Old boys relive their school days at exhibition

Queen's College marks 115 years of its magazine as former students reminisce about sports, classmates … and occasionally hitting the books

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 March, 2014, 3:51am
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 March, 2014, 4:59am

Old boys, former teachers and current students of Hong Kong's oldest public school, Queen's College, gathered yesterday to mark the opening of an exhibition of the school's 115-year-old magazine, The Yellow Dragon.

Skipping meals and hogging the playing courts at lunchtime, cramming for exams and the camaraderie between classmates - these were some of the fond memories exchanged yesterday at the exhibition opening at the Hong Kong Central Library.

The Yellow Dragon, first published in 1899, is the oldest secondary-school publication in the city, carrying education and school news along with students' literary contributions.

Old boy Dr York Chow Yat-Ngok, attending the launch yesterday, said he had been a reader rather than a contributor.

"I wasn't a top student, nor was I a literary whizz in school, so I've always only been a reader [of The Yellow Dragon]," the chairman of the Equal Opportunities Commission said.

Chow, former secretary for food and health, recalled how he was involved in sports - including winning inter-school badminton competitions - the choir and the arts, while "learning to appreciate different people for their different talents".

He said he was worried that the boys' school would join the government's direct-subsidy scheme, under which it would operate, in effect, like a private school, charging fees.

"We had a lot of working-class or poorer students in the past," Chow said. "It is important to keep the school's demography diverse, because that's the only way they can learn to appreciate each other."

Chow said his father was an old boy who graduated in 1928, and together with his two older brothers, who are also alumni, the family had many copies of the magazine's issues at home.

"I've always been a reader," Chow said. "Before I entered Queen's College, I'd already read more than 10 copies, and learnt much about the school culture through them."

Queen's College donated a complete collection of The Yellow Dragon - 108 issues - to the Central Library, of which a dozen significant copies are now on display on the eighth floor together with old photographs and notebooks donated by students

Chief librarian Lau Shuk-fan said the magazine chronicled the changes in Hong Kong.

Another old boy, former secretary for security Peter Lai Hing-ling, remembered going to school early and scaling the fences just to play an extra hour of basketball or football.

A self-proclaimed "basketball fanatic", Lai once broke his left arm during a game. He returned to the courts just a few days later, with his arm still in a sling.

In 1969, Lai started the school's student paper, which continues to publish two to three tabloid-sized issues a year.