BB Asia has been formed out of a desire to maintain the unity, purpose and specific character of The Boys’ Brigade everywhere. It came into being to give The Boys’ Brigade an international organisation which would advance its growth, interest and cause.
The objects of BB Asia are:
- to promote the development and extension of The Boys' Brigade to new fields and territories.
- to strengthen the work of The Boys' Brigade internationally and within each member country
- to help its members to develop and adapt their respective programmes to the needs arising out of the conditions in which young people live and work
- to develop sympathy, understanding, and cooperation among all its members.
On 7 May 2002, at the East Asia Regional Fellowship meeting held in Bangkok, Thailand, the idea of BB Asia was first mooted and a Pro-tem Committee formed under the chairmanship of Mr Michael Moorthy, the Brigade President of BB Malaysia. The paper proposing the new international confederation came from Mr Lim K Tham of BB Singapore.
BB Asia was officially inaugurated on 26 July 2003 in Johor Baru, Malaysia when BB representatives from Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand signed a memorandum of agreement giving birth to the regional association.
To date BB Asia’s membership comprises of 9 member countries – Brunei, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand
The General Council of BB Asia is made up of national leaders who are volunteers of the member countrie. The General Council Meeting is held once in two years. Each country is allowed a maximum of 6 representatives. At this meeting Country Reports are presented, common issues and policies discussed and the election of the BB Asia Executive Committee takes place. The Executive Committee meets twice a year.
BB Asia produces a bi-monthly newsletter known as ACROSS ASIA which is circulated via email to more than 5000 BB members, former members, friends and supporters. We also have website which is www.bbasia.org.
BB Asia Academy
This Academy is a training course opened to all BB members 18 years and above in Asia and other parts of the world. The objectives of this program are
- Interaction and Fellowship
- Exchange of Programme Ideas & Skills
- Inspiration for Ministry
- Better Understanding of BB Ethos & Spirit
Genesis of The Boys Brigade Asia
To understand the genesis of BB Asia, one needs to relate a little to the history of the Boys Brigade as an intra-regional/international organization.
In the 1950s/60s, there was the Pacific Regional Fellowship of the Boys Brigade which comprise countries in Asia and the Pacific Ocean, namely, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Cook Islands, Fiji etc. It was later re-grouped with East Asia Regional Fellowship (EARF) comprising of Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong whilst the remaining countries stay within the Pacific Regional Fellowship.
In 1963, delegates from many BB countries met in Dundee to constitute the “World Conference of the Boys’ Brigade” with the purpose “to maintain the unity of purpose and to promote the Boys’ Brigade throughout the world by providing channels for co-operation and consultation”.
However, in 1976, The World Conference was re-constituted in Singapore with “kindred organizations” accepted as full members. The full name was then changed to The World Conference of the Boys’ Brigade, Ansgarsforbundet, Frivilligt Drenge og Pige Forbund, Poikien Keskus, Neenah Menasha Boys’ Brigade and the United Boys’ Brigade of America.
In 1983, our delegation, comprising of the BB President then, Mr Lee Liat Cheng and Mr Lim K Tham, the Executive Secretary then, attended the World Conference Meeting in London and learnt that the World Conference was NOT interested in the Boys Brigade per se. Instead, they had other issues on their agenda, such as global disarmament. The Boys Brigade identity in the World Conference has been diluted very significantly.
Such disappointment prompted BB Singapore to initiate a move to start the Boys Brigade International. This initiative, however, met with muted response and it fizzled out. But then, under World Conference, there is still the East Asia Regional Fellowship which provided the forum for Boys Brigade to meet intra-regionally.
At the EARF meeting in Penang on 23rd June 2001, a paper proposing the formation of BB Asia was submitted by Mr Lim K Tham, then Chairman of International Relations, BB Singapore. It was agreed that each country were to discuss the contents of the paper with their respective country Executive Committees and have a decision at the next meeting.
In 7 May 2002, the EARF Meeting in Bangkok, decided to adopt the paper presented by Mr Lim K Tham the year before. And thereafter, all BB member countries namely Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Hong Kong of EARF except Macau, Brunei, Singapore and Junior Ministry of India withdrew from the Global Fellowship (The World Conference had since changed its name to Global Fellowship). And that BB Asia was formed in its place comprising of BB countries from Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, Macau and Brunei. Note: The EARF cannot withdraw from Global Fellowship because the EARF is its component.
Each member country however, may decide if they wish to continue affiliation with the Global Fellowship. At the time of writing, only BB Singapore remains a member of Global Fellowship.
The inaugural meeting of the BB Asia was held on 26th July 2003 in Johor Bahru, Malaysia which was attended by Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore. Thus, it ushered the birth of BB Asia on that day.
Boys Brigade Asia today has ……………
- eight member countries namely, Brunei, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Philippines with a total membership of 34,000 Members and Officers. (as at 2012)
- five of the member countries with full time staff – Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.
- pioneering work in China, Cambodia (in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap) and Philippines (in Manila).
- employed two full-time Executive Secretaries housed at a rented office premise in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to support the work in Asia.
- Organized several regional program including BB Asia Academy and Full-Time Workers Conference.