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Happy 92nd Birthday Brother Jacques Print E-mail

ImageBrother Dr. Michael Jacques FSC led an exemplary life and is an epitome of the Society of La Salle Brothers … unassuming, caring and leaving positive imprints on every heart he touched.

ImageOn June 6th, he will be celebrating his 92nd birthday. Born in Sarawak of mixed parentage, he had dedicated 73 years of his life as a La Salle Brother, a teacher and a mentor to tens of thousands of young students who held him in highest respect.

He was the first Asian to hold the post of Assistant Superior General for Asia. For this appointment, he spent ten years in Rome (1966 – 1976) charged with the responsibilities of overseeing the Brothers’ communities and schools in the region.

At a golden age of 92, his mind is as sharp, recalling past events with great accuracy. Teaching has always been his passion. He had even volunteered to teach in schools during the Japanese Occupation where they were forced to teach in the Japanese language.  “We did not know the language ourselves but learnt along the way when teaching the children,” he quipped.

His early years were spent in Sibu attending the Sacred Heart Primary and Secondary Schools. He next studied at the St. Joseph’s Secondary School, Kuching (1927-1930), after which his father who was then the first Education Director of Sarawak sent him to Penang for his Junior Cambridge at the St. Xavier’s Institution in 1932.

As a young man, he excelled in studies and sports. His classmates, among others included the late Hon Sui Sen (a former Minister of Finance, Singapore), the late Datuk Wong Pow Nee (a Chief Minister of Penang after Merdeka), the late Lau Fook Khean (a Queen’s scholar who later became a doctor) and the late Datuk Khor Cheang Kee (a famous journalist; for years Chairman of the Board of Governors, SXI).

Though the idea of being a medical doctor did cross his mind, yet instead he chose to join the La Salle Order in 1933. As a young Brother, he served in various capacities from 1938 until his retirement in May, 1985.   Even in his retirement, he actively participates in various State and National School Councils/Boards and in Lasallian organizations, in various capacities.

Even as he celebrates his birthday, he empathizes with his fellow Brothers and their relatives in the cyclone-hit Myanmar. He calls on all La Sallians and their associations to muster financial aid in a spirit of charity and solidarity with these Brothers and their relatives and alumni who have been severely affected.

He related that the Brothers of Burma were doing remarkably well until the military nationalized and confiscated all their schools and their living quarters with the exception of the Brothers Provincialate in Yangon and the Training House in Maymyo which did not form part of the schools affected. The Brothers were thus reduced to a state of poverty and physical privation. They did their best to survive, working in various ministries in the Church. They have had to live poor and depend on financial aid.

“Quite a number of the ‘Burmese’ Brothers served in our schools in Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong. The older alumni in these parts will remember in gratitude and affection such Brothers as the late Bro. Ultan Paul of Ipoh fame, the late Bro. Ulrick of SXI, Bro. Sylvester Marcel, Bro. Sebastian Gabriel, Bro. Charles Everard, Bro. Edmund Passanha etc. Because of this affinity with us, I feel that in the spirit of solidarity and commiseration with them in their hour of trials and suffering on this occasion, we should come to their aid.” He said.

Bro. Michael stressed that this is just an appeal and should in no way be regarded as an obligation although to do nothing in the present very distressing and painful circumstances (of our Myanmar Brothers and their relatives and their alumni) would hardly be in keeping with the spirit of Lasallian Solidarity.

“All contributions will be deposited with the Brother Visitor, Penang District at the La Salle Provincialate, Petaling Jaya for eventual forwarding to the Brothers in Yangon.” He added.

                
Related articles on Bro. Dr. Michael Jacques can be read in the e-Lasallian Family website (URL:
www.e-lasallian.org)

1. Man for all seasons

2. Student days of BMJ

3. First Brother Visitor in Asia hails from Sarawak

4. The legacy of Brother Jacques (login only)

5. Xaverians gather for ex-HM’s birthday

6. Double celebrations – Commitment defined (login only)

 

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