Picture was taken while I was at St. Patrick's School. This huge bronze statue guarded the entrance to the school building. This must be St. Patrick right?
Whenever you walk along Bras Basah Road in front of SAM, look to your
Don't fret. One more chance. If the guy is not St. Patrick or St. Joseph, then he must be the school's founder right? After all, there is a statue of Tan Kah Kee in front of the clock tower in Chinese High School as well. Guess who founded Chinese High?
Wrong. All wrong!
The guy could not be the founder of St. Patrick or St. Joseph in the sense Bishop William Oldham founded Anglo-Chinese School. This can be verified from the picture taken at the base of the St. Patrick's School statue.
Singapore was founded a hundred years after his death, you say leh?
Some tidbits about our man St. John Baptist de La Salle. First, he was a French priest so the name's actually Jean-Baptiste de La Salle. Second, the 'Saint' part of his name didn't exist until his canonization in 1900 by Pope Leo XIII, so he was John Baptist and not St. John Baptist when SJI was founded (am I right?). Third, and this is why he truly deserved a place in St. Patrick's and St. Joseph's, he founded the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools. Long name? Wait till you see the French - Frères des écoles chrétiennes and Latin - Fratres Scholarum Christianarum.
You can read about group's history if you are interested, like what they did and their contributions since the founding in 1680. Looking at how far they have come, I've to say it's pretty impressive. From wikipedia's last count,
Currently, about 6,000 Brothers and 75,000 lay and religious colleagues worldwide serve as teachers, counselors and guides to 900,000 students in over 1,000 educational institutions in 84 countries.
So St. Patrick's and St. Joseph's are just two of over a thousand educational institutions indebted to the movement. They are not the only ones in Singapore though. There are other Lasallian Schools as well, for example St. Anthony's Primary School and De La Salle School. Their school buildings are relatively new, so I'm not sure whether there's a nice bronze statue like the one in St. Patrick's. Heck, did they even "shift" the one from old SJI to SJI Malcolm Road?
If you observe statues of St. John Baptist, you can't help but notice the similarity - the man himself with stretched right arm and fingers pointing up, surrounded by two children and books. There's an old joke about the one at SAM, previously SJI. If you look again at the picture of the statue, it looks like St. John Baptist was telling the boy to go somewhere. Exactly where, you can find the joke in acroamatic's School Days at SJI. For acroamatic's own guess, look here.
To find out more about school days at SJI Bras Basah, read ordinary guy's award-winning blog article on his alma mater.