Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Step Back in Time

This coming Friday, June 19, 2009 my alma mater will begin its 80th anniversary celebration. There would be an opening ceremony, as usual, by a distinguished guest of honor. This person could be anyone from the ruling political coalition party's highest person such as the Chief Minister down to an ordinary elected representative.

The guest of honor could also be the bishop of the Anglican Church as Mission schools were founded by Christian missionaries through much blood, sweat and tears throughout Malaysia.

In East Malaysia, that is, Sabah and Sarawak, missionaries courageously with the grace of God, endured much hardship in the old days when all all countries were in a stage of development which needed implementation of good infrastructure, better economical and political policies. It was a time when malaria, tuberculosis and fever took the lives of many, most of whom were infants. There was a low cure rate with inadequate medical facilities, a sorry state of affairs that amny countries faced.

Despite the many barriers that missionaries faced, they reached out to the spiritually hungry folks. Living extremely difficult lives like those who were native in the areas deep in the interior of the rainforest and even less developed urban areas, these People of Faith never weavered in comforting the sick and needy and sharing the gospel of love.

In Malaysia, specifically East Malaysia, these godly persons founded academic institutions everywhere. From northern to southern Borneo, they sought the financial assistance of overseas Christians and friends. Millions of dollars were poured into the establishment of these important institutions of learning. The lips of many Malaysians would utter with utmost respect and pride the names of saints from "Saint Luke" to "Saint Mary". Year after year, with fail, thousands of graduates were churned out from these Mission schools.

In Sarawak, the Chief Minister, Deputy Chief Ministers, House Speaker and many other ministers and elected representatives experienced the multi-racial sharing that marked, and continues to do so, the important existence of these schools.

My alma mater, St. Columba's School has always faithfully carried out its educational mission. Thousands of Columbans like us are most grateful to the missionaries, Church, school, principal, teachers and the government for their roles in shaping the direction of our lives and instilling the spirit in us to live harmoniously with Malaysians of various races, color and creed.

To all of my fellow Columbans in present day St. Columba, including the principal, teachers and administrative staff, even though I may not know you well, I salute you in your dedication and love for the school. May our school ever progress and its students learn to love it and hold fond memories of their time spent there.

Above are a few pics from the past...

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