St Paul ’s Co-educational College
The 90th Anniversary Celebration Fun Fair
24 September 2005
Speech by Professor Arthur K C Li
Secretary for Education and Manpower
Dear Mr Chow, Dr Mak, Dr Chan, Ms Lee, Ms Wu, distinguished guests, parents, teachers of the School, boys and girls of St. Paul’s, ladies and gentlemen:
It feels so good to be here today to celebrate with you the 90th anniversary of our school. I say OUR school as St. Paul ’s Coed is also my alma mater.
This good feeling is intensified because I know this is the very first of a series of celebratory activities to be organised in the year to come. I consider it my great honour and privilege to be the guest to kick off the 90th anniversary celebration.
There is another reason why I am so exhilarated. It is a fun fair we are having, and a fun fair is supposed to overwhelm its participants with fun. I trust that on such a day no one will expect me to say anything too pedagogical or serious. That alone is very relaxing.
But then I wonder: why has the school chosen to start things off with a fun fair, and not a concert, a banquet, a variety show, or some other event? Is there a symbolic meaning in the arrangement?
Certainly the school must have realised that ‘fun’ is of primary importance in any learning process. Don’t get me wrong: what I mean is F-U-N fun, not ‘marks’, 不是分數的「分」。「求學不是求分數」: It is not the marks that we are after. Instead we all realise that learning cannot last and will not be effective without an element of fun.
It may interest you to know that there is in fact a Da Vinci code for this. The great Renaissance man once said: Just as eating against one’s will is harmful to health, so studying without a liking for it spoils the memory, and it retains nothing it takes in.
How very true! Probably we have all had experience of that. Learning can be such a drudgery if we are not motivated, if we lack interest in it, or if we cannot derive any fun from it. How can we make learning a pleasurable, fun-filled experience? I intend to find that out today from your Fun Fair. I am sure you can show me how.
Indeed St. Paul’s is one of the first Direct Subsidy Schools in Hong Kong . The School Council, the School Principal, and all the teachers must have made use of the flexibility afforded by the scheme to design a lively and stimulating curriculum, a curriculum that makes teaching and learning enjoyable for all of you, be it inside or outside the classroom. I look forward very much to being introduced to your wonderful school life, and seeing how you manage to learn with great fun and pleasure. Herein lies the secret of the school’s success for the past 90 years, and I am so grateful that the school is sharing its successful experience with the general public through this Fun Fair.
Today, to mark the 90th anniversary of the School, I have brought with me a little present. It is a tiny box of crystals. There are all together nine pieces of crystals, signifying nine decades of dedicated educational service.
All nine pieces take the shape of hearts. Five of them are red in colour; four are crystal clear.
Hearts that are red refer to hearts that are filled with passion--- my passion for quality education, my passion for St. Paul’s Coed. They also represent the hearts of the founders of the School, the many generations of its leaders, teachers, alumni, and supporters.
Hearts that are crystal clear refer to hearts that are so pure and so clear that they can empathize with St. Paul’s students, understand their fantasies, dreams, hopes and fears, and guide them on their road to wisdom and knowledge.
These crystal hearts come with a square chequered-dish. The entire set is, in fact, a game familiar to every child: the Tic Tac Toe. Any player who manages to get three hearts of the same colour in a row---be it vertical, horizontal, or diagonal---will be the winner.
What I want to say with this box of crystals is this: at St. Paul’s Coed, education is a matter of the heart---it is charged with the intensity of passion, the clarity of vision, and the purity of intention. It is at the same time full of fun---just as the game of Tic Tac Toe is fun, just as today’s fun fair will bring us a lot of fun.
On the happy 90th anniversary of the school, I wish my alma mater all the very best in the years and decades to come. I also wish that every day of school is a fun fair for both teachers and students of St. Paul ’s Coed. Thank you.