LEAD Story 337

On June 28, the Bacolod Brothers Community conferred on Mr. Leonito “Diotay” Lopue the Letter of Affiliation to the Institute on behalf of the District and the Institute. The event was held at the Lopue residence and was witnessed by Diotay’s wife, children and grandchildren. The conferment was solemnized with a prayer service and was followed with a simple meal prepared by the family. The quarantine context somehow provided an intimate and solemn ambience on the whole celebration. (Text: Br. Vince Fernandez FSC; Photos: Br. Irwin Climaco FSC)

Mr. Leonito “Diotay” Lopue came from a humble family whose retail trade became successful through hard work, perseverance and their Lasallian education. Not one to forget his humble beginnings, with strong conviction and resolve, he has made conscious efforts to ‘pay it forward’ by continuously supporting the Lasallian mission in three schools - University of St. La Salle, St. Joseph School-La Salle, and La Salle College Victorias - in various capacities throughout his adult years.

Through many decades, he has championed the table tennis sports in the City of Bacolod, the Province of Negros Occidental, and in the country. He has helped the table tennis program of the University of St. La Salle by providing sports equipment and valuable space in his Lopue’s San Sebastian Mall which provides an international standard venue for table tennis. He consistently emphasizes the importance of sportsmanship and fair play to his players who look up to him as their mentor. Furthermore, he has supported the poor but hardworking players from the public schools to be educated in the Integrated School and College of the University of St La Salle.

Through the years, Diotay has extended dedicated service to the many mission areas where few lay people are able to help. He volunteered and became Chairman of La Salle College Victorias and the Handumanan Science Foundation which provided educational scholarships to financially-challenged but deserving students. He has been very supportive of the apostolate for youth offenders at the USLS Bahay Pag-asa Youth Center where he once was a member of the Board of Advisers. He also served as member and later as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the University of St. La Salle for many years, and he has assisted the Brothers in navigating local and national realities that became a challenge in the mission in Negros Occidental. He supports various causes outside of La Salle, and recently went on a mission to provide solar lamps to distant isolated mountain villages in the province.

He has been accorded numerous awards and citations befitting a man who has given so much of himself for the welfare of others and the community; among these are the St. La Salle Award (1984), the highest institutional award given to an alumnus of the University of St. La Salle whose personal and professional life epitomizes the core Lasallian values of faith, zeal for service, and communion in mission, the Banwahanon Award (2009), the highest accolade given to a resident by the Bacolod City Government in recognition of his notable contributions toward the betterment of the larger community, and the degree Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, conferred on him by the University of St. La Salle in 2005.

July 4-5, 2020. The Young Brothers in the Sector of Thailand had a retreat at La Salle Chotiravi Nakhonsawan School. The theme was “CONSECRATED LIFE IN THE NEW NORMAL.” We invited two speakers to share about their experiences in consecrated life especially during the changes in society due to the COVID-19 pandemic.On the first day, Br. Eugene Prapas Sricharoen FSC was the speaker. He shared about how he became a De La Salle Brother and lived the Lasallian charism through educational services.

On the second day, the Young Brothers were joined by Juniors and students from La Salle House for Sunday Mass. After the Mass, the Young Brothers met with the Juniors for an open forum to ask questions and share each Brother's idea of vocation to encourage them. The speaker of the day was Fr. Pornchai Singsa, a diocesan priest, who shared about the history of the Church of Thailand when the De La Salle Brothers first arrived in 1952. (Text: Br. Luke Thats a worn Nonthiboot FSC; Photos: Thai Young Brothers)

On 2020 June 28, Br. Benedict Chaiwat Phanomworachai FSC successfully defended his thesis titled ‘The Relationship between 21st Century Transformational Leadership of School Administrators and Teachers’ Organizational Commitment to the Network of Schools of the La Salle Foundation” for his Master’s Degree in Educational Administration (M.Ed.) at Rambhai Barni Rajabhat University in Chantaburi, Thailand.

