LEAD Story 366

MALAYSIA - The Malaysian Lasallian Education Council (MLEC) has hit the ground running with the Malaysia level implementation of the Revitalization Plan for our Lasallian Educational Institutions, which was recently announced by the Brothers of the Christian Schools.

An important first step was to align the leadership of the network of Malaysian Lasallian schools on the Revitalization agenda. This was achieved during a most engaging roundtable session attended by the Chairpersons of the Boards of Governors (BOG) from 29 La Salle schools around Malaysia. There were 13 chairmen present, representing 22 schools. Also present at this session were members of the MLEC steering committee.

The session was carried out virtually to comply with ongoing social restrictions prevalent in Malaysia due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The meeting started with a welcome address by Br. Andrew, Brother Director of Malaysia. He thanked the Organising Committee for planning this meeting and all participants for making time to come together. This meeting was not a one-way presentation telling them what and what not to do. Rather it was a roundtable discussion.

Leading the roundtable meeting of minds was Lim Hock Thiam, Chairman of the MLEC Steering Committee. He, together with fellow Committee Member, Michael Simon, briefed the BOG Chairpersons about the objectives and the approaches of the Revitalization agenda. Some insights were shared on how the leadership of all La Salle school boards in Malaysia play an important role, not only as custodians, but also as change agents who can steer our network of schools towards reclaiming its place as premier educational institutions in Malaysia.

During the roundtable discussion, the BOG Chairpersons also shared their personal experiences and lessons learnt, pertaining to the challenges and their approaches to problem-solving in the management of their schools. Many face the challenges of the constantly changing tide of policies and socio-economic factors that impact the running of schools.

Arising from this robust roundtable discussion, the participants collectively resolved to the formation of the Council of BOG Chairpersons. This Council will meet on a scheduled basis. (Text: Mr Nantha – Chair of MLEC Communications Committee; Photo: Ms. Vivienne Cheong)

"The only future worth building includes everyone" (Pope Francis, TED TALK, 2017)

Last August 9, 2021, the Brother Visitors and Auxiliary Visitors, ten of them, met with Br. Ricky, General Counsellor, and Br. Bob Schieler, Superior General, for a scheduled meeting to reflect on sustainable measures for the future of the Lasallian Mission and the Institute. It is still an ongoing and open process of reflection towards the 46th General Chapter, stressing collaboration and generating actionable insights at Institute, Region, District, and Sector levels. (Text & Photo: Br. Antonio Cubillas FSC)

The LEAD Mission Council (LMC) was assigned by the Brother Visitor and the LEAD District Council to “strengthen the alumni and lay partners engagement in LEAD”. In response, the LMC proposed to organize the LEAD ALUMNI project, which consists of two parts. The first is a series of online conferences or gatherings of alumni and former students of LEAD. The second part is the LMC’s positive response to the call and invitation of Brother Visitor for LEAD alumni to adopt and extend support for the new Bamboo school, the La Salle Mae Hong Son, to be located near the border of Thailand and Myanmar, and which will primarily benefit young migrants from Myanmar and children of indigenous people of Thailand.

Primary Purposes

  1. To deepen understanding of the Lasallian Identity (who we are) and the Mission.
  2. To promote the Lasallian alumni’s active involvement and participation in the Lasallian Mission.
  3. To foster fellowship and camaraderie among LEAD Alumni.

Secondary Objectives

  1. To foster and promote the One La Salle spirit of fraternity and brotherhood/sisterhood among LEAD alumni and former students. To develop a sense of belonging as Lasallians in the mission.
  2. To become aware of and accept to collaborate with other Lasallian alumni and former students in East Asia particularly in adopting a common project.

A distinguished group of alumni leaders representing the seven countries or sectors of LEAD have been invited and agreed to form themselves as the LEAD ALUMNI Organizing Committee. The LMC is pleased to welcome and introduce them:

LEAD Alumni Poster

With the onslaught of the global pandemic, changes have been apparent and with changes, it’s not always comfortable. Change can bring distress and in a time of global health crisis, that distress isn’t discriminating – in age, status, affiliation, and so on. For these reasons, the topic for the 2nd session of the LEAD minds is relevant and significant. 88 educators across 7 counties of the Lasallian East Asia district came together to form a platform and exchange insights to reflect on the topic, “Developing Resilience amidst Change”.

Br. Abet King Pia, FSC warmly welcomed the participants in the gathering, followed by an opening reflection led by Br. Patrick Tierney FSC, Auxiliary Visitor. Br. Marvin Sipin FSC, the surprise co-host, then introduced the session’s facilitator from the HELP University in Kuala Lumpur, Mr. Eric Bryan Amaladas.

