Reminiscing the past LaSalle Brothers of St Xavier’s Institution

Anil Netto’s “A new era beckons for Lasallian” (HERALD April 5) prompts me to reminisce the past of the St Xavier’s Instituition Lasalle brothers.

Apr 22, 2015

Dear Editor,

Anil Netto’s “A new era beckons for Lasallian” (HERALD April 5) prompts me to reminisce the past of the St Xavier’s Instituition Lasalle brothers.

Back in the late 1940’s, the Lasalle brothers hit the headlines with the shooting of Bro Symphorien from France, by communist terrorists. It was the policy of Bro Fintan, then the Bro Director for the Brothers, to spend the weekends in the Penang Hill bungalow. It was during one of these weekend vacations that Bro. Fintan was shot by communist terrorists who came to the Brothers’ bungalow. Bro Fintan made his mark by serving as Director in the attap shed classes. Bro Anthony from Canada led SXI students from the attap shed to the new building. It was Bro Anthony who tackled the problem, settling the debt incurred rebuilding the new SXI Bro Michael Jacques, as Bro Director made his impact with his Monday talks through the PA system. He was then called to the Lasalle mother house in Rome. Then came Bro Charles Levin, Bro Lawrence, Bro Casimir and finally, Bro Paul, as Brother Director. At times when they were on five year mandatory service leave, Bro Anthony McNamara from Ipswich would man the fort.

Supporting the Lasallian Directors were other Brothers among which, deserving mention is Bro Michael, in charge of the boarders. He wore many hats. Among these were taking charge of discipline, administration, violin classes and the orchestra. Then came a young Bro Joseph Iraenus. He came to SXI as Form teacher of a Form Two class. That class usually came up champions for fundraising. He left SXI to study pedagogy in Catechetics. Later, he became Bro Director of St John’s and then Bro Visitor.

Bro Hyacinth taught Latin and introduced P.G. Wodehouse. That was his way of teaching English. Bro James had his hands full at the workshop teaching industrial arts. He later left SXI to be Bro Director of St Paul in Seremban.

Bro Felix from Ireland had a special way of teaching English and his Literature lessons were simply magic. He left SXI to be the head of Lasalle PJ. Bro Joseph McNally put up a few murals around the walls of SXI, besides teaching English and Literature. He also left SXI to be Director of St John’s KL and then left for Singapore.

Bro Rupert from Germany had his home in the science laboratories of SXI. He was the Head of Science and introduced practical ideas to lab setup and even ordered science apparatus direct from UK. Then there were the Irish eyes of Bros Anslem, Aloysius, Conleth, Columba and Kevin, followed around the corridors of SXI by Bro Cassian Pappu and Bro Ulrick from Myanmar.

Of course there must be a few Irish and non Irish brothers that this scribe must have left out. Apologies as he has only an Intel 486 chip in his hard disc. But a Xavierian cannot be excused if he omits the name of Mr Vincent Michael from the annals of SXI. He stood tall through thick and thin of SXI. He is not a Lasalle brother per se but has the spirit imbibed in him like most of us — we are immersed in the Lasallian spirit and for that, it is bon voyage to the new era for Lasallians.

Benildus Tan
Cheras

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