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Handing over our Class of ’78 donation of RM20,000 to Bishop Joseph Hii Teck Kwong, Chairman of SMK Sacred Heart Board of Management. Photographer – Philip Hii

Apr 1, Sibu – The La Sallian spirit was already gloriously alive when wife and I stepped into Level Six at Kingwood Hotel.

One could easily be overwhelmed by the sight of 140 dining tables from front to back in the mammoth ballroom; filled with 1,400 alumni from Sacred Heart, St Elizabeth’s and invited guests.

Though SHOSA (Sacred Heart Old Students Association) has been organizing the annual reunion since 1995, this was only my second time joining the grand event.

Prior to this, we had been informed by the local newspapers that the school fund was short of RM150,000. The shortfall was due to the RM10 million redevelopment program carried out in the past few years.

God is indeed great! Many generous alumni from the respective classes did not want to see their beloved school to be in financial predicament. Standing united with king-size hearts, they collectively chipped in RM352,000! In our heart of hearts, we truly love our Alma Mater! 

Our Class of ’78 were seated at seven tables. Many of us have not seen each other since leaving school; and that was almost 40 years back!

Thanks to Paul Wong (Class of ’80), I was connected to my classmate Chris Tiong whom I’ve only managed to communicate a week ago through WhatsApp. After Sacred Heart, Chris left for USA to continue his tertiary studies. Following his graduation, my classmate went to work in Taipei and is based there ever since.

LR Thomas, Pong Luk, me, Chris Tiong. Photographer – Roseline Lee

 

I also met John Wong (Class of ’80) after 40 years! A fellow athlete, John settled down in Adelaide after completing his tertiary studies. 

LR Me, Clement Teo & Peter Kong. Photographer – George Wong Tuong Nang

Wife and I were overjoyed to meet Clement Teo, our close friend two years my senior. I can boldly claim that Clement is indebted to me because I was his matchmaker way back in 1984 when I introduced Ah Mingko (who later became his wife) to him!

I was also deeply touched when my Form Six classmate Philip Teng bought me a box of chocolates at Narita Airport when he was on transit back to Sibu from Siberia.

Like in all happy events, time is always too short.

But by God’s grace, we shall meet again.

Class of ’78 Sacred Heart & St Elizabeth’s Combined Group Photo. Photographer – Philip Hii

Wife and I left for Bakong early this morning.

She needed to visit three primary schools; two are located more than 80 km on the outskirts of Miri and the other in town.

For the 5th consecutive year, wife has been a Mentor to teachers of the EEP (English Enrichment Program). 

Today she was at the schools to evaluate the students’ proficiency levels in English before the program launches next week. 

The EEP is an effective and meaningful CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) community service undertaken by public-listed company, Guiness Anchor Berhad (GAB). 

Now into its 6th year, the EEP has benefited many needy students throughout Malaysia. Free nutritional snacks are also provided to students who stay back after school for the free English tuition.

Teachers are recruited with recommendation from the principals of schools selected for the program. Each year an all-expenses-paid training in Kuala Lumpur is conducted for all participants from seven states in Malaysia.

We arrived at our first destination around 8.30 am. 

Nestled picturesquely off-road along Bakong-Long Lama trunk road, the school entrance has a welcoming short belian bridge overhanging a running large stream. Despite the school’s bare infrastructure, any visitor will be delighted with the spacious school ground and surrounding greenery. 
Established in 1995, SK Sg Bakas has two main blocks surrounded by some small auxiliary buildings. 

Constructed of cement and timber, the two-storey buildings have electricity supply from generator sets. For water supply, rain is collected on rooftops and channeled to huge PVC water tanks via gutters and pipes.

The student population is 93. According to the notice board, Principal Ms Lim Tanyik has 14 academic and administrative staff to help her run the school.

As an observer from near, today I became more appreciative of GAB and its CSR to the community. 

Thank God for the EEP and a rousing applause to GAB!

