SIEM REAP – A group of guests and Boys’ Brigade officers, led by the Brigade President, Mr Choo Gim Kang, travelled to Siem Reap, Cambodia, in June to witness the dedication of the Boys’ Brigade Learning Centre (BBLC).
Arriving early in the morning of June 9, the group broke into two groups, the first led by the Brigade President, toured Angkor Wat; the other, comprising the 18th Singapore Company Bagpipe Band, donned their uniforms and looking their best, thrilled the Cambodians with some bagpipe music at the Puok District High School and the Royal Garden near the King’s residence and the Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor. The performance attracted much attention among the Cambodian students who enjoyed the music as much as the BB boys who performed.
On the following day, the group made its way to the BBLC, located at Proyouth Village, Puok Commune, a 30-minute drive from Siem Reap City Centre. Among the people attending the service were the BBLC students, their parents, and local chiefs and pastors, as well as BB offi cers and friends from Singapore, forming a gathering of almost 60 people.
The Dedication Service was officiated by the Rev Canon Dr Louis Tay, our Brigade Chaplain, while the Bagpipe Band again treated the local Cambodians to rousing bagpipe music.At the end of the service, the Deputy Governor of Puok District and the Brigade President jointly declared the BBLC open.
At the service, the BBLC students showcased two songs, “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” and “Jesus Loves Me”, played by a student recorder band which had been taught by Officers and Boys of the 23rd Singapore Company (Pentecost Methodist Church) two weeks prior to the service. Also showcased was a song item, “How Great Thou Art”, by members of a local Khmer Church using the BBLC premises. Of note also was the presentation of a water filtration system to the BBLC by the 12th Singapore Company and its sponsoring church, Barker Road Methodist Church.
In order to bring the guests and officers closer to the local villagers living around BBLC, students studying at the BBLC were visited by eight teams going to eight different homes accompanied by the students and interpreters. These home visits certainly helped the guests and officers better understand and appreciate the objectives of the BB Learning Centre, which has been operational since February this year, staffed by two full-time Singaporeans and assisted by a local staff.
The BBLC offers English lessons to a total of 45 children and youth between 13 and 20 years old. By this means, the BB hopes to be able to partner churches and organisations in ministering to the Cambodians in Siem Reap, a province often bypassed.
The BB’s plans for the next two to three years are to put up a training shed or multi-purpose hall and build a road leading to the BBLC and Information Technology Laboratory.
As we departed from Siem Reap, many of us took back a memorable and deeper understanding of the work of BB Learning Centre and its impact on the students.
Robin Liu is the Manager (Development) of The Boys’ Brigade in Singapore.
SFMS gets new principal
MR KOH BOON LONG joined St Francis Methodist School (SFMS) in July 2006 to take up the position of Principal.
He started his teaching career in 1968 and has been the principal of two schools before becoming the Deputy Director – National Education at the Ministry of Education Headquarters.
He is married with two children and his interests are jogging and reading.
He holds a Masters in Education from Nanyang Technological University and a Diploma in Educational Administration (Distinction) from the National Institute of Education.
Having studied history in his undergraduate days at the National University of Singapore, his BA degree will help inject a humanities perspective at SFMS.
He will lead SFMS in its second phase of development where designing of curriculum and accent on academic results will become important.
Mr Koh received the Public Administration Medal (Bronze) in 2001.