It was a highly successful
function with HRH Tuanku Bainun, Raja Permaisuri Perak, herself a
Kirkbyite, as the patron.

In addition to the Kirkbyites who flew in from many parts of the
world, the son of our Kirkby senior Mathematics Lecturer Mr
A.D.Walters -- Christopher D. Walters who grew up in Kirkby and now a
successful water engineer with business interests in SEA -- and his
wife Ann and the Kirkby foster parents of many Kirkbyites  Mr & Mrs
R.A. Gillis  also attended the reunion. So did the President of the
Taylor's Education Group Dr Khoo Soo Peng and his wife and many other
distinguished guests.

On this very sad occasion, we wish to extend our deepest condolences
to John's wife Teresa, his children and relatives. May he rest in peace.

It has been announced that the funeral service would be held at
Fatimah Catholic Church in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur on Monday July 4
at 10.30 am.

Chiam Tah Wen

Message from Rama

JOHN PILLAI : Cause of Death

Dear Kirkbyites,

Bala of 1958/1959 batch rang me just after 6 p.m. from John Pillai’s residence. He had gone to pay his respects to the late John Pillai and met Joseph John, the brother of JP.

He very kindly connected me to Joseph through his hand phone. According to Joseph, his brother went for a check up last week and was given a clean bill of health. This is why they were all very shocked by the sudden turn of events.

Apparently John suffered a massive cardiac arrest and passed away before help could reach him.

Joseph informed me that Shan, Hamid, Vimala, Arulmalar and others - I’m not able to recall their names - dropped by to convey their condolences. I’m sure others will also attend the funeral tomorrow.

Chelva also rang from Malacca to inform me that he had called John’s home to enquire about the funeral and was told that it would take place on Monday.

The New Sunday Times carried an obituary on page 32 that stated that the cortege would leave 116 Lorong Zaaba, Taman Tun Dr Ismail at 9.30 am

4 July 2005 (Monday) for funeral mass at Our Lady of Fatima Parish, Brichfields at 10.30 and thence to Cheras Crematorium.

For further details call 03-7727 5709 or 012-2168102 (Stefanie)

There was also a report on page 24 of the Sunday Times:

Ex-NST journalist Pillai dies

Kuala Lumpur, Sat. Former New Straits Times journalist John Pillai died at his home today. He was 69.

Pillai was resting in the afternoon when he encountered breathing problems.

He died before the doctor arrived.

Pillai, who left the company in 1998 after 27 years of service, was the pioneer editor of the NST’s Newspaper-in-Education programme. He had various other posts including specialist writer and special projects co-ordinator.

NST director and former Group Editor P.C. Shivadas said, “I feel saddened by his passing.”

Pillai was the deputy secretary of the International Information Bureau of the National Association for Drug Abuse and authored several papers on the subject. He was also a member of the Asia-Pacific NGO Anti-Drugs Training-the-Trainer Team.

Pillai was an alumnus of Malayan Teachers’ College in Kirkby, England. He was the editor of the college magazine The Panduan.

The Sunday Mail had this report on page 2:

Former journalist John Pillai dies

Former New Straits Times (NST) journalist, L. L. John Pillai passed away at his Taman Tun Dr Ismail family home in Kuala Lumpur, yesterday evening. He was 69.

John was at home with his family when he was believed to have suffered breathing difficulties at about 5.20 pm.

His family summoned a doctor who pronounced him dead.

John is survived by his widow Teresa, three daughters and a son.

He served NST for 27 years until his retirement in 1991.

His last post was as the editor of Newspaper In Education (NIE) unit.

A trained teacher, he was among the first batch of “Kirkbyites” who were sent to the Malayan Teachers' Training College in Liverpool, England, between 1951 and 1962.

He was also a strong advocate of anti-dadah programmes and a certified drug sbuse prevention specialist, having onducted and participated in numerous drug abuse prevention courses locally and internationally.

Tien Chong wrote:

Dear Rama,

Many thanks for your prompt reply. I'm extremely distressed to hear of such sad news so unexpectedly. You do have a great burden to bear having to pass on such unfortunate tidings and I like you to know that I and I'm sure, all Kirkbyites, really appreciate your effect.

If you or others decide to have any commemoration done for our JP, I beg to be included. Kindly keep me informed.

Extremely grateful and thank you again, Rama.


Sun, 3 Jul 2005 17:34:35 +1200

Kindly take note of Tien Chong's request and keep him posted.

With very warm regards,



Message from Fook Wah, 4 July 2005

Hi All,

It is indeed sad news for all of us who know him ,,John. Our Condolences to his family and loved ones he left behind.

God Bless him.

fookwah, maureen and david tan.


Message from Helen Livesey-Jones, 5 July 2005

Dear Kirkby friends
I was very shocked to hear from John Pillai's son, Gerry that John had passed away.
He and I had begun writing toward the end of last year when first I discovered Kirkby students 'on line'. He sent me many lovely cuttings and information about the Golden Jubilee and pictures of his beautiful family of whom he was so obviously very proud.
He was so full of enthusiasm and energy - always doing something new or setting off to a drugs training programme in another country. I was impressed by his love of life and his excitement about the world around him. I do wish I had had a chance to meet him again as an adult - not just as a child.
My dad was his lecturer and that of his younger brother, Joseph. John shared some happy memories of my dad and Kirkby - and I thank him very much for that.
I send my and my family's heart felt sympathy to John's family.
I have no doubt that the world is a poorer place without him.
Helen Livesey-Jones
Dear friends,
My mother, Rita Kennedy, wishes to pass on her sadness and condolences to the 
family of John Pillai.  She had been in regular contact with him (on behalf 
of my father Joe, during his illness, and most recently since his death in 
March) and was deeply sorry when I passed on to her the news.  He clearly did 
great work in keeping the memories, friendships and all-round strength of Kirkby 
I hope someone can kindly forward this to Shanthini for Joseph John Pillai 
and all the family.
With warm wishes to all.
Frank Kennedy