Let The Small Flower Bloom

Chiu , Kuen-Wai       ’62                Carmel, IN, USA

Congratulations! Let us celebrate together the success of our alumni newsletter!

At this honorable, proud moment of the 10th Birthday of the Newsletter, I feel much indebted to salute to our beloved school and teachers with whom I had spent 7 long years at St. Mark's.

I lost my father at age 7 shortly after the civil war; St. Mark's and teachers therefore were respected by me as my surrogate parents during my middle school years. The memories of all my favorite teachers such as Mr. Poon Siu Wah (Pastor Poon), Mr. Lam Chao Qung, Mr. Cheung Yung Lam, Mrs. Chiu Lee Shiu Hung, Mr. Chow Yick Fu etc. are rekindled and valid on this 10th Birthday. Their influences upon me were important and wholly.

St. Mark's high school was located at Shaukiwan, at the very east side of Hong Kong Island, in the working class neighborhood, where at that time they lacked any industries except a rubber shoes factory (opposite side St. Mark's), a bakery (Cheong Hing), and the biggest employer was Tai Koo Shipyard, at the west end of Shaukiwan. We terribly needed a high school there to help develop under-privileged children intellectually, with religious, spiritual values, and moral standards. In this respect, we deeply agreed that St. Mark's had fulfilled her missions. The headmaster, Mr. Poon took advantage of the treasure of a large number of well qualified foreign trained professionals who were looking for a shelter, flocking into Hong Kong in founding the school, while taking a deep breath there after the civil war in China.

What drives St. Mark's apart from Kings, and Queens is that St. Mark's emphasized the trainings of the whole person, intellectually and spiritually on a well balanced personality base, and St. Mark's students were bonded together with the squad and house systems. Under this structure we could help each other, cut through the class barriers. I believed this unique bonding spirit enabled us to build a strong alumni network later around the world, unparallel with any famous schools in H.K.

With all these good intentions to start with, it does not mean that St. Mark's was sailing along without a hitch! Unfortunately, HK education at that time was plagued by the pyramidal, elite type of colonial systems. I noticed we started with 5 classes in Form 1, later were reduced to 4 classes in Form 2, 3 classes in Form 3, and eventually we ended up only with 10 to 15 students in Form 7 or Upper 6, and a large number of them were from other schools. All of us could easily imagine what kind of feeling would flash through Mr. Poon's mind when he had to send so many pitiful students home or back into the streets every year! I believed this was the most difficult part of the job for him. We were aware at that time that the school board must have given pressure on the faculties to show their achievements in terms of school certificate results, university entrance examination results, and finally the number of students admitted into medical schools. Though St. Mark's was not yet a number 1 or 2 school at that time when we were there, we are happy and proud that our headmaster and teachers had laid such a good ground work that St. Mark's has achieved a famous school status today!

Below are some of my memories about my most admired teachers and their influences upon me:

Rev. Canon James Pun (潘紹華) : (Big-head-son) He was the head-master, a graduate from Stanford University. He knew me because I attended Sunday bible school regularly. I learned that most students were afraid of his military style, inserting strict disciplinary actions on any noncompliance of behavior, school uniforms and hair styles. We would be more understanding of him if we had known he had served in the army during WWII and the civil war as an interpreter.

But aside from the demanding side, he had the soft side as a big heart person too: I remembered the way he changed my whole life. I did not do that well in English in my preliminary university entrance exam. One day I met him outside his office, he insisted that I stay behind for Form 7.

I was lucky because there were not many students enrolled for Form 7. Later I learned that the Form 7 class was made up with many students from other schools, and two of our best students left for Queens because they thought that Queens’ fame would enhance their chances of acceptance into HK University Medical School.

Because of this given opportunity by Mr. Poon, I was able to complete my education in Chung Chi College (崇基書院)in HK, Ph.D Degree and later Postdoctoral training in Georgia Tech. in US.

Mr. Lam Chao Qung (林藻坤): Mr. Lam had served as vice-principal, a graduate from MIT in engineering if I did remember correctly. He taught me Physics and Applied Maths. in Form 6 and 7. His teaching method was very detailed, with crystal-clear concepts. I remembered that we used only log table at that time, then a little later slide-rule.  He was so patient that he spent two consecutive classes for just solving one problem on the blackboard. He helped me lay a good foundation in Physics so that I could excel in Physics later in college in achieving the first or second highest grade among the class of 120 elite HK college students of combined chemistry, physics and mathematic majors. I must give Mr. Lam full credit for this achievement.

Mr. Cheung Yung Lam(張雍臨): Mr. Cheung was our chemistry teacher, also a graduate from MIT in Chemistry. He prepared excellent notes for the class. I was amazed how he could write and talk so fast at the same time. His speed might have caused him a little bit of hesitation in his speaking, but his lab procedure was perfect without a flaw. All teachers praised him that he had never commented on people. He was a quiet person who liked eating and drinking in his tiny office in the chemical lab most of the time. I wondered whether it had anything to do with for his cancer.

Mrs. Chiu Lee Shiu Hung (李雪鴻): Mrs. Chiu (grandma) was my beloved Maths teacher, a graduate from Columbia Univ. She was also my Squad advisor (I had been Squad Leader and House Captain at that time for Mars). I remembered her very much because she had visited my home and approved me for full reduction in school fee. I appreciated her fairness so that I could lighten the financial burden a bit on my mom!

Mr. Chow Yick Fu(周億孚): Mr. Chow (Kung) was our beloved Chinese Literature teacher, a graduate from either Peking or Ching Wah Univ. He had served as a high ranking railroad officer in China before moving to HK. His class was most amusing and relaxing, the most welcome class for all students. He infused us with a lot of Confucius principles which are found very useful when applied in real lives. He had never lost his composure even one day as I remembered that someone folded a paper plane, threw hitting behind his head. His famous marriage advice was: Marry someone ten years younger, possibly from a northern province (so simple!).

I would also wish to acknowledge valuable contributions to the school from Mr. Hsu Pui Chee 許培之 ( history teacher, later school principal, a graduate from Princeton), Miss Sylvia Lam 藍志德 , Mr. C.C. Chan 陳志清, our music teacher Miss Edith Wu 吳漪, English teacher Miss HK Wong 王可掬, Mrs. Liu (my Squad advisor), Mr. Fong 方志雄 ( physical education), Mr. Whitney (geography), etc.

I must use some valuable space to express our thanks to all teachers for their endeavors and unselfishness in drawing out their utmost energy and time in bringing us up so that we are capable and could be able to return someday these values back to society.

We need the spirits of Paul, Mark, Luke to carry this torch forward. Let this tiny flower bloom. Please spread our spirit to the edge of the world, at home and abroad! Though some of our beloved teachers have left us, their spirits and teachings are still valid with us, just like Christ, alive amid His believers.

All of you have done a great job in keeping the St. Mark's spirit alive!

Please use our alumni worldwide support and resources to guide you through any difficulties!  Consult them for opportunity/ information or just for activities and common interests as they are helpful and ready by your side at your disposal!

Let us celebrate and be proud of being a St. Markan! Happy 10th Birthday!

I wish everyone the best, good health and good fortune in the coming 2008 and beyond!