LR Nur Izzatie Nadia Subri (Guru, EEP), Roseline Lee (Mentor, EEP), Lim Tanyit (Guru Besar), Unsa (PK Kurikulum).

Students having an evaluation test.

EEP Mentor Roseline Lee breaks the ice with the students.

What color is this pencil? asks Mentor Roseline Lee.

Guru Nur Izzatie observes as Mentor Roseline Lee prompts the student to respond.

The students of SK Sg Bakas are generally shy but well-behaved.

Guru Nur Izzatie explains the EEP to parents of the participating students.

Water is precious here as there is no piped water supply to this rural school.

The auxiliary building is on the right.

Another classroom.

The two main buildings are classrooms and staff rooms.

The school’s signboard.

The two main buildings of the school are in the background.

At the school’s entrance with a welcoming bridge.

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Top L Clockwise: New BB Sarawak State Commissioner Hon. Capt. Hii King Ong, Installation of 2017-2018 Exco, Hon. State Commissioner Hon. Capt. Joseph Tin presenting an award to Lt. Wong Pang Kui of 2nd Bintulu, retiring State Chaplain Rev. George Wong receives a farewell gift from outgoing State Commissioner Hon. Capt. Lo Hoi Fook.

“God chooses volunteers and gives us amazing jobs to do. I believe He will help me for He is my constant companion.” – New BB Sarawak State Commissioner Hon. Capt. Hii King Ong

by James Tc Wong, 4th Miri

BINTULU – Seventy-two officers and delegates from 33 Coys in Sarawak attended the 2017 Sarawak State Council AGM of The Boys’ Brigade in Malaysia at Eng Kwang Methodist Church from Feb 24-25.

On Feb 25, retiring BB Sarawak State Chaplain Rev. George Wong Hin Hung commenced the AGM with an opening prayer. Following that, Rev. George gave his exhortation guided by Philippians 3:13-14 (NIV): “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

The good shepherd mentioned that while the members worked hard to earn their awards, officers and helpers hardly gained any recognition. Rev. George encouraged the latter not to lose heart because of the promise of rewards awaiting in Jesus Christ. He also thanked the EXCO members and fellow officers for their love and congenial support during his eight-year tenure as State Chaplain. He added that he would be taking a sabbatical and wished the BB Ministry the best in their endeavors.

With much appreciation, outgoing Commissioner Hon. Capt. Lo Hoi Fook presented a BB logo clock to Rev. George.

In his opening message, Hon. Capt. Lo welcomed all the officers and delegates. He extended his heartfelt thanks to the host church for the use of its excellent venue and facilities.

Hon. Capt. Lo began his address by indicating his intention to step down, adding that he had already planned the move a few years ago for a change in leadership.

He continued by professing that it was neither a hard or easy decision for him to make knowing that God is in control and God will raise a more capable person to lead the BB to HIS glory.

Hon. Capt. Lo also affirmed that becoming volunteers in the BB ministry is one’s own choice. In doing so, the volunteer has to commit his or her talents, time and money. As such, there are no material or earthly gains for the volunteer except experiencing peace and joy in serving Christ Jesus.

He attested that not only in Malaysia that Sarawak is a model state for the BB ministry but also internationally. “Sarawak is operating our own depot well, blessed with a committed FTO for 12+ years, and our own HQ building. We have achieved much not because of our strength but because Sarawak BB is very united,” he explained. “We also need to support BB Malaysia, especially at a time when they are facing various challenges. We should put God first, BBM second, and BB Sarawak third. Likewise, EXCO should put benefits to local Coys first, Sarawak second and lastly, EXCO.”

He asked all present to be wise to know what is best for BBM; to stay humble and submissive to the leading of His Spirit.

In conclusion, the outgoing Commissioner reminded all the delegates of their leadership responsibilities by putting ministry above self-interests.

