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Wah Yan College Kowloon Alumni Association of Ontario

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Remembering Mrs Ma

Miss Wong, or Wong Madam as we called her, was the first WYK teacher who entered our classroom (P6D) on the first day of my first WYK year (early September 1955). She introduced herself as Miss Wong to our class and said she was our class mistress.

Miss Wong taught us Chinese. I remember I started reading some of the famous Chinese classics such as 國誌, 水滸傳, 西遊記, 家春秋 under her encouragement. (Of course we also avidly and surreptitiously read 俠小說by梁羽生and金庸 during classes.) She was a very gentle lady but was serious in her teaching. I learned a lot about my Chinese writing when she corrected my essays. I don't remember her scolding her students angrily. The only incident was that she jokingly commented on Yiu-Man's handwriting. She couldn't recognize Yiu-Man's signature, and said that the Chinese characters "耀民" looked more like "難民". Hence Yiu-Man's popular nickname, "難民", even up to now.

Miss Wong was a very warm person and was well liked by her students. I still remember the two outings we had in P6D - a trip to 平山 Library and a picnic to 水灣. The picnic was also the first in my early life and was very enjoyable.

One day after school, my mom mentioned to me that Miss Wong was with my father at his medical office, and told me to go and say hello to her. So I went to my father's office and said hello shyly to Miss Wong. It happened that Miss Wong and my father were colleagues at St John's Ambulance. That was one other reason why I had been very close to Miss Wong.

In 1958, Miss Wong and Mr Ma Yuk-Lun 玉麟were married. Their wedding photo was on Shield '58. From then on, Ms Wong officially became Mrs Ma-Wong Kit-Kwan. They lived happily for many years until Mr Ma passed away.

During the last two decades or so, I was in fairly close contact with Mrs Ma through correspondences and phone calls. She was very nice to me and always replied my Christmas greetings. She visited Toronto two times - in 1990 and in 1994. On both occasions, we had gatherings with her.

Those were happy times when Mrs Ma was still very active.

Mrs Ma had some close friends and former colleagues, notably, Mr & Mrs Choy Shing-Pang, Mr Anthony Ho, Mr Wilson Hsueh, Mr Lee Hoi-Chow, Mrs Ko, Mr Francis Kong and some others.

Every Saturday, for many years, Mrs Ma would have lunch with Mr. Lee, Mrs Ko and perhaps Mr Wong Chin-Wah (not sure though). Afterwards, they would play mah jong. Sometimes Mr Kong would join them for lunch and/or mah jong. These were happy occasions for our former teachers.

Mrs Ma also devoted a lot of her time in voluntary work. At other times, she would study Chinese painting and/or Chinese calligraphy with Hai-Kaw - a role reversal - the teacher became the student and vice versa.

For many years, during Christmas, New Year and Chinese New Year times, I would phone her and asked after her, and she would warmly ask after my mom. We (61 Grads) also sent her Christmas greetings, and she always replied while she could.

I remember one year, while I was phoning Hai-Kaw, he told me Mrs Ma had a fall and was hospitalized. I was quite worried then. Luckily, Fr Zee eventually emailed me saying that he visited Mrs Ma and she was OK.

Towards the last few years, Mrs Ma became hard of hearing and was not able to remember things too well. There was one year when I phoned her, I had to repeat my name a few times before she said: "Ah! I remember you now. You're Wong Hin-Shing. I taught you in P6. I also taught your brother Hin-Nang."

Luckily, Mrs Ma's niece, who was very close to her, had hired a maid to take care of Mrs Ma in the last few years.I phoned Mrs Ma last Christmas. Her maid answered the phone. I was told that Mrs Ma could not hear at all. I told the maid that I was Mrs Ma's former student in Toronto, Canada, and would like to talk to Mrs Ma. I heard the maid telling Mrs Ma very loudly that a former student wanted to talk to her. No luck. Finally, I asked the maid please to tell Mrs Ma I phoned if there was a chance she could hear later on.

That's the final time I tried to communicate with Mrs Ma.

Good bye, my beloved teacher. May you rest in peace!

Your former student, with very fond memories,

Hin-Shing

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Wu Homun wrote (09-11-02):

I just received a call from Chiu Hai Kow that Madame Wong Kit Kwan
(Mrs Ma), our former teacher at WYK, passed away on Oct 31. Details
for funeral service are yet to be announced.

I will forward them to you as soon as I have further news.

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Yu Fong-ying wrote (09-11-02):

Thank you very much for passing on the news to us. Though the news
should occasion no great surprise, she is a memorable part of my past,
and my life is diminished with her passing.

She was a very effective class mistress and Chinese teacher. May she
rest in peace!

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Bobby Chen wrote (09-11-02):

Thanks for passing on the sad news about "Miss Wong", as I'll always
remember her. She not only taught me Chinese and guided me as
form-master, but most importantly she helped form my ideas of morality
and uprightness, that have influenced me ever since. What I owe her is
more than I could possibly describe, and I will always think of her,
and think of her reverently and gratefully

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Harry Aitken wrote (09-11-02):

Thank you for your email.

Ma Tai never taught me at Wah Yan, but I have a vivid memory of her.

May she rest in peace. I will say a prayer for her.

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Clement Ching wrote (09-11-02):

Madam (Meensee) Wong was also my Class Mistress when I entered
Primary 6D in Sept 1954. She will always have a special place in my
heart and memories.

We should not think about the sadness of her departure. We should
celebrate her very successful life which she devoted to educating so
many of us, moulding our minds, showing us the way, and played a very
important role in making who we are. I am forever grateful to
Madam Wong.

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Chan Doming wrote (09-11-02):

Well said, Clement.

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Gilbert Chinn wrote (09-11-03):

Thanks for the emails about Madame Wong. It is indeed sad news.

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Bernard Wong wrote (09-11-04):

Mrs. Ma taught me the Chinese subjects as well as Social Science in
Primary 6 (1955-56). I asked her to borrow her own Social Science
exercise book with the answers. To my surprise, she agreed. She was a
very good teacher and we missed her.

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Steve Kong wrote (09-11-04):

It was with sorrow and a surprise when I received your two emails.

Sorrow, when I learned that Miss Wong passed away. Your second email
reminded me the face of Miss Wong and my life during P6 year. A few
years back when I visited WYK. I went around to the corner room where
Miss Wong and Mrs. Ko used to share their office. It was my way of
being thankful for the two ladies who started my WYK days as I didn't
know where they were.

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Kung Yum-Sing wrote (09-11-06):

Let's have a happy memory of Wong Madame for death is a natural part of
living - the end of a journey and we all shall reach there someday!

One matter I remember well about Wong Madame was the St. John lottery.
I think we all bought some tickets but Wong Madame won the Grand Price
- a car (Austin or something like that, I remember.) I was so envious
of her! She then commuted to school using the car. She never offered me
a ride but I suspect Mr. Ma must have enjoyed many happy rides with her!

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York Chen wrote (09-11-07):

The passing of Miss Wong is indeed not a good news. I agree we should
celebrate her life!

I met her years ago before I enrolled w/ her as class-mistress in P6. I
knew of her as a Chinese-tutor for my elder brother at my family's apt
above Albert Lam's in the late 1940s'(right next to Wong HingSing's apt;
my brother Eric Chen Ning was a graduate class-1956 among Lee Chu-Ming
and others)

I respected her much as a very dedicated teacher, a boys-scout master,
a devoted wife and her tremendous contributions to voluntary works for
the Salvation-army over 50 years.

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