Dedicated couple still driven after 35 years

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 December, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 December, 2006, 12:00am

Half a century ago he was one of Hong Kong's top 10 barristers and a legislator. His wife was the first female judge on the mainland.

The couple, both 86, should be enjoying a comfortable retirement.

Yet Henry Hu Hung-lick, who founded Shue Yan College 35 years ago with his wife, Chung Chi-yung, still spends time on his legal business in order to fund the self-financed school. Dr Chung, a judge-turned-educator, has never abandoned her work at school despite suffering a stroke five years ago and having trouble talking. The establishment of the college was the couple's solution to their concerns about the acute shortage of college places for Form Six students aspiring to go to university. Shue Yan, which in Chinese means nurturing benevolence and cultivating virtue, says a lot about the vision of the founders.

Asked why they had worked so hard for the institution's upgrade to university when they could have left it to younger people, Dr Hu said: 'As Chinese intellectuals, this is something we must and should do.'

The former lawmaker refused to say how much they had spent on running the college: 'You cannot measure what we have done for this school in monetary terms.'

Fees are kept relatively low despite the lack of subsidies - HK$45,000 a year, compared with HK$42,800 in institutions funded by the University Grants Committee. The college has managed to keep fees down thanks to the support of donations and the founders' savings.