Newsletter No. 182

2 No. 182 19th April 2001 CUHK Newsletter A Quarter of a C e n t u r y of Commitment T hirteen serving staff members who had been with the University for a quarter of a century by December 2000 received their long service awards from Prof. Arthur K.C. Li, the vice-chancellor, on 2nd April at a ceremony held for them in University Guest House L Here are contributions in the form of snapshots or writing from some of the recipients. Reminiscence of my 25 years with CUHK Prof. Walter K .K. Ho, professor in the Department of Biochemistry 生物化学系教授何国强 I don't remember what my first impression of The Chinese University was; it was a long, long time ago back in the spring of 1972. The University had just moved to the Ma Liu Shiu campus and if one was taking the train, it would take over an hour to get there from town. I vaguely remember my first encounter with Dr. L i Choh Ming, the first vice-chancellor. He impressed me as a very friendly and outspoken person. He introduced me to Prof. Ma Lin who was then heading the newly formed Biochemistry Department. I f I recalled correctly, Prof. Ma invited me to give the first seminar in the new Science Centre. It was most flattering as I had just got my Ph.D. from Berkeley. I did not join The Chinese University until 1975. From 1972 to 1975, I was teaching at the University of Hong Kong. However, after becoming acquainted with Prof. Ma Lin, I had many chances of interacting with staff and students at CU. Prof. Ma sent me one of his best undergraduate students, Chan Wai Yee, to assist me in doing research on serum lipoproteins. The gossip of the time was the little skirmishes between staff from different colleges over 'territory' in the Science Centre. Even today, the legendary fight for the centrifuge in the hallway of the Science Centre is still a mystery to us not-so-old folks. 1975 was an important year for me because I had my first child and had to move back to Hong Kong from San Francisco when my daughter was only 10 days old. I f Prof. Ma hadn't given me that false sense of urgency with his serious tone, I would have taken much longer to come back. In any event, my first year at CU was a busy one. I had to teach physical biochemistry, a terribly hard subject only a few diehard biochemists were interested in. Fortunately, two years later, Dr. Tso Wung Wai joined us and took over my misery. One important social activity at the University in the 70s was lunch. Sha Tin wasn't like it is today. I f you got tired of the canteens at the Benjamin Franklin Centre, there was no Maxim's in Ma On Shan or Jockey Club as alternative. One relief was yum cha or beef noodles in Taipo. Occasionally, we might venture out to Kowloon, to Hing Sheng Fung Restaurant on Waterloo Road. Of course, we still managed to get back in time before Prof. Ma came looking for us. Believe it or not, there was scarcely any traffic on the road in those days. The 80s was an interesting era. First, Prof. Ma became the vice-chancellor and second, our department almost doubled in size because of the establishment of a new Medical Faculty. Prof. Ma's assumption of vice-chancellorship was first thought to be a blessing. Soon, this proved not to be the case. We all had to work extra hard to convince him that we were doing our job. He knew the department and us too well. The 80s was also a period of unrest due the announcement of Hong Kong's future after 1997. I still remember vividly the Saturday morning when a number of staff (including some quite senior professors) queued up in Hang Seng Bank to exchange HK$10 for US$1. The following Monday, the Hong Kong Government spoiled the fun by pegging the Hong Kong dollar to the US dollar at the rate of 7.8. The slowing down of the economy in the mid-80s actually made our life at the University more enjoyable. At least we felt richer compared with other people. As the countdown to 1997 began, we also saw more and more of our colleagues planning a second home overseas. This is the era of the so-called 'spaceman'. For those who are too young to remember, this means your wife is not at home but has emigrated overseas with your children. The Chung Chi Staff Canteen became the gathering place for the 'spacemen' at dinner time. Research has always been part of the Biochemistry Department. In the old days, research was something that we always enjoyed. There was a truly academic environment: both undergraduate and postgraduate students got together and discussed research topics out of their own initiative. One thing that impressed me most in the 70s and 80s was the strong motivation that drove students to seek knowledge in science. Things are different nowadays. Students are now more materialistic and they are only willing to complete the work that has been assigned to them. Perhaps, this kind of attitude is the new culture of Hong Kong. I hope that the emphasis of our new economy on science and technology will revive the old attitude towards learning. My 25 years with CU was probably the golden age of tertiary education in Hong Kong. Over these years, the government has been very generous in expanding the universities, first, in the number of students and, later, in the resources provided for research. Unfortunately, together with the increase in resources, the pressure on the job has also increased proportionally. In the old days, teaching in the University was an enviable job because the system respected teachers. You had time to think and time to explore knowledge. Nowadays, one is being assessed so frequently that you wonder i f you have time to do anything other than just filling in the forms. Throughout my 25 years with the University, I have never seen the kind of job pressure that our staff are facing now. I am fortunate to have such fond memories of the old days. Prof. Ho (left 6) with the first biochemistry graduating class in 1976 何国强教授(左六)与该系一九七六年学成的首批毕业生 Back row, from left: Prof. Lau Siu-kai, Prof. Joseph Hung, Mr. Leung Kai-lung, Mr. Li Kam-fai, Prof. Lau Chong-chor, Mr. Kwok Wing-sang. Front row, from left: Prof. Harrison C. Ryker (retired on 1st January 2001), Miss Eleanor San, Miss Chan Yun-yin, Prof. Arthur K.C. Li, Prof. Walter K.K. Ho, Mr. Liang Shing-hok, Mrs. Lui Chan Lai-chee. 保健处护士辛懿娜小姐 Miss San Yee-nor, Eleanor, nurse, University Health Service 我和保健处可以说是 有缘,七二年从英国学成 返港,刚巧保健处增添人 手,我便侥幸加入了这个 大家庭,直至一九八五年 移民加拿大。我八八年计 划回流时,得悉保健处有 一空缺,便尝试申请,结 果成功,于是兜兜转转又 回到中大。前后廿五年 了,我很高兴在这期间认 识了一群亦师亦友的同 事,虽然许多已移居外 地,但我们仍保持紧密联 系,实是难能可贵。 辛懿娜(中)与同事摄于保健处一九七八年的圣诞联欢 会。保健处快要换上新装了,就让大家怀旧一下。 Eleanor (middle) and her colleagues at the UHS Christmas party in 1978. As the UHS will soon be completely renovated, this photo will soon become historical. 体育部一级导师 雷陈丽子女士 Mrs. Lui Chan Lai- chee, instructor I of the Physical Education Unit 一九九三年中大体育部访问台 湾,摄于花莲横贯公路,前排 右二为雷陈丽子女士。 Mrs. Lui Chan Lai-chee (right 2) on a visit to Taiwan with the Physical Education Unit in 1993 中文大学出版社一级文员 郭荣生先生 Mr. Kwok Wing-sang, general clerk I of the Chinese University Press 一九九零年四月十四日中文大学开放日,郭荣 生先生摄于大学出版社在百万大道摆设的销售 摊位。 Mr. Kwok Wing-sang posing at the Press stall at the University Mall on CU Open Day, 4th April 1990