Raimondians from the Class of 1969 were saddened in April to learn of the passing of Fung Ho Lup 馮可立, a fondly remembered classmate who had a distinguished career in social work.
Fung was highly regarded for his pioneering campaigns for disadvantaged groups in Hong Kong. He had made his mark in social work from the 1970s onward until recent years, both in the field and as an academic who taught at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
His death was reported widely in the Hong Kong news media. Former classmates who shared their high-school years with Fung were moved to send messages of remembrance and condolence.
Here is a collection of the tributes that their senders wish to be posted on this class blog.
近一年左右，我們 1969 年中學畢業生组織了一個網上群組，他也参加了。不過，未幾他即退出，我大約感覺到他的病嚴重了。
去年底應邀加入Raimondi69 群組, 你即说：” 梁立勳大隻叫大立 … 我又瘦又矮叫細立。”
細細的身影, 此刻卻大大浮現在我眼前：在志傑普慶坊住處, 晚上登天臺觀星；在馬料水陪著尚明與女友, 四人一艇在划行；在尖沙咀西青會中文部, 領著青少年一起唱我的祖國、保衛黃河、鋤頭歌 … 俱往矣！
唯你那憨直的笑容, 仗義秉公的性格, 永遠加倍存在我心中.
A sad day, one less person to defend the weak and the underprivileged. RIP, my dear old friend.
Ho Lup and I were at Raimondi College and the University of Hong Kong at the same time. In super-busy Hong Kong, former schoolmates normally do not keep up contact with each other unless they are in the same profession or if they are members of some relatively exclusive clubs.
Fung was in the news in the late 1970s for helping Hong Kong’s “boat people” get resettled in government-built housing. He organized a street protest and was briefly detained by police.
I was lucky enough to have kept up contact with him until the early 1990s. I was a journalist in the 1980s and 1990s covering greater China. I still remember visiting the NGO where Fung worked for some ten years from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s: the Society for Community Organization (SOCO). Fung gave me many tips on who to interview to get the Hong Kong story right. Partly founded by missionaries and welfare-related community groups, SOCO is not a radical set-up in terms of political orientation. It focuses on work for the underprivileged in areas including housing, health and general social welfare. By the 1980s, Hong Kong as a whole was getting rich; but social inequality also reared its head. The situation has hardly changed today. On the one hand local real estate prices are the highest in the world; on the other, there are still thousands of the “underclasses” living in crowded housing estates, plywood-partitioned rooms and even “cage homes.”
Fung hankered after neither money nor fame but devoted his entire career to helping the less privileged. In the 1990s, he shifted gear and began teaching social work at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Fung did not seem to have played an active role in either the Occupy Central Movement of 2014 or the more recent series of pro-democracy demonstrations. Most of the protesters were infused with the spirit of social equality and justice that Fung taught by his own example. Owing to his thorough understanding of the social-welfare scene in Hong Kong, his many papers on housing and poverty relief are considered must reading for students in social work and sociology in local universities.
Just a few years ago, we re-connected while taking part in forums to try to reform the heavily bureaucratic administrative structure of HKU. I gave him a brief call earlier this year when he joined our Raimondi 69 chat group. The day after his passage, the mass-circulation Ming Pao devoted a full page (page 2) to Fung and his illustrious legacy. His passing is a big loss for Hong Kong.
Paul Loong has the honour of compiling and presenting these tributes in memory of Fung Ho Lup.