Uncle Wah's legacy lives on for university students

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 05 January, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 05 January, 2012, 12:00am


Relatives of the late Szeto Wah donated more than 10,000 items owned by the democracy stalwart to the University of Hong Kong yesterday.

The memorabilia, which included books, notebooks, calligraphy, manuscripts, photographs and letters, has been named the Szeto Wah Collection. The university said it would form a 'significant addition' to its Hong Kong Collection.

The family turned over the artefacts in a ceremony at the university's main library at which 50 selected items were displayed.

The ceremony came two days after 100 relatives and friends gathered in a church to pay tribute to the man known affectionately to Hongkongers as 'Uncle Wah' on the first anniversary of his death.

Szeto, a veteran Democrat and educator, died of lung cancer at the age of 79. He was co-founder of the Democratic Party, a member of the Legislative Council from 1985 to 2004, and chairman of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements.

The late activist's younger brother Szeto Keung said the family decided the university was the best place for the artefacts. 'These items will have value for people studying Brother Wah's thoughts and life,' he said.

University librarian Peter Sidorko said there were 'some truly rich materials' among the collection. Items on display yesterday showed Szeto Wah 'was a true renaissance man, an artist, a literary figure, a political figure, and a mathematician'.

University vice-chancellor Tsui Lap-chee thanked the family and said the items would serve as 'excellent education materials'.

'Szeto Wah was a man of integrity,' Tsui said. 'He was also an intellectual. Education was his passion. He loved and cared for his students. Szeto was also a prolific writer. Through his words, he influenced many youngsters.'

Among the collection is a piece of calligraphy Szeto Wah completed to commemorate the 20th anniversary of June 4, 1989, and his ink-pen portrait of Russian writer Maxim Gorky, whom he admired in his younger days.