Welcome Dinner for Wah Yan visitors from Hong Kong
Date: July 7, 2002
Venue: Top of the Inn, Delta Edmonton South, 4404 Gateway Blvd
Prior to the arrival of Rev. Fr. Alfred Deignan SJ, Rev. Fr. Frank Doyle SJ, Mr. Lee Kwok-Pui (Hong Kong Wah Yan teacher 1960-1991), Mr. & Mrs. K.K. Lam (President of WYHKPSA), Mr. & Mrs. Tony Wong (WYPSA Calgary) and Ken Lau (WYPSA Calgary) to Edmonton, many of our members have already gathered in the magnificent Top of the Inn. As the guests proceeded into the banquet room, handshakes were exchanged and drinks were tossed. News was exchanged and memories refreshed as we used this time to "warm ourselves up" for the evening lying ahead of us. Some of us were busy decorating the room with flags of our association.
At around 1830, the waitresses began to set the table and brought out the appetizers. After everyone has been seated, the attention was brought to our President, Vincent Lee as he made a short speech, thanking everyone for attending and most of all, introducing our honorable guests as each of them rose from their seats as Vincent called out their names. We then turned our attention to Fr. Doyle, as he led a meaningful grace, thanking God for providing us these delicious food and those who served us that night. The dainty supper featured salad and bread as the appetizers, followed by the tender roast beef and a delicate strawberry dessert. Red and white wine was served with the beef and coffee and tea were served at the end of the meal. Great food and the splendid view have pleasured our guests well.
Right after the dinner, Vincent accompanied our guests to the other side of the room as we entered the second half of the evening. After everyone was seated, Vincent gave an introductive speech about the welcome dinner that night, and once again, welcoming the guests and fellow members to the dinner. Two sheets were handed out to everyone, including our current membership list and a recap of the 2000/2001 events. He pointed out a few major events that took place last year, especially the donation to the Chinatown Multi-Level Care Foundation, which was a project of building a long-term nursing home for the Chinese elders who live in Edmonton. Vincentís little presentation was ended with warm applause from the crowd and the floor was given to Fr. Deignan.
Fr. Deignan expressed his gratitude for the dinner that night to begin with. He then changed the topic to the present conditions of the two Wah Yans in Hong Kong. First, he told us about his concerns for the decreasing involvements from the Jesuits in both schools, and also the aging of the Jesuit fathers. To deal with this he said they have plans to recruit new Jesuits from countries such as South America. Fr. Deignan also talked about the school improvements that was going on in both Wah Yans, in which WYHK has ran into some financial problem as the cost of construction could not be totally covered by funding from the government. The programs focuses on the improvements of both ethical. Spiritual of the teachers were another topic he covered that night. As Fr. Deignan felt that students nowadays do not have much respect for their parents and teachers, these programs are necessary to provide training for teachers to educate them in these aspects. Furthermore, Fr. Deignan addressed his appreciation for our deed to donate money to the local charity.
Mr. Lee Kwok-Pui was the next to speak. From his very emotional speech, he told us that he was really happy to have taught in WYHK for thirty years and how he didnít want to leave WYHK for Australia in í92. The mood changed a bit as he revealed to us his funny teaching experiences in Australia and how he went back to WYHK to teach which hooked him up with this yearís international conference, where he met a lot of past students. Mr. Lee enlightened us as being Wahyanites, we have many roles in the community, such as being a volunteer. He reminded us of the teaching "Be a man for others" to encourage us to get involved with community services. Aside from that, Mr. Lee also wanted us to recruit more past students and more importantly, he pointed out to some of the past students, to take the responsibility to spread the "golden age" Wah Yan teachings to the young ones.
The next to speak was Mr. K.K. Lam. In his speech, he concluded the three main reasons that brought him to Canada. First, as we all know, the Wah Yan International Conference this year was held in Toronto, so as the President of WYHKPSA, he was present there and he told us how we had missed all the fun by not attending it. Second, just like Mr. Lee had done, he urged us to attend the next Wah Yan International Conference, which will be held in Hong Kong in 2004. He explained to us that the reasons for choosing Hong Kong this time is to let the past students to have a look at