Mu Kuang is a part of my life and I can proudly call myself a ‘Mu Kuangnian'
A Mu Kuang graduate of 1979 (F.5) and 1981 (F.7). After completing his A-level study in 1981, Gabriel was admitted to the physiotherapy program of the then Hong Kong Polytechnic. He graduated from the program in 1984 and had worked briefly in Hong Kong before moving to Australia to further his study for a master degree in physiotherapy from the University of Queensland and a PhD degree from Monash University. In 1991, he started his academic career as a physiotherapy lecturer at La Trobe University in Melbourne and later joined the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University in 1995. He is currently chair professor in that department and also a founding fellow for the Hong Kong College of Physiotherapy.
On the first day of the academic year of 1974, it was a rainy day and I, as a F.1 student of Mu Kuang English School, put on the school uniform and marched my way to the school to commence my journey of secondary education. As a 12-year old boy living in Choi Hung Estate for my whole childhood, before that day, I would seldom step foot further east than the neighbouring Ping Shek Estate, let alone travelling to Kwun Tong. Starting from that day onward, I knew I had to acquaint myself with this foreign part of the city but my feeling back then was mixed with uncertainty, unpreparedness and a little reluctance.
My first impression of the school was not very pleasant because the assembly hall was crowded with students, the floor was wet and slippery due to drippings from the umbrellas and there were noisy messages being announced in the microphone. I was assigned to class 1B and our class was somehow assembled and directed to a classroom to meet our class master, Mr Lau Man Por (劉文波老師). Forty-three years have since gone by, today, my recall of the first day in Mu Kuang was uneventful and that day set off the path that would last for the next seven years of my life in this school.
Throughout my years of study in Mu Kuang, most of my memories are happy. If I have to choose the single most unforgettable event of my Mu Kuang life, then it would be during my study in F.2, the school organized a sports day to celebrate her 20th anniversary and all students of the F.1 and F.2 classes were to participate in a mass parade. Right from the beginning of the school term, each participant had to learn and make a 2-sided collapsible ball with colour papers which would later be used in the parade. The preparation for the parade had lasted for a few months and in the last month before the event, we had to drill for 2 to 3 times each week with each session lasted for 3 hours. It was certainly an extremely demanding task on us but the final show was a great success and we had won the accolades from the audiences and the director of the Education Department who was the officiating guest for the sports day! It was the first and only time I have ever participated in a mass parade in my life and I am very happy that I had been a part of it.
Mu Kuang is now in her 60’s, although still young when compared to her centenary counterparts, she has her unique history and a ragged journey over the last six decades. People often assess a school’s success by its academic performance in public examinations or other open competitions. If assessing Mu Kuang from this dimension, she will not be regarded as a good school. However, if we know the school’s history and share the lofty mission of Mr and Mrs Tu, who founded Mu Kuang back in the 1950’s when education was not readily accessible to those under privileged kids in the society, then we should be thankful to them and all our teachers as they had selflessly contributed their time and life to educate the poor kids.
As a father and an academic myself, I truly believe that providing a good education to our children is the single most valuable gift we can offer to them. Although the history of Mu Kuang is far from being flamboyant and she has not an impressive record in public examinations, she is the cradle for my knowledge and has nurtured me to develop an inquisitive mind and an interest to learn. In return, I will remember the teachings of the founders of Mu Kuang and exercise them in my life so that I can proudly call myself a ‘Mu Kuangnian’!