The History

The History and Formation of La Salle Old Boys Association New York/East Coast Chapter

There were many high school graduates from Hong Kong coming to study in the U.S. At that time, Hong Kong had only one accredited university, Hong Kong U, and it did not have sufficient freshman openings to accept most of the
local high school graduates. One of the alternate options available to those who wished to receive a university education was to go overseas. Often upon completion of their university programs and professional training, they would receive job offerings to continue working in their host countries. That was the case for many of the students who came to study in the U.S.

There were also immigrants from Hong Kong who came to join their families, who had already been U.S. residents.

There was one thing in common among these two groups of new immigrants: they liked to congregate, especially during weekends and holidays, in Chinatown.

Christopher Wong (67) was with the parish of St. Joseph Church in Manhattan Chinatown, New York, at the time and was active in providing community services there. His view on the LaSallian mindset can be summarized in his brief statement below:

Chris Wong

“I guess being a LaSallian, we are proud of our heritage and like to boast/parade about it, that’s why everywhere we go, people know that we are  “La Sa Tsai”, and would tell us who are the other La Sa Tsai in the area ( who must be boasting all over of their royal breed too!) 

I guess that’s how I found out that Dr. Benny Ng (65) was also a LS Tsai, whose office is also in Chinatown.”

Stephen Ng (65), founding chapter president, fondly recollected his first encounter with Chris Wong, when Stephen was teaching in Columbia University, New York. “I still remember vividly the day Chris Wong went to my office at Columbia and said he wanted to start an OBA in New York. “I did not remember him from school days, and did not know that one of us had become a priest. But the ice was soon broken when we chatted about old times in La Salle”.

According to Chris, the first La Salle Tsai he met up with in New York was Benjamin Ngu (67), whom he met with regularly in Chinatown. Encouraged, and with increased effort, he came to meet other La Salle Tsai’s in the area.

John Ng (65), one of the founding members and chapter secretary in 1987 when the chapter was first formed, said: 

“Chris Wong is the actual starter when he was parish of St. Joseph Church, Chinatown, New York. He was able to locate a few boys in the Chinatown area, possibly Liu Kai Wing (76) and Benny Ng(65), thereafter Stephen Ng(65), Peter Yu (66), Victor Lee(64) and myself.” 

The group at that time was no more than a social connection or trying to locate old friends in the area. The enthusiasm in those days were high and the network grew rapidly. Many boys in those days have young families, and anxious to get children involved as well. At many a dinner function, we have to set aside ‘kiddy tables’ with their own favorite food. However, the children were not interested in the environment or happenings other than each one concentrating on his or her hand-held game machine (Game Boy wasn’t out yet).

In 1987 Bro. Henry Pang and Mr. Benedict (Tiger) Lim (老虎林) visited the U.S. East Coast (that was probably the reason we decided to use the name NY/East Coast), so we gathered everyone available to have dinner in their honor.”

The big push to the formation of the chapter was stimulated by the visit of Bro. Henry and Mr. Benedict (Tiger) Lim in June 1987.  

Left standing on the first row behind Benedict (Tiger) Lim is Chris Wong  
Sitting next to Bro Henry is Rosanna Ng, the female board member of the 1987 chapter and founding member. 
Kneeling at the front left is Dr. Stephen Ng (Founding president) 
At the last row, right in front of “double happiness” is John Ng. Next to his right is Dr. Benny Ng 
Alex Ng, Frank Lee, Gerald Lee, Peter Yu, Victor Lee, Woo Chi Hon, Liu Kai Wing, and Albert Lo were amongst the founding members in this photograph.  

Press releases on the visit of Bro. Henry and Mr. Lim were made in April 1987 by the New York Chinese media. The dinner took place at the Ruby Restaurant in Chinatown. This brought back many fond memories of the OBs spent at one of their favorite restaurants with the same name at the junction of Prince Edward Road and Nathan Road in Hong Kong.

The chapter was officially formed and officers were named in July 1987.

Dr. Stephen Ng (65) was voted to be the first president of the Chapter and was reported by the New York Chinese media. The first term of officers of the chapter was:

Rosanna Ng (Adviser)
Dr. Stephen Ng – President
Dr. Benny Ng – Vice President

John Ng ‐ Secretary
Christopher Wong – Treasurer
Committee member – Alex Ng

In the formation of the New York Chapter, there were 2 unintended co‐incidents:
1. Five of the six chapter officers, were Ng’s (Rosanna Ng, John Ng, Benny Ng, Stephen Ng and Alex Ng)
2) Three Ng’s are from the class of 65.

*There was a rumor at the time that the chapter was in effect an “Ng’s Clan” association.

More uniquely, as far as we know, Rosanna Ng, sister of John Ng, is the only woman who ever became a board member (adviser) of any LSCOBA globally. She taught LSPS in the 70s for a few years before emigrating out of Hong Kong. She was also an LSPS cub mistress in those days.

The Chapter’s first Thanksgiving gathering

1988 First Thanksgiving gathering

This official Thanksgiving gathering announcement was formal, complete with a La Salle College school badge and both Chinese and English letterheads. At that point there were 28 registered OB members, covering from New York to Baltimore. Prompted by the success of this gathering, the chapter has, since then, maintained a regular social calendar for outings and parties to celebrate festivities and seasonal events.

Chris Wong comments on the 60ers: “I think the NYLSCOBA has the highest attendance/gathering rate among all the chapters. One of the reasons is the large number of classmates from the class of 65/66/67 who have been meeting regularly for many years.”

The Chapter’s first swimming party – 1990

Prompted by the success of this gathering, the chapter has, since then, maintained a regular social calendar for outings and parties in celebrating festivities and seasonal events.

The Chapter today 

In the past few years, the growth of the OB membership in New York has plateau. However the weekly “dim-sum” lunch is faithfully maintained and warmly participated by those OBs living in the New York City area and visiting OBs.   

Members at the 2008 Charity Gala Dinner

Participating members from New York/East Coast USA 

In addition, Mid Autumn festival party, Spring dinner, Swimming Pool party, Spring outing, Autumn foliage outing and New Year dinner are the regular events in our annual calendar.  

With great effort, the chapter still maintains a soccer team, and practices during the summer months. Now we have renamed the New York Team – A family team 

The chapter is exploring diversifying to less physically demanding social activities which would include golfing, mahjong, and ballroom dancing, just to name a few. 

Through migration, some members have moved: Stephen Ng is now in Hong Kong and Chris Wong has moved to Chicago to continue his pursue to educate inner-city minorities. There were also a few others who have unfortunately passed away.  

We have expanded our coverage to the Washington DC area (Maryland, Virginia) and up state New York (Rochester), but due to geographic proximity, social gatherings with them are limited to annually or biannually. 

Founding Officers (L-R): Dr. Stephen Ng, Chris Wong, Rosanna Ng, John Ng and Dr. Benny Ng
Founding Members (L-R) John Ng, Dr. Benny Ng, Dr. Stephen Ng, Chris Wong, Dr. Albert Lo, Rosanna Ng, Peter Yu, Maria Ng (Mrs. Stephen Ng), Victor Lee, Louis Wong and Gerald Lee

No doubt, our members are predominantly from the “baby boomer” generation. We have today 62 registered members and the average graduation year is in the mid 60s. 

Now the OBs in our chapter are established – they have built a “home” in New York/East Coast area. Their common dream to have a “home” away from “home” has materialized.  

The challenge today is to attract younger OBs to come to the East Coast and join us. Alternatively our chapter will focus to provide support for the younger OBs, enabling those who would like to visit or study in the area with an infra-structure, network and bridge, to prosper on their own.