At the end of the Novitiate, Brother Columba volunteered to teach in the Brothers` schools in Malaya, then a British colony. For this, he needed British qualifications, so he proceeded to obtain his Oxford GCE at Kintbury, England (1953), and Teachers Certificate at De La Salle Training College, Manchester (1955).
Thereafter, he embarked on his journey by boat to Malaya (Malaysia later) where he dedicated 42 years of his life to educating thousands of Malaysians and developing them into outstanding citizens of the country.
Brother Columba`s first posting was as a teacher at St George`s Institution in Taiping, Perak. For 15 months there, he enjoyed both work and play (football) before being transferred to Sibu which he had never even heard of.
In Sibu, he lived with three other Brothers in a kampong type house on stilts beside the Rejang River. Living conditions were simple, even primitive. There was no running water, only a common bucket type toilet and a bathroom which consisted of a large tub from which one scooped up water for a shower.
The area was subject to frequent flooding and for transport, each had a bicycle. Initially, the classrooms were also wooden structures on stilts but within five years, new two-storey permanent-structure primary and secondary schools and Brothers` house were built.
Brother Columba enjoyed his five years at Sacred Heart, teaching geography, English and English literature.
He said he really enjoyed teaching those children of rubber tappers and pepper planters from downriver areas as well as of civil servants and traders from the town. Some were almost as old as himself. He was impressed by their keenness to study and their ability to enjoy even Shakespeare.
Form Two boy Aloysius Dris (now Datu and CEO of Angkatan Zaman Mansang (AZAM) Sarawak, said he especially loved the English literature classes taught by Brother Columba, who brought life and drama to stories like The Prisoner of Zenda and later in Form Three, abbreviated versions of Thomas Hardy`s Far From the Madding Crowd and Shakespeare`s Merchant of Venice.
He looked forward to every class of Brother Columba`s with anticipation.-The Sunday Post
Teaching In Malaya