15-9-2019

CITATION: Dr. SUN Fong Chung, Doctor of Letters, honoris causa

29-01-2016

A citation written and delivered by Professor Catherine SUN Tien Lun

[At the 41st graduation ceremony of Hong Kong Shue Yan University]

Professor HU,

It is my greatest honour and privilege to present to you, Dr. Jeannie SUN Fong Chung, for the award of the degree of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa.

Dr. SUN comes from a resplendent family of scholars and diplomats. When she was still a student of literature at Shanghai’s St. John’s University, she took on a part-time job as a reporter for the Nanking Da Kang Po (南京大剛報). While working on a story about General SUN Yuan Liang (孫元良) who was renowned for his battles against Japanese invaders, she met her future husband, Mr. CHOW Chung Wan (周鎮寰) – executive secretary to General SUN.

Dr. SUN is both an idealist and pragmatist at heart. Influenced by her grandfathers and father, she has always been a firm believer in the value of education. She became the Founding Principal of Kiangsu and Chekiang Primary School (蘇浙小學) at the young age of 25, and continued to run the school for 48 years. When Kiangsu and Chekiang Primary School was first founded in 1953, it was more or less a school for children residing in the North Point District of Hong Kong Island. Yet, in less than a decade, its reputation skyrocketed because of the excellent results its students achieved in the Joint Primary 6 Examination held in Hong Kong. In fact, Primary 6 students from the school won 10 out of 150 scholarships available city-wide for two consecutive years in 1962 and 1963. Today, Kiangsu and Chekiang Primary School whose motto is “Disciplined and Solemn” (整齊嚴肅), is amongst parents’ most sought after schools in Hong Kong.

I am an alumna of Kiangsu and Chekiang Primary School, and I recall that we were taught in Putonghua and were encouraged to converse in that dialect. Furthermore, there was equal emphasis on the cultivation of ethical conduct and the dissemination of knowledge. We spent a considerable amount of time perfecting our mathematical and language skills, and were given opportunities to enroll in public speaking competitions. I would say that, all in all, it was a very well-rounded education.

Dr. SUN was a pioneer of three distinctive features of Hong Kong education today. Firstly, although all primary schools at that time used Cantonese as the medium of instruction, she insisted on using Putonghua instead. Given the prevailing political climate, she was often queried about her political inclinations. To these queries, she unequivocally pointed out that Putonghua was the official spoken and written language of China, and it was only right that people of Chinese descent should know the language of their country. Furthermore, she opined that using Putonghua was crucial in enhancing students’ sense of belonging to the motherland while simultaneously boosting their language skills. Today, of course, Putonghua is taught in the majority of schools in Hong Kong. The second insight was her understanding of the importance of involving parents in their children’s education, at a time while parents and teachers cared for children in their separate domains of home and school. Kiangsu and Chekiang Primary School was the first in Hong Kong to establish a parent-teacher association and today, PTAs are a required feature in every school. Thirdly, Dr. SUN pioneered the setting up of an alumni association to enable graduates to continue supporting each other and the school, and to this day, the Kiangsu and Chekiang Alumni Association remains influential in the educational and social service sectors. These three features definitively identify Dr. SUN as possessing both passion and vision for the provision of quality education in Hong Kong.

Apart from her celebrated career as an educator, Dr. SUN is devoted to the advancement of social services. From 1955 onward, she provided leadership to women in the neighbourhood and successfully organized a series of movements to promote public hygiene, family well-being and home safety in the community. In 1966, she established the Hong Kong and Kowloon Kaifong Women’s Association, a non-profit organization geared toward the upholding of ethical behaviour and the provision of education for young people. This association has also been instrumental in highlighting the many contributions made by women to the stability and prosperity of Hong Kong. Then in the nineteen-eighties, to complete her mission to care for people from all age groups, she founded a centre for the elderly.

Indeed, over the years, Dr. SUN has continuously demonstrated her love for her country and people by organizing donations to support the victims of natural and manmade calamities in Hong Kong and China. For instance, in 1991, she coordinated and

organized the efforts of 48 women’s associations in Hong Kong to collect donations for victims of the floods in Eastern China. She has also been involved in cultural and educational exchanges between Hong Kong and China, and in one instance, donated

HK$1m to rebuild the library of her secondary school in Wuxi.

Dr. SUN’s contribution to education is not limited to the founding and running of Kiangsu and Chekiang Primary School. In the past 30 years, she has established one secondary school, one kindergarten, two primary schools and four nurseries. In all these schools, she has persisted in adopting Putonghua as the medium of instruction.

In recognition of Dr SUN’s remarkable and varied contribution to Hong Kong, Queen Elizabeth II made her a Member of the British Empire (MBE) in 1966. Then in 1974, she was appointed as a Justice of Peace by the Governor of Hong Kong. In 1998, she was awarded the Bronze Bauhinia Medal by the HKSAR Government, and in 2011, the Hong Kong Institute of Education conferred upon her the title of Honorary Fellow. To this day, Dr. SUN has stayed actively involved in all the educational and social service projects she initiated over the past sixty years.

Professor HU, in recognition of Dr. SUN’s lifelong devotion to education and social service in Hong Kong, may I call upon you to confer on her the degree of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa.

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