A Living Sacrifice: An Interview With Rev. Dr. Henry Siang Kung, Principal Of Chin Christian College
22 September 2007 London, UK [CG Note: Rev. Dr. Henry Siang Kung joined Chin Christian College (CCC) as principal in 2004 after teaching at Zomi Theological College in Falam for 18 years. Making a seven-week trip to the UK for the very first time
as CCC’s Principal, he visited various institutions and organizations. In this interview conducted by Van Biak Thang of Chinland Guardian, the Principal talked about his trip and the college. With his wife, Pi Thla Meng and daughter, Katie Biak Hlei Par Dr. Kung lives in Hakha, the capital of Chin State, Myanmar]
Chinland Guardian: We have learned that you visited some institutions in the UK. Can you tell us more about your trip so far?
Rev. Dr. Henry Siang Kung: Well, I came here to observe the educational systems especially where English and theological subjects are taught and also to see if there can be a chance to make links with other institutions in programmes such as student exchange and further studies for teachers of both religion and arts. I have been to some institutions such as the University of Birmingham, Solihull College (Birmingham), BMS (Baptist Mission Society) International Mission Centre (Birmingham), Fircroft College (Birmingham), Spurgeon’s College (London), and Regent’s Park College (Oxford). I also visited the London Office of WACC (World Association for Christian Communication) and the Bible Society at Swindon. Besides, I was invited to make a short presentation about CCC at Birmingham Midland Travellers’ Club and Solihull Methodist Church. I am scheduled to visit Cliff College (Sheffield) and Queen’s College (Birmingham) and to meet with other organisations including Operation Mobilisation and Feed The Mind.
Chinland Guardian: Do you think you have been well received and what can be expected from this visit?
Rev. Dr. Henry Siang Kung: Of course, I have been warmly welcomed by leaders of these organizations and also by many other friends. I am very grateful to my honorary parents Ian and Janet Sinclair for their helps without which I may not be able to meet such wonderful people. My visit till today so far gives me a lot of expectations. I hope CCC will get enough copies of the Holy Bible in English at a reasonable price. Teachers of CCC may also get a chance for further study in UK. There will be a more collaborative relationship between CCC and the educational institutes and Christian organizations in the UK in the future.
Chinland Guardian: Chin Christian College, known as CCC, is said to be the only college in the capital of Chin State. We would like to know more about it.
Rev. Dr. Henry Siang Kung: No, there are three theological schools in Hakha, the capital of Chin State. CCC, which is run under the education department of Chin Association for Christian Communication (CACC), has initiated a bachelor degree in English language mainly in the hope of becoming a university in the future. CCC offers Diploma in Theology, Bachelor of Religious Education, Bachelor of Theology and Bachelor of Arts in English. Master of Divinity is to be started and offered in 2010 at the college. Currently, the college has got 287 students from different denominations across Chin State and beyond. We have 14 teaching staff and 9 supporting staff. A basic computer course is being introduced to final year students of BA English this year. It is also part of the college’s intentions that some other areas of secular subjects will be introduced in the near future.
Chinland Guardian: Is CCC working with any other institutions or organisations and what are its main functions?
Rev. Dr. Henry Siang Kung: CCC was founded in 1990 under one department within Chin Association for Christian Communication, which is its current governing body. It is a member of FORTE (Fellowship For Theological Education), ATEM (Association for Theological Education in Myanmar) and ATESEA (Association for Theological Education in South East Asia). With the help of ATEM and ATESEA, the college is able to have some teaching staff studying in other parts of the country and abroad. Of the religious degrees that the college offers, Dip. Th and B.Th have been accredited by ATESEA.
Chinland Guardian: What can the college provide the students in terms of facilities? And what are the most essential facilities that you think the College urgently needs?
Rev. Dr. Henry Siang Kung: For accommodation, we have at the moment two separate hostels for male and female students. Besides buildings for classrooms, we have a beautiful wooden building for cafeteria. We use TV (VCR) and two computers for teaching aids. A School Bus is arranged for transportation for students who live far from the college. Well, there are many things that the college needs but some of the most essential at present for teaching in particular are computers, Internet and audio-visual laboratory for English language learning. To have Internet is very important at the moment so that our students can get access to websites for academic research and studies more widely. We have one library building with more than 12000 books mainly in English but there is no proper system for book classification and catalogue. We have one table-tennis room and a playing ground for volley-ball and football.
Chinland Guardian: Besides its academic activities, is there any other area that the college gets involved in?
Rev. Dr. Henry Siang Kung: It is one of the college’s programs that students go as a gospel team to churches in the villages and towns nearby. And the college has a sports day and Christmas fun fete which are normally celebrated in partnership with local churches in the capital. Every year, the college chooses a day, known as Ecology Day, when students are encouraged to plant at least one tree per head. In terms of social services, students pay a visit to prison for prayer and counseling.
Chinland Guardian: What impact do you think the college can have on Christians in Myanmar?
Rev. Dr. Henry Siang Kung: I think we are now in a generation where even people from the same church may not sometimes be able to sit together. But CCC can have students from different churches and denominations from near and far studying together. This proves that CCC has become a meeting point for people of all sorts including those separated, for instance, by denominationalism and doctrinal differences.
Chinland Guardian: What areas of secular and religious courses will the College be interested in extending and why?
Rev. Dr. Henry Siang Kung: IThe college wishes to offer a program of courses related to Information Technology and church music. Since there are no other places in the whole Chin State for studying properly, the college, knowing well the importance of IT in the modern world, would like to provide the opportunity to study these subjects. Also, the college dreams to have, in the future, other courses such as agro-livestock, socio-cultural, technical and medical.
Chinland Guardian: “A living sacrifice” is the college’s motto. What does it mean?
Rev. Dr. Henry Siang Kung: The motto is taken from Romans 12:1. It teaches us that the real spiritual worship is to present our entire selves to God. CCC has to take its everyday life – its teaching, learning, studying, eating, playing, and walk-around life – and place it before God as an offering.
Chinland Guardian: Thank you so much for your time and talking to us.
Rev. Dr. Henry Siang Kung: It’s been a pleasure talking to you. Ka lawm.