President’s Corner – President’s greetings from the Global Reunion in San Francisco Bay Area and farewell remarks

Dear Fellow Old Boys,

Greetings from the San Francisco Bay Area!

I am here to attend the Lasallian Global Reunion 2010, probably the last function in my official capacity as President of LSCOBA before our AGM scheduled on 23rd July 2010 (Friday) in LSC. The host chapter did an excellent job organizing the event and I am certain that everyone here is having a thoroughly enjoyable time. Looking back, it’s been an eventful three years, it’s sometimes trying, taxing and time demanding for me and the Committee but always joyful; and as they say, how time flies when you are having fun.

In the Memorandum of the Association, the main objectives of LSCOBA were clearly spelt out: “To foster and promote close relationships and better understanding among the past and present students of La Salle College in and outside Hong Kong. To maintain, promote and cultivate friendship among the members of the Association……to improve the welfare of its members.”

In 2007, when I first took office, our motto was “Solidarity, Heritage, Service”. In the past three years, we stride to offer more services, organize more activities for the Old Boys’ community, while promoting solidarity among and advancing the welfare of our Members and supporting the College and many of its student activities. Meanwhile, the OBA has evolved from a fraternity more inclined towards organizing events for the leisurely socializing between Old Boys to also of an association in tune with its current status as one of the three support organizations of our Alma Mater, the three organizations being the La Salle Foundation, the PTA and the OBA.

We now average more than one event per month for our Members with some activities catered for our younger Old Boys, like the Mentorship Program and a few joint school functions. We have broadened our support of La Salle students’ activities by playing an active role in supporting some of the school’s extra-curricular activities and the newly installed “Other Learning Experiences” (“OLE”) under the new secondary school (“NSS”) curriculum with programs like Interview Workshops and Job Shadowing. Similarly, the school sports teams are on the receiving end of growing backing from the Association, financial or otherwise, of which our Sports Development Fund plays an increasing vital role. We have expanded more rapidly our membership base with several successful membership drives especially amongst recent graduates, reversing a worrying downward trend in membership uptake previously and there are now more 6000 registered members with an ever increasing proportion of graduates from the new millennium. The Committees of the past three terms also reflected this trend of having a much wilder spectrum of members.

In addition, there is an affiliation of nine overseas chapters, whose primary objective is as remarked in the 1959 LSOBA report: “… in forming such a Chapter is to have an organization prepared and ready to help by all means at its disposal those of our present students who wish to continue their studies……”. We hence encourage all students who are planning to study abroad to fully utilize this arrangement. In the past, there had been voices from our oversea chapters that they felt somewhat disconnected from the school and the mother chapter in Hong Kong. To strengthen the connections amongst Old Boys worldwide, a Global Alliance of the OBA was formed as I believe that communications will always bring about better understanding and better understanding would yield the best decisions.

Three years ago, the Old Boys’ support of the Jubilee Fund, established in celebration of the 75th anniversary of La Salle College, went a long way to help our school, which has been going through some very trying times, to meet the challenges both old and new, imminent or longer term. Last year, Old Boys also responded generously to the OBA initiatives to support the College in renovating the school’s field and track. Let the efforts continue.

Some years ago, I came across the following excerpt from the 1957 Silver Jubilee Lasallite: An unfailing source of inspiration to a La Salle Old Boy is the integral loyalty to the past: the silent and deeply personal fidelity in daily conduct to the La Salle ideal- the allegiance of a man to the pure vision of life formed in boyhood years, an allegiance which no adversity can shake. I have kept this with me as an inspiration for the best and worst of times since.

La Salle Old Boys are often viewed as a special bunch, we are “something more”, fiercely loyal and with unique camaraderie. But what is the meaning of loyalty in the Lasallian sense? It should mean more than singing our school song whenever we gather or go cheering our boys in inter-school competition once in a while. Loyalty to La Salle is a love and commitment, a love of our Alma Mater expressed in actions in our daily lives but especially when La Salle is in need. Loyalty is while we celebrate the great achievements of La Salle and we are the fortunate beneficiaries, we unwaveringly do our own if smaller part to advance these accomplishments. Loyalty is the countless acts of love and kindness in support of La Salle of which some are particularly commendable when they have no witness and are unrecorded. Loyal Old Boys must not just accept but practice and protect the La Salle ideals in the spirit of “Faith, Zeal and Community”.

Lasallians are of strong if varied convictions and beliefs. We argue and debate our differences often and vigorously but when all is said and done, we come together as an indivisible group and pledge our allegiance to not just our College or the Association but to the ideals La Salle represents. If you find faults with this Association, make it a better one by joining its ranks and work to correct them. I believe there is commonality in our aspirations however varied and there is more convergence than differences. Indifference and contempt are our biggest enemies but the cynical and the indifferent know not of what they miss. Hence, I challenge each and every Old Boy to spring to action to make our loyalty to La Salle a greater cause than self and in the process, making the Association, the College and our community a better place for all. And you can start by attending the AGM later this month to show your support and learn more of the latest of your Association.

My current term as President is drawing to a close, it is my third and definitely last. It’s often said that being the President of OBA these days is like having a second full time job, it certainly felt that way at times but love knows no labour. Please allow me to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to all members for their opinions, trust and support; to the Committee Members and ad hoc committees for their time, effort, sacrifices and an all around good job during the past three terms and to my wife, who regularly reminded me of the last sentence and family for their understanding and patience. And may the next administration be blessed with even more of the same. Thank you!

Yours in de La Salle, 

Charles K. Chan (77) 
President 

president@lscoba.com