Why this is written
I came to Hong Kong in 1960, and since 1967 I have been in Wah Yan College Kowloon. I now write to help people fill in what they do not know about me. In the first place, are the teachers who have known me for so long but do not know my thinking and background. Along with these might be a number of past students who remember me, and are puzzled about what they recall of me. Finally there are the parents of students, who might be mystified with what they hear of me from their sons. Here then is everything about me!
To all who read this, I first say that Self knowledge is very valuable. Writing these words has helped me to know myself more clearly. I am grateful to Nadia Chan who offered to write up my life. I agreed on the condition that she write a Chinese version, and also challenge what I write to make it more interesting to local readers.
I start with quoting some questions asked of me in the past, which I found hard to answer truthfully.
“Why have you come to Hong Kong?” was often asked in the 1960s. With so many people coming from the Mainland, there was every effort to leave Hong Kong. Why would anyone come to Hong Kong, unless he was running away from something! I just did not know how to answer. I could have said that I came to continue the work of the Jesuits in China, helping to build up the Catholic Chinese communities and spreading the Kingdom of God. I did not speak these words as I feared I would be misunderstood.
“When are you going to return to your home country?” I heard many people ask me, including the students I was teaching. This was in the 1980s and 1990s. The approach of the return to sovereignty to Beijing engendered great fears and anxieties about the future. Many people went abroad, if they could. I answered to some of these questions by saying that I had burned my passport! In the future, I wanted to stay as a priest with the Catholics and people of Hong Kong. That was clearly my intent and it was simple for me, as I had no dependents to take into consideration.
I am aware that I am a difficult person to understand since my background is so varied. I would perhaps be a better person if I had greater self-awareness. When I was approached to work on a biography in late 2005, I jumped at the offer as I felt it might be my last opportunity. I wanted to write about myself for people in Hong Kong. The following is how I think of myself.
Though I have been in Wah Yan College, Kowloon as a Form Three teacher since 1967, I have not looked on myself as a school teacher. In fact, for more than three decades as a Jesuit, I deliberated did not want to be a classroom teacher or engaged in school administration. I think of myself as a Jesuit priest. I have taken Hong Kong as my home from which I can serve people and. I want to continue the wonderful life I have had here!
I will endeavour to give the facts of my long happy life of 75 years, and echo some of my thinking and aspirations during all these years. The first seven chapters deal mostly with my life before I began teaching in Wah Yan, aged 36. These chapters explain my decisions and ideals.
A good apprehension of one’s life is a help to contentment and basis of reasonable self-confidence, so here is my attempt.
uthor and Nadia Chan who translated