On Purpose: Mr. Glen Ong Headquarters Staff, Boys’ Brigade Singapore

Robert Raikes established a Sunday school for the poor children in the UK in 1780. Thousands of children were enslaved in factories and sweat shops where they worked 12 hours a day, had no opportunity for education and were only free from the drudgery of work on Sundays. The efforts of Raikes and others resulted in similar schools throughout England, thus setting in motion the Sunday School Movement. Here is one of the fastest growing and most impactful movements in history; by the year 1800, two hundred thousand children were enrolled in Sunday schools and by 1850, this number had risen to 2 million. 

Sir William Alexander Smith found himself teaching one of these Sunday school classes in his church and it was an absolute nightmare. Ten Boys were driving this volunteer Army Officer mad week after week. “Why should it be so easy to for a man to control a hundred other men on a Saturday, and so difficult to control a mere handful of boys on a Sunday?” The answer to this thought was The Boys’ Brigade.

Mr. James Milner Fraser was a busy architect when he arrived in Singapore in 1930. An employee of the Singapore Improvement Trust (now called the HDB), he designed and built Tiong Bahru estate. Legend has it that he bumped into a Chinese man from Swatow along the street, who saw the BB buttonhole badge and greeted Fraser with the BB handshake. Fraser then had an idea. In spite of a demanding career, a family to care for and many other commitments, he started the BB in Singapore.

Why spend countless days and nights meeting and planning to try something so different and so new which people didn't like? Why bother? Didn’t he have something better to do? Why bother guarding BB membership cards in prison during the war? Why risk life just to keep this going? So illogical, yet done on purpose.

Why did they do it? Here’s why.

They believed in the next generation.

They believed that every life is not an accident, including their own.

They saw hope, potential and worth in every person they spent time with to help them live like they were designed to live.

They themselves knew they were significant with a purpose in their lives.

The Boys’ Brigade today is a worldwide movement with companies in more than 60 territories. It is a uniform organisation recognised by the Ministry of Education Singapore and registered under the Charity Act (Registration No. 0067). CPBC is the sponsoring church for the BB 61st Company at Queensway Secondary School and we have the privilege to invest in the lives of over 50 boys who serve with the 61st. We do need helpers, officers and sponsors who will help us fulfil the object of the Boys’ Brigade: The advancement of Christ's Kingdom among Boys, and the promotion of habits of obedience, reverence, discipline and all that tends towards a true Christian Manliness.

Interested? Please contact me or any of the church staff to find out more.

I believe in the work of Boy’s Brigade!

Ps George

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