Yang Berhormat Datuk Edward Yong, Minister of Special Function in charge of DBKK
Mr Albert Tien, Advisor of St Joseph School Alumni Association
Datuk John Anthony, President of St Joseph Alumni Association
Mr Stephen Tsen, Organising Chairman
Distinguished Guests, Datuk-datuk, Datin-datin, Ladies and Gentlemen
I am happy to have the chance to be with you tonight in your annual cum fund raising dinner. This is my first time to join you. I can see that this dinner is getting a lot of support from former teachers, ex-students and friends of St Joseph Secondary School. This is a welcoming sign for the Alumni. And for this, I wish to congratulate the organising committee for its hard work.
In our Asian culture, sitting down together to share a common meal is a sign of friendship, togetherness, peace and harmony. We enjoy each other’s company as we eat and drink.
For former teachers and students of a particular school, it is good to come together at least once a year, not only to recall your experiences in your alma mater, but more so to update each other of your lives and works; and of course, to widen your contacts and networking. I believe that the wider your network is, the more support you will get in life.
At the same time, I hope that through reunion like this, you will make use of the opportunity to exchange ideas and see in what ways you can help contribute to your alma mater.
Some 60 years ago, the Mill Hill Fathers started St Joseph Secondary School in Papar. I think you would remember names like Fr de Wit, Fr Heusen, Fr Gilapse, Fr Walter, Fr McDonald.
These Fathers believed that in order to develop a society, it was necessary to have an educated population. I think you would agree with me that without their commitment and dedication, many Paparians would probably not have the chance to acquire secondary education during the period before the formation of Malaysia.
In the early 1970s, after Mr Albert Tien took over as principal, student enrollment began to increase year after year. Now, forty years later, if you chance to visit your alma mater, you would notice that the present space has become insufficient to cater to the increased student population. Logically, we would need more classroom space, and more area for activities.
I am glad to note that the Board of Governors has taken the initiative to plan to extend the school facilities. However, since the school is still very much a part of the parish, I hope you will not forget to include Fr Thomas Yip, the new parish priest of Papar, in your planning and undertakings. I know he will be of great help.
Meanwhile, I wish to thank all the Board members for their volunteer services. And I understand that the Alumni Association and the Parents-Teachers Association too are willing to assist in this project. It is a good sign that all the stakeholders can work together for the good of the school.
Finally, I wish to thank the organising committee for putting a lot of effort into this dinner. I hope you will enjoy the food and your time together. And I pray that every one present here tonight will be blessed with good health and success in life. Maybe next year when you have your dinner, it would be good to have a theme for your celebration.
Thank you and a Blessed Advent to all Catholic here.