Reports were also received from the Presidents of the three respective regions; Southern, Central and Northern.

Other important reports included:

State Secretary’s Report – by Capt. Roseline Lee, 4th Miri
State Treasurer’s Report – by Lt. Linda Ting, 1st Sibu
State Training Chairman’s Report – by Lt. Aaron Tieng, 1st Sibu
State Extension Works Chairman’s Report – by Hon. Capt. Hii King Ong, 7th Kuching
State Competition Chairman’s Report – Capt. Wong Chek Ing, 2nd Bintulu

The date and venue of the 2018 AGM were proposed and accepted to be in Sibu, March 16-18.

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Group photo of the delegates taken after the AGM.

State Executive Council 2015/2016 was dissolved smoothly, followed by the election of the new State Commissioner. Nominations Chairman Rev. George Wong announced that Hon. Capt. Hii King Ong was the only candidate to receive more than three nominations to qualify for the post. Hence, Hon. Capt. Hii was unanimously elected as the new State Commissioner for 2017/2018.

Appointment of State Executive Council 2017/2018

Commissioner – Hon. Capt. Hii King Ong
Honorary Commissioner – Hon. Capt. Joseph Tin Kiew Seng, Hon. Capt. Lo Hoi Fook
Deputy Commissioner – Capt. Edmund Wong, 7th Kuching (Southern Region), Hon. Capt. Guang Chin Tung, 10th Sibu (Central Region), Hon. Capt. Lawrence Wong, 1st Limbang (Northern Region)
Secretary – Capt. Roseline Lee, 4th Miri
Treasurer – Lt. Linda Ting, 1st Sibu
Training Chairman – Lt. Aaron Tieng, 1st Sibu
State Extension Chairman – Hon. Capt. Lawrence Wong, 1st Limbang
State Chaplain – TBA

Message by new State Commissioner

In his acceptance speech as the newly-elected State Commissioner, Hon. Capt. Hii thanked God for the opportunity to serve in BB ministry. He also thanked the retiring State Chaplain who had served eight years and the former State Commissioner (serving 16 years) for their great effort in leading the BB ministry in Sarawak.

Hon. Capt. Hii conceded that he had struggled for the past year to seek God’s will whether he was ready for the top post after the former State Commissioner dropped him a hint.

“I decided to fast once a week to seek His will. Perhaps God will speak to me with encouraging words through close friends or during Bible-reading in my quiet time. Amazingly, God told me to have a willing heart to serve Him!” he declared.”God chooses volunteers and gives us amazing jobs to do. I believe He will help me for He is my constant companion.”

The new State Commissioner recalled in one of the sermons preached by his Pastor on how God prepared Elisha to become a leader (2 Kings 2:1-14). Knowing the heavy responsibilities that lay ahead, Hon. Capt. Hii prayed to God to equip him just as what Elisha asked Elijah for a double portion of the latter’s spirit (2 Kings 2:9).

“Lastly, l pray every officer will give me his and her full support through prayer. Together we continue the advancement of the Kingdom of Christ. Amen!” he said.

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Source – BB Sarawak State Council.

State Training Workshop

A good number of delegates arrived on Feb 24 to attend the State Training Workshop by Penang-based Rev. Lawrence Toh Kim Seng.

The four sessions in the Workshop were: Serve Like Jesus, Calling And Purpose of Life, To See What The Lord Has Seen, To do What The Lord Has Commanded.

Newly-appointed Capt. Hii Ting Ik of 6th Kuching said he was glad to attend the AGM. “The self-development training by Rev. Lawrence was very good. It awakened me and I believe other Officers felt the same. We need to refresh our relationship with God from time to time to ensure that we are serving HIM happily,” he recounted.

“Thank God for the opportunity to attend this AGM. The training has inspired me how to lead my Coy and myself with the right attitude. May God bless the Boys’ Brigade,” expressed Siung Wen Loon, another newly-appointed Captain of 6th Sibu.

