Interview: Mr. Joseph Whitney
(Part II)


Due to conflicting schedules between Mr. Whitney and me, we have managed only this much. So more to come......

Tom: Mr. Whitney, let's move on to the St. Mark's days. How long have you been teaching in SMS?
JW: 1957-63, I think.
Tom: What was the motive behind leaving Queen's and join an unproven school?
JW: Erika was already teaching there and said it was a great school.
Tom: You were an instant "hit" with the students, how would you explain that?
JW: I didn't know I was... If it is true, I suppose I had fairly free and easy ways that students liked.
Tom: What makes a teacher popular?
JW: It can be because he behaves as if he is one of them but this is probably not a very good way. Better is if he/she is fair, hard working and has a good sense of humour and very patient and always willing to give students academic and personal advice.
Tom: SMS under Rev. Pun was very innovative or even avant garde for those days, were you part of that policy making?
JW: I think I was. I was the one who suggested the Explorers Club, workcamps and the international workcamps to Japan with St. M students.
Tom: Did you think that policy was working well with the students?
JW: Yes, it was. The students really appreciated this and said that the St. M experience really changed their lives!!
Tom: How was your relationship with Rev. Pun?
JW: Very good, I think.
Tom: How would you describe Rev. Pun the Principal?
JW: Far sighted, students personal development came before getting good academic results.  He could be very stubborn and opinionated but was always willing to compromise  as a result of reasoned arguments.
Tom: Care to share some teacher and students memories from that period of time?
JW: Student excursions, workcamps and trips to Japan were highlights of my life there. One highlight was the time we climbed the Lion Rock with Explorer Club members and went over to Tolo Harbour. We missed the last ferry and I was worried that parents would think something terrible had happened to their kids.  There were no phones in the village (I can't remember the name) but we stayed the night in the local school and the students managed to find food somewhere that was quite good and we cooked up a storm in the school house. We took the Tolo Harbour Ferry the next day back to Tai Po and got back to school about  midday, I think.  Rev. Pun had calmed all the parents' fears so everyone was happy, I think.
Tom: What were some of the funniest moments with teachers or students or both?
JW: There must have been many but this one took place at a workcamp on Lamma Island with St. M and St. Stephen college students.  We had a small kitchen and led water from a little spring on the hillside through a bamboo pipe.  In the morning we would fill the large kettle for morning tea from the  pipe.  One day the tea had a rather strong but not unpleasant flavour.  When we opened the kettle, we saw that a small  bamboo snake and come down the pipe into the kettle and had been boiled!! Quite harmless for us but not for the snake!!. No one got sick.