Homecoming Visit – Nov. 1, 2019
The 8th floor playground seems so much smaller now, and the circular walkway to the old hall is not there any more. Still, we feel as though we know every square tile on the wall. We sense in our knees the familiar tug of each step as we climb the stairs to classrooms where we once were pupils.
Fifty years after graduating from Form 5, we have come back on a pilgrimage.
Our homecoming to Raimondi College came on the day before our big anniversary dinner. Classmates from abroad flew in to join old friends in Hong Kong, some of whom they had not seen in 50 years. Many signed up for the sentimental visit to our old school.
Ms. Louisa Lo Wing Kum 盧詠琴, the chief principal, and her two vice-principals, Mr. Larry Yeung 楊世德 and Mr. K.H. Tam 談國軒, welcomed us and took us on a guided tour of the school.
In the spacious auditorium, they showed us a new video on the history of Raimondi College. It is the work of Anthony Cheung Kwok Keung 張國強 (1973-F5), whose outstanding camera work has given all Raimondians an invaluable visual record of their school.
We also visited the new Raimondi History Gallery which has a vast archive of precious documents and mementoes: everything from our admissions records and report cards (!) to vintage photos of school activities.
William So Wai Ki 蘇偉基 and Humphrey Chiu Wing Fu 趙榮富, for example, were delighted to find themselves on the wall display entitled “Raimondi College Timeline,” as president and secretary of the first Student Council of Raimondi.
The Banquet – Nov. 2, 2019
The November banquet for the 50th anniversary of our Form 5 graduation was an encore to the Toronto reunion held earlier in the year. Many classmates who attended the July dinner enjoyed it so much that they wanted to come for the banquet in Hong Kong.
A working group spearheaded by James Wong Hong Kun 黄漢根 spent months organizing the anniversary activities.
Lawrence Lee Yim Hong 李彥鴻 was acclaimed as the Master of Ceremony for the banquet, along with Joseph Lynn Ho Huen 連浩煊 for the musical show. Patrick Tsang Yu Chor 曾宇佐 secured the venue for us at the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Central, on the clubhouse level with its old-world architectural charms from the 1950s.
With warm camaraderie, everyone had an evening of good food, fine wine, and nostalgic music provided by ’69 classmates: Joseph Lynn on guitar supporting Francis Wong Wai Ping 王炳焵 (王偉平) and Paul Loong Po Lok 龍佈樂 – the folk-song duo known in 1969 as Paul and Francis.
YouTube videos: all 6 songs play on one click. Earphones recommended.
Travelling to the banquet turned out to be a major challenge for some participants amid the unrest that had gripped Hong Kong for months. For a few people, the chaos on the streets that evening became insurmountable obstacles. They simply could not reach their destination.
Below are the first-hand accounts from two classmates about the difficulties they overcame to get to the reunion dinner.
“I am an environmentally conscious guy who likes to walk whenever possible. After having confirmed the casual dress code for our 50th anniversary dinner, I started on the 5-km walk to Central from the East.
“Due to the street chaos that day, I had to continually switch between northern and southern corridors to Central to avoid coming too close to the police who might cause me harm. I saw water cannon shooting five to six storeys high onto buildings. I noticed the slightly pungent smell of residual teargas and felt soreness in my eyes.
“When I finally arrived at the banquet hall, I rushed to the washroom to use water to remove any possible trace of teargas chemicals from my face. I was hoping this would prevent any harmful residual from entering my stomach when I talk.
“These were some of the prevailing worries Hong Kong’s more than seven million people had to face in recent months.”
“I left home at Happy Valley around 4 p.m. By the time my car left the parking lot, I was stuck in the traffic because all roads in Wanchai were blocked by demonstrators. The only way out was to inch up Blue Pool Road to Stubbs Road, which took about an hour, then going half way up to the Peak to Magazine Gap Road and Garden Road.
“But Queen’s Road Central was blocked because of the gathering at Chater Garden. Luckily, I managed to park my car at Citibank Tower. My wife and I walked all the way to the venue, but it was not an easy 20 minutes’ walk.
“The moment we stepped out of the building, we smelled tear gas which irritated our eyes and throat. Then we passed by all the riot police. When we got to Central, all we saw were men in black and the roads were littered with garbage.
“All in all, we still made it and were not too late to have a memorable evening. That is the most important thing.”
The 50th anniversary banquet went ahead as scheduled but those who could not make it there were sorely missed.
“It was unfortunate that a few of our Old Boys and Guests were unable to make it to our Dinner Celebration tonight due to the trouble on HK streets,” James Wong Hong Kun 黄漢根, our chief organizer, said on WhatsApp. “I am happy to report that our excitement on the 8th floor outlasted the troubles on the streets below. Everyone had a safe trip home after the excitement from our 50th Anniversary Dinner Celebration.”
Participants and organizers alike had a wonderful time.
Richard Yuan 原瑜人, who flew in from Los Angeles, said on WhatsApp: “We have to salute to James, Eddie and Lawrence for such a memorable evening arrangement for all of us. Also, to Joe, Paul and Francis with their fantastic performance.”
Wong Yiu Chung 王耀宗 wrote to James Wong: “Grateful to your great efforts to organize the reunion meeting that allows me to be reconnected with so many old classmates after so many years.”
William So wrote: “Paul & Francis + Joe: what a combination to grace our 50th Anniversary, not to mention the great effort by Patrick, Lawrence, Leo & Eddie for bringing us an evening of memories & camaraderie!”
“It was a wonderful, joyful and memorable gathering last night,” said Dave Yip Yuk Hing 葉煜慶, treasurer for the evening. With the help of Patrick, Dave worked out a great discount in settling the bill for the banquet, leaving us with a small surplus – which went to funding this blog address.
“Patrick, well done for the entire arrangement,” commented Eddie Chiu Sin Po 趙善普. “The food was reasonable, and the venue is great. Very memorable evening for us all.”
Gabriel Lam Chun Kong 林振綱 remarked, with poetic flair:
“Thank you so much to the musical three of Francis, Joe and Paul, and much grateful to James Wong and the organizers, as well as the guests and the sponsors, for an evening so memorable for that common memorable part of us fifty years ago and somewhere in time …
“So that was the day I once looked forward to so much, slightly tearful yet cheerful and memorable, with these Paul Simon lyrics (courtesy of Francis Wong, with my added text in brackets) beautifully played and sung in that evening still lingering on:
Now the years are rolling by me
They are rocking evenly.
I am older than I once was,
And younger than I’ll be.
But that’s not unusual,
Nor is it strange.
After changes upon changes (with our look),
We are more or less the same (DNA).
It was wonderful that we had the opportunity to invite the Principals from Raimondi, along with present and past members from the Raimondi Alumni Association and former Raimondi teachers. Thanks to the following ’69 Old Boys for each sponsoring the cost of hosting one Guest of Honour:
- Dave Yip Yuk Hing 葉煜慶
- Eddie Chiu Sin Po 趙善普
- Ernest Lee Ying Kuen 李英權
- Gabriel Lam Chun Kong 林振綱
- Humphrey Chiu Wing Fu 趙榮富 (Toronto, CAN)
- James Wong Hon Kun 黄漢根 (Edmonton, CAN)
- Joseph Lynn Ho Huen 連浩煊 (Boston, USA)
- Lawrence Lee Yim Hong 李彥鴻
- Leo Lau Wai Hang 劉偉鏗
- Michael Yuen Sin Hing 袁善慶 (Sydney, AUS)
- Patrick Tsang Yu Chor 曾宇佐
- Paul Loong Po Lok 龍佈樂 [1969-F5] (Toronto, CAN)
- Peter Chan Si Kwong 陳仕光 (Toronto, CAN)
- William So Wai Ki 蘇偉基
Thanks to our newly established 高手雲集訪問團 from RAA for sending:
- Gregory Mak 麥柏威 (1992-F5)
- Wilson Ma Sin Wai 馬善煒 (2009-F5)
To make videos interviewing a few of our ’69 Old Boys.
Special thanks to our RAA Past President Adolph Chan Sing Fung 陳誠豐 (1980-F5) for designing and sponsoring the excellent Stage Backdrop for our dinner event.
Other special sponsors include:
- Leo Lau Wai Hang 劉偉鏗 for the sound equipment rental.
- Richard Yuan 原瑜人 (L.A., USA) for complimentary wine at each table.
- Patrick Tsang Yu Chor 曾宇佐 for securing such an awesome venue for us and further cost reduction to help us achieving an event with surplus budget in the end.
- Anthony Cheung Kwok Keung 張國強 (1973-F5) and Joseph Lynn Ho Huen 連浩煊 (1969-F5) for their contribution of video capturing and editing. Now we have the full “Paul & Francis with Joe Lynn” performance YouTube videos as our priceless keepsake for all.
- Professional services from the Tom Lee staff, especially for their top-notch sound recording that we used in our video editing afterwards.