"I Remember Wah Yan..."

Submit your fond memories of Wah Yan by email to:
webmaster@wahyan-psa.org

Recommended reading

- Memoirs of the late Paul K.C Tsui, 5th son of Peter Tsui, the founder of Wah Yan:
Chapter 6

Chapter 7

- Excerpt from the Jesuits newsletter ¡§Interfuse¡¨ Autumn 2002  No. 113:
"Hong Kong from Sacred Space"
written by Gerry Bourke
 

Memories of Wah Yan submitted by old boys:

 

Kenneth K. Y. LAM '96:

I remember Father O'Rourke referring to his metallic ruler as his 'best teaching aid'. And no, he certainly did not use it to draw straight lines.

 

Luke S.K. Wong '59:

Attached please find copy of a photo of the new Wah Yan campus as in 1955. It is a copy from a 6 X 6 contact print. You may wish to put it in the PSA website for those nostalgic about the quiet Wanchai area as seen from Wah Yan. In fact the panorama background covers Peninsular Hotel, Nathan Road, Hung Hom, land reclamation in Kowloon City for the then new Kai Tak runway.

 

Lawrence Tsui '68:

Over the 50 years, the school has perched on top of a hill.  The classroom block envelops and interacts with the schoolyard where everything occurs.  How the wooden planks of the windows of the first formers classrooms along the ground floor has withstand the pounding of the footballs over the years is beyond comprehension.  Somehow, the school building transcends and shields the boys from the percussions of the busy city outside.  The open corridors reverberate the laughter and cheers from the playground, inter-mingling them with voices of teachers¡¦ eager to impart knowledge and values, interrupted intermittently by the ringing of the school bells, or the relentless calling of the chapel bell to the enchanting weekly Benediction of the Holy Sacrament. 

Taking centre-stage is the stylish ultra-modern tomb-shape minimalist chapel, even more artistic with the murals lining its lofty interior walls.  Its centre position represents the reason of being what the Spirit of Wah Yan is all about ¡V producing men who adore God, cherish lives and serve people. 

On the rare occasions, the school hall takes on some significance, but the constraint of its size reduces it to very limited roles.  It was the music room which has shaped many a leader amongst Wah Yannites - it serves as the function room for many an association of students.

Old Boys of Wah Yan cherishes fond memories of their boyhood home.  Their parents harbours gratitude for how the school has mould and initiated their boys over their formative years.  Teachers probably hardly notice how boys have grown up ¡V boys in their hands are perpetually young.  Today, boys miss the sight of the Fathers walking along the roof top saying their prayers after school, casting occasional glances over the boys playing down below.  Their dedication and devotion set perfect examples that inspire and imbue Wah Yannites with a high sense of integrity and service.
 

Joseph S.W. Lui '58:

It is invigorating to read recently those nostalgic encouraging news of so many Wahyanites from all over the world, especially those in H.K. Although I may not have direct personal contact with some of the Jesuit priests in my old school days from 1951 to 1958, I still remember those familiar names of Fr. C.J. Barrett, Fr. L.S. Chan, Fr. Grogan, Fr. McGaley, Fr. E. Collins, Fr. J. Collins, Fr. Carroll, Fr. C. Daly (my Form Master of Form 5C), Fr. J. Russell (who taught me history), Fr. Casey, and Fr. J.J. McAsey (who attended my nuptial Mass).  It is sad to mention that many of them have been called back to God to receive their welldeserved rewards.

May God bless our Alma Mater and the accomplisshments of the new school to come.
(from Ontario, Canada)
 

George Chan '70:

Fr. Foley and his ambush of boys running down the slope after school. Fr. Deignan and his ever-present smile. Fr. Daly: ¡§Every boy should be a star.¡¨ Fr. McGaley the scholar. Fr. Lawler the quiet scientist. Fr. Cryan and his glass of water for boys on the lawn without permission. Madam and her ¡¥Mini¡¦. Mr. Lee and his chalk missile.

Mr. Wong and his rattan case. Mr. Lee the ¡¥Atomic Dust¡¦. Mr. F**t Chung.  The long slope from Queen¡¦s Road East. The not-so-Spanish steps to Kennedy Road. The fish pond. The air-conditioned school hall. The wood louvre blinds. The badges on the school tie or lapel of the school jacket. The hide-away dark room. The music room with no music. The library  the safe haven for skipping class. The invaded Chaplain¡¦s room. The knock at the classroom door on Saturday mornings for confession sessions. The Benediction after the Saturday classes. The classmates and teachers. The guidance and the freedom to develop our potentials and skills. My formative years.

A class picnic in Macau organised by and for a group of Form 6 boys is pretty radical even by today¡¦s standard, I suppose. But we did it over 30 years ago. When we came up with this crazy idea we had little money and no permission. But as long as we would do it, our class teacher said, he would approach the Principal for permission. We got the permission from the school and the parents, organised subsidised ferry fare and hotel rates, went to Macau on school days for our class picnic, squashed ourselves into hotel rooms, had the enjoyable two days in Macau with Fr. McGaley. It was probably our best trip to Macau  not for what we did there, but for what we achieved as a class and for the trust our parents and the school on us.
 

