Alumni Linkage — OU People

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


Early this year, Mr Chris Shum shared his own professional experience at a seminar on the creative and practical aspects of lyrics writing at the OUHK. Taking a meticulous approach and an unhurried pace in his lyric writing career spanning more than two decades, he has garnered a series of honours from the Hong Kong Drama Awards, the Hong Kong Film Awards, and the Taiwan Golden Horse Awards. Apart from being a star lyricist, he is also a part-time tutor at our School of Education and Languages for a course about professional techniques in Chinese language teaching.



Commitment to teaching: focus on both presentation & content


Since joining the University in 2001, Mr Shum has been tutoring Chinese Language teachers in teaching skills and conducting lesson observations. After class he will patiently talk to his students. He will guide them in their quest for answers to their questions. 'My discussions with them are always frank and open, otherwise it will be meaningless.' Over the years he has been satisfied with his own teaching and the positive response from his students. The promising results his students gained from teaching practice have been the driving force behind his long-standing teaching efforts. 'Being able to help students know themselves, find their bearings, and strike out on new paths is most meaningful to me.'


During each lesson observation session, he evaluates performance of his students with a diverse set of criteria. In addition to substantial content, presentation skills and even the way they dress are also indispensable. 'Appearance and image matter as they determine whether you can leave an impression and inspire others. Some people make light of them and denigrate them as “packaging". Solid knowledge is of course important. But why overlook a packaging if it can bring about better results?' To equip himself in this regard, he has studied a course in image styling at OUHK's Li Ka Shing Institute of Professional and Continuing Education and continues to offer relevant advice to his students.


Commitment to theatre: taking Cantonese lyrics to new heights


In 1994, Mr Shum's involvement in lyrics writing for the musical Tales of the Walled City kick-started his journey of lyrics writing for Cantonese musicals, giving him endless joy. 'For musicals, the space for creativity is huge. As genres of the songs are varied, there can be great flexibility and variety in the styles of lyrics as well.' While the rhythmic beauty of Cantonese is suitable for musicals, the subject matter is what makes a good play. Working hard as ever to explore and innovate, he is now busy writing lyrics for the upcoming Qing-dynasty courtroom drama The Great Statesman adapted from the legend of Fong Tong-gang.



Among his numerous works, 'Dust', the theme song for the movie Bodyguards and Assassins, and the musical The Passage Beyond in 2009 are his favourites. The 2016 a cappella theatre production Our Immortal Cantata is what he describes as 'another work in recent years that won't make me embarrassed' — 'At the time of writing the lyrics, I didn't realize the global perspective in them. Given its popularity in Taipei and Shantou, I have become more convinced of the importance of substantial content.'

For young people eager to pursue a creative career, he has the following advice: 'If you enjoy being creative, don't think too much. Just go ahead and write. Use your sincerity to touch the hearts of your audience.'