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History
History of The Boys' Brigade in Malaysia

1st Penang Company 1946

The Boys' Brigade was founded in Glasgow, Scotland on 4 October 1883 by Sir William Alexander Smith. It became the oldest uniform youth organisation in the world. It spread rapidly to North America, Europe, Africa, Australia and New Zealand. However, the BB did not appear in the Asian scene until 1915 when the first Company was founded in the Chinese city of Swatow by the Rev Guthrie Gamble (the famous Swatow BB was to become a legend in later years in China) The BB came to South East Asia in 1930 with the founding of the 1st Singapore Company by Mr James Fraser.
The Boys??Brigade did not come to Malaya until the after the second World War. A British soldier by the name ofimages/rd.jpg (10412 bytes) Robert Davis (former Captain of 6th Birkenhead Company at the Tranmere Freehold Methodist Church and later Tranmere United Reformed Church) gave the idea of The Boys??Brigade to one of Penang?? great educationist, the late Mr Geh Hun Kheng, who accepted the challenge becoming the first BB Captain in Malaya. Mr Geh realised that he had to do his "small share" to win the Boys over from the various subversive groups that were so rife after the Pacific War. The first meeting of 20 Boys was held in the Methodist Church in Madras Lane on a Sunday in September 1946. Penang thus became the images/merdeka.jpg (16678 bytes)springboard from which Companies were started first in Kuala Lumpur and then in other parts of the country. When Malaysia achieved independence on 31 August 1957, The Boys??Brigade was given the honour of being invited to take part in the Merdeka Parade (Independence Day Parade).

After Merdeka (Independence), The Boys??Brigade began to spread rapidly as a result of the formation of the Malayan Council of The Boys??Brigade under the initiative of Mr Khoo Oon Soo. More and more Companies were founded in every major town in Malaya. Even small rural towns began to have BB Companies functioning efficiently. By this time firm and friendly contact had been made with the BB in Singapore which helped in the supply and sale of equipment and with the founding of the first Company in Borneo in 1959, the 1st Kuching Company. In 1962, the BB in Malaya became a member of the Pacific Regional Fellowship (subsequently joined the East Asia Regional Fellowship when it was formed later) and the first Pacific camp was held with the co-operation of the Singapore Battalion in Port Dickson in December 1963.

On 5 December 1964, the former Federation of Malaya Council of The Boys??Brigade, the Singapore Battalion and the 1st Kuching Company merged into The Boys??Brigade in Malaysia. With the political separation of Singapore from Malaysia, The Boys??Brigade in Singapore ceased to be a component District of The Boys??Brigade in Malaysia as on 19 August 1965. With Malaysia a reality the National Council began to establish Companies in Sabah and Sarawak, maintaining friendly ties with the BB in Singapore.

The development of The Boys??Brigade in Malaysia took a revolutionary turn when it invited girls to be members. It was first introduced in 1989 and debated for a few years before experimental measures were approved in 1992. The move received favourable response and strong support from churches and individuals. Today, more than 20 companies in the BBM have girls on their membership roll, and many girls have been appointed NCOs, and they have proven to be capable in adapting well to the activities of the BB.

images/bbthai.jpg (13507 bytes)Since 1992, The Boys??Brigade in Malaysia has also begun to play significant role in the extension of BB work in the East Asia Regional Fellowship, including conducting training and support BB works in Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines.

Today, there are over 70 Companies spread throughout the length and breadth of Malaysia. Ever since the setting up of a BBHQ in 1989, a permanent building has been purchased, and currently staffed by a team of 5 able full-time personnel.

The Boys??Brigade in Malaysia has come a long way since 1946. Many things have since changed, many had come and gone with many new developments taken place. Throughout all these years, the BBM has been able to hold on to its object and continue in serving the youth of Malaysia. As the nation is fast moving towards greater heights in development, it is believed that the BB shall be called on to play an even greater role in the development and training of the Malaysian youths.






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