JD Lovrenciear pays tribute to a teacher who imparted life lessons that went well beyond textbooks and homework.
It was a Friday lunch hour when two students were asked to meet their former teacher over lunch at a club.
As the two students, RK Ravindran and I, sat before Benedict Morais, memories flooded back and words of gratitude filled our lips.
Ben Morais, as he is fondly known, is a doyen in the professional public relations circuit here. A former divisional director of the world’s largest professional body of management accountants, he is also a writer.
Despite having retired as special advisor to another global professional accountants body at the Malaysian and Asean levels, Ben continues to serve as a mentor for numerous executives.
Perhaps it is worth sharing some thoughts here in the hope that Malaysia will continue to be blessed with teachers who leave an indelible mark in the hearts and minds of their students.
Ben started his career as a teacher. Despite rising through the ranks of the corporate and professional world, including having served as president of the Institute of Public Relations Malaysia (IPRM), Ben remains much sought after as a source of inspiration. Countless number of students admire him for their life-changing experience under him.
It is teachers like Ben who continue to instil the right attitudes and values that will help the nation blossom into a well-developed, caring and responsible society. They are teachers who go the distance, imparting life lessions that go well beyond textbooks, homework and good grades at exams.
Ben was a star teacher who developed a conscience in us, instilled in us the right attitude and passion for our chosen vocations, and set a standard that kept rising.
So, despite becoming senior citizens ourselves, we found it difficult to call Ben by name. Instead, we kept addressing him as “Sir” – even though he reminded us umpteen times, “Hey, you guys, drop the ‘Sir’, will you.”
Malaysia needs more teachers like our Ben, who is now an Aliran member. The country needs more professionals like him, undoubtedly.
Here is a toast to not only Ben but also the many more teachers who take after exemplary teachers and professionals like him.