He was diligently mentored by his Thesis Advisors Asst. Prof. Dr. Theerangkoon Warabamrungkul and Dr. Reongwit Nilkote. The panelists on his defense were Assoc. Prof. Dr. Chet Ratchadapunnathikul, Asst. Prof. Dr. Theerangkoon Warabamrungkul, Dr. Reongwit Nilkote, and Dr. Montri Wichaiwong.

But he’s not out of the woods yet. He will have to present his thesis to the National Academic Meeting and to the Council of the University.

Congratulations, Brother!

Ms. Cecilia Tang with Elaine

Miss Cecilia Tang, our volunteer teacher of the Hong Kong Lasallian Educational Outreach (LEO) Project, was delighted and touched when Elaine paid her a surprise visit before her lesson last Friday, 19th June 2020. Elaine was one of her students when we started this outreach project 4 years ago in 2017.

Hong Kong is a highly competitive society. Most Chinese parents believe that to secure a job and life with a promising future, their children need to enter one of the prestige universities. To do so, they must get good results in the Diploma of Secondary Education Examination. For applying a place in these prestigious universities, one of the minimum requirements is get a pass of Level 3 in the English Language. This is a big challenge to most local students, even though they begin to study English while they are in kindergarten. The standard to pass in this subject is quite high. In 2019, only 53% of the candidates managed to get level 3 or higher in this subject. To prepare for this examination, most parents pay dearly to let their children get extra lessons from private tutors or tutorial schools.

However, for the group of newly arrived Chinese students from low-income families, to get a pass in the English Language subject in the Diploma of Secondary Education Examination is almost like an impossible dream. They usually have their primary and junior secondary education in China where English is not a major subject. When they come to Hong Kong, most of them are not able to enter the mainstream schools because of their poor standard in the subject. Even those who managed to study in government or subsidized schools, they find it very hard to catch up with local students. Of course, their parents cannot afford private tutors or send them to tutorial schools, as many of the parents are manual workers and some of the families are receiving comprehensive social security assistance.

4 years ago, the Hong Kong Lasallian Family started English enhancement classes in Caritas Centre in Lower Ngau Tau Kok Estate to cater for the need of this group of students. Our outreach team consists of Brothers, Lasallian Education Council members, retired and present teachers, teaching about 20-30 students ranging from S1 to S5 every Friday. Although we know we could not work magic in a short time, we do hope that our service can strengthen the students’ self-confidence and make them know they have the same potential ability as the Hong Kong students. We try to make them believe they can make things possible and there are people who care for them.

Elaine’s dream is to become a teacher and to study in the Hong Kong University. In her first attempt to sit for the Diploma examination, she worked really hard and got q u i t e g o o d r e s u l t s i n s o m e subjects, but she only managed to obtain level 2 in the English subject. With the spirit of perseverance, she worked even harder and succeeded in her second trial. She is now a student of a 5 year double-degree course in the Education Faculty – a dream come true.

Well done Elaine and we wish you all the best on your path to serve people in need. (Text & Photos: Mr. Paul Tam)

Performed by students from De La Salle Schools worldwide

The year 2020 is a turbulent one. Across the continents, the coronavirus ravages the world and many are either under strict lockdown protocols or following social distancing measures. However, we at the Brothers of Christians Schools have not given up. As Lasallians, we are thankful towards the selfless sacrifice of medical personnel around the world. Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee was written by Henry Van Dyke, set to Ludwig van Beethoven's symphony number 9 and was widely regarded as one of the most joyous hymns ever written. We hope that in times of despair, everyone around the world can remain joyful. (Text: Mr. Sherwood Wong, La Salle College Mass Choir)

Presented by:

Colegio La Salle Buenos Aires, Argentina
De La Salle College Ashfield, Australia
La Salle College, Mass Choir, Hong Kong
La Salle Green Hills, Kundirana Music Ministry, the Philippines
Lycée des Francs-Bourgeois, France
St. Joseph's Institution, Catholic Societies, Singapore

On Wednesday, 24 June 2020, 42 Brothers, Teachers, Students, and Partners gathered together for the session,ABrother’s Journey: 10 Brothers 101 Stories.

