Celebrating 26 Years Anniversary 
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Celebrating 26 Years Anniversary

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Message from the Founder

There’s nothing like a good story. The one I’m about to tell you happened in the last week of November 1988.

A lady from Johor Bahru rang me. She said I did not know her, but she had heard that I was skilled at helping young children to read. Her call was of an urgent nature, as she was also aware that I was migrating to Australia. Her three-year-old son had to travel to Kuala Lumpur for some lessons.

I explained that I was leaving for Perth in just over a week’s time. All my teaching materials and most of my personal affects had been packed into a container. My home was bare.

“I’ll put my son and my helper on the train tomorrow. Please pick them up from the train station,” she insisted. Nothing I said could discourage her. And so, spurred on by her enthusiasm, I found myself agreeing to having these two strangers with me for the week.

I had none of my usual books or worksheets, so we made do with handwritten words on pieces of paper. By the end of his stay, the toddler had completed Stage 1 of Vital Years!

His mother, a lawyer, drove from Johor Bahru herself to pick him and her helper up on Saturday. We chatted for fifteen minutes at most, and in addition to the tutoring fee she handed me a small portable oven and a stack of recipes. Inscribed on each recipe card was the name, Mrs Y.S. Bala Krishnaan. Part of her legacy shared with me, in gratitude for what her son had received.

Where are these dear people now? I wonder about the man that boy grew up to be, and how much his life was inextricably altered from the moment he became a reader.

To Y.S. Bala Krishnaan, and to all the parents who have made the same critical choice since the creation of Vital Years – Thank you for going to any lengths necessary to have the best for your child. We have not let you down.

Madam Leow Kam Foong
VITAL YEARS Originator & Founder
1 April 2022

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