[About this blog] Inspired by local soccer player Mike Lim during my rookie reporter days at Singapore Polytechnic, I set up this blog in August 2002. I feel that blogging is a novel platform to document interesting facets of my life and my thoughts on certain issues. [Email blogger] ephraim@singnet.com.sg

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

[Bro Joe Kiely]
1 The memorial mass at the new chapel of SJI International was a celebration of Bro Joe's life. For reasons not clear to me, he is one of the teachers whom I'll always remember even though he only took a few lessons at St Pat's Secondary One. That's 40 years ago. I can still do the alphabets with hand sign language that he taught the class, a curiosity with no practical application.

2 On the front page of the mass booklet was a saying from Bro Joe that a good teacher must love the child he teaches, and the child has to feel that love. In his eulogy, Bro Visitor Levitte recalled Bro Joe's two conditions for a child's education: love and success. The second condition is interesting. A sense of progress encourages the child to make the effort. In 1994, Bro Joe worried about the deadening uniformity of Singapore's education system. A core principle of Lasallian education is the respect for every child's uniqueness. Everyone is different and each blossoms in his own way.

3 I met Bro Joe off and on over the years. After his retirement, he went back to Ireland. I met him twice there: once, for the launch of Bro McNally's posthumous exhibition in Dublin; and the second time when we unveiled the outdoor statue honouring Bro McNally at County Mayo. I can never forget that morning. It was raining and gloomy. I gave my speech; Bro Joe gave his. Then, as we walked out, the weather cleared, the sun broke through. Both Bro Joe and I knew there was divine intervention. When I took leave, it started raining again. I last met Bro Joe a few months ago at Lasalle College. He looked well then.

4 Goodbye Bro Joe.

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