The highlight of the AGM was the celebration of the 15th Anniversary of 1st Bintulu held in the sanctuary of the hosting church. Prior to that, all the delegates and invited guests were treated to a scrumptious buffet dinner served in the church premises, followed by wonderful performances by the Boys of 1st Bintulu.

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One big BB family, all glory to God! Photo credit – Aaron and Abel Wong.

THE Year of the Rooster had my family visiting Mom in Kuching. We arrived late on Monday night (Jan 23). Eldest son and d-i-l flew in the following Thursday morning; youngest son arrived from KL on the same afternoon – yes, the family was wholesome again!

On Reunion Dinner night (Jan 27), I was delighted to receive a WhatsApp message from the BB Sarawak State Commissioner, Hon. Capt. Lo Hoi Fook. He caught wind that we were in town and graciously extended an Open House invitation to my family for the first day of the Lunar Year.

We arrived at Commissioner’s house around 6:30 pm. The rain arrived too. In my heart, I was silently encouraged by Deuteronomy 28.12, “The Lord will open to you his good treasury, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hands…” Yes, raining is a blessing!

Armed with an umbrella and a big smile, Commissioner warmly welcomed us and brought us in one-by-one from our car that was parked at the gate. One lady Officer Lt. Chris Han and her family had earlier arrived before us. Within an hour, more guests came.

Hannah, the Commissioner’s wife, was equally welcoming and hospitable. All of us felt very much at home. Stepping into their house makes one feel like stepping into a mini BB depot! I was awed by the BB commemorative and award badges, and other paraphernalia adorning the walls and in the cabinets.

The specially-ordered home-cooked food made me almost fall off my chair! The Lo’s family certainly knows how to be a great host! More guests arrived as we were savoring the scrumptious dinner.

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Hannah, the warm and hospitable hostess (left front) and Commissioner Lo behind her.

We had a wonderful meal with our fellow Officers, their spouses and children. The few hours just flew by in a blink of an eye because we enjoyed every moment. We learned from Commissioner that he had been inviting the BB Officers and their families to his house every Chinese New Year for the past many years. “I can still recall some of the Officers were single then and now they are married with kids! It’s a pleasure for Hannah and I to see our Officers grow and progress through the years,” the good Commissioner commented.

“This is our yearly activity for the first day of Chinese New Year. And it is the best gathering of all,” declared Lt. Desmond Chan of 2nd Kuching.

Lt. Michael Hung also of 2nd Kuching expressed his thoughts with fondness. “I was a young Officer then when I was first invited to Commissioner’s Open House. It’s so heartwarming. We chat at the same level, we laugh, we enjoy the good food and most importantly, we have special bonding time,” he said.

“It’s wonderful to be reunited with fellow BB members and their families. It’s like a big family coming home from a hectic year of work and school. To see all the familiar faces gives me a wonderful sense of nostalgia and reminds me of the fun times with our BB family,” added Lavender Bong of 9th Kuching Coy Girls’ Wing.

In the car on our way home, my eldest son proclaimed he had such an awesome evening and in future his children will be enrolled in The Boys’ Brigade in Malaysia! This is, indeed, a “BBlessed” family we have, all praises to God!

The writer serves as a Warrant Officer in 4th Miri Coy, The Boys’ Brigade in Malaysia. His wife is the Captain of the mentioned Coy.

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Rev. Lisa Ting was smiling as she recorded a video of the performance with her iPad.

MIRI – Five years ago today my house was open to the Children’s Sunday School carolers from my ex-church. It’s so surreal how time just flies by like that.

Rev. Lisa Ting, the pastor-in-charge then, was visibly elated with the carolers’ delightful performance. Most of my Cell Group members were present too.

In Miri it appears that Christmas traditions like carol singing, sending Christmas cards and midnight church service are dying. Is it because we are too busy in this day? I hardly come across any carolers these days unlike the time when I was in school. Every Christmas we had carolers visiting my home. Refreshments would be served to everyone.

