When Gerald Lee took over from Brother Columba as the first local principal of St Joseph`s Secondary School in 1987, he found he had inherited an institution with a strong tradition of discipline, high moral standards and excellence in academics as well as co-curricular activities.
Lee said he just carried on from where Brother Columba left off and pledged that “the La Salle mission continues as long as we uphold and pass on the Josephian tradition of service and sacrifice; a tradition of mutual respect and co-operation, of commitment and dedication.”
Asked what he thought his legacy could have been in Malaysia, Brother Columba said: “I am not sure if anyone is the best judge of his or her own legacy.”
But he did say: “If I have left any legacy after my years of work in school and church, I would hope it is in the area of human growth and relationships. Large numbers of past pupils, many from humble backgrounds, have gone on to do very well academically and professionally, and have served society with distinction in Sarawak and elsewhere.
“But most of all, I would hope I have touched minds and hearts for good, and have helped form people who are open, inclusive, humane, generous and compassionate: people who reject all forms of chauvinism and who have a personal concern for the less well off people who see service not only as a duty but as a challenge and privilege in life.”
Daniel Law, former school principal, was one of those students whose lives have been touched by Brother Columba. He was about to quit Lower Sixth to work to help his father, a shop attendant, support the family.
Brother Columba, upon hearing his plight, gave him free boarding. This humane act on the part of Brother Columba changed his life, his perception and raised his self esteem.
Johnny Kueh, former State Librarian, learned that to be successful in life, he must practise good moral virtues, as exemplified by Brother Columba.-The Sunday Post