In Memory of Ms. Ruth Wong, former biology teacher and Senior
Mistress of Queen Elizabeth School.
-- by Leung Ying Kit (64FA)
I received the sad news that Ms. Wong passed away from Ken Wan last week
while we were in Beijing where I work from time to time during the past year at
the Children's Hospital there. Though we knew that it was inevitable, yet when it
came, it had tremendous impact on us, nevertheless.
We made a 53-hour trip from Beijing to Toronto two months ago to see Ms. Ruth
Wong, and we had the mutual understanding that we were saying farewell to
her. She had apparently adequate energy to come out to have dim sum with us,
and though she seemed to be a bit thinner and quite tired, she had good spirits
and chatted with us all along, including the old days when we were in QES more
than half-a-century ago.
Throughout my career, I have been blessed with the guidance of some very
good teachers, and Ms. Ruth Wong was certainly one of them. She had been
very conscientious and energetic as a teacher, and was always more anxious
than her students about examinations. We had the biology practical
examinations after the written examination, and she would take us around the
countryside looking for different plants and giving practical lessons about the
flora and fauna around Hong Kong. Even today, I look at a flower not just to note
its aesthetic presentation, but would investigate into its floral structure and see
what bow it functions. So we learned biology in the practical way.
Biotechnology is becoming a very hot topic and this century has been called
the biotech century; biology is revolutionizing everything, particularly
medicine. Today, we make diagnoses and manage diseases based on the
genetic and biological characteristics of different patients. Though today's
technology is very different from what we learned as students, it was the
initiation of our knowledge that is the most important, and we shall never forget
Ms. Wong who introduced this branch of science to us.
She also has participated actively in the extracurricular activities, as the
supervisor of the Biology Club for several years. She had the wish to cultivate
students’ interest in science and biology, and spent innumerable weekends in
organizing field trips, preparation of the small designated Biology Club
enclosure next to the bicycle shed, and developing simple experiments in the
Biology laboratory. We had prepared, under her guidance, some animal
skeletons for the education of the biology students, the most memorable being
the skeleton of a dog that we took from the SPCA in Matauwai. Ms. Strachan,
another biology teacher who had an exotic Morris Minor station wagon, helped
us to bring the euthanized dog carcass back to our school and the work took us
a long time to finish. More than half-a-century later, I hope the dog skeleton is
still in the biology lab on display.
Apart from being our teacher, she also treated us as friends. I remember when
she acquired her driver's licence and purchased a small Simca, she asked us to
join her to go to the New Territories by driving through the new Lion Rock
Tunnel. We had some nice time together, and it was when we were junior
medical students and not long before she left for Canada.
When I worked at the Children’s Hospital of Buffalo more than thirty years ago, I
learnt that she suffered from ovarian cancer and called her a couple of times to
give her some advice. She has always remembered and even reminded us
about this when we met two months ago in Toronto. We have continued our
friendship and whenever we go to Toronto for a visit, we would gather together
and had lunch and some fun.
So those were the days and half-a-century passed by really fast. Reminiscing
our fond old memories is a way to live our advancing life, and I hope she would
go to a better world where there is no disease and sufferings, and we would
always have nice memories about her.
To my dear friends, alumni of QES, I hope this would cheer you up and be
optimistic even when confronted with things that would become inevitable, as
Ying Kit (F.A. 64) October 24, 2017
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