Memory of Mansfield College from Kwan Siu Tong
Memory is the thing which I desperately need as I am getting old. I can still remember some of our awesome, lovely teachers and classmates:
1) Mr. Hui 許主任 (head-teacher) I still remember his brief and consolation speech giving to us in class before the school cert. exam. He encouraged us to try our best to tackle with the exams even we might think the format or curriculum is not fair enough to everyone; at the end of speech he advised us not to wait for reviewing what we had learned during our secondary school years and be pleasant and graceful of completing those subjects we attended even if one little thing leads to progress, and reflected on the fact that what resulted from such a little thing is not so very little. He is an easy-going, considerate person; he cut through all the red tape whenever possible. Once, I saw him allowed and smiled at some ex-students ‘smuggling’ at the pier for joining the school annual Cheng-Chau voyage before the set sail. The last time I met him was in 1973 as I asked for a recommendation letter and transcript for oversea college application, he turned up with an expression of support. Indeed I cherish the memory of him.
2) Mr. Yam 任 (Math), who showed us the essential nature of geometry contains a series of propositions in form of questions and answers postulating by means of deduction of which it reveals the Pythagorean golden ration of the secret of nature.
3) Mr. M. P. Wong 黃務本, Chem 王 (Chemistry, UC Berkeley graduate) who underlined that most of the abstract scientific formulae are originally derived from the experiments themselves, merely memorizing the abstract formulae for exams would be nonsensical in regard to scientific truth and education objective. Taught in Mansfield College after retirement from La Salle College and have migrated to Toronto later.
4) Mr. K.C. Chan, a bright English teacher who taught me English in 1970 summer tutorial. If one wants to stick with the physiognomical, the first time one catches a glimpse of his eyes one has the impression that he is more like a homo literatus (well educated and cultural man) than an ordinary English teacher. He encouraged us not to limit or spend so much time with grammar, he contended that the best way to acquire the essence of a second language is to explore ourselves to its cultural things like literatures, history, public affairs, films and music etc. after that we could write a composition with attractive and insightful content in the form of compounded sentences, or else we got nothing to write meaningfully and creatively. He advised us that we should not treat foreign languages as our enemy, but a friend always accompanying with us like if one learns how to swim one must not be afraid of water at the very beginning. He also shared about how he reared his dog, called Chow Chow, with proper manner and how to live in accord with animal meaningfully. I am so regret that I got no chance to meet such an amusing teacher again. After the tutorial I had drastically changed my way in regard to learning foreign languages. Mr. Chan is, in fact, one of the best English teachers in my Mansfield years. I have fond memory of him once I had learned from him a lot.
5) Mr. S. Kan 簡新程 (Math, UC graduate), the then bright, thoughtful and young Math Teacher, who defended himself in class against the stigmatization by some student's parents due to his participation in night swimming event on beach which involved some girl students; his apology defense was really convincing with sound argument in terms of relativism trying to prove that the unscrupulous condemnation was untenable in his case as there is no absolute moral truth in our society. What they said had triggered off my interests in those subject matters unconsciously and finally led me to explore those interesting questions in my college years later for which I should be be most grateful.
6) Reminiscence of my lovely classmates:
There are two mottos being retained in my souvenir booklet which are so inspiring -----“life should be conceived as a willow blowing in the wind, conducting oneself in the mundane world could be similar to the pine embedded in snow.” (by Chan Yuen Yee) 人生應如風擺栁 出世要像說中松 (陳婉儀) and “One may have good friends when one is wealthy, but genuineness only comes out when one is in tribulation.” (by Yeung Kit Mei, Cecilia) 富貴結朋友 患難見真情 (楊潔薇). Indeed I am truly indebted to their inspirations ; once I had a short dialogue with Cecilia, with her grace, I became to realize how to live a decent life and caring others, what she had explained to me the abstract concept of ‘irresistibility’ with regard to plant behavior was inconceivable to me at that time. I came across this term ‘irresistibility’ a few years later when I read Proust’s oeuvre revealing that our body had always responded resistively to its various living conditions for adjustment that reminded me to those temp perdu (lost time) of what she said.
Lee Man Sing 李文星 (Arthur), the school football team captain, (under his virtuoso leadership we got the inter-school football competition Grade A Championship), who advised me to study the rare subjects in my college years so I might broaden my mind before I would decide to commit what to do in my life; Yu Wing Key 余永基, who is a gifted organizer in activities and a capable explorer from whom I learned the fantasy adventure of Taiwan’s sailing boat project in 1970; Wong Mei Ying, one of our considerate and amiable classmates whom I admire. Ng Kit (吳傑), a dexterous guy and French literature freak also, who sat with Chan Yuen Yee (girl classmate), encouraged me to learn German in 1970 so I did. Interestingly, he had studied French, but not German, for four years in Hong Kong without revealing to me until lately in 2022, however, after 5 decades what’s a joke! We have two lovely class monitors too, Cheng Chun Pong (鄭振邦) and Yim Keng Sin both of whom I have never forgotten their decency and amiability. Hui Chui Yee, a literary talent, whom I should be most grateful for her concern with my shift to study arts major in 1973. All in all I cannot mention other names here, what I has kept in my mind are those funny, aesthetic, and sentimental reminiscences when we were at the time of teenager, though I may not have chance to meet them again in this life, I miss them all. May mother of nature bless all of us.