A teacher and a sportsman, but above all, an altruist, the late Mr. Joseph Vellupillai Chinniah was held dear to the heart by those who came to know him and indeed was a classic testimoy to the dignity of what Man ought to stive to be.
Joseph V Chinniah was born on 6th January 1896 into a family who possessed high ideals, in Sri Lanka. His tender years were spent at the Jaffna College. By a twist of face, he emigrated to Malaya at the age of seventeen.
As a young man of twenty-three, he plunged into the teaching profession, which he was not to regret. His thirty-six years of nurturing inquiring minds and seeing them making somthing of themselves in life, was most gratifying to him. To cite a few examples are that luminary of a mathematical genius, Dr. Tan Wang Seng who was the Dean in the University of Sains Malaysia and who was probably the first Malaysian to return with a Doctorate in Applied Analysis and Computer Science from the University of Waterloo, Canada; the former Director of Education, Malacca, Encik Maphor bin Baba and Mr. Ong Sek Pek, the former chairman of Board of Governors. In the eyes of his ex-students, he was charitable, understanding, patient and yet firm. He taught in Bandar Hilir English School, Anglo Chinese School and Malacca High School where he ended his career.
Besides his teaching career, Mr. Chinniah was a keen sportsman, representing Malacca State in soccer as the goal-keeper. He also knew something about cricket and tennis.
A philanthropist who adored children and vice-versa, he built a badminton courts in Ujong Pasir for them, and although parsimonious during hard times, tried to donate whatever he could afford to deserving charities. As a person, he was good-natured, humorous and was a friend to all who knew him. As a teacher, he possessed the finer qualities and was a shining example for others of his profession to follow.
Converting hard copy to soft copy: Page 58 Optimist 1977