Shake Down the Thunder From the Sky

St. John’s Institution, a school where boys are raised as eagles so they soar and rise above all.

It is a school of heritage and history. So rich, it is looked upon as an elite institution where only the blue-blooded shall grace its halls. Thankfully, that is only by reputation because some of us ranked below the cream of society have actually found our way in.

Perched on the hill of Bukit Nanas where the metropolis of Kuala Lumpur’s largest forest reserve is situated and sharing the same soil as the tallest telecommunication tower of the KL Tower, St. John’s Institution has a certain culture that runs with its cheery school song. The first verse alone is enough to propel your aspirations on overdrive and before the tune ends, you would have the world at your feet, flooring every opponent in sight and grabbing the hands of your comrades so you’d march onward together, to victory with wisdom. That’s how we began school every week and that’s how some of us still encourage each other in our own little ways.

On the 22nd of June 2016, a public holiday, unplanned, I have visited our school grounds with my wife and daughter. This is after 23 years of leaving this wonderful school. Memories raced back, fast and loud as the thunderous cheers. We walked through the hallway, the stairs, inspecting names of popular Johannians inscribed on the walls and decorated in the modern photo frames. Decked still as a classically Roman Catholic school, the red edifice of our proud alma mater is still as captivating if not better.

To commemorate that impromptu visit, here are some pictures from our little excursion back to the good old St. John’s Institution.

Side entrance to the school and also the first entrance from where traffic comes through. The three-storey block faces the main road and the most photographed and recognised part of the school. It’s where classrooms of Form 1 to 4 are located.


Walking through this entrance daily, we’re reminded how far we’ve come.


The interior of the school and the same three-storey block from the above picture. KL Tower is just nearby at the background.


A view from the opposite side of the school’s interior. The three-storey block near the tree has an event hall on the ground floor and science labs on the top two floors. The basketball court is the very ground where students gather for assembly. On a higher ground on the right is where the teachers and headmasters will be during assembly. The railings and water fountain are certainly new features, as are the new tiles beneath the water fountain.


An angular view from the school field. The white block between the left and right side of the buildings is where all hell breaks loose when the bell goes off – the stairs.


The low rise block on the right is the Form 5 Block. This is where macho teenagers mature into adulthood, or so that’s where we thought we were heading 🙂 The bottom floor is where rooms to the school’s Cadet Band, St. John’s Ambulance and Quartermaster’s were at back then. Just above it is the canteen.


The school field next to the Form 6 Block on the right where it also houses the Teacher’s Office at the bottom floor and squash and badminton courts on the top two floors. Rather surprising is the sponsorship by national car maker Proton at our school field. I guess we need the money to continue the upkeep of this majestic school grounds.


Rich in value and heritage, St. John’s Institution.


There are more pictures to be taken but no matter the number, it wouldn’t fit entirely here. It wouldn’t do justice too as seeing it again is to believe in Fide Et Labore once more! So to all Johannians out there, make a trip to Bukit Nanas once again with your family and friends, it may evoke memories of yesteryears, you know you’ll never regret it!

Fide Et Labore!



Cheer cheer and courage display,
All Ye Johannians join in the lay,
Send a volley of cheers on high,
Shake down the thunder from the sky,
What though the odds be great or small,
Dear old St John’s will win over all,
While her loyals sons are marching,
Onward to victory,

Rise boys and loudly proclaim,
That ye will never sully her name,
Let the hills and woodlands ring,
Lift up your hearts and loudly sing,
What though the way be rough or steep,
We’re unto virtue summons to keep,
And if e’er our country needs us,
Loyal and true we’ll be,

8 responses to “Shake Down the Thunder From the Sky”

  1. Old boy from 1977 here. Once a Johannian, always a Johannian. So wonderful to see these pictures and re-live those wonderful years at the old school. My last visit to the place was in 1994 and it looked just as good then. Amazing how all the memories just flood back. So many Johannians in the world doing great things, living up to the song and the badge!

    • Hi Peter, you’re right, once a Johannian, always one. Very happy to be connected with you here. I am from class of 1993, that makes you a super senior to me 🙂 The success of Johannians are indeed overflowing.

  2. Hi Ivan….

    Thank you for such an awesome article…. Great awesome pictures too…

    Peter: I think you, me and all Johannians throughout the ages feel the same… Once a Johannian, Always a Johannian!!!

    To be honest, given the chance, I would love to be able to meet as many Johannians as I can, especially from different graduating years.

    Aaron Chiew, SJI95

    • Thanks Aaron for the generous compliments. It’s a great subject with character and substance
      ..makes it that much more easy and compelling to write about…keep the flag flying, fire burning!!

      Ivan, SJI93

  3. The products of St. John’s Institution are undoubtedly remarkable. Some are Notable Mentions in the Corporate Circle, some made it on their own and not to mention one who is occupying the highest office of the Nation. We are all proud of all the Johannians – big & small. This beautiful Institution will never be erased frm our mind maps. And such we are. Fidé et Laboré!

    • Thanks Dato’ for sharing. Johannians are indeed a different breed, no matter the race, colour and creed. I think it’s especially special for days like September 16th. Fide et labore!!

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