Mr. Amaladas began his session by explaining that every person has a way of coping with change. He added that coping may be extra challenging for some, especially with major or discontinuous changes. With that, he stressed the importance of pausing and having a good look to assess one’s ability to bounce back and recover from challenges or simply, one’s resilience. He highlighted the importance of managing one’s emotions and avoiding either of the two extremes – suppressing emotions or overly expressing emotions. Furthermore, Mr. Amaladas stressed the importance of self-care which encompasses finding time for yourself and giving space to yourself.

After the insightful talk by Mr. Amaladas, the participants were assigned into breakout rooms to discuss their own experiences of the different challenges they have faced or currently experiencing. Many of the participants also shared their methods of strengthening their resilience which furthered the reflections and take-aways from Mr. Amaladas. Towards the end of the session, the participants were gathered in the plenary for an open Q&A with Mr. Amaladas who thoughtfully answered questions from the participants.

The talk concluded in a hopeful and encouraging mood, with everyone being reminded that whilst walking in times like the pandemic may seem dark and gloomy, there is always light at the end of the tunnel. (Text: Mr. Angelo Paragas; Photos: Mr. Migs Ortega)

LEAD Minds 2

Preparations for the 46th General Chapter (Circular 476) of the Institute are underway, and now, more than ever, is the best time for all Lasallians to start discussing, and recommending proposals for the agenda of the General Chapter in May 2022.

It was with this in mind that the fifth LEAD Online Community (LOC) Gathering last August 13 was conceived to become a venue to include Lasallian partners or associates in the dialogue. With over 100 participants at the Zoom meeting room, LOC 5 served as an effective means to orient the attendees regarding the General Chapter and its theme, “Building New Paths to Transform Lives.”

Br. Christy Croos FSC, a member of the Preparatory Commission for the said Chapter, delivered a concise explanation of the three primary topics, namely: (1) Association for Mission, (2) Leadership, Sustainability and Governance, and (3) Life of the Brothers. He included in his talk an explanation of the “Map Makers” metaphor that is referenced to Br. Luis de Thomasis FSC’s book “Creating a New Lasallian Map.”

After this rich discussion, the participants were directed to Breakout rooms, where each group was invited to discuss the following prompts:

  1. Do you have a proposal that you believe is important for the Sustainability of the Lasallian Mission in the future?
  2. What “new road maps” would you propose to help revitalize the Lasallian Mission looking at today’s reality?

Upon returning to the plenary, the participants listened once again as Br. Christy synthesized his sharing and encouraged everyone to join him in a five-point reflection:

  1. Consider renewing and revising Lasallian institutional governance structures, internationally and locally, to fulfill our vision of inclusivity, accepting diversity in religion, culture, ethnicity and gender.
  2. Consider giving more weight to creating and implementing Lasallian formation programs for Brothers and Partners.
  3. Consider promoting Lasallian Vocations throughout the Institute with the intention of service beyond District or Region.
  4. Consider renewing our Lasallian Educational Mission beyond our own established institutions and reaching out in direct service to the poor, marginalized, victims of violence and abuse.
  5. Consider revitalizing our efforts and commitment for social justice and peace.

Since its first online gathering in August 2020, LOC has already involved 247 participants from LEAD and beyond. LOC has hosted five meetings, each covering a topic of interest and relevance.

As the new Path Builders and Map Makers for our Lasallian Educational Mission in today’s reality, let us be open to God in the Holy Spirit, so that our reflections and discussions may lead us to create fresh opportunities t o transform the lives of those entrusted to our care. (Text: Brs. Antonio Cubillas FSC & Emong Viroomal FSC; Photos: Br. Antonio Cubillas FSC)

MALAYSIA - La Salle Centre Ipoh and the Signum Fidei KL Chapter organised a ‘Come and Discover SF’ programme on the 18th of July. There were 36 people who attended this session that went on for 90 minutes. This program was organised to create awareness and to encourage the growth of SF membership in Malaysia. Participants were teachers, former teachers, church members and a couple of university students.

The programme started off with the opening prayer prepared by Ms Joyce Gomez and a welcome speech by Brother Ambrose Loke, the spiritual advisor of Signum Fidei Malaysia. Brother Michael Broughton was our guest speaker who started his presentation with an introduction to Signum Fidei and what it is. He then went on to share where SF can be found around the world, who can join SF and what the different stages of membership are.

Mr. Xavier Soosay the current chair of Signum Fidei KL Chapter, followed with a brief history of SF in Malaysia and its existing members. Participants then engaged in a question-and-answer session with Brother Michael. Some questions that were brought up were: Can non-Christians be a part of SF? Would they need to profess Christianity?