So Chi Chung '00:

I am proud to be a Wahyanite study in the tradition-rich academiccollege, play truant and go on to become successful and wise.
Reinvigorated with a new purpose and meaning every year, Wah YanCollege will be a growing college. I trust it will be like a great treethat has sent down its roots deep and wide, so that its trunk isstrong, solid and upright, its leaves dense and robust, its flowerscolourful and its seeds numerous and virile.
 

Lam Hon Kee, Patrick '67:

I was one of the lucky few who became the last class of P.5. I spent 3 years in the same classroom with Madam as our classmaster. She was one of those exeptionally warm and caring individuals who loves to teach. I remember that prior to Wah Yan, I was in a Chinese school with only one course in English. When I first arrived, I couldn't understand a thing the teachers were saying  as all courses were conducted in English, except Chinese History. When the first time I managed to recite the poem of "Jack and Jill went up the hill, to fetch a pail of water...", Madam gave me a big hug. I was so moved that I cried. From then on, I made it a point to excel in English. I am proud to say, thanks to her encouragement and subsequently Mr. John Fung's kind words, I now am a professional writer. That is one of my fondest memories at Wah Yan. 

I also developed an inflated ego because my first 3 years were spent in "A" class. It was not until Form 2 that we had 4 classes. Guess what, my humbling memory was that I was sent to Form 2C -- with the toughest teacher, Mr. Wong Chung, at the helm. That taught me to study at all times to get back up to the more prestigious classes. However, I never managed anything better than "B" classes. But that did not deter me from representing Wah Yan in all sorts of events, because most of these participations were on a voluntary basis. So I didn't have to be in "A" class to be out there havingfun.

Another fond memory was of course our beloved and feared Fr. Daly. Iremember when he got frustrated, he would take his glasses off and wipe his face that wore a constant grimace. He would say, "The one wearing glasses, stand up!" Guess what, just about everyone would stand up as most of us would be wearing glasses by then. Similarly, he would say, "The one wearing the blue blazer, stand up." And up we would all stand.
On Saturdays, whenever an announcement was made that it would be time for us to go to confession, if it was a Fr. Daly's class, just about all Catholics would rush out of the door. It became so consistent that at the confessional Fr. O'Rourke actually asked me one time if I came from Fr. Daly's class.

Fearsome though he might look, Fr. Daly was really one of the warmest individuals around campus. As I learned later in life, softies often like to come across as tough guys. It's the meek ones that you need to watch out for.
And of course, the daily rush down the backsteps with Mui Lam and the gang to see who would get to the bus stop first was really  a load of fun.

Having to fight our way to get on a bus to school everyday since age 9 was fun too. But commuting from North Point, often times it was near impossible to make the early benediction mass on time on Wednesdays, a requirement for those belonging to the Altar Boys Society. So when Fr. Reid kicked me out of the Society for missing mass twice in a roll, I was actually grateful and relieved.

Lastly, I remember when we had sponsored dances with Maryknoll, the boys would sit on one side and the girls would sit across from us. Of course, most people would go after the pretty ones with the plain Janes left behind looking bored and snotty. The prefects would ask us as volunteers to dance with the uglier ones. When we finally complied and politely asked them to dance, to our utter dismay, more often than not, they would turn us down.

That's how I learned to take unnecessary rejection really well. And that, my friends, is my recollection of my teenage years at Wah Yan.
 

Chan, Hing Shuen  ¡¦64:

I fondly recall the day I applied for admission to WYC. I was told there would be a very long waiting line. I got up early and arrived at the gate 5 o¡¦clock in the morning, thinking I would be the first in line, but to my surprise there were a few people ahead of me. I was fortunate enough to be admitted among the 800 plus applicants. From that day on, my student life began to fill with a lifetime supply of memorable events. 

When I was asked to write something on fondest memories, I thought for a while and all sorts of insignificant things began to appear warm and familiar; the unique flashy blue blazer and tie; the daily long walk up the hill to the campus; the classrooms with scenic views of the harbor; the play ground that was always filled with cheers and laughter; and the peace and serenity of the Church just next to it.

I found my most memorable moments in extracurricular activities. The soccer matches before and after school hours, the Boy Scout¡¦s training and camping trips were my favorite time. Even the mentally stressful examinations, the disappointment of bad grades, and the few detentions I didn¡¦t deserve became bittersweet memories. But what I always cherish most of all was the friendships developed among the students. 

The greatest assets this school has provided are captured in the yearbooks. There you will find pictured the collection of phenomenally talented men that have shared your experiences as a WYC graduate. Your interaction with them has given context to everything you¡¦ve learned both in and out of class. 

Last but not least was the dedications of the Rev. Fathers and teachers, their coaching beyond the classrooms and textbooks, their teaching of ethics, culture, sportsmanship, and their inspiration and encouragement. We could not ask for better mentors. To those taught by the late Rev. Father Daly, his inspiration was certainly most unforgettable. Consider the contribution they have made in your life. I think we¡¦ll agree that we all have gotten our money¡¦s worth and more.
 

