"A Gathering of Well Wishing Thoughts" 雋思集 -- a Tribute to Father Harold Naylor on his Retirement in 1997

Photos: Mr. Chiu Hai Kaw (61 Grad)
Text: Yu Fong YIng (61 Grad)
December 4, 2023

The year 1997 marked the return of Hong Kong to China. It also marked the year in which Fr. Harold Naylor retired from teaching. Of course many fathers before him had retired but continued to work in different capacities. Fr. Moran, for example, continued to teach English and insisted on doing so until he was so forgetful he was advised not to carry on. Fr. Naylor could be seen in the school open ground during recess and lunch time talking to students long after his retirement and he happily joined the functions of the school for many years. He started teaching in Wah Yan College Kowloon in 1967 and taught for 30 full years. He was much loved for his friendliness and individuality, as well as for his love of Chinese culture and language, something outstanding among the Irish fathers. He could read Chinese. He passed away on October 4, 2018.

Tribute to Fr. Naylor

On the occasion of his retirement, a number of Chinese colleagues gathered together to create a tribute to him. It consisted of a pamphlet half a sheet of A4 paper in size and foldable together. They named it 雋思集 "A Gathering of Well Wishing Thoughts". (Picture 1) There was calligraphy, expressions of admiration and poems, each piece a tribute to an honoured colleague. Mr Chiu Hai Kaw was one of those contributors and he recently recovered two photos from that collection. They are reproduced here to be shared as mementos of a memorable teacher and a memorable past.

Tribute to Fr. NaylorThe first piece is a poem composed and calligraphed by Mrs Ma Wong Kit-Kwan (Picture 2). Mrs Ma had taken up calligraphy and Chinese painting after her retirement; taking lessons from Mr Chiu. The poem is to the point and the calligraphy elegant:

"On the occasion of Fr. Harold Naylor's retirement, a few words to express my sentiments:

For decades you have served Wah Yan;
Your smile will remain in the hearts of all.
The beautiful scenery of Hong Kong is admirable by all accounts;
I wish you enjoyment and health, and happiness befitting an immortal.

June 6, 1997, a poem composed by Ma Wong Kit-Kwan and calligraphed at Wah Yan College."
(my translation)

Tribute to Fr. NaylorThe second piece is a Chinese painting by Mr. Chiu (Picture 3). There sits the immortal commander of ghosts and bringer of good fortune, Chung Kwai (Cantonese transliteration). He is oxherding and looking fearsome as usual. The words on the picture say, "The year 1997. Hai Kaw drew "The Advanced Scholar at Nam San (Chung Kwai) Looking After an Ox", in recognition of Father Naylor's years of toil for education." (my translation)

Indeed, Fr. Harold Naylor and the respect he was held in remain in the hearts of all Wah-Yanites.