Archive for the ‘James Sarda’ Category

Kota Kinabalu: The passing of La Salle Brother Datuk Charles O’Leary once again poses the calling for Sabahans, especially from Tanjung Aru’s La Salle School, to take up the vocation of being a La Salle Order of Teachers Brother.

Bro. Charles’ top regret was no student of Sacred Heart or La Salle schools had the calling, thus far, to pursue what he dedicated as a vocation all his life, although there were Malaysians from other schools who had served under him when he was Principal of La Salle Secondary School like Bro. Yohan and Bro. Justin who was from Tambunan.

He had hinted so to many people, including his students, but none seemed to have had the calling. Fr. Cosmos Lee, one of his students, who eulogised in the homily at the funeral of Bro. Charles, is among the few who became members of the clergy.

Fr. Cosmos Lee said during the funeral Mass: “I am not sure if Bro. Charles would have agreed with the Archbishop asking me to deliver the homily as I was among the few who dared to stand up to him.”

Bro. Charles once jested that if La Salle brothers were allowed to get married, probably there would be more than a few from the La Sallian family who would take up the calling in health and poverty and devote their life to God in the service of education for the young.

He had experienced the church’s trial and tribulation from the Usno era when the work permits of some foreign priests were not renewed and had to leave Sabah to the present challenges posed by extremist elements.

After the fall of the Usno regime, the new Chief Minister of the Berjaya administration Tan Sri Harris Salleh arranged small part of the funding for the construction of the school senior block hall.

Harris also lifted the Usno ban on Chinese cultural activities like unicorn and lion dances, which benefited the school as the renowned La Salle Lion Dance Troupe raised funds from performances for the construction of the school’s senior block canteen first besides others.

In many ways, the fear felt by some complacent and ignorant Sabah civil servants for Harris’ inspection tours during the Berjaya regime was what La Salle School students felt under Bro. Charles’ watchful eyes.

They appeared unreasonable and at times punitively harsh, but that’s what Sabah requires from a leadership perspective to get things done and achieved amid an environment of mediocrity and apathetic attitude, as a saying goes: “Progress depends on the unreasonable man…”

It may be that being the non-populist example of Bro. Charles as an educationist exemplar is too hard to follow for the younger generations. But the challenge is still open for Sabahans to consider the La Salle Order as a life vocation in the service of our youths.

Following are some of the late Bro. Charles’ sayings: “Stars shine and they show the way to safety, security and maturity, and that is the work of teachers whose vocation is to touch and form minds and hearts.

I wanted to be a star with a small ‘s’ no doubt, so that I could and can form and mould young minds and hearts and prepare them for life both here and hereafter.

God has blest me in my life and work and I would not forfeit the peace, satisfaction and fulfilment I have acquired in my calling for anything else that this world might offer. To God be the Glory.” – (Bro. Charles M. O’Leary F.S.C.)




By James Sarda

YAOUNDE (Cameroon): African soccer legend Roger Milla (pic) said he will relish the opportunity to take Malaysia to the greatest heights possible in world soccer if given the opportunity to be its coach.

He noted in an exclusive interview to Daily Express that perhaps only the South East Asian region had yet to make an impact on the stage where it matters most in soccer – the World Cup – and that Malaysia should make a serious attempt at doing so since it has a long soccer history.

The still reigning top African World Cup goal scorer whose five goals feat was recently equalled by Ghana’s Asamoah Gyan, said there is no reason Malaysia cannot make the grade like its Asian counterparts South and North Korea as well as Japan given the right approach and focus.

“ Yes, if there is a possibility I would love to take up the challenge to coach the Malaysian side. But it will also depend on whether I can obtain permission for leave from my President Paul Biya. Then I will sit down and negotiate in the event of an offer,” he said.

“In fact, I negotiated for one or two Cameroonian players to come to Malaysia while I was engaged as a coach in Indonesia. Indonesia was a very good experience. I liked the country and was working very hard to build up their football standard,” said

Milla, in reference to his stints with Pelita Jaya and Putera Samarinda, both in Indonesian Premier Division sides in the mid-1990s.

Milla, 62, said he regretted not having taken the opportunity to visit Malaysia while he was coaching in Indonesia as he had heard much about the country. “I should have but I had a very tight working schedule then.”

Milla has since been designated as a roving ambassador by President Biya, who even allowed him to operate from the Presidential Palace. Among his tasks now are to spot and nurture young Cameroonian soccer talents so that Cameroon would continue to remain a force in both the World Cup and African Nations Cup tournaments.

Many of the emerging Cameroonian players have been the products of his specially set up Roger Milla Foundation with the President’s urging and full backing. “My tasks as Roving Ambassador includes undertaking missions for the President related to sports and on other things as well,” he said.

Asked whether his feats at the 1990, 1994 and 1998 World Cups were responsible for inspiring a whole new generation of African soccer players who now dominate top European clubs and elsewhere, he said:

“It is a difficult question to answer. It is not for me but for others to appreciate whether I was the inspi- ration or not.” His four goals in the 1990 World Cup helped Cameroon to become the first African team to reach the World Cup Quarter finals. Ghana, Senegal and Nigeria have since followed the tradition.

History would not have bestowed Milla with the honours that followed if not for a passionate plea by phone by President Biya for Milla to come out of his 1987 self-imposed retirement, thus becoming the oldest player in the World Cup at age 38.

A goal by him at age 42 in a later World Cup match made him the oldest scorer in World Cup history.

James Sarda is Editor-in-Chief for Daily Express Sabah and recently was in Cameroon

by James Sarda

Kota Kinabalu: No one should accuse Sri Lanka as bitterly as they do just because there had to be casualties in the process of ending that island nation’s civil war.

Stating this to Daily Express in an exclusive interview on the sidelines of the 59th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) conference in Johannesburg, South Africa, recently, its Secretary General Dr William Shija, said in the case of Sri Lanka, it would be unrealistic to suggest that there have been human rights violations just because there had to be a decision to end the terrorism (waged by the Tamil Tigers for three decades).

“You had a group of people who had completely captured a portion of that country through violent means. That is anarchy. That is terrorism.

“What do you expect the Sri Lankan Government to do? What would any nation faced with this situation be expected to do? Sit and negotiate?

“That is similar to what we heard about, for example, in the Falklands (when Argentina temporarily seized the island in the early 1980s).

“Why would Britain then go to the extent of trying to protect the Falklands which is so far away. It can’t be terrorism if you are protecting your nation or your people,” said the former Tanzanian Minister.

Shija also said it was ironic to even attempt to suggest that Sri Lanka had violated human rights when actually there are more serious human rights violations taking place even right now in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq (by the western troops).

“Those are examples that need to be examined in the proper perspective,” he said, obviously referring to the countless civilians killed by US, UK and Nato forces in these Muslim countries. Thousands of innocent civilians have been killed by US drone attacks in Afghanistan alone.

Shija added that there were also plenty of human rights violations during colonialism and during times of slavery. “If people want to talk about human rights violations we might as well go into history,” he said.

He said looking at the situation today, “you can’t have countries or even the Commonwealth dictate to Sri Lanka what to do.

“Who are you coming from the Commonwealth or otherwise to tell these guys what to do.

In fact, there are even smaller countries within the (53-member) Commonwealth who flex their muscles when it comes to their own country’s decisions.

“The world has moved on and no longer do you have an unipolar system where one member can dictate to another. So the best way to keep the family together is to be flexible and accommodate the variances and rather contribute on what should be done.”

Malaysia has confirmed participating in CHOGM despite calls by Barisan Nasional component MIC and the opposition DAP to boycott the event. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib would lead a delegation and Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said that Malaysia’s participation was “relevant and significant”.

Critics of Lanka have alleged that its government was responsible for the deaths of up to 40,000 civilians in the civil war there that ended in 2009 with the killing of the entire Tiger leadership. There have been no more killings since.

It made Sri Lanka, reportedly albeit with Chinese help in logistics, the first and only nation in the world to have successfully defeated terrorism.

The Tamil Tigers have also been accused of drafting child soldiers and killing innocent thousands, including its own people that did not side with it during their campaign for a separate state in the island’s north.

There is evidence that in the last stages of the war their besieged leaders tried to use fellow Tamil civilians as human shields and killed those who abandoned them.

The Tigers also became infamous for introducing suicide bombings that has seen been adopted by other reactionary groups as a means to achieve their objectives, especially assassinating key people.

Their most high profile victim was Indian Premier Rajiv Gandhi when they sent a woman strapped with a bomb inside her sari to greet him when he visited Lanka during the early stages of the bloody conflict.

James Sarda is the Editor-in-Chief of Daily Express an Independent National Newspaper of East Malaysia