Don't give up, oldest student urges youngsters

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 August, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 03 October, 2016, 5:52pm

A 72-year-old candidate who sat this year's Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination (HKCEE) has urged young people not to give up even if they fare badly in the exam.

Ip Hung-fai sat the four-paper English language (syllabus B) exam in May as a first-time candidate. The results are released tomorrow.

'I'm a firm believer in life-long learning and I hope one day I can enter university,' said Mr Ip, who lives with his wife in Chai Wan.

Mr Ip completed Form One in the now-defunct Yaumatei Government Secondary School in the late 1940s and over the years had various driving jobs. He has been studying Form Four and Form Five evening programme at Caritas Adult and Higher Education Centre in Chai Wan since 1998.

Mr Ip said his motivation to study stemmed from his desire to communicate better with his three grandchildren, who live in Montreal, Canada.

'I wish to have better command of English as the kids know nothing about the Chinese language,' he said.

He sat the writing, reading and listening tests, but skipped the oral test after struggling in the listening section.

'I have no experience in sitting exams and I want to attempt the oral section next year when I am better prepared,' he said.

Mr Ip admitted he was likely to fail this year's exam, but said he was determined to try again next year.

'I will try my best to pass the exam and I'm sure I can make it,' he said. 'I want to tell young people that they should never give up after suffering defeat. If I can sit the exam in my seventies, what can't youngsters achieve? There is nothing insurmountable in the world.'

He said he had applied to repeat Form Five in September at Queen's College evening school in Causeway Bay.

'I intend to attempt other HKCEE subjects in the next few years and move to Form Six if I attain adequate results. Perhaps one day I can enter a university.'

Mr Ip passed his test for a taxi driver's licence in 1994 when he was 64 and retired in 1997.

'Without doubt, it's not easy to seek jobs amid the economic downturn,' he said, 'but I could comfortably earn over $10,000 a month if I drove a taxi again.'

A spokeswoman for the Examinations and Assessment Authority said it could not confirm whether Mr Ip was the oldest candidate to sit the HKCEE since the public exam was first held by the authority in 1978.

'But he is the oldest candidate in recent years,' she said.

A 64-year-old candidate sat the exam in 1999 and again in 2000, while a 66-year-old attempted the exam last year.