Wednesdays with La Salle was inspired by LEAD’s Thursdays with La Salle. Singapore decided to continue with the series to allow more people to be part of the formation series.It served as a good way to engage with fellowLasallianswhile maintaining social distancing during this time of pandemic.

For ourthirdsession, based on the requests of many in Singapore due to the lack of interaction with Brothers in general, we invited ten Brothers and two postulants to share about their life and preparation ofbeing a Brother as well as to have a moreintimate sharing in breakout rooms.

After the opening prayer led by Br Michael Broughton, we had BrRey Mejias, Br Kenneth Martinez,andBr Kelvin Tansharing in plenary, their experience of preparation, adventures of community life and how they have managed to keep their vows.

Br Rey Mejias (Philippines), who is the director of the La Salle Novitiate Formation House shared the process of a candidate becoming a Brother. From the discernment of having the notion of wanting to be a Brother, experiencing community building, formal religious and Institute formation to Professional Formation.

Br Kenneth Martinez (Philippines), reminded us that as a Lasallian we cannot be never alone in responding to God’s call. Association for the Educational Mission is a key element in Lasallian identity.

Br Kelvin Tan (Singapore), shared with us about the commitments (Religious Vows) that the Brothers take and invite us to follow the journey of Lasallian Vocations from the Institute Circular 475 (2020).

The group then went into breakout rooms for a more informal session of listening to aBrother’s personal journey as well as some Questions & Answers. The ratio was about 1 Brother to 3 Lay Partners.

Br Larry Humphrey (USA)then closedthe session suggesting what we can do to promote theculture of vocations, in particular the Brother’s vocation. He guided us to reflect on our own vocation as well as challenged us to step up by asking the following questions:Who do you know would make a good Brother - astudent, a colleague, a relative, a friend - and will you be able to tell them so?How would you accompany them? If you met someone who isgenerous or had a spirituality about him, would you take the risk to ask them to consider the Brothers? Also, be ready to tell them why you think they should be a Brother

The session ended with a closing prayer led by Br Paul Mata.

Thank you to all the participants and Brothers who made time to be present in this Lasallian gathering.Our next session will be on 15 July 2020. It will be based on Lasallian Reflection 6. (Text & Photos: Br. Antonio Cubillas FSC & Ms. Ed-Linddi Ong)


The whole business of learning Chinese is fraught with dangers. You might become so addicted to the subject that you wake up thinking about it, spend the day studying it and start dreaming about it at night. Or you might become so frustrated that you rub your eyes hard, pull out your hair if you have not already lost it, and generally struggle to retain your sanity.

I started on the road to a serious learning of Chinese rather late in life, in my mid 40’s. Each day I would commute from Hong Kong Island to the Chinese University in the New Territories and join my younger classmates, all ‘foreign’, in the language department. I was like a grandfather among them.

The teachers used the Yale Romanization system which helped us to get used to pronouncing the tones. We were told that there were 9 tones but that we could get by with 7. What a mercy!

We were beginners and treated as such. Every mistake in tone or vocabulary was corrected on the spot and regular quizzes kept us focused. There would be six to ten in a class and ones turn to answer questions came around pretty often. That kept us on our toes.

After the first term or two we graduated to writing simple characters and gradually moved to more complicated ones. This was all very interesting and all very time-consuming. One could get ‘hooked’ on studying the characters, on their origins, to the neglect of the spoken word.

After graduating, I had little call to use my new-found knowledge. But at least I can still manage some simple conversations and won’t be stuck in a taxi. The trouble is that sometimes, when I speak a little Cantonese, the taxi driver or whoever, thinks I am a genius and gushes torrents at me and I am left floundering.

learning chinese