Thursday, 31 December 2009

From The Hill

Thanks to Bernie Hopkins for forwarding this photo to be added to the file of "the college from the hill".

This was taken in 1984 and is the first image we have of the hill being cropped. We would love a photo of the hill in spuds but it might bring back mixed memories for those boarders who provided free harvest labour!

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Out and About

Good to see so many old boys home for the holidays. Several things we need to note from the last few days.

  • Congratulations to Ben Bull for being awarded a prestigious scholarship that will help him further his media and TV studies.
  • We caught up with a lot of old boys from the last few years at the Christmas Eve Rugby Bowls Tournament held at the West End Bowling Club. We believe the winners were a group of old boys from the coast which included Patrick Stevenson and Andrew Butterworth. Our old boys certainly don't lose that competitive spirit as they grow older!
  • Very sad to note the passing of Ian Stevenson over the Christmas period. Ian was a little too old (83) to be an old boy but he must go close to having had the most sons, grandsons, nephews and grand nephews attend FDMC. He was a true patriach and a man who was held in high regard by all. Our thoughts are with Ian's family and friends.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Merry Christmas One And All

If you remain local to Taranaki then you know we are going to have a lovely fine Christmas. To those of you further abroad we offer this little local scene to remind you of what you will be missing.

Wherever you may be, those of us at FDMC wish you all the best for the day and the year that follows.

God's blessings on you all.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Normal Service Resumed

We have been off line for the last few days, due to technical difficulties. While Christmas and the holiday season is upon us wedo intend to keep posting over the next month, so check in from time to time. Today's photo is of a character who needs no introduction. It is an image we found recently and is redolent of summer at FDMC.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

In The News

Seems we can't pick up a newspaper at the moment with out seeing another FDMC student doing well.

Yesterday we read about recent old boy Nick Price (pictured) winning a $10,000 music scholarship competition which will help him further his classical guitar career.

Today brought good news from our hockey guys. Nic Henderson has been selected for a national ice hockey team and tour while current student Julian Beardman has been recognised as a young achiever for his skill and contribution to in-line hockey.

Well done guys. We will pick up tomorrows paper with a degree of expectation.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Letters From The Sudan

Our Christ the King Parish Priest in Malakal, Father Stephen, is generally a quiet man but he is a source of much interesting information. Stephen has spent all his life in Malakal, remaining here throughout the war years, and is now the leader of the parish in which he grew up. He is fluent in Arabic, English and Shilluk and has a useful knowledge of several other local languages. The use of language is an ongoing problem here in Southern Sudan principally because there are so many languages.

This is a primitive country in so many ways but the widespread ability to converse in several languages far exceeds what one finds in first world countries such as Australia. Children rise to challenges, turn problems into opportunity, and can acquire all kinds of abilities if given the chance.

In Malakal, the predominant language is ‘Arabic’. In Juba it is ‘Arabic Juba’. Apparently the
similarity of ‘Arabic’ to ‘Arabic juba’ is about as close as ‘English’ is to ‘Pigeon English’. In
Malakal I would like to be able to speak Arabic, English and Shilluk; in Juba my choice would be
Arabic Juba, English and Bari. There are so many Dinka, that Dinka would be a good language to know also. There is such a thing as an English-Dinka dictionary. If I visit our work in Yambio,
however, what I really need is Azande. In a near-by Lebanese restaurant, I found myself
communicating in faltering French. The owner speaks Arabic and French but not English.
English is officially the language of the south and is possibly the most universal but Arabic
dominates in Upper Nile State where Malakal is situated. At a recent meeting, I heard the
Director of one of the County Offices complain: ‘We have no-one in our area who can teach
English adequately’.

For those of us who claim to speak English, the locals struggling to learn English must wonder at
the variations we bring. I personally find it difficult to adjust to the differing English
pronunciations of the various nationalities involved here – Indian, Sri Lankan, Irish, Canadian
and the many African variations in the English spoken by the Kenyans, Ugandans, Ethiopians
and Sudanese. All songs in Africa seem to be converted to a drum beat rhythm – even
‘Kumbaya’. I eventually recognised a popular hymn as the drum beat version of this song.
Would you believe that some find my Aussie accent quaint and hard to understand, even before I
indulge in the use of any of our plethora of Aussie idioms? Further, we English speakers do not
all attach the same connotations to the same words. Whereas ‘wench’, for example, in one
country may describe nothing more than a flirtatious girl, in another it is a deeply offensive
epithet. It becomes important not to take offence when none is intended.

There are also unintentional mistakes. Someone recently used the word ‘masticate’ in talking to
me when I think the word she really wanted to use was ‘massage’. To masticate someone is not
quite the same as to massage! Some years ago, when visiting Papua New Guinea, I was amused
to read a misprint in an advertisement placed in the local paper on behalf of ‘Our Lady of the
Scared (sic) Heart’. This week another mistake caught my attention. The agenda paper for the
Malakal education meeting I attended referred to a consortium of NGOs led by ‘Mercy Corpses’
(sic). That, I would think, was unintentionally imposing a death wish on the ‘Mercy Corps!’
Sudan is a strange mix of old and new, traditional and modern, attraction and repulsion.

There are signs up, largely ignored I notice, in the Juba parish church to ‘please turn off mobile phones’. To drive a vehicle one needs a driving licence. Yet one shares the road with ten-year-old boys driving unlicensed donkey carts along with many other unlicensed people, pigs, goats, dogs, ducks, geese and cattle. At night, the vehicles generally have lights but again not so the carts, animals or pedestrians! Twice in one day I stopped to let a pig pass. Pigs, much fewer in number, seem less alert than the goats and donkeys that generally take some minimal avoidance action of their own when a vehicle approaches. The occasional cat also displays much more avoidance alacrity than most of the humans!

Lots of people here, mostly male, enjoy sitting, watching and waiting. The UN officer told us he
traveled by helicopter with an aid cargo of several tons of rice. When they arrived, he was
bemused by the fact that women unloaded the rice while all the men were sedentary spectators.
He also remarked that he had been twenty years in the UN service and had thought the last place
he was in – Sierra Leone - was by far the worst, until he came here! ‘I’ve been here since Sept. 15
and I hope I’m not here too long’ he stated. ‘The people simply do not want to work – and their
tukuls. I haven’t seen anything like them for a long time. It is primitive.’

Already activity in Juba is closing down as the substantial overseas contingent heads for
Christmas at home. Many NGO personnel do six-month tours of duty with at least one rostered
holiday period during that time. It is not surprising people see more commitment from priests and religious. I find myself thinking of the beautiful words I once heard, and have remembered ever since: ‘You cannot love all mankind, only people, one at a time. The one you are with is the one that counts’. Love is not a generality. It is how we treat the individuals we meet, no matter who they are or where they are. As we prepare for Christmas may we once again recall that the ones we are with are the ones who count. If we don’t love them, we don’t love at all.

Br Bill

Thursday, 10 December 2009

As One Year Ends ...

... another one begins.

Front page of today's Daily News is old boy Ryan Fleming helping one of his Frankley School students, Jack Koch, prepare for our stringent hair standards. The hair rules were no surprise to Jack as his father Bryce has been teaching at the college since 1997. Jack's haircut raised money for the Child Cancer Foundation so he is already showing a good measure of Lasallian spirit.

Today is the last day of school for the junior students and we will have details of the Junior Prizegiving over the next few days.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Silly Season

We know it is an extremely busy few weeks leading up to Christmas but we have noticed a sharp drop off in stories and information concerning old boys. While it is great to reprise the Daily News and the archives the very best reading comes from yourselves.

Drop us a short (or long) note at FDMC Old Boys and tell us what you or your mates have been up to. We promise we won't sell any info to the tabloids.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

An FDMC Mystery

One of the features of FDMC is not so much how it has changed but rather how much has stayed the same.

These two photos of the property from 1972 and 2002 tend to highlight the point.

Either way it remains a great place to work and learn.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Season Over

Some comment last week about why we were showing Kendra with All Blacks other than our very own Conrad. So for the true patriots here he is with two girls and a beer, looking forward to a summer and perhaps a surf or two.

Friday, 4 December 2009

A visit from Br. Ambrose


Br. Ambrose,
the District Superior of the De La Salle Brothers is coming from Australia to spend a morning with us to talk about a possible structure for continuing to develop the great Lasallian tradition at the College.

He is going to be at the College on Saturday January 30 from 9 - 12.30 and you are all very welcome to attend if you would like to. We would particularly like to see some of you who might be interested in being involved in a meeting from time to time.

Morning tea will be served and a light luncheon will be available after the meeting.

For the purposes of catering if you would like to attend please let me know at
We would love to see you.

Graeme Mustchin
(Lasallian Facilitator)

The Archive Team

Although we have lost the services of Br Declan the process of maintaining and building the FDMC archives will continue.

Linda Crowe (pictured) will continue to do her sterling work and we would encourage old boys to stay in touch and forward any thing they think would be of value to the archive.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Another Fond Farewell

Yesterday saw the staff farewell to Br Declan, the last of our De La Salle brothers. It was appropriate that Br Dec has been the last brother in residence given his long association with the college and his outstanding example as a man of faith and service.

There were speeches and sausage rolls yesterday with Br Dec reminding us of where we had come from, how things have changed and wishing us God's grace in the future.

Brother will not be leaving the country, at least in the short term, as he will become part of the Brother's community at De La Salle Mangere next year. If you have the chance to call in and see Br Dec you can always be assured of warm welcome and his trademark smile.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

The Return Of The Gala!

A meeting of the PTA this week has confirmed that there will be an FDMC Gala Day in 2010.

March 20th is the date set for the Gala.

That day which will come around very quickly and planning is well under way. If you should be approached to help or contribute in some way to the Gala we would ask that you do what you can.

You can be proactive in your support by contacting the PTA Secretary Mark Parr.