In 1961, the author was one of the last batch of graduates of the Joint Primary Six School Examination. Image courtesy of the author
Education – formal and informal – plays a key role in the early stage of each person’s life cycle and becomes an indispensable factor in shaping all stages of an individual’s life.
Tram, ferry and walking
In 1961, at the age of 12, I moved from elementary to middle school. The secondary school he attended at that time was located in Sham Shui Po District, Kowloon. Since I came to Hong Kong at the age of five to meet with my parents, I have been living with my family on King’s Road in North Point.
Every school morning, before the birds chirped or the people woke up, the 12-year-old walked out of the house alone, riding the tram in the morning air, listening to the cradle-like tinkling, as if to soothe the nervous little mind. I first went to Unity Pier (now known as Central Pier) in Central and then transferred to the ferry to Sham Shui Po, Kowloon. Then, from Sham Shui Po Pier, walk for about half an hour to reach Kowloon Technical School for classes.
My mother’s comments about this long turning point in school were that I had not scored better in the sixth grade examination (1961 was the last “Joint Primary Six Examination” in Hong Kong, which was later renamed the “Secondary School Entrance Examination”, commonly known as the “Entrance Examination”).
My mother claimed that if I had done better in the important public examinations organised by the Education Department of Hong Kong, I would have been assigned to a good school on Hong Kong Island instead of having to travel from North Point of the Island to the Kowloon Technical School in Sham Shui Po every morning.
For a young teenager, I can only admit that the responsibility lies with me. However, I did cherish the opportunity to be assigned to a government school. This way, I was able to continue my secondary education at an affordable and low tuition fee level.
Self-review and introspection
From the perspective of transit, the difficult experience early in my life was actually an element of luck. Before embarking on a challenging life, such a hard experience actually laid a solid and excellent foundation for the development of my path.
In fact, I cherish the feelings of that special experience and deliberately share my experience and feelings with young people, because they may face greater difficulties and challenges at different stages in the future path of life. With such a psychological foundation, the new generation of young people can be down-to-earth and steadily move forward on the road leading to a successful life.
The experience and benefit from the Dharma
So far, the review of my personal life and experiences has been very meaningful and encouraging. I deeply believe that such experiences, at least rigorously tested, can be re-cited. I also tend to believe that this is not a series of situations and events that happened by chance.
Based on the concept of karma, the fundamental philosophy of Buddhism, I deeply understand the inner meaning of it. Through personal reflection on the Dharma, I have benefited deeply and subtly from this philosophy and the wonderful yet serious Buddhist faith.
Part 1 of the “Reflections of a Buddhist Layman” series by Dr. Anthony C C Lok