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Dear Fellow Lasallians,

It was with a thankful and grateful heart that I attended the Annual Speech Day of La Salle College, The Speech Day of La Salle Primary School in our new and majestic Primary School Hall and Annual Ball of St. Joseph’s College Old Boys’ Association, one of our Brother Old Boys Associations in Hong Kong recently

Thanksgiving Day has just passed and this is a Season of Thanksgiving, to cherish memories of our past life experience and to thank those who have given us guidance and a helping hand during times of difficulties and hardship. It is only fitting that we should pay tribute to our dear Alma Mater – an Institute which has given us joy, happiness and, above all, teach us how to face a highly competitive world.

The Christian Brothers, being followers of Jesus Christ of Narazeth, have its own philosophy on education of children and youth — a concept of broad-based learning and, to me at least, a lassiez-faire attitude towards minor irregularities in discipline in school children and adolescents. The fame and recognition acquired by La Salle Primary School and La Salle College in Hong Kong in the educational field is a living testimonial of the success of the Christian Brothers in introducing its unique educational philosophy of bringing the Western culture, together its emphasis on humanities, scientific and evidence-based approach, to the Eastern World over the past two centuries.

Touring in the local Museum ,all of us would realize that the Kowloon Peninsula was a totally different world when Reverend Brother Pierre Aimar, a French missionary who ventured to take a long and dangerous boat-trip from the technologically-advanced Western world to ;come to preach his ideals to the children of Hong Kong in the early part of last century. During my school life in La Salle College some thirty odd years ago, we were told that we were the fortunate ones, the ones who could study in a highly reputable and grand school, a building that looks more like a National Museum than an educational institute for young people. We were also told that the fine School building together with its large playing fields and memory lanes was bought from a local benefactor for a very small sum of money by the Christian Brothers. Our College and its majestic Dome has a turbulent history, a witness of the pages in Hong Kong in the pre-War and post-War era, the days of the Cultural Revolution, the Handover and now the days of the Chinese astronauts. All of its Principals, together with a team of dedicated teaching, clerical and janitor staff have to adapt and react harmoniously to daily challenges in the school environment.

The motto of the School is Fides et Opera, literally meaning Faith and Good Work. In the past seven decades, the Christian Brothers have been mentors, teachers and career masters to hundreds of old boys, helping them to develop their own self. Many of them are highly vigorous, creative and adventurous, adaptable to changes but remain faithful to their basic value-system. Some of them are religious people and most of them are highly tolerant to other people of different beliefs and faiths. Many of them have a high community spirit, thankful to the local community for their commitment to education of the young generation and they are eager to support, one way or the other, the local society, especially the underprivileged and marginalised group.

To the graduates of La Salle College, the School Year 2003/04 will be an unforgettable year — the last year that a Christian Brother will take the central stage as the Principal of this good School and its Heritage. It is only fair and appropriate that LSCOBA should pay special tribute to the founding and the present Christian Brothers for their selfless act of heroism – their life-long commitment to education of children, irrespective of race, social class and intelligence level. This has given the Annual Christmas Ball of LSCOBA this year a special meaning and all the Christian Brothers in Hong Kong will be invited as our Special Guests of Honour in that night. Special Souvenirs will be presented to each one of them for their gallantry and loyalty to the founder of their Society, St. John Baptist de La Salle. A Special Souvenir Book, prepared by a team of highly-motivated and loyal Old Boys, will be published and distributed in that evening.

All of you can support this Initiative, an initiative of LSCOBA to show our gratefulness and loyalty to the Christian Brothers (also known as the La Salle Brothers in the local community) and LaSallian Family by the following means:

  1. attend the Grave-Sweeping Ceremony in Happy Valley St. Raphael’s Graveyard in the afternoon today;
  2. come to the Christmas Ball to be held on 5th December 2003 (Friday) to say thank you personally to the La Salle Brothers;
  3. write up some of your personal encounters with the Brothers during your school lives and show us how their example and noble acts have shaped your life and career. These memories will be collectively edited and published in another Special Souvenir Book — “The La Salle Spirit” to be published before the end of the School Term in July 2004;
  4. donate sums of money, irrespective of amount, to the further development of the School and strengthen its position as one of the leading educational institutes in Hong Kong, China and Asia – providing quality education and pastoral support to children during their pursuit in academic, cultural and, not forgetting, sports field………………. Besides other things, participation in sports and competition help children and adolescents to compete with their peers in a civilised manner, helping them to build up their own Emotional Quotient and learn how to rise up again after defeats and disappointments in life.

All ideas, comments and positive criticism on how LSCOBA can fulfill its noble role and duty to our dear Alma Mater will be much welcomed and cherished.

I am a LSCOBA and ……………Viva La Salle Spirit.

Yours sincerely in the Faith,

Dr. Robert Yuen Kar Ngai ’71
President, LSCOBA 2003/04