Until today no one actually knows how Christmas caroling began. Don’t be surprised that many people are also mistaken that Christmas is the birthday of Jesus.

In the Gospel of Luke, shepherds watched their flocks at night when Jesus was born. This only clue on the timing of the birth suggests that Jesus’ birthday was not in the winter. Why? Because shepherds watched their flocks only during the lambing season in spring. In the cold months, it was more likely that the sheep were corralled.

Christmas, now celebrated throughout the world, is to remember the birth of of Jesus. Traditionally people would take leave for holidays and family members would gather for a reunion. Kids love it because it’s the time to receive presents!

Have a blessed Christmas, my dear friends!

MICET Training

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Top left clockwise – Victor of Edcellent Sdn Bhd welcomes the teachers before the MICET training starts. Christine explains to the teachers on the lesson plan. Roseline checks that the teachers are following the lesson plan guidelines. Christine suggests options on resources to suit the themed lesson plan.

NOV 29, MIRI – Wife and I drove to Bintulu leaving our house at 5:30 am, excited to be present at the Ednoland MICET (Multiple Intelligences Curriculum E-Teaching) training in Tadika Pimpin.

Tadika Pimpin, under the patronage of Kwangtung Association Bintulu, is one of the top kindergartens in Sarawak. It is well-known for its balanced pre-school education and a good team of dedicated teachers for the past 22 years.

Ednoland MICET is a computer-aided E-Teaching kindergarten curriculum by Ednovation Pte Ltd. It brings the classroom alive with interesting and relevant themes that nurture and stimulate the intelligences in a child’s brain. For each academic year, there are 13 books covering English, Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese, Mathematics and essential themes.

Established in 1991, Ednovation is a pioneer in pre-school educational technology in Singapore. The company, whose vision is preparing children to be well-equipped for their future, manages and operates more than 50 pre-schools in Singapore, ASEAN and China, under the brands ChildFirst Pre-school and Cambridge Pre-school. Its EdnoLand eCurriculum is also offered in partnership with hundreds of pre-schools.

How did I come to know about MICET? The answer is most amazing! My Facebook friend Christine Thong (KL-based) contacted me to explore the opportunity in late January this year. As it was nearing Chinese New Year, I asked Christine to contact my wife after the festive holidays. But it was only in April when we were in KL that we met up Christine and her husband, Victor. When shown to MICET, my wife became excited and knew that the curriculum would benefit many children in Sarawak and Sabah!

Edcellent Sdn Bhd is the exclusive distributor of Ednoland computer-aided educational products (E-Learning and E-Teaching pre-school programs) in Malaysia.

Howard Gardner’s famous Theory of Multiple Intelligences (MI) states that every child has eight types of intelligences. Ednoland MICET uniquely provides a series of well-planned activities to exercise all eight intelligences in your child. The purpose is to discover and build upon your child’s strengths and at the same time, exercise and improve his/her weaknesses.

The intensive 9:00 am to 5:00 pm training was fulfilling and rewarding. Here’s a YouTube video highlights for you to view.

We want to thank Tadika Pimpin Board of Directors and Principal Ms Toh Bee Hun for their vision to incorporate Ednoland’s MICET for their kindergarten in year 2017!

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One for the album! Photo credit – Tadika Pimpin Bintulu Facebook

For more information about Ednoland’s pre-school computer-aided educational products (E-Learning ~ Discovery, Discovery Deluxe and Discovery Premium, E-Teaching ~ MICET, Phonics & Reading, kindly email jamestcwong@hotmail.com or victor@edcellent.my

chicken, pork or lamb?

ON my way to airport, I dropped by Peach Garden Cafe Morsjaya to have teh-c because wife’s flight has been delayed. Succumbed to gluttony and ordered three sticks of different satay!

Hmmm, the pork satay is the best! 😂