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Interview with Supervisor Or Choi Kuen

Interview with Supervisor Or Choi Kuen

My strongest impression of Supervisor Or is his steady and piercing gaze throughout the interview. Supervisor Or likes to look people in their eyes when talking, as if trying to look into your soul. He smiles a lot too, making it very comfortable for our nervous student interviewers.


Taking off his glasses, Supervisor Or smiled and said, “look at the thickness of the lenses; it’s the result of my industrious school years back then. To learn better English, I used to carry my Oxford dictionary around, squeezing as much time as I could to recite vocabulary and phrases to improve my English; all to achieve my goals.”Supervisor Or went on to explain the origin of his name. He was named by his grandmother with the hope that he could become rich and powerful. His grandfather fled from mainland China in the last century; the family lived a very hard and impoverished life. Supervisor Or’s grandparents cast all their hopes onto their grandson, wishing that one day, he could be wealthy and powerful.


His poverty-stricken childhood had a strong influence on him “I grew up in the sixties in a miserably small house. I didn’t have my own desk so I had to bend my body and did my revision under the stairs. Until primary six, I was constantly questioned by my English teachers in class. I could not even spell simple words like ‘newspapers’ right.” Eventually, he entered a private secondary school because of his unsatisfactory performance in the secondary school placement test. Supervisor Or understood that the chance for private school students to get into university was slim. But his difficult childhood had not defeated him, instead, it nurtured his positive and tough going character. With great determination and diligence, he became a university student. He walked proudly into his dream programme - the Department of Chemistry of University of Hong Kong.


“Although I didn’t have a prosperous childhood, I am really grateful for all that I have acquired from my growth”, Supervisor Or reflected. Reminiscing about his school life, Supervisor Or shared his perception on life, “The key to success is passion. If you are passionate about something, you will set a goal; you will also have the motivation and self-discipline to strive for it with the right means. On the contrary, if you don’t have passion, no matter how many methods are offered, you don’t have the motivation to achieve your goals.”


Supervisor Or admitted that YCK2 students are quite shy in front of him so he needs more time to know them better. However, he observed that students here are vibrant and lively. They are willing to learn. He encouraged students to set goals for themselves, and not to be frustrated by fear of failure.


“God creates man that is beautiful and kind. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. In the face of adversity, don’t be crushed, as what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.” As a Chemistry enthusiast, Supervisor Or likes to illustrate his ideas with science. “Have you seen a butterfly emerges from its chrysalis? It is a very difficult process. Scientists once tried to speed up the process by dissecting the chrysalis. However, they discovered that butterflies that emerge without struggle often end up with defective wings. The experiment proves that the emergence process is essential for butterflies to develop their strong wings. Isn’t God’s creation amazing?” Supervisor Or’s story inspires us to face challenges positively, because they are inevitable for our development.


With an increasing number of non-Chinese students at YCK2, Supervisor Or reminded us that an internationalised campus should be a place where students of different ethnicities and races study together and experience various cultures in a harmonious environment. To maintain a harmonious environment, he highlighted the importance of love. Conflicts may arise with a lack of communication and understanding, but love is the key to all problems.


In his opinion, “language skills, problem-solving skills and critical thinking are the essential qualities for success. Though skills and knowledge are crucial, the motivation behind them is even more important. With good intentions and skills, our students can make contributions to society. Fortunately, YCK2 equips students with the five Catholic core values of life, truth, love, family, and justice.” He is confident that our students will use their talents wisely.


As a Catholic and an experienced educator, Supervisor Or reiterates the significance of putting God’s words into practice. “The first step students should take is to get a firm grip of knowledge, whether you are interested in the subject or not. Because this is your responsibility as a student. The next step is to implement the five Catholic core values in your daily lives, so that you can utilize your talents, achieve your goals, and live your life to the fullest under the guidance of God. Do your best, the future is yours!”, Supervisor Or concluded.


