A message from Uncle Wah: I love you all

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 03 January, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 03 January, 2012, 12:00am


About 100 relatives and friends of the late Szeto Wah gathered at Chai Wan Baptist Church yesterday to pay tribute to the democracy stalwart on the first anniversary of his death.

Guests wrote in a book of remembrance, while Szeto's family prepared bookmarks with calligraphy produced by 'Uncle Wah' that read: 'I love you all.'

Younger brother Szeto Keung, younger sisters Szeto Sim, Szeto Kuen and niece Szeto Yuen organised the memorial service. It was attended by Szeto Wah's friends in the various groups for which he worked, including the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, the Democratic Party and the Professional Teachers' Union. Under the guidance of the Reverend Chu Yiu-ming - who worked closely with Szeto after the June 4 crackdown in Tiananmen Square in 1989 - mourners observed a minute's silence and sang hymns.

The veteran Democrat and educator, who for years led the alliance, died of lung cancer on January 2 last year at the age of 79.

Martin Lee Chu-ming, founding chairman of the Democratic Party and a long-time friend of Szeto, was among those attending, despite a recent operation to remove his gall bladder. 'I should be resting, but I see Uncle Wah [Szeto] as my big brother,' he said.

Democrat chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan also paid his respects, saying: 'Although Uncle Wah is no long here, his voice and teaching are always with us.'

The hour-long service was followed by more tributes at the Cape Collinson Gardens of Remembrance in Chai Wan. Members of the public placed white flowers before Szeto's grave as a show of respect.

Szeto remained a source of controversy even after his death when the government denied entry to Hong Kong to former June 4 student leaders Wang Dan and Wuer Kaixi to attend the funeral.

In July, Szeto's revelations in his memoirs on his ties with the Chinese Communist Party in the 1950s left some pan-democrats in shock.

Szeto detailed in the 507-page book how he used to embrace communist and socialist ideals as a young man.

He told of how he came to realise the futility of such hopes and formed new ideals in fighting for social justice and democracy.