Brother Andrew Loke, Brother Director of Malaysia, closed the session with thanks to our guest speaker, SF Chairman and organisers of this forum along with a few words of encouragement and thanks to all those who attended the programme. (Text: Ms. Coreen Paul & Mr. Isaac Stephen; Photo: Ms. Coreen Paul)

MALAYSIA - “Be Inspired” was the theme of our Founder’s Day Celebration in Malaysia this year and we felt it was befitting to hear from those who were inspired by the founder. We were graced with the presence of 7 De La Salle Brothers from the LEAD District.

The Brothers shared their struggles and joys as a Brother and they also shared their hopes for the mission and the youth of today. It was a rich sharing as the invited Brothers were well represented in terms of age and experience. Young, the middle aged and a senior too! We had Brothers who are serving in their home countries as well as Missionary Brothers who have made the country they are serving in as their homes. This sharing session was well moderated by Jeremy Robeiro, a Lasallian youth volunteer.

There were about 80 participants who were made up of mostly Malaysian students, teachers, board members and alumni. We were blessed to have a few Lasallian partners from the other LEAD sectors join us. Participants were engaged with the stories of the Brothers and inspired by their perseverance and resilience in coping with the many changes around them.

All those present had the opportunity to interact with at least one of the 7 Brothers. There were seven breakout rooms with one Brother in each. They had 20 minutes to share what inspired them during the main session and how will they act on this inspiration.

The Founder’s Day gathering ended with words of inspiration from the Brothers and it came to a close with a song from Yogavelan Balamurali, a Lasallian youth volunteer. The song titled ‘What One Man Can Do’ - was to attest to what one man did 300 over years ago and the legacy it has created.

Our thanks to Brothers Fermin Martinez, Patrick Tierney, Nicholas Seet, Stephen Pitchit, Jason Blaikie. Sockie De La Rosa and Henry Gyi for making our Founder’s Day meaningful, inspirational, and successful!

Live God in our hearts forever! (Text: Ms. Coreen Paul & Mr. Isaac Stephen; Photo: Ms. Coreen Paul)

JAPAN - We, the Hakodate La Salle Mission Club, in 2016 decided to have a volunteer activity in aid of the Jaime Hilario Integrated School – De La Salle Bataan (JHIS-LS) in the Philippines. With that in mind we sold some charity goods, with the intention of devoting all the proceeds to Jaime Hilario school. We continue this volunteer project annually.

This year, our volunteer activity’s target is another Lasallian institution in LEAD, the Bamboo School in Thailand. We have the same project of selling some charity goods and then donating the whole proceeds to them.

The purpose of this project is to focus not only on those who are suffering and in need in our immediate surroundings, but also on those who are most in need around the world. We focus especially on children, who are supposed to be the future leaders of the world, so that they can develop a global perspective of being at one with others, especially those in need, and develop a Lasallian identity.

It is only normal that we should help the Lasallian family of LEAD. I feel that we need to appreciate others and continue to sow the seeds so that in the future, Lasallian students can become true Lasallian people after graduation. (Text & Photos: Mr. Deok Bosco Han)

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SINGAPORE - “Your project is going to be a template for future computer vision projects like this. You did a great job here.” – Machine Learning Professor, Singapore Management University

On the eve of 2nd of August 2021, we presented (AND NAILED) our project for our applied machine learning class. The term requirement for this course is to create a project using relevant use of case and real-world data. The conception of our study with a title "Detection of COVID-19 Disease Through CNN-Based Image Classification of Chest X-Ray and CT Scan Images" is a product of deliberate research on finding solutions to world problems that require immediate attention. Its objective is to find a faster and more convenient way of diagnosing COVID-19. Image classification of X-ray and CT scan images using machine learning techniques is a non-invasive method that could potentially offer a faster way of detecting the disease. The model can tell whether an X-Ray or CT scan image of the lungs is positive or negative for the disease in seconds depending on the computational power of the computer used. This method is not meant to replace the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test which is the gold standard for diagnosing COVID-19. Instead, we thought that this method could be helpful in places where X-ray machines are more readily available than the PCR test. This can also be a good starting point for future research on the application of artificial intelligence to the healthcare system.

We hit a maximum accuracy of 99.5% and 97.1% for X-Ray and CT scan classification, respectively. It helped that we were able to find novel ways of explaining which parts of the X-Ray and CT scan images contribute greatly towards prediction. Moving forward, the plan is to collaborate with the professor to further enhance our study for possible publication and industry use. Our professor challenged us to build a single model capable of predicting both X-Ray and CT as a single dataset. We hope that this project could make a positive contribution to the pandemic-stricken world. Our group represents the Philippines, Russia, Italy, Vietnam and Singapore. (Text & Photos: Br. Kino Escolano FSC)

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