Good evening Brothers and fellow old boys,
First of all, I feel greatly honoured with the presence of Brother Alphonsus, Brother Thomas and Brother Steve, our Principal Designate, at this AGM.
As I take up the Presidency of the Association, I would first wish to thank all past presidents, in particular, Charles Chan and Dr. Bernard Kong, whom I have served under, for building a strong foundation for this Association, from which I have inherited. Many aspects are already running so well that even if I do and change nothing in my term, the Association would still be running well.
At this moment, I also wish to make a special mention to many old boy
s who wish to be here but could not. I am referring to the hundreds of old boys relocated overseas who care very much about this Association and the School, but cannot be present. I am thinking of them while I offer this inaugural message.
I want to briefly share with you what I plan to do for the Association in the coming 12 months.
On coming up with a plan for the Association for the coming year, I have been in touch with many stake holders: obviously old boys of various vintages, and especially the young old boys who are now in university and early in their careers, as well as many old boys from overseas whom I met online, as well as face to face in global reunions, the latest one being in San Francisco three weeks ago. I have also met with teachers and the Brothers to understand what they see the Association and old boys can offer in making La Salle a better school.
I will stress on three aspects during my term, the three Cs: Communications, Coordination and Capitalization.
As you may know well, the Committee has a regular calendar of events across the year, from Happy Hours, the Spring Dinner, the Winter Ball, the many sports competitions, to student workshops and career talks, offering sponsorships to student and school activities, to student prizes and scholarships. These events and offerings are time tested, welcomed and many are probably almost seen as an obligation today, and we will continue offering them.
However, in addition to all the above, I will drive the Committee to focus on the following new areas:
First, a focus on our offerings to our younger old boys. I will provide more in the way of talks, sharings and networking opportunities to these new OBA members, and I will try my best to offer functions and activities that are appropriate to their needs and suited for their tastes.
Secondly, I will capitalize on our old boys’ network to offer more back to the School. These include old boys locally based in HK and those from overseas. This could take the format of a formal talk, a casual sharing, a workshop, a company or factory visit, a summer job, or a work shadowing day. Or it could be old boys from one of our nine overseas chapters, offering advice and hands-on assistance to students planning to go to his country and city for future studies. This calls for very good communication and coordination amongst old boys as well as with the School.
Thirdly, I will be listening to find out what the School needs, and also letting the School know what we old boys can offer. The School is facing challenges and pressures from many more directions than ever before, and there are areas that old boys maybe able to offer assistance.
In addition, as we welcome Brother Steve into LSC as the new principal of the School and also a new comer to Hong Kong, we old boys may be able to offer assistance on many areas. I want to School to tell us more on what they need. I want the School to stretch us, the old boys, and to use us more aggressively.
For the OBA, I will explore more ideas with the school as to how the school can use us. And to old boys, you can expect to have more requests coming your way, and please respond generously when you hear the whistle.
As some of you may know, I am very passionate about the School’s rich history. The fourth area I will work on is on a collection of memories and people histories. While the School’s history book published in 2007 largely covers the formal history of the School (although research is still on-going), I would like to begin creating a record of day-to-day lives of students of various generations, from the 1930s to present day. This will be a collection of “social history” of the School, if you like: information like who our students were, where did they live, what were their day to day lives like, their past times, what were their school boy dreams and aspirations, and what are the memories of their school days…
I will create a channel on our OBA website, where old boys can share their memories of their school days, stories that you expect to repeatedly hear when a few friends sit down for drinks and talk about good-old-school-days over a dinner, but never formally recorded. In time, this will become a collection of memories for future generations to know what life was like back 10, 20, 30 years, or up to almost 80 years ago when the School began.
Lastly, during my term of office, I will work with the School Authority to explore the possibility of erecting a War Dead Memorial for our glorious war dead old boys, teachers and Brothers who died in World War Two. This is a project that I envisage will busily engage our students, from research to design to creating the memorial, and in the process help them understand the sufferings and cruelty of war, the courage and manliness of their Lasallian predecessors, and the sweetness of peace they live in today, and through that, they will also build up a greater sense of ownership and loyalty towards the School.
All of the above, I believe, will rely on the core 3 Cs that I will emphasize this year:
Communications: informing old boys about the School and its affairs and needs, and listening for their ideas and feedback. Communicating to the School on what we can offer, and getting feedback on what they need us on.
Coordination: Coordinating – and maybe also encouraging or urging old boys in HK and overseas to offer back to La Salle.
Capitalization: Capitalizing on our vast old boys’ network, drawing these resources together for the good of our old boys, as well as for the School, the Brothers, and the students.
As you can hear, there is a lot to do for the Association and for LSC, but, like me, I know you should be getting hungry. So I shall shortly stop talking, and my committee and I will get into action very soon.
Yet, I would like to make one final appeal. While my committee and I will work hard for old boys and for LSC, there are only 16 of us. My committee and I will be more actively approaching old boys, asking for your help with different aspects of the OBA events. If 3% of our 6,000 members offer help with something, we would increase the working manpower of the Association more than tenfold, and a lot more can be achieved. So, when you hear of an appeal – or think of something you can offer – please, raise your hand and come forward generously.
As a closing, I wish to thank last year’s committee members who agreed to continue to serve in the Association. Let’s make this a good year for the Association and for our fellow old boys and for La Salle College!
Once again thank you for being here tonight, for caring for your OBA, and for caring for your Alma Mater, La Salle College.
Mark Huang (85)