Alumni Linkage — OU People

Alumni Communication & Support Alumni Linkage Past Issues July 2018 Issue Alumni Linkage — OU People


Mr Cheung Hang-kin, a part-time tutor of Chinese History and Literature (distance learning programme) for over two decades, has been highly respected and widely acclaimed among our graduates. Over the years, he has established an endearing bond with generations of students. Despite his departure from Hong Kong after retirement four years ago, he has remained strongly attached to OUHK. 'Had I not emigrated to Canada after retirement, I would have kept on teaching.'


Exemplary and caring guidance


Back in 1991, Mr Cheung joined this institution when it was still in its infancy. Having been established for merely two years, the then Open Learning Institute (OLI) offered only part-time programmes to working adults. 'Our students didn't have the chance to go to university, and it was a great opportunity for them to further their studies at OLI. I couldn't let them down. So I did my best to include substantial teaching material and make good use of every minute in class.' To fully prepare himself for the lessons, he would read up on over 100 books and relevant references. Under his guidance, his students gradually got to learn the difficult Chinese classics. In the process, they were able to develop critical thinking through discussion and laid a solid foundation for learning. Not only did he generously lent them books from his own collection, Mr Cheung even called up every class-skipping student to understand their situations and to offer personal help.


Always versatile in his teaching methodology, Mr Cheung recalled a lesson during which he explained the line 'Kneeling upright, I ask my former husband' in a Han-dynasty Yuefu poem. He took great pains to demonstrate the upright kneeling position in ancient times by climbing onto his desk. The desk began to wobble, worrying his students sick. His lively teaching approach and well-prepared lessons were the crucial factors of his popular tutorials. More often than not, there were so many auditing students that some had to stand outside the classroom while Mr Cheung had to reserve seats for his own students.


A friendly mentor beyond the classroom



Convinced of the educational value of exchange opportunities off campus, Mr Cheung sometimes took his students on trips to check out the local historical sites such as Guangzhou, Ping Shan and Tai O. He also took the chance to tell them relevant stories about the cultures and histories. 'When I was young, I often met my teachers after class for exchange conducive to enriching my life. After becoming a teacher myself, I took the initiative to get together with my students.' Specially-designed learning experiences outside the classroom have enabled him to cement genuine relationships with his students. Up till now, Mr Cheung has kept in touch with students from different generations.


Living a relaxing life in Canada, he exercises and reads at his leisure. He also writes reading notes for his children, sharing with them his life experiences or helping to solve their problems. He has even contributed one such work written to his daughter, 'Reflections on the Biography of Liu Ji in the History of the Ming', to Alumni Linkage for sharing with old friends and new of the OUHK.


Looking back, there was a time when the newly-established OUHK was not yet widely recognized and students inevitably felt frustrated. He once pepped them up with the Chinese saying 'ten years to forge the sharpest blade'. His words of encouragement were: 'Study hard and work hard to move up the ranks, striving to make your mark in the workplace. In ten years or in another ten years, OUHK will occupy a significant place in higher education.' Learning is a lifelong pursuit and there is no limit to progress. Today, Mr Cheung is glad to see the fruitful results of his students' hard work.