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NP REUNION DARJEELING OCTOBER 2010 (Report)

For Pictures of this reunion click here
 

 
Message received from Tony Lao on October 25, 2010:
 
We just returned from our fabulous trip from our Class of '65 Reunion in Darjeeling, 5-8 October, Reunion in Bhutan and a Reunion in Nepal.
 
Since we were there on Sport's Day and Rector's Day, we have wonderful photos of those two events plus some footage on video.  Ban-An and myself will be sorting out the photos this weekend and shall select which ones to be posted on our N P Alumni website.
 
Meantime, please post the keynote speaker, Lyonpo Om Pradhan's speech on the website.  The speech is attached in its entirety with this e-mail.
 
Best regards,
 
Tony

 

 

 
 

Speech by Lyonpo Om Pradhan, Chairman, Druk Holdings & Investments, Bhutan

Rector’s Day, St. Joseph’s School, North Point, Darjeeling

8 October 2010

1.     Reverend Father Rector Kinley Tshering, thank you for giving me this honor and privilege. Our coming to North Point for this reunion and to attend the Sports and Rector’s Day is because of your kind invitation and encouragement. We thank you profusely for the warm welcome and generous hospitality extended to us ever since we stepped foot through the Twin Towers.

2.     At the outset, may I convey the warm greetings and good wishes of His Majesty the King of Bhutan to you, Father, Father Van, the faculty, students and all those who are gathered here for this function. His Majesty is very interested in North Point and would like to strengthen Bhutan’s bonds with this institute. We are discussing as to how this can be done with Father Kinley.

3.     It is truly overwhelming to be here in North Point after passing out in 1965 – 45 years ago. And it’s awesome to be with some of my close friends and classmates coming from all parts of the globe. Let me also take this opportunity to mention at least some of them. We have with us today, Dr. Ban-An Khaw, known then in North Point as Chit Myne Cho and a Depelchen Gold Medal winner and his wife Sharon. Then we have Tony Lao, known then as San Tut Thein and his wife Leslie. We must thank San Tut for keeping the NP flag flying high in the United States. Thank you, Tony! We also have Kamlesh Jhaveri with us – a great North Pointer. I have had the good fortune to keep in touch with Kamlesh, Cho and San Tut throughout most of these years. And this has been largely due to Fr. Van getting us together in New York or other parts of the world. He has constantly endeavored to bring North Pointers together. Fr. Van for us today is an institution, embodying the spirit of North Point. Thank you Father.

4.     We also have classmates who I had not met till this visit to Darjeeling. I was thrilled to meet Romesh Thapa and Anil Pradhan. Also joining us at this get-together, and for us, this is nothing short of a “historic gathering” is Owen Khoo, another Depelchin Gold medalist, and members of his family. And we are meeting so many others, and I’ll have too long a list if I should attempt to mention them all. But you are in our hearts. We, who have come here for the reunion after so long, are simply overjoyed to be with you.

5.     But today we can’t help but miss those who are not here with us and those who have left this world. We remember and greatly miss our friends from the 1965 batch on this day.

6.     Coming after four and a half decades, we are overjoyed to see the tremendous progress that North Point has made under Father Kinley Tshering. North Point is ranked one of the ten best schools in India. Including those of us who are here, whenever we met North Pointers around the world they have been full of praise for your work, Father Rector. I emphasize this because there was a time when what we heard about developments in North Point were not that encouraging. Of course there were various factors including the turmoil in the hills. But Father Kinley, after you took charge, North Pointers could once again lift their hearts to the breeze and the glow. You make us proud to be North Pointers. Congratulations and thank you, Father!

7.     After all these years I was recalling the principles and objectives on which the Society of Jesus founded North Point. It was very clear that the need was to promote the total development of the individual by striving for excellence at the level of every student’s potential.

8.     Many countries, companies and above all families of North Pointers have benefitted from those who have exited through the Twin Towers. My country, Bhutan, has been especially fortunate. A North Pointer, our fourth King, His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck bequeathed the country with the unique development philosophy of Gross National Happiness – now being discussed all over the world and   put into practice in several countries as well. Relinquishing his own historic role he granted Bhutan’s democratic Constitution. As you would appreciate, it is rare in world history to find a leader who consciously plans and implements a process of democratization without the compulsions of some revolutionary movement or public demand. Earlier this year Father Van was in Thimphu to present the “Life-long Achievement Award” of the North Point Alumni Association to His Majesty.

9.     Bhutan is lucky to have a most worthy successor – the present fifth King, His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck. His Majesty has implemented the Constitution brilliantly with a lot of fervor and is now renowned as the “people’s King.” I must also mention here that North Pointers have and still occupy prominent positions in Bhutanese society, and our great institution can be proud with their achievements.

10.                        I was so glad to learn that the number of Bhutanese students in St. Joseph’s School has increased and now there are about eighty of them. I am confident that after passing out of here they will play important roles in various fields of human activity – in Bhutan or elsewhere in the world.

11.                        The true value of the wholesome education imparted by North Point can only be fully appreciated once one goes out into the world – to your respective countries, to other countries, to live and to work. Let me briefly share with you the qualities that I have noticed that distinguishes North Pointers and puts them above the others:

 

(i)                North Pointers have a well-rounded education, in academics, sports, and extra-curricular activities. (Yesterday we witnessed the opera performed by North Pointers, and the caliber was indeed very impressive.) Their English language is normally of a high caliber and internationally acceptable.  English is still the dominant international language and its knowledge helps! I was taught by the impeccable Frank Matthews and Jack Vaz, and Fr. Van who encouraged us to read and discover challenging texts and vocabulary, and maths and physics by Maurice Banerjee.  It’s really wonderful to remember them today.

(ii)             North Pointers very easily adapt to multiple cultural and social environments. This is obviously due to having such an environment here in North Point. NP has had students from all over the world and I hope this approach is given further emphasis. This will make a big difference to the attitude and approach of those who pass out from here.

(iii)           North Pointers have a high degree of integrity in whatever field of human activity they may be in. For instance I truly value the Moral Science classes, which now I believe is referred to as value education, given during my time by dear Fr. Bauwens. I really miss him! The tolerant and secular atmosphere created by the Jesuits is highly praiseworthy.

(iv)           North Pointers always lend a helping hand to a faltering brother, and we have seen this time and again.

(v)             There are many other good qualities of a North Pointer and I need not continue mentioning them here. The North Point website in fact says it all by recalling the values promoted by St. Ignatius of Loyola. It states that every graduate of North Point is to become an agent of change respecting all cultures, languages and religions and above all recognizing the unique image and likeness of the Creator in every individual. His task is to love and serve his neighbor at all times by upholding the dignity of all and in particular the needy. By committing himself to the service of faith and promotion of justice, he is to lift up his heart, live and work for a just society where every individual will be fully alive, living an upright and humane life.

(vi)           Hence, those of you passing out can go out into the world and be assured that North Point will have equipped you with the foundation to face the world and to make a great success of your lives. You are now our future. It is all up to you to keep our flag flying high.

(vii)        And, finally on this Rector’s Day, Father Kinley, may I warmly congratulate you and wish you the greatest successes in your laudable work!

 

SURSUM CORDA!

 

 
   
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