M.K. Bhasi

"…Thank you for this path, long and winding where shadows are still dancing

Thank you, let me say finally To all those who passed this way, before me, Thank you"

- Poet M.K. Bhasi – from “Thank you for the Memories”

Poet, teacher, educator M. K. Bhasi, 84, was born and educated in India. In 1953 he came to Singapore on his first job as a trainee in Victoria School. After getting qualified as a teacher from the Teacher’s Training College here he was sent to a new school in Pasir Panjang. His job as a Senior Science teacher was challenging as he was new to the job and was in charge of the science lab. Those days they had to import all the lab equipment from the U.K. and young Mr Bhasi had the onerous task of ordering and maintaining all the equipment. He spent 20 years in the same job before asking for a transfer. After spending a year in the new school, he got promoted as Vice Principal. Even after he retired he worked for two more years.

Apart from his role as a teacher and educator M.K. Bhasi was part of the Singapore Teachers Union.

While he played a long and important part in educating generations of Singaporeans, and specialised in teaching science, his personal passion was in writing poetry. He is a published author and won a number of awards for his writing. Writing offered him a certain freedom, and something that he could do after teaching science during the day. He wrote about love, about relationships, about life, in his words – it was a passion that allowed him to write about anything.

“When you write poetry, there are no limits. You can write about anything.”

Apart from his role as an educator, M.K. Bhasi found it important to be part of Singapore’s cultural landscape. In 1960, he joined the then Singapore Kerala Association and then moved to the Sree Narayanan Mission to contribute more to the society he was part of. He was also a STEP centre principal at SINDA, using his years of experience as an educator to contribute to the growth of young minds. But, the work at the mission required a fair bit of his time and he had to reluctantly let go of other community work. Till today his biggest contribution to society was in serving the community through Sree Narayana Mission for 17 years.

“To be frank, I think the response from the Chinese Community is better than from the Indian community.”

He was nominated to the Hindu Advisory Board by the then Minister of Social Affairs Mr Othman Wok and he served there for 4 years. In serving the community at the Hindu Advisory Board he was part of some of the important decisions that were taken that would affect the Indian community in Singapore. Post separation from Malaysia, Singapore government wanted the number of holidays in Singapore to be reduced. The difficult decision to choose one holiday for the Indian community rested with the Hindu Advisory Board. M.K. Bhasi recalled the challenges faced and how Deepavali was chosen as a holiday, which all Indians could relate to. With rapid progress in Singapore, there were also many incidences of relocation or demolition of Hindu temples and prayer sites, which met with resistance and the advisory board had to step in to mediate. Many tricky situations like this were successfully managed during the tenure of M.K. Bhasi at the Hindu Advisory Board.

“You cannot keep the body. You can even use petrol or kerosene to burn the body. It is alright.”

M.K. Bhasi served a long term as an educator and continued to do so after his retirement. He contributed to Singapore’s social and cultural landscape as a poet and writer and at the Sree Narayana Mission where he served for almost two decades. Apart from that he was prolific in writing poetry and has three published books. Poetry has been in his blood since he was a young boy and it is the sheer passion that has kept him writing for all these years. Even though he does not write as much nowadays, he is nostalgic about his poetry.

“I have seen how people lived in the 1950s and all the changes that have taken place are really fantastic!”

A dedication to the pioneers in the Indian community.

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