30 years on

30 years on By Principal YIU Kai Wing

This year marks the 30th Anniversary of Po Leung Kuk Yao Ling Sun College.  I have spent 21 years working and learnt a lot in this school. Many of my old colleagues who still work in Yao Ling Sun College are very dedicated to their teaching.  I appreciate in particular the strenuous effort they have put to change the mind of the young.  This is a task which I am sure is harder than ever in this current social and political climate and also because of the fact that human beings are reluctant to change.

When you are getting old, people will start asking you about life lessons. Life lessons mean you have to recall your past and recount your right doings and wrong doings.  To me all these really send a chill down my spine.  Anyway, below are some thoughts I wish to share but not in the strictest sense of what life lessons mean.

1. Change is inevitable.  I presume it is true that changes take no place when you are older.  Like a computer hard disk, human mind has a limit.  It ceases to store extra data when it has already reached its full capacity.  Replacing a new hard disk is unlikely.  You may have to find ways to squeeze more space, such as archiving your old knowledge or select what you want to learn.  Fortunately, our mind does not work like a computer.  The archives may be buried deep down your mind when you scratch your head.  But what you have learnt will sometimes resurface again like flashbacks.  Change is much faster than we expect.

2. Knowledge is power?  Today some old sayings are still undeniable such as knowledge is power.  But don’t forget there is also an old saying that, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men." As power intoxicates a leader, knowledge does the same.  So I no longer believe knowledge increases with age, and trust no one who rules at the expense of the others. Knowledge is now available everywhere, but being a wise person has nothing to do with knowledge.

3. A teacher still needs to be multi-talented. At a hard time like now, being a teacher is as holy as a saint.  Several days ago in our The Sydney Morning Herald, a news article mentioned the demise of some jobs such as typesetters and shop attendants of DVD rental stores.  In current economic crises, many jobs are axed.  They are not lost but ended up somewhere.  Even the university I work in has just dismissed 100 academics.  How about the teachers in the school?  I am sure they still stay strong but the rapid change of economy implies that every job requires more added values.  Nowadays a teacher is a multi-tasked facilitator, meeting many unreasonable demands from the stakeholders.

4. The joy of teaching. Some years ago I had a chance to run a weekend coaching school in Sydney with a retired academic.  At the age of late sixties, he found joy in teaching students sitting English in the High School Certificate.  He told me once that as he gets older, he sees the world more pessimistic.  That said, he has helped many new migrants from Hong Kong and mainland China achieving outstanding results.  I left the school very soon but he insists teaching at every weekend or in the late afternoon on weekdays.   I am sure he will still teach and enjoy teaching until he is no longer able to walk.  How amazing it is to see teaching is life-long!

5. The power of social media.  The joy of seeing students growing up is beyond words.  Now I can genuinely treasure the moments of seeing the voices of many previous students on facebook.  This becomes a reality as many of us now see each other more often on social media than face-to-face, texting more on Whatsapp than speaking to the mouthpiece.  I enjoy writing posts on my personal website and send messages to facebook and twitter to keep update. Technology has brought us even closer, instant and well connected.  Let’s embrace not reject.  Let’s be more undaunted to voice out loud and act when facing injustice.

6. The wisdom of Charles Dickens.  This is what Charles Dickens (don’t forget 7 February 2012 is the bicentenary of his birth) says at the beginning of his novel A Tale of Two Cities, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way- in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.” This is a great thought which transcend his time, language and culture, and never outdated.

Finally, I would take this opportunity to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of Po Leung Kuk Yao Ling Sun College and wish the school every success under the collaboration of Principal Dr. Tse, his staff and students.

Extracted from the 30th Anniversary Newsletter of Po Leung Kuk Yao Ling Sun College

Po Leung Kuk Yao Ling Sun College
  • Address:Shek Wai Kok Estate, Tsuen Wan, New Territories, Hong Kong
  • Contact No.:2498 3331 Fax: 2499 5136
  • Email:info@plkylsc.edu.hk