Setapak High School Sikh students re-union jodhmela (9 May)

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | Asia Samachar | 3 May 2015

Calling on all former Sikh students of Setapak High School. They are having a reunion on 9 May. Mark your calendar. Manjeet Singh, a member of the organising team, shares some thoughts.


Master Daljit Singh with the Sikh student leaders at Setapak High.
Master Daljit Singh with the Sikh student leaders at Setapak High.


Setapak High School Sikh Students Re-Union Jodhmela 

Date/Time: 9 May 2015 (3.30 pm – 0845 pm)

Venue: Gurdwara Sahib Pulapol


Setapak High School, (or Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Tinggi, Setapak in Malay) is a secondary school in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Established in 1955, it is an all-boys school, with the exception of the co-ed Sixth Form. The school is also known as High School and Setapak High. When first established, it was located in High Street, Kuala Lumpur (hence its name), before moving to its current location in Setapak in 1963. In 1962, the school moved from High Street to make way for a construction project. While waiting for the new school buildings to be completed in Setapak, the students were placed temporarily in St. John’s Institution in the afternoon session from April 1962 until the end of that year.

Setapak High School (SHS) was unique in some sense. One unique feature of Setapak High was the unusually large number of Sikh Students population, originating from the surrounding feeder areas of Air Panas, Setapak Gardens, Taman Ibukota, Kampung Pasir, Gombak, Sentul, Titiwangsa, Kg Loke Yew, Pulapol etc. Due to their large numbers, in the 1970s it was not unusual to have at least 60 Sikh students in any single school year spread over the forms. This unique characteristic has left an undeniable mark in the history of the school. Incidentally, until today the school is active in the sports arena, especially in the inter-school hockey championships a legacy tradition established by the large Sikh population that used to study and represent the school in the game.

‘The Pipes and Drums’ band a spin-off from the Scottish Highlanders was the pride and joy of the school as it epitomized discipline with artistic ability and in almost all activities the school band led the way and very prominently the Sikh turbans would be omnipresent.

In the early 1970s some very far-sighted SHS Sikh Student leaders saw the challenge being posed as well the influence of other religious based school clubs such as the Scripture Union club on the young minds of the Sikh students, which led them to approach two well-known stalwarts of the Sikh Community – the Late Master Amar Singh (B.A.B.T) and Master Daljit Singh (Kirby College, UK) who were coincidentally teachers in Setapak High School. With strong support from some parents particularly Mr Amrao Singh, approval was received from the school’s Parent Teacher Association and as a result, in 1974, the first school Sikh Society in the history of Malaysia was established in Setapak High School.

The establishment of the SHS Sikh Society was soon replicated elsewhere which saw the mushrooming of the Sikh Societies in various other schools in Kuala Lumpur, particularly in Air Panas Girls School (where Madam Harbhajan Kaur w/o Master Daljit Singh was a teacher), Maxwell, Cochrane and MBS Sentul. Based on ex-students’ accounts, the Setapak High School Sikh Society pioneered the first inter-school Sikh Society games concept and which probably was the precursor to the current Holla Mahala games series being organised by the Sikh Naujawan Sabha Malaysia (SNSM).

Writing anything on the Setapak High Sikh Society would not be complete without mentioning the two teacher advisors who steered and were the guiding forces of the society through its formative years.

A literary genius, the Late Master Amar Singh served as the Jathedar of SNSM from 1977-79 and was also editor of The Sikh magazine. Master Ji went to become Principal of Khalsa College of Correspondence Courses in Canada.

Master Daljit Singh who retired as headmaster of S.R. Wangsa Maju is still todate actively involved in SNSM activities. Master Daljit was the Jathedar of SNSM from 1982-85 and is also known as the ‘Father of  Naujawan Satsangs’. He wrote extensively in The Sikh and infused innovative ideas in SNSM Samelans probably based on his experiences in handling the energetic highly charged Sikh youth of Setapak High.

Many of the Setapak High youth owe their professional and worldly success to Master Ji’s patience and deft guidance during those developmental years. He was instrumental in implanting the positive values of Sikhism in the Sikh youth that transited through SHS and subsequently are contributing enormously to the nation through their various chosen fields of enterprise, education, public service, civil society etc.

As a regular activity, SHS Sikh Society members met every Friday afternoon after school for a couple of hours. The afternoon session Sikh students would come in early at 12 noon to attend the society meetings. Typically the meetings started with recital of the Mool Mantar, which then led to discussions of excerpts of ‘Gurbani shabads’ produced, translated into English and photo-stated for distribution by the ever dependable Master Daljit Singh.

Master Amar Singh being a history teacher would then enthral the membership with talks of Sikh History including the historical significance of the forthcoming Sikh Festivals and Gurpurabs.

It was always a delight and inspiring to the young minds gathered to delve into “Beads of Truth’ magazine articles and the subsequent lively Q&A sessions with Master Daljit Singh. The Beads of Truth was a community magazine in the 1970’s and 1980’s which contained lectures by Yogi Bhajan, indeed a treasure with timeless wisdom and information.

The teacher advisors very aptly introduced/incorporated mastering Punjabi language elements in the regular Friday meetings and this was instrumental in motivating many SHS Sikh Students to take-up the Punjabi Language Paper in LCE/MCE/PMR/SPM examinations.

In those days there was a disturbing trend of Sikh youth who choose to keep wearing a ‘patka’ or shun their ‘kesh’ during the time when they were supposed to wear a full and proper turban. The SHS Sikh Society played a critical role during this transformation period of many a Setapak High Sikh youth where there was an unwritten rule whereby it was almost trendy to appear in the full turban from the very first day of one’s Form 3 session.

Belonging to a group of fellow membership assisted many Sikh youths to overcome the social peer pressure as we all know how hard it is for youth (15-18 years) who try to fit in the society.

Of course it was NOT all just in classroom settings. In addition of the aforementioned inter-school games, the Sikh Society organised (normally jointly with the Air Panas Girls School Sikh Society) recreation trips to Cameron Highlands, pilgrimmage delegations to the  Gurdwara Sahib Malacca to observe the Sant Baba Sohan Singh Barsi programmes all of which fostered long lasting relationships and friendships to this day. It was also a regular feature for the Society to organise annual Jodhmelas to seek Waheguru’s blessing before major examinations.

Unfortunately being in an era before e-mails and social media – indeed Facebook, Twitter was unknown – many Setapak High School Students have lost touch with each other. Towards this end, a group of ex-Setapak High School Students have decided to convene a Re-Union Jodhmela in the presence of the All-Mighty Waheguru to revive the happy moments and re-connect the Sikh Students who walked the corridors of their common alma-mater – Setapak High School.

Prepared by : Manjit Singh


SetapakHigh-School Logo

Re-Union Jodhmela Programme:

9 May 2015 – Gurdwara Sahib Pulapol

12 noon – Sewa: preparation of Guru ka Langgar 

3.30 pm – Sukhmani Sahib

5.30 pm – Tea

6.30 pm – Rehraas

7.00 pm – Kirtan & Katha

8.30 pm – Ardaas

8.40 pm – Guru ka Langgar


In Case of any Queries please contact:

Manjit Singh – 0126427315

Baldev Singh – 0178789177

Jaswant Singh – 0193189159

Purinder Singh – 0169678780


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Setapak High’s large, active Sikh student population (Asia Samachar, 3 May 2014)