Sun, 23 Jun 2024



First ever Harvest Festival at La Salle
Published on: Sunday, June 09, 2024
By: Kan Yaw Chong
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Alumni La Salle and Sacred Heart Kaamatan officiated by Tan Sri Pairin Kitingan and Tan Sri Simon Sipaun. At right are Inanam Unduk Ngadau second runner-ups, Marshya Dewy Lo and Debny Mayly Danny.
TOGETHER, everyone achieves more, it is said! The word is synergy – meaning the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

For example, to fly to Dubai which I did late April, just the jet engine has no value unless all the diverse parts are combined to create a single plane.  

Sabah is said to have 32 tribes who speak more than 50 languages yet are rarely divisive but live as one, unlike the severe ethnic rhetoric in the West.

So, doing something to make each community feel understood, respected and supported in order to stay together as one, is virtuous and correct.   

The good news is this peace and spirit of goodwill towards men is being actively forged by local La Sallians and hopefully its exemplary efforts will rub off throughout Malaysia. 

Keeping its word to honour all community festivals, alumni La Salle and Sacred Heart celebrated its own Pesta Kaamatan with fanfare last Saturday June 1. 

In doing so, it scored two historic firsts. 

Remembering the historic Kaamatan at La Salle. From left: Mansor, Ariffin, Ho, Rashid, Marshya, Debny, Victoria Kongi, Brenda, Lourdes and Kevin Padasian. 

“One, it marks a milestone – the first time ever a Kaamatan celebration was done at La Salle; Two, this is the first time such celebration was officiated by our Huguan Siou (Paramount leader), Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan,” noted Alumni President, Datuk Ram Singh.  

Ram said alumni’s drive to celebrate all and diverse ethnic and religious festivals is to showcase the true worth of education – prompt Malaysians to live by communal trust, mutual good, understanding, goodwill, harmony and respect one another’s cultural roots, best articulated in the realm of schools, he stressed.       

‘Instil pride in cultural roots’ – Ram   

“I wish to emphasise the significance of embracing cultural heritage within the educational realm, the importance of fostering inclusivity and understanding amongst us, instilling a sense of pride in our cultural roots while promoting harmony and respect amongst us Lasallians, students, the tripartite teams of Parent-teachers Association, Board of Governors and Alumni.”

Hinava – the popular Kadazandusun pickled raw fish salad (left). Traditional back basket woven with tree bark.  

“My word of appreciation must go to Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan who was among the earliest Class 58/59 which started La Salle School in Tanjung Aru, took time to be with us, despite his busy schedules during the State Kaamatan festival at the KDCA,” said Ram who attributed the successful invitation to his Deputy Kevin Padasian and friend who personally approached Pairin at his KDCA Office.

“It was great news when I was told that our Huguan Siou accepted it and be with us today,” Ram said.  

How La Salle School started in ’58

On origins that shaped every La Sallian’s destiny, here’s a brief background history.

La Salle actually started as Sacred Heart Secondary School in 1953 on the present 7.653-acre land Tanjung Aru, built by the Mill Hill priests under Bishop Buis who invited the La Salle Brothers – Bro Raphael and Bro Charles who arrived in 1958 to take over.

Raphael (Principal) and Charles renamed Sacred Heart Secondary School La Salle Secondary School while the primary school remained Sacred Heart. 

“Class 58 /59, who became the inaugural first student batch, of which Tan Sri Pairin was one, proudly stood witness to this momentous occasion, connecting closeness between the seniors and junior La Sallians, make our alumni strong and vibrant that defines the La Sallian community,” noted Ram.    

Former teachers: Goh Siew Goik and Veronica Samasundram. 

Former teachers: Bro Yohan Hendriks and Simon Lim (right). 

Former teachers: Datin Hiew, Dr Kathryn Rivai and husband Zainal. 

He thanked the “enormous support” given by the presence of “a large number of Lasallians, retired teachers, students, families, well-wishers, distinguished guests and friends who whipped up a vibrant celebration of unity in diversity”.  

“We are committed to nurturing a culturally diverse and inclusive environment amongst us, instilled within us by the late Bro Charles, I want to point out that we celebrated the Kaamatan in a happy mood today among Lasallian friends, comprising a diversity of races, beliefs customs an religions, I am proud to see all present here supporting our function,” Ram said.  

“We leave with god spirits and renewed sense of pride and unity, inspired by the spirit of Kaamatan and the enduring values amongst us.”


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