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La Sallians - An Endangered Species Print E-mail

Image A Flickering Candle In The Wind (republished on rquest)

ImageThe La Salle heritage in Malaysia has come full circle since the Brothers first set foot in the land. The implementation of the National Education Policy in 1969 essentially reduces La Salle education to nought with the Brothers sidelined (even in their own schools) to play a peripheral role at best. The policy also precludes foreign Brothers from entering and teaching in the country. With the local youths hardly interested in the vocation, the Brothers' population diminishes to only a handful most of whom are now in their golden years.

ImageMany alumni have openly expressed their concern for the future of the La Salle heritage in this country, lamenting that the Lasallian torch which once burned brightly in the 50’s to the late 80’s has now become a diminishing, flickering candle in the wind about to be snuffed out anytime soon in spite of the many concerted efforts over the past decades to prop up the 156-year heritage.

Pertinent questions have been raised by the Old Boys and Girls:
What seems to have gone wrong? Will our schools be mere monuments in time to come? Will the La Salle heritage in this country grind to a halt and merit only a mention in the Malaysian history studies - Sejarah?

Though the country’s education policy plays a critical part, but was it the lack of right decisions or rather inactions of the very organizations set up to preserve it that hasten its demise? Have the Brothers themselves given up the struggle?

Both the alumni and the Brothers need to reflect on the predicament and find the answers to the above questions. Only then can proactive, concretized steps be taken to redress the situation; and such steps must be taken quickly too. Otherwise, as one Old Boy nicely puts it: "Let there be no requiem. We don't want any post-mortem for then, regretting will be too late."

A number of our readers have expressed their concerns in our e-Lasallian Family Network website and we like to share them with you. For a start, LaSallian Lam Wai Hon, an Old Georgian, Taiping has this to say:


“I have followed rather closely this topic, and, nostalgically I reflect over how our education system has changed, deteriorated and have been politicised.

The Education Ministry in Malaysia, is wholely a political machinery, stocked with a large financial allocation that has always been allotted to the Ministry ..... (but not rightfully utilized)*

The current climate, both political and socially will not allow any resurrection of a school system even vaguely resembling the old La Sallian heritage.

In addition, much has been talked about private instituitions. In essence, if this was the stance and the motivations were noble enough, private LaSallians instituitions would have been set up a long time ago. In addition, I would assume existing mission schools can easily be converted to private instituitions, as land and property may still have belonged to the Mission.

My opinion is that the Christian Brothers have long deserted Malaysia. The Brothers serve the community, especially the poor and unfortunate, they are selfless and dedicated educators. They do not relish being soaked in politics, administrative overheads and operating in an environment that is unappreciative and hostile.

Malaysia's economic progress and wealth could largely be attributed to the Mission schools. These Schools have produced generations of Malaysians who are proficient in English, properly grounded in academics and universal values.

However, this economic progress will be the bane of the La Sallian Mission, in which an order such as the La Sallian Order does not operate too well in such materialistic and non-appreciative society.

The final nail in the coffin has long been nailed, La Sallians will have nothing much but memories of their shared heritage. Unless we move in a concerted fashion, both financially and to garner political support for any return of the Brothers (either privately or publicly), the La Sallian mission will die a natural death.” …. Unquote

La Sallians who wish to share their ideas on how best to promote and preserve our Heritage for posterity may post them in the website's Message Board. They can also email them to us at or  

1. Views expressed are entirely the writers’ own.
2. *edited text
3. Do keep a look out for further articles on the same series: La Sallians, an endangered species



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