Online Edition

From the editor
Letters to the editor
Campus Life
Social Issues
Photo Features
Culture & Leisure

Last Issue
About Varsity
Media Links
CUHK homepage
JLM homepage

Also in People
Chan Yuen Han

Master So

Write to us
Back to main

Szeto Wah
Keeping the flame burning

By James Chen

Fewer and fewer people take part in the commemorations of the Tiananmen Square Incident, but Mr. Szeto Wah, a man nearing his 70s, strives to commemorate the event.

For him, commemoration is not an obsession but a mission.

He is one of the founding members of the Hong Kong Alliance In Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China. It was founded on 21 May 1989.

It organises candlelight vigils and Patriotic Democratic Marches to remember people who died in the June 4 Incident.

Said he: “I hope that through these activities, the younger generation will know what really happened in 1989.

“We cannot expect them to accept and follow what we have done in the past.

“They have their own way of thinking after all.?/font>

Mr. Szeto was a primary school teacher for 40 years.

He said that the way to convey his message to the young is to be a teacher.

Said he: “Knowledge is like raindrops from the sky.

“How much a student learns from his teacher is like holding a bottle and letting the rain pour into it.

“One can always get more rainwater when he holds out a pail than a bowl. If you hold out with a bottle with a cork, you will have nothing.

“What we are doing now is to sow the seeds and wait for the harvest.?/font>

Though being a teacher can help convey his message to the young, teaching was not his top career choice, but second.

“When I was young, I planned to be a sailor. I hoped to widen my scope of life and read more books while navigating,?said Mr. Szeto.

“Teaching allows me to keep up with what’s current,?said Mr. Szeto.

He chose a job which he is capable of doing. He said this is how he contributes to society.

Mr. Szeto is not only a teacher, but also a legislator.

He started his career as a legislator after winning a seat in the 1985 Legislative Council Election.

He ran in that election because he thought that he had a mission to do something for society.

In this year’s election, he successfully won a place, so he will be serving for another 4 years.

He said that the Legislative Council has limited power when it comes to governance.

Said he: “Some people think that the council is cooperating with the mass media and they are influencing the government with public opinion polls, but this is wrong.

“In Hong Kong, the mass media is working in a competitive market which protects freedom of speech. People can voice their opinions freely.?/font>

Apart from being a politician calling for reforms, he is also a writer “reforming? the minds of people.

He has written a number of books that are widely available in Hong Kong bookstores.

Although Mr. Szeto said that reading is one of his hobbies, he has never thought of being a professional writer.

“After 40 years of teaching, I think it is the best job for me, because I like sharing my life experiences with the young,?said he.

In 1997, he began writing articles for Ming Pao and this became his starting point as a writer.

The articles he has written have been republished in four books.

Although he is an activist for democracy, he writes little about democratization and current issues.

He usually writes about his experiences as a teacher and even stories for children.

“Sometimes it is wise to make comments on such matters and sometimes it is also wise to say nothing.

“At least making no comment is better than lying,?said he.

Some may not accept what he is doing, but he does not care what others think.

“It is wise to know others but it is wiser to know oneself.

“After 69 years of work, I can’t give my work a grade ?60 or 90 means nothing as long as I go on with my work and try my best at it.

“I have no plans for the next election in 2004.

“I am an old man and I do care about my health condition.

“But I will do my best to complete my duties in the next 4 years,?said Mr. Szeto.

A man turning 70 is still waiting for his harvest.

No one can tell when the harvest comes.

No one knows when his mission can be fully accomplished.

But he will persist until the plums of democracy in Hong Kong turn golden.



James Chen