Daily Archives:April 14th, 2018

Remembering eight brave war heroes from WWII (Part 2)

File photo of the day of exhumation of three heroes in 1957.

During the annual 2018 official ceremony for all war victims Jan 21, eight men’s names were commemorated on a new plaque at the main war monument at the Petagas War Memorial Park. This is the second installment of a write-up to remember particularly six men out of the eight, with the perspective on how their Catholic faith had helped them to survive life’s ordeals.

In the second war crime charge, the four victims Paul Lee Fook Onn @ Paul Lee Onn, Simon Thien, Paul Chong Pin Sin and Stephen Pan Tet Liong lived in Tamparuli during the war. The war crime charge stated they were “native residents, chief of the village and very influential.”

SIMON THIEN and Paul Lee Onn shared some land that they applied for in Tamparuli, across from Charlie Peter’s property. Simon was also one of the Fr Weber’s ‘old boys’ from Sacred Heart School as was Charlie. He worked in the Customs as senior officer collecting taxes at the port. He was married to Hiew Nyet Kiao and they had three adopted children Agnes, Rose, and John. He is survived by his siblings, nephews, and nieces.

PAUL CHONG PIN SIN was born in 1903 and came to Jesselton in the 1920s from China and worked as a “house-mate” for “orang putih.”  With the little savings and experience he had from working with them, he first started a ‘laundromat,’  then moved on to trading and became a successful merchant owning a grocery shop in Jesselton town.

A written account by his only surviving child, Rose Chong states that in 1944 a troop of Japanese army marched from Sandakan to Ranau, and reached their house which was near the roadside at Tamparuli. The Japanese army stayed at their house where they required Paul Chong, Simon Thien, Stephen Pan and Paul Lee to supply food and other rations to them.

PAUL LEE FOOK ONN @ PAUL LEE ONN was the first born of three children to parents Anthony Lee Biang and Maria Liew Fung Kiao in Jesselton in 1902. He worked as a chief clerk at Harrisons and Crossfields Shipping. When his father fell ill and eventually died at a young age, his mother sent them to mission schools. Paul was also a former student of Sacred Heart School under Fr Weber. Church records show he was a devoted Catholic and prominent lay leader particularly of the Chinese congregation of Sacred Heart Church in the 1920s and 1930s.

Like Vitalianus Ubing, Paul Lee was also a volunteer with the North Borneo Volunteer Force and was ranked a Sergeant. After the war, the family received a scroll commemorating and honouring his sacrifice. Paul was the father of nine children. His wife was pregnant with their youngest son John when he was taken away and killed. Today, his six surviving children live around the globe.

BUNG AH TEE @ STEPHEN PAN TET LIONG previously worked at the British rubber estate in Sandakan as supervisor and owned a rubber estate in Bakut, near Tuaran. According to his grandson, Stephen’s family was originally from Papar and he was educated at St Joseph mission school, Papar. He was married to Francisca Chin Kon Kiao, and they had ten children.

As with the other families, because of safety Stephen moved his family to Tamparuli. The Pan family lived very near to the other three Chinese families at Tamparuli and became good friends. He was appointed as village Chief or as Kapitan at one time.

In 1945, all four men were captured by the Japanese and never returned. The reason behind the capture was that all the four men’s names were found on the Defender (undercover) list of names. They were accused of, “not supplying the Japanese army with foodstuffs, planning to attack the Japanese in the rear in the event of an Allied landing and in contact with bandits in Kinarut, and to attack the Japanese units which came from Ranau to Tamparuli.” (War crime trial proceedings)

After the Japanese surrendered, the Australian army caught the Japanese and they went house to house to find out how many victims were missing and forced the Japanese to tell where those innocent victims were killed and buried. It was then they knew Paul Chong, Simon Thien, and Stephen Pan were killed together on June 12 at the same place and their bodies shared the same burial ground.

Three months after the killing, the families followed a map given by someone and located the ground in the Telipong area. They recognised and confirmed the bodies by means of personal possessions which were with the remains. However, nothing much could be done then as life was difficult for the families and no one could afford to do anything with the remains. Twelve years later, the three families got together again and transferred all the three men’s remains into a burial jar which was then buried at the Tuaran Christian Cemetery.

Paul Lee was taken away on a separate day while the family was having dinner. He was taken away, badly tortured and returned home twice prior to his final departure on June 16. Although a map of his killing place was also provided by the same person (as mentioned above) months later but sadly, the remains of Paul have never been found.

Out of adversity comes strength, sometimes formidable strength and courage. After the death of Paul Lee, his widow Margaret Liong Choi Chin, like the other three widows in Tamparuli, struggled to bring up their children. The widows got together to form a strong support network.

Due to constant floods, the children were often prevented from going to school, which was located on the other side of the river. So Margaret, with the help from the widows and older children of the families, decided to raise funds to build a school for the children who lived on the south side of the river – about 20 of them from their own families alone. The boys led a Dragon Dance team and the girls sold handmade paper flowers. They went everywhere by bus or on foot. Margaret went as far as Labuan to raise funds for the school.

Their children were first schooled in Charlie Peter’s house in 1946.The families also gathered at the house on Sundays for service or Mass, if there was a priest visiting. Apparently, faith has put the families together and helped them survived through the difficult times.

While going through the hardships of raising funds, the school had to shift to an old Japanese warehouse when the number of students grew too big for Charlie’s house. In 1949, they had to move again to an abandoned two-storey attap house on the land between the properties of Paul Lee and Simon Thien. After some persuasive negotiations between Margaret and the land owner, they bought the land on which the Gong Gao School grew and rebuilt.

Being nearly illiterate, Margaret sought the help of Yong Tao Pin @Yong Chen Koon, who was educated in China, with the school’s administrative work. Meanwhile, Mrs Simon Thien, affectionately known as Nyet Kiao Ji, her sister Fook Kiao, wife of Paul Chong, and others helped with chores and the never-ending fundraising.

In the late 1950s the school was handed over to Father Tepstra who was in charge of the Tuaran Catholic mission. Around 1964, the school became known as St Philip’s School, under the care of Bishop James Buis. The school is very much in operation today and has educated many successful students.

The third war crime charge involved the killing of Lim Hock Beng and Mohinder Singh. They were the two non-Catholics who were also recently commemorated at the Petagas War Memorial Park.

LIM HOCK BENG was working as a wireless operator at the Jesselton Post Office. He was considered the “chief of the rebellion who used the wireless set to catch intelligence that was against the Japanese army and carried out an agitation to the native residents”. According to a family member, Lim Hock Beng was a Christian belonging to the Society for the propagation of the Gospel, now known as the Anglican Church. His wife was Rose Walker, a Catholic, who was also a close family friend of Lothar Manjaji’s wife, Otillia. With the untimely death of Lim Hock Beng, the children were separated. The two eldest, Lucy and Richard were sent to stay in the convent in Singapore where they were taught Catechism and subsequently they and their families became Catholics. The other three siblings, Jane, Victor, and Timothy studied in St Mary’s School, Sandakan where they were also taught catechism and accepted the Catholic faith.

MOHINDER SINGH, a 19-year old male nurse at the Jesselton Hospital, assisted Lim Hock Beng in keeping an eye out for enemy planes using his binoculars. They were captured and killed around early July 1945 and buried unceremoniously together in a shallow grave. Both bodies were later exhumed and taken away by their families.

Many gaps in the stories of these brave men remain and it is hoped more will be uncovered as the families embark on learning about their loved ones. Their story, set against a backdrop of the cruelties of the war and the horrific suffering they must have endured show how only their unwavering faith must have given them courage in their greatest hour of need, surrendering to God their lives and the families they were leaving behind. They also bring to mind the many other brave victims who were taken and killed during the war.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9-10 – Contributed by Vera Chin and Susanna Lye, granddaughters of Lothar Manjaji and Paul Lee.

Korean Clerical Society opens religious items shop in ITCC

Father Andrew Kim blesses the Woori Jib religious items shop, ITCC Penampang, 16 March 2018.

PENAMPANG –The Korean Clerical Society of the Most Holy Trinity has opened a shop selling religious items in the ITCC Shopping Mall here.

Known as the Woori Jib Holy Item, it is owned and managed by members of the Korean congregation headed by Father Leo Choi Sangki.

Some 50 parishioners from nearby parishes, friends and supporters witnessed the blessing ceremony of the new premises on 16 Mar 2018.

Franciscan Sisters Dariah Ajap and Imelda Angang, and Marist Brother Anthony Choi were among those present.

Other guests included Penampang District Officer Luvita Koisun and Datin Sylvia Wong Bongkos.

The Rite of Blessing was officiated by Father Andrew Kim Youngjun, one of the three resident priests of the Society in Kota Kinabalu. With him was Father Lawrence Kim Jinsu. Fr Leo was away in Korea for a pastoral commitment.

The religious items are sourced from South Korea, and Fr Andrew said all sales made under the store are channelled to Woori Jib St Francis Xavier Potuki, their welfare orphanage home located at Kg Potuki, Lokawi Putatan.

Therefore, he calls for continuous support from all to Woori Jib to sustain the orphans who come from poor local Catholic families.

Woori Jib Holy Item is located at Lot No. 1-202, (Corner), Tingkat Satu, Bangunan ITCC (International Technology& Commercial Centre) Penampang, and operates from 10 am-6 pm daily.

For any enquiries, contact the management at 019-8822418. Linda Edward

Bethel English Prayer Community refreshes itself with retreat

KOTA KINABALU  – Members of the Bethel English Prayer Community (BEPC), or better known as the English Prayer Meeting, took off to the retreat centre at Bundu Tuhan on 9-11 Feb 2018, to rejuvenate and strengthen themselves for another year of activities.

Of the 40 participants, some are currently serving in the ministry while others are those who have responded to the invitation to serve in the BEPC in the year ahead.

Though the prayer meeting has existed since 1974, it has been through many memorable moments, as well as challenging ones.

Currently, the BEPC, with Carlos Cordova as the interim coordinator, is acting as a caretaker for the prayer community pending the expiry of the current leadership to pave way for the election of new leaders this year.

BEPC also paid a courtesy visit to Father Paul Lo as the new assistant parish priest and introduced themselves to him at the close of last year.

Apart from the weekly Praise and Worship, sharing and in-house talks, BEPC also has a special ministry that caters for benevolent prayers, hospital visits and other spiritual outreach for the members. All are invited to join the BEPC for a time of praise and worship every Friday at 8:00 pm at the Sacred Heart Parish Centre, Room F7.

The Bethel English Prayer Community is one of 70 plus ministry/community groups that are flourishing in the Sacred Heart Cathedral parish. – Joe Carlos Leong, CS

Easter challenge

After 40 days of penitential preparation, the Church welcomes the Easter season with abundant joy. Christ has vanquished death. He has brought hope, light and new life to a people previously living in sin, darkness, and death. His sacrifice and subsequent victory was the ultimate game-changer.

For Catholics, Jesus’ resurrection on Easter Sunday is the third act in the story of salvation, one preceded by suffering and death. It is the height of the liturgical year.

But how often do we rejoice in the event without really understanding it? How often do we take the time to properly reflect on its deeper significance in our lives? How often do we forget to ask ourselves: “What does it mean to be a disciple of Christ in a post-Resurrection world?” To that end, here are three points for consideration.

We must be a people of joy – of resurrection – even when it’s not easy.

In a world where Christ is risen, we must strive to be people of hope and joy. In our lives, when all hope seems gone, when we are tempted to give in to despair, it’s important to recognise that this is where God is at work. This takes an active faith – a trust in God and an understanding that his thoughts are not our thoughts, nor his ways our ways (Is 55:8).

We must continue to seek always. To understand the full meaning of the Resurrection in our lives, we must work to seek the answers that Christ and the Church hold. The paschal mystery is not easy to understand. We are challenged to read, research, ask questions – to become a seeker for Christ. Only through our own understanding will we be able to fashion an appropriate response.

We must actively respond. Jesus’ resurrection is not a passive event. Rather, as was modeled to us by the early Christians, it demands a response.

As Catholics, we are blessed with opportunities to respond as Christians in a post-Resurrection world. We can encounter Christ frequently in the sacraments, particularly the Eucharist, and through prayer, Scripture and the witness of holy disciples. We can care for the needy, vulnerable, sick, imprisoned and dying. We can model the Resurrected Christ to others through our interactions, our charity, and our selfless acts.

This Easter, we have the opportunity to be a people of joy, to seek to know Christ more deeply, and to recover the active fire of the first Christians. Like those early Christians, when we understand the Resurrection fully, we, too, will be willing to live our lives completely for God. – OSV

Bishops ask for 24 hours of prayer for GE14

KOTA KINABALU – The Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia has asked all parishes in Malaysia to hold  24-hours of prayer for the 14th General Elections.

Sacred Heart Cathedral Parish here will begin with Mass on Friday, 27 Apr 2018 at 7:30 pm followed by exposition of the Blessed Sacrament until 5 pm on Saturday, Apr 28.  It will conclude with the Sunset Mass at 6 pm.

All parish groups and the general parishioners are asked to commit themselves to pray for the coming election and are encouraged to join the 24 Hours of Prayers.

And all parishioners who are registered voters are strongly  urged to exercise their right to vote in this election on Wednesday May 9.

Five things you didn’t know can get you in trouble at the next Malaysian General Election

klcc 0001

Five things you didn’t know can get you in trouble at the next Malaysian General Election.

You wake up early in the morning to the singing of birds and golden beams of light. After getting dressed, you put on your best smile and head down to your designated polling station.

You’re doing your part in deciding Malaysia’s future, after all, and that is something to be proud of.

This certainly would be a beautiful day to have an election, no?

You arrive at the polling station and – yay! – the queue isn’t too long. And there’s even a nice man offering cupcakes with your favourite politician’s face on it. You gladly accept one, eager to sink your teeth in to his face (and your vote in his ballot box) when a uniformed officer taps you on the shoulder. He informs you that you’ve just broken the law, and you may not be allowed to vote at all.

This is one of the 5 following actions – which you may be surprised to learn are illegal! Do take note of them and their respective penalties, and be sure to avoid them at the next Malaysia General Election (GE).

1. Accepting food and drinks from strangers

PENALTY: Imprisonment of up to 2 years, a fine between RM1,000.00 and RM5,000.00, and a suspension of your ability to vote for a period of 5 years.

If you are approached by someone who offers you food, drinks, refreshments, or any other treats before, during, or after the voting process, we strongly advise against accepting this treat. This is especially the case if that person claims that these treats are tokens of gratitude to you for voting.

If the provider does so with reference to voting for a specific candidate, be even more resolute in avoiding them.

Why? The Election Offences Act 1954 identifies accepting these possibly corrupt treats as a part of the illegal act of Treating. This is highlighted specifically in the following section of the act: Section 8 of the Election Offences Act 1954 – Treating (in part):

“…and every elector or voter who corruptly accepts or takes any such food, drink, or refreshment or provision or any such money or ticket or who adopts such other means or device to enable the procuring of such food, drink, refreshment or provision shall be guilty of the offence of treating.”

The keyword here is “corruptly”, which indicates knowledge of ulterior motives behind the provision and acceptance of such treats. However, because it may be hard to ascertain the motives of those who provide these treats at times, it is best to avoid them altogether. Needless to say, accepting money or financial tokens in this context is unacceptable too!

2. Taking ballot papers out of, orb ringing them into polling stations

PENALTY: Imprisonment of up to 2 years or a fine of no more than RM5,000.00, if not both, and a suspension of your ability to vote for a period of 5 years.

Under no circumstances should you leave the polling station with a ballot paper in hand, regardless of whether it is an extra, used, unused or empty ballot paper.

If you find yourself in possession of two ballot papers, even if due to a mistake or oversight, be sure to return the extra piece immediately to the nearest Election Officer, instead of carrying it out of the station.

The act of taking a ballot paper out of the polling station is illegal, based on the following segment of the Election Offences Act 1954:

Section 3(1) of the Election Offences Act 1954 – Offences by any person (in part):

Any person who—

(h) without due authority takes out of the polling station any ballot paper or is found in possession of any ballot paper outside a polling station;

Additionally, you should be cautious of printing any replicas of ballot papers or documents that are capable of being used as ballot papers during GE, not to mention avoid bringing them to a polling station. The same section of the act states the following:

Any person who—

(c) forges or counterfeits or fraudulently defaces or fraudulently destroys any ballot paper or the official mark on any ballot paper;
(j) without due authority prints any ballot paper or what purports to be or is capable of being used as a ballot paper at an election;

Concurrently, when leaving a polling station, be sure to check yourself to see if you have any excess or suspicious pieces of paper either in hand or attached to yourself.

3. Waiting or loitering around polling stations after casting your vote

PENALTY: Imprisonment of up to 1 year or a fine of up to RM5,000.00, if not both.

As soon as you are done voting, be sure to leave your polling station in an orderly and legal manner– for example, while avoiding item number 2 above – and only wait for someone beyond 50 metres from the polling station.

Loitering or waiting within 50 metres of the vicinity of a polling station is considered an election offence, as explained by this section of the Election Offences Act 1954:

Section 26(1) of the Election Offences Act 1954 – Limitation on polling day (in part): Any person who —

(e) within a distance of fifty metres from the limits of any polling station —

(iv) wait or loiter except for the purpose of gaining entry to the polling station to cast his vote…

This translates to say that while you are encouraged to come with your family members and friends to perform your duties as voters, all attempts to rendezvous with them after casting your vote should be made at least 50 metres away from a polling station.

Naturally, loitering around after voting isn’t a good idea either

4. Wearing items of clothing with your favourite party’s logo

PENALTY: Imprisonment of up to 1 year or a fine of up to RM5,000.00, if not both.

This law is one that may be particularly alien to many, but carries a severe penalty nonetheless if breached – which is why you should make it a point to be informed about it.

On the day of the GE, those who visit polling stations – or happen to be present within 50 metres of any polling station – should not do so while wearing items of clothing on which the name of a candidate or the name, emblem or symbol of any political party is printed or imprinted.

This includes almost all categories of clothing items and a range of accessories, as given by the following section of the Election Offences Act 1954:

Section 26(1) of the Election Offences Act 1954 – Limitation on polling day (in part):

No person shall on polling day —

(g) within a distance of fifty metres from the limits of any polling station and in a polling station wear, hold or carry any form or type of clothing, head covering, ornament, rosette, water bottle or umbrella on which the name of a candidate or the name, emblem or symbol of any political party is printed or imprinted.

A neutral approach to dressing is probably your best bet when visiting a polling station, as such. Plain clothing, with minimal or no prints is a safe choice, lest you wish to attract suspicion and possible trouble

5. Not giving your employees sufficient time to perform their duties as voters on polling day

PENALTY: Imprisonment of up to 1 year or a fine of up to RM5,000.00. Malaysian employers, here’s some food for thought. Have you been allocating – or are you planning to allocate – sufficient time for your employees to step away from the office and vote on the day of the GE?

Believe it or not, failure to do so is categorised as an offence against the law. Specifically speaking, it is a violation of the section of the Election Offences Act 1954 that is highlighted below:

Section 25(1) of the Election Offences Act 1954 – Employers to allow employees reasonable period for voting: Every employer shall, on polling day, allow to every elector in his employ a reasonable period for voting, and no employer shall make any deduction from the pay or other remuneration of any such elector or impose upon or exact from him any penalty by reason of his absence during such period.

Going against this directive may also be regarded as preventing your employee or a qualified voter from performing his duties, which the following section of the same act identifies as an illegality:

Section 3(1) of the Election Offences Act 1954 – Offences by any person (in part): Any person who — (n) obstructs or prevents a voter who is otherwise entitled to vote from voting at an election;

Yes, it is important to keep the engines of your businesses running – but it is also imperative that we avoid unnecessary costs while doing, especially in legal terms.

If something seems wrong, it probably is.

Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list of things you shouldn’t do during voting season, but some measure of common sense can be used as well – such as not taking selfies or having heated political discussions with the person lining up behind you. – Herald Malaysia, 13 Apr 2018

Source: asklegal.my

Peninsular bishops clarify Mass offerings

From the Peninsular Bishops To Clergy, Religious and Lay Faithful

In response to queries about the Holy Father’s comment that the Mass is free (“the Mass is not paid for, redemption is free. If you want to make an offering okay, but the Mass cannot be paid for”. General Audience, 7 March 2018), we would like to clarify that the practice of accepting mass offerings does not in any way contradict the above statement.

The Mass or the Eucharist represents (makes present) the sacrifice of the cross (CCC 1366). In terms of the “price” for such sacrifice, it has already been paid by our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. In terms of us being the beneficiaries of that great sacrifice, it comes unmerited and without any further payment on our part. Thus, Pope Francis is right to highlight that the Mass, which is the sacrifice of Christ, has been and is always “free” in that we need not and cannot possibly make any additional ‘payment’ to that one eternal sacrifice of Christ on the cross. The Church cannot and will not impose any “entrance fee” for assisting at Mass.

The practice of Mass offerings, which is an ancient one that dates back to the early Church, does not constitute “paying” for the Mass. It is not a “fee” for the Mass, which is always free. According to Canon 945§ 1 of the Code of Canon Law, “any priest celebrating or concelebrating is permitted to receive an offering to apply the Mass for a specific intention”.

The purpose of Mass offerings stated in Canon Law (Canon 946) is: “The Christian faithful who give an offering to apply the Mass for their intention contribute to the good of the Church and by that offering share its concern to support its ministers and works.”

According to Blessed Pope Paul VI’s Motu Propio, Firma in traditione, the donors of Mass offerings “associate themselves more closely with Christ’s act of offering himself as victim and in so doing experience its effects more fully”.

The final and most important note is to remember that you are not paying for the graces from God (which are of infinite value and cannot be paid for). With that in mind it makes much more sense and is not something that should cause scandal.

Mass intentions are a great treasure of the Church and have a spiritual weight that is incalculable. For this reason, the bishops of Peninsular Malaysia would like to recommend to Catholics to continue this laudable practice, although we must constantly and judiciously be on guard against abuse.

Rt Rev Sebastian Francis, DD
Bishop of Penang

Most Rev Julian Leow, DD
Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur

Rt Rev Bernard Paul, DD
Bishop of Malacca-JohoreHerald Malaysia, 14 Apr 2018

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