To All Xaverians

It has been sometime since I last read the newspaper because I couldn’t find a shop that sells it! Unbelievable right! Anyway I was reading through Star Online and I came across this.

Sunday October 26, 2008

St Xavier’s marks a new chapter after 156 years

GEORGE TOWN: Next year will mark the end of an era for the La Salle Brothers’ public school administration in Malaysia when the last Brother principal in the country retires.

St Xavier’s Institution (SXI) here will see a government servant lead the institution for the first time in over 150 years when Brother Paul Ho, its 29th religious head, steps down in June.

“SXI was the first school in the nation to be administered and fully owned by the Brothers and it can be called the epicentre of spreading the La Salle vision of educating the young,” said Brother Director of Malaysia Anthony Rogers.

Although Brother Paul’s retirement would mark the end of the line of Brother headmasters in the country, Brother Anthony says it will not be the end of the Lasallian legacy.

“A long time ago, when people thought of the schools, they would always think about the Brothers but over the years, we have grown beyond that.

“There is now a whole La Salle family made up of every boy and girl who has studied in our schools along with the teachers, parents, staff and collaborators who have had ties with the schools.

“We’re handing over the baton and it’s a new paradigm which is formed with the same message by a community that knows what it means to be a Lasallian,” he said.

“Brother Paul’s incident is not new. Over the years, all our other schools have also been taken over by lay people.

“There is no real cause for concern as strong boards of governors have been formed to safeguard the traditions and it has been a long-standing promise by the Govern-ment to give us consultation in the appointing of heads in our schools,” Brother Anthony added.

“Since 1852 to 1965, the Brothers built 46 schools in Peninsular Malaysia and were also given 10 more in Sabah and Sarawak by the Bishop to administer,” he said.

On the future of the La Salle Brothers, Brother Anthony said there were many more good things to come.

“The Brothers’ initial priority was to set up a basic education system in the country and the Government has successfully taken over that responsibility.

“There are currently about 10 Brothers aged 40 to 60 who are still active in Malaysia and there has been a lot of thought about branching out into the setting up of private colleges or even universities.

“There is also an increasing number of children suffering from autism and providing education for children with special needs is also part of our plans,” he said.

Brother Paul, too, is positive about his impending retirement, and says the La Salle Brothers have achieved what they had set out to do.

“It’s okay. It’s moving and we have left our legacy.

“We hope that in whatever we have done, we have given the people what was expected. That is our yardstick of what a school should be.

“After all, we only came here to give education to the people of Malaysia and at the end of the day, we have done our job,” he said.

Sunday October 26, 2008

End of the La Salle Brothers’ era


GEORGE TOWN: With St Xavier’s Institution being the first school the La Salle Brothers established in the country, Brother Paul Ho’s retirement will be a double milestone as he represents the last Brother principal in Malaysia.

“I joined the brotherhood at the age of 20.

“It was just a feeling I had because all along I’d been taught by the Brothers in primary and secondary school in Kuala Lumpur and Ipoh.

“I just knew this was what I wanted to do,” says Brother Paul, 54.

Principal’s principle: Brother Paul teaching an English Literature class at St Xavier’s Institution and (below)….

He said when he attended St Joseph’s Novitiate in 1974 to receive his religious training, there were quite a number of men joining the Brotherhood, but the numbers have dwindled over the last 20 years.

After postings to schools in Klang and Malacca and two trips to England to obtain a Bachelor’s degree and Masters in English, Brother Paul was finally posted to SXI as headmaster in 1993.

“I suppose what makes the Brothers special is that we have no career ambitions.

“We are called to do our best for the kids and the teachers while following the principles of fairness and justice.

“Although everyone knows that SXI is a Christian school, there has been no such thing as evangelising the students. Race and religion are never brought up because this is a school,” he said.

“The legacy we have in SXI is one of pastoral care in which no child is left behind.

“We accept everyone, even those who cannot read or write. They all have a place here,” he adds.

In an effort to equip less academically gifted students, Brother Paul honed in on his personal skills and opened a bakery 10 years ago for Form 4 and 5 students who did poorly in the PMR examination.

“After the Ministry of Education changed its policy to make it compulsory for students to continue to Form 4 regardless of their results in PMR, many of our end classes started to come back,” said Brother Paul, himself a certified baker after enrolling in free Cordon Bleu courses while studying in Manchester.

Asked what he enjoyed about SXI, Brother Paul, known for his friendliness and brisk walk, said he would remember the noise of the students and the school’s working spirit.

…getting a student to dig right in and mix the dough at a bread-making session in the school’s bakery, extolling the ‘no child left behind’ principle.

For those who are used to seeing the presence of a figure in a white cassock walking the corridors, the end of the La Salle order in the school has been met with a sense of foreboding.

“I think there is always apprehension among Old Boys and parents because they are so used to the way it has been for the last 156 years,” Brother Paul said.

On his retirement, Brother Paul said he planned to live with his family in Australia and take up cross stitching.

“I am going to give myself a lot of time to think about what I’d like to do.

“I never knew I would be the last (of the Lasallian principals) and I think that reality will hit me next year,” he said.

Two articles about Bro. Paul. It really saddens me knowing that he is leaving next year and that he will be the last Brother. Seeing him in the articles’ picture reminded me a lot of all the great time I have had back then. Walking along the corridors of SXI won’t be the same ever again I guess….


3 Responses to “To All Xaverians”

  1. 1 Yen Mei October 30, 2008 at 9:03 pm

    Ya…Make think back those great memories in SXI when saw him in the artcicles…

  2. 2 クリンソン ドリーム November 5, 2008 at 11:10 am

    ^^, nostalgic right.

  3. 3 Yen Mei November 5, 2008 at 7:04 pm

    Yaya…Miss those time we all in SXI

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