Alumni Linkage - Profile

Alumni Communication & Support Alumni Linkage Past Issues March 2022 Issue Alumni Linkage - Profile


Clint, now aged 73, graduated from our Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Chinese Humanities programme in 2007 when he was a construction worker.  He then switched to fine art, obtaining degrees at the bachelor's and master's levels before starting the Master of Philosophy programme he is now pursuing. Clint’s thirst for knowledge and perseverance empowered him to connect seemingly unrelated road signs in his life journey and construct a different second life.

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Vast world of knowledge

Clint had no formal education before he was ten and only studied classical Chinese under private tutors. Even though he was admitted to a regular school later, his grades were poor and he had barely completed Secondary Three before joining the work force. He started off with low-pay odd jobs before becoming a handyman on construction sites and working as a chainman and leveller for three decades. There has never been a culture of further study among construction workers, but Clint embarked on his learning voyage when he was approaching 50. 'When I was young, I felt envious when I saw childhood classmates go to university. Later when my marriage was on the rocks, I went to the bar every night to drown my sorrows. Knowing that this wasn't the way to go in the long run, I tried to find other things to do to kill time,' he explained. Away from books for years, Clint didn't need much time to settle down to his studies and he attributed this to his mentality. 'It’s like going to a bar to drink – the most economical entertainment,' Clint put it wittily. As his interest in studies gradually grew, he even gave up overtime work in spite of the reduced income. He hurried back to school immediately after work and stayed in the library from morning to evening during holidays, setting an honours degree as his goal.


He is grateful to his teachers for their patient guidance, which not only helped him gain more knowledge but also inspired him to think about his life. When taking a course of Chinese philosophy in the ancient period, he studied the classical works of pre-Qin philosophers, which had a deep impact on him. 'Everyone should do their best. Now that I can go to university, I should make the best of the rest of my life,' he said. As time passed, money and pleasure wasn't his only goal in life as in the past. Clint continued, 'Colleagues laughed at me for being stupid and studying subjects that didn’t make money! I used to be like a frog in a well, who only loved beer and a comfortable life. Studying was hard, but I could see a much larger world.' He became more pro-active, and even established the Alumni Society of the School of Arts and Social Sciences with his classmates to strive for progress together.

Boundless clear sky of the art world

Studying at HKMU seemed to have opened the door to wisdom for Clint. After graduation he continued to study English and got interested when he noticed the student recruitment of Hong Kong Art School incidentally. He picked a diploma programme at the foundation level, which wasn't easy for him at first. But he never thought of giving up. After much effort, he finally found his direction and enrolled in an undergraduate programme, majoring in painting. 'I made every decision carefully. Once I've made a choice, I stick to it till the end,' he said firmly.


Clint's early paintings were abstract and darkly coloured, reflecting the cynical mood at the time. As emotions slowly subsided, his graduation piece became sunny and positive. Using architecture as the theme, the piece embodies his personal experience and feelings. After the massive fire in Shek Kip Mei in 1953, Clint and his family had to live in a temporary canvas shelter by the roadside, the glistening buildings nearby were like sacred temples to them. 'I've longed to have my own flat since I was a child. After working in building construction for a long time, I could naturally draw inspiration from it.' Through the reflective images of glasses on windowpanes, he tried to convey the hypocrisy of human nature and even complex interpersonal relationships. His experience in surveying work has sharpened his discernment of 3D images, and his paintings depict both solid installations and graphic design. 'Art creation attaches great importance to research and critical thinking. At OU (now HKMU), I learned to solve problems through data collection, analysis and judgment, which indirectly helped me to do creative work,' he said frankly. The seemingly unrelated journeys in the first half of his life have been pulled together and made meaningful one by one.

Study and exchange in Australia

After completing the undergraduate degree programme in fine art in 2017 and being awarded a scholarship, Clint decided to hang up his hat and went to Australia to study. He began with a one-year English language course and followed with a 2-year master's programme in fine art. Meanwhile, he continued to explore architectural themes and tried to get inspiration from university campuses. 'My painting style became more subtle, relaxed and soothing, like the Taoist outlook on life,’ he described. Clint enjoyed painting freely in the studio all day long and often exchanged ideas with other painters, as his professors encouraged him to expand his creative boundaries. He said, 'Every individual has his own artistic viewpoint. I really treasured the chance to interact with schoolmates from other countries and had fun learning more with them.' 

Clint is currently working diligently towards his Master of Philosophy degree. He plans to paint for two years before holding a solo exhibition. 'I'm glad that instead of idling in a home for the elderly after retirement, I've broken through the boundaries of my life. I will continue to run towards the bright spot ahead,' he stressed. After studying for over two decades, the second half of Clint’s life has become more and more fruitful and rewarding. He had no idea about the true essence of studying when he was young, but now he realizes that it is for the pursuit of knowledge and broadening one's horizons. 'Literature opened my eyes to see the world as if I were a blind man. Art changed my world from black and white to one with a dazzling array of colours.'