Chan Chi Ho, Teddy '75  (B grade badminton school team):

Before 7:00 o'clock in the morning, we sneaked into the assembly hall through secretly pre-arranged entrances (windows & doors) to start our badminton practice early.  Oh how I wish I could tell my teammates in the school team that my fever for badminton is still running high! New boys please climb onboard!
 

John Woo Kong Sang '78:

My last school day in Wah Yan. 
From my diary, it reads, ¡§¡Kit is getting close to leaving my dear school, my heart is getting heavier¡Kit is time to say good-bye to Wah Yan and to one another¡Kand where will we be... sometime, somewhere... as from now¡K¡¨

That was perhaps the general feeling of all my fellow classmates (U6S), and so we decided to put together something that would remind us of the happy and memorable times we had together ¡V a tape with all the songs we created and sang many many times together. The recording was made in the same music room as now, with very primitive recording equipment, but with one another in heart and mind. This was done on our last school day!

Click to download the songs we recorded: WahyanitesLong to See You  Wah Yan Our Home
I would like to dedicate these songs to all Wah Yan students of the past, the present and the future!
 

David Lo '83:

A sanctuary; far away from all the hustle and bustle; where everyone
is kind and gracious.

The dedication of the Fathers and teachers, not only to educate, but
to make us better persons.

Wah Yan spirit, which gives us strength to face any adversities we come
across in life.
 

Peter Tang Kwok Hong '78:

"It's a long road, and you're on your own..." I share the lyrics from 'First Blood' when I first stepped on the Wah Yan soil - THE RAMP! I changed my view by the time I finished my studies - I'm never alone, the Wah Yan Spirit stays with me always.
 

Gilbert Tan Sze-Yiu '67:

My memories of Wah Yan are pictures of the distinct uniform colour, the religious tie, the ramp vs the hundred steps, the hanging tree (Is it still there ?), the school plays and sports (envious of those who naturally excelled), running into my own brothers in school and the prefect badge.  The Michael Szeto's( at least one a year), Albert Wu, NicholasTsui or Lee Mui Lum, Fr. Deignan (who let me in) and Chow Chow (my Chinese teacher). Some of them helped to keep these images alive by being in touch. Some teachers' ways jumped out more than others: John Fung's English ("forceful?"), Hong Choy's Chemistry textbook (it must be something to write a textbook), Yuen Tou (Form 1A
Master)'s reward system...

Whatever it was, most of the old boys I run into around the world turned out to be okay, especially the old old ones.  I am sure the Fathers helped.
 

Tommy Lai '74:

Dazzlingly colourful structure after a demanding climb; Jesuit Fathers in angelic robes greeting everyone with a smile; a sea of kids in their smart uniform roaming here and there; teachers looking and waiting with patience and care. I know this is the place where I'll learn and grow.
 

Franki Choi Kam Lung '88:

The Jesuits are truehearted educators¡K
Their teaching principles and formulas¡K 
Noble characters and remarkable charisma¡K
Fathers¡¦love and care, I remember!!
Wahyanites are men for others¡K
Wah Yan Spirit and power¡K
Light up our lives forever¡K
Wah Yan, Wah Yan, I remember!!
 

Lo Wing Sun '77:

Words that pop into my mind: 
2nd home, always welcome, home, comfortable, serenity, Jesuit Fathers, holiness (of the Chapel), friends, classmates, growth, sweet memories, Form-teachers, football, Red Cross, girls (of other schools), honour, friendship......
 

Simon Chan '75:

I remember Wah Yan's Fr. Daly going around each classroom searching for the 'lost sheep'. Once found, they would be given lessons and eventually baptized.
 

Wong Kai Fun '64:

I remember Wah Yan as a child's first taste of candy. Sweet, enjoyable and reminiscent in one's memory. Happy moments of yonder days at school, hard work & fun in the classroom, zealous devotion of faith in God in the chapel are reappearing in my mind like waves rushing to shore.
 

Simon Chan '75:

I remember Fr. O'Rourke walking along the corridor and some naive students would gather behind him trying to make a knot tie with his robe. Mysteriously, Fr. seemed to have back eyes and would always catch them and gave them a good treat.

Peter Wong Pak Heung '58:

Mr. Robert Chung ¡§De §A tention¡¨
Fr. Daly ¡§Knock §A ­Ó head¡¨
 

Nicholas Tsui '67:

Remember the cicadas and the sleepy afternoons through which we struggled so hard to stay awake? Indeed we would have dozed off many a time if it was not for the flying duster of Fr. Cryan, or the deafening cry of Fr. McCarthy, or the electrifying pointing of Fr. Daly's finger, or the heavy-weight punches of Fr. O'rourke on our shoulders.... Learning to survive such madness must have been an important part of the Wah Yan education, for we inevitably end up loving those good old days and everyone of the fathers!