校監專訪

柯校監與人聊天,每愛一邊閑談,一邊露齒而笑,目光總是清亮而凝定,習慣地細讀來訪者的眼神,觀人如讀書般用力,彷彿是想把同學們的內心想法,認識得再深入些。

摘下厚厚的橢圓形眼鏡,他微笑問道:「你們看看我的鏡片多厚,是當年為了學好英文,我隨身帶着本牛津英文字典,逐字逐句記誦,即使乘巴士往返學校途中,也不敢浪費時間,因為我心中有個奮鬥的目標與熱望。」


立志堅定,進取不息,這種積極的做人態度,並非天生,卻是孕育自年少一段艱苦歲月。柯校監本名「財權」,是他祖母命名的。上世紀中葉,柯校監的祖父輩舉家從大陸逃難來港,人地生疏,生活長年困迫,惟有將畢生祝願,刻鑄在孫兒的名字上,寄望他將來大富大貴,總有出頭天。

柯校監說:「我成長於六十年代,家居狹小而貧窮,沒有自己的房間書桌,即使溫習功課,也要屈身樓梯底,直至小學六年級,我被英文老師屢屢點名考問,卻連簡單的Newspapers都串錯。」結果,升中試不如理想,他唯有轉往私立學校修讀。當年私校學生考進大學機會甚微,但少年的柯校監與同班同學心裡都有團火,拒絕認輸,努力不懈,最終成為該校第一批升讀大學的學生。而柯校監更昂然走進香港最古老的學府,入讀心儀的學系──港大化學系。


「我雖則沒有大富大貴,但成長路上能夠收穫如許成果,真是滿懷感恩!」他抿抿嘴唇,從容靜默一刻。回顧這段曲折的求學之路,柯校監接續道出自身一番體悟:「做事最緊要有心,有心便會設定一個目標,就有拼博的動力,就懂得自律,你會願意省下玩耍的時間,用來尋求適合自己的學習方法,然後朝着目標進發。相反,如果自己無心做事,任你知道千萬種方法也好,根本不會自律。」


柯校監自言,雖則至今仍未有太多機會接觸余二同學,即使在校園偶遇,同學每每略帶羞怯而少有交談。不過從事教育多年,他觀察到余二同學大多活潑開朗、願意學習。他鼓勵同學及早為自己訂立目標,也不要因怕受到失敗而沮喪。


「天父造人,每個人都是美善的,自然有我們各自的優點。假如際遇順遂,當然很開心;但即使遭遇挫折,也不要灰心失意,就當作是一種磨練。」熱愛化學的他,借喻說理也喜歡引述科學實證:「你看過毛蟲破繭而出嗎?毛蟲破繭的過程辛苦漫長。曾經有科學家嘗試提早剖開蟲繭,讓蝴蝶易於舉翼而飛,卻發現牠們的翅膀軟弱而失衡。天父造物真是奇妙,原來蝴蝶必得經歷破繭的掙扎,一雙翅翼才會變得有力,能夠在空中自由飛翔。」他藉此勸說學生面對人生風浪時,不妨坦然迎受挑戰,沉着應對,圓滿自己步向成熟的脫變。


對於近年愈來愈多不同國籍的同學來到余二的大家庭,校園國際化漸成趨勢。柯校監不離本行,隱隱透示任何複雜事物皆有其基本組成元素的定理:「所講國際化,其實就是不同文化背景的人聚在一起學習與相處。我們人類生活,其實要求可以好簡單,譬如水、空氣,以及人際和諧的生活環境。唯獨最後一項最難做到。我們如要處理分歧,求同存異,務須時刻衷誠溝通、彼此分享,而背後核心的支柱,就是愛。」

柯校監認為,在學生而言,語言能力(language skills)、解難能力(problem solving skill)和批判思維(critical thinking),是未來立足社會必備的三個基本條件。「不過……」他舉起眼前的I-phone解釋道:「……能力和技巧只是工具,猶如這個手機。功效是否對人有益,往往在於用者的心態,所以天父教導的五大核心價值:生命、真理、關愛、家庭及公義,是更為深刻而重要的心靈裝備。」


柯校監身為虔誠天主教徒兼資深教育家,他認為同學要實踐天父的真理,首先當從身邊的事務入手:第一層面是掌握學科知識,無論自己是否喜歡這個科目,也要盡自己本份,努力做到最好,並要好好認識天父教導的真理(五大核心價值)。之後更進一層,我們可以在天父帶領下,尋求自己的人生意義,並運用上天賦予的「塔冷通」,致力實現目標,活出真美善。」


「大家好好努力,因為你們才是社會未來的主人翁。」這次,他稍為收斂起一點笑容,更衷心實在地說。






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