Lamma Island's most famous son returned to the heart of the community last Sunday for the launch of the primary school's alumni association. Actor Chow Yun-fat, who recalled playing truant when he was a pupil at Northern Lamma School in the early 1960s, called on the government to give greater support to village schools. 'With village schools, people stay very close,' he said. And during the ceremony one of Hong Kong's favourite movie stars did just that, mingling happily with children, parents and other old boys and girls. Chow, star of the Oscar-winning Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, was made life honorary chairman of the new association. 'The government should support these schools with manpower and money, though they may have their own management ways,' he told the South China Morning Post. The school had heard on Saturday that the $15 million school improvement project planned for the campus by the Education Department had been postponed. Chow said he was aware of the controversy over the school's leadership. 'I support the principal. She is very nice and clever, but has suffered a lot. She is the best,' he said. Principal Jennie Yuen Chun-ni was sacked in June by the school's supervisor Chau Kim-hung and reinstated by the Education Department, which then removed the supervisor from the management committee. Chow remembered running away when he heard the school bell, to go to help his mother who ran a hawker's stall near the school. 'At that time we never thought education was that important for young kids,' he said. This was not a lesson he would pass on to children today. He also advised them 'to be themselves and enjoy themselves'. Chow, who watched the school show off its multiculturalism with local and international students including Indian and Tagalog dances in their display, left school after Form Three. Ms Yuen was moved by Chow's support and the community response to the setting up of the association. 'It is very touching. Their school is not like other schools in Hong Kong. Everyone feels very attached to it. It is part of the community.' Tony Hui Tat-keung, chief school development officer with the Education Department, said more schools were now establishing alumni associations as part of school management reform. 'We encourage the participation of all stakeholders,' said Mr Hui. 'They can contribute in terms of financial support and participation in school-based management committees.'