I FIRST had the great privilege of meeting this gentleman in 2007 in his capacity as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Lodge Group of Schools. I was the newly-appointed first Principal of Lodge International School under the Directorship of Mr Gerald Lee.
Dr Masing warmly welcomed me to my first Governors’ Meeting and frequently, and in a most democratic fashion, referred to the educational practitioners – Mr Lee, the Headmasters of the National Schools and myself – asking us individually about how we felt about the Governor’s proposals.
Dr Masing was a great promoter of educational development as he appreciated the opportunities that he was afforded earlier in his life.
At the conclusion of the meeting, he spoke to me fondly about his love of South West England and his relatively recent visit to the site of the Brooke’s family graves at St Leonard’s Church, Sheepstor, in Devon.
There he had presented the church with two Sarawakian tapestries which still emblazon the fabric of that simple church today. The church I know well, for it is only six miles from my former house in Plympton.
A few years later, after my time at Lodge International School and Dr Masing’s time as Chairman, I had the great pleasure of sitting next to him at the three schools sports day at the Jubilee Ground.
He was there to support his children and I was on a trip down memory lane. “Alan,” he said in his most modest manner, “please, call me James”. A most loving and adored father of his children I witnessed first-hand.
He was the father of all Sarawakians, for his greater family extended beyond his political ideals in always promoting the best interests of the people he served for so very many years.
He will be sorely missed not only by his family but also by the electorate of Sarawak. May he rest in peace and realise that we are much saddened by his passing.
Dr James Masing fought the good fight to the end. My most heartfelt condolences are with his loving wife and children.
Alan Rogers is currently UK advisor for Borneo International School.