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Insignia, Anthem and Flag

The Origin

Early in the Christian era, pilgrims began to visit the Holy Places in Jerusalem. In the year A.D. 600 Abbot Probus was ordered by Pope Gregory the Great (540-604) to set up a hostel for pilgrims in the Holy City. About A.D. 800 Emperor Charlemagne (Charles the Great) (742-814) rebuilt and enlarged the hostel and added a

In A.D. 1005, the hospice and a large number of buildings in Jerusalem were destroyed by the order of the Caliph Al-Hakim (985-1021). For a time, the pilgrims had no place for shelter and refuge. The merchants of Amalfi, from the province of Salerno in Southern Italy rebuilt the hospice monastery and chapel in Jerusalem in 1023. The eight-pointed white cross, which was the badge of the maritime Republic of Amalfi, was adopted by the Benedictine monks who served in this new hospital. This is the origin of the Order of St. John and its emblem.

The mottoes of the Order of St. John:

Pro Fide - For the Faith
Pro Utilitate Hominum - For the Service of

The four arms symbolised four virtues:

PRUDENCE (carefulness and forethought),
JUSTICE (fairness),
TEMPERANCE (moderation in all things),
FORTITUDE (courage and endurance).

The Order of St. John in England

The establishment of SJAA in 1877 and SJAB a decade later allowed lay persons to carry out first aid duties and help those who were suffering. In 1884, the Association adopted the Order’s crest surrounded by a garter as a badge for its certified members with the permission of the Order. 

On 14 May 1888, Her Majesty Queen Victoria officially recognised the Order of St. John as a British Order of Chivalry in a Royal Charter of Incorporation. The Order in England was henceforth called “The Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem” or the Order of St. John in short, and she became the Patron and Sovereign Head. Since then, the King or Queen of England was made the Sovereign Head and the Patron
of the Order of St. John.

The Royal Beasts - the lions passant gardant and the unicorns passant gardant - were added to the St. John cross, thus linking the Order of St. John to British royal patronage.

The eight-pointed St. John cross is flanked by supporting lions passant gardant and unicorns passant gardant in opposite directions. Each of the eight-points carries a virtue, which every member of St. John Ambulance must uphold. They are:

That he may note the causes and signs of injury.

That he may, without thoughtless questions, learn the signs and symptoms and history of the case, and secure the confidence of the patients and bystanders.

That he may use to the best advantage whatever is at hand to prevent further damage and assist Nature’s efforts to repair the mischief already done.

That he may handle a patient without causing unnecessary pain, and use appliances efficiently and neatly.

That he may give clear instructions to the patients and/ or the bystanders how best to assist him.

That he may decide which of the several injuries should be treated first.

That he may continue his efforts, though not at first successful.

That he may give real comfort and encouragement to the suffering.
St. John Ambulance of Malaysia Emblem

Before August 1972, SJAA and SJAB used similar devices with different wordings “The St. John Ambulance Association” and “The St. John Ambulance Brigade” surrounding the Order’s crest respectively.

The combined entities after August 1972 adopted a single emblem with the wording “St. John Ambulans Malaysia”.

The 1972 St. John Ambulance of Malaysia (Incorporation) Act identifies and details the SJAM emblem, the name of “St. John” and protect the emblem and name from unauthorised use.

SJAM Anthem

The song “Berkhidmat Bagi Manusia” (“For the Service of Mankind” ) was initially composed for the Teachers’ Training Colleges in Sandakan in the early 1980s by Encik Francis Tan Guan Seng, the then Sandakan Deputy Area Commander. Encik Eainuddin bin Juwahir, a teacher at the college, provided the music score. The song was played in Sandakan Teachers’ Training College for many years before Encik Murukesu Margapandu, a lecturer and SJAM Sabah officer, heard the song and brought it to Kuala Lumpur. Bahagian Pendidikan Guru adopted it as the Colleges’ official St. John song.

In 1997, the “Berkhidmat Bagi Manusia” song was adopted as the official SJAM anthem after slight modifications were made to the lyrics. The initial anthem has a da capo al fine but in the final version, the da capo was removed to shorten the anthem. The final version is reproduced here:

Berkhidmat Bagi Manusia

Anggota St. John bersiap sedia

untuk berkhidmat kepada manusia

tanpa mengira pelbagai bangsa agama dan budaya.

Seragam St. John lambang kejituan

dilatih untuk bantu yang derita

tanpa mengharap kurnia dan ganjaran berbakti sepanjang masa.

Berkorban walau di mana berada

dengan rela hati suci.

Berpegang teguh pada cogan kata

Berkhidmat Bagi Manusia.

Inilah sumbangan dari kami

terhadap mu oh ibu pertiwi

sumpah dan ikrar kami tunaikan kepada nusa dan bangsa.

St. John Flag

The St John Flag is the Badge of the Order, a white cross with gold lions and unicorns emblazoned on a black field. The Flag comes in the following sizes: nine feet by six feet, six feet by four feet and three feet by two feet. No Divisional names or any other writing on any St John flag. 

The St. John Flag is flown at an establishment of SJAM unit, at First Aid stations, SJAM Annual Inspections, and camps. The Flag, unlike a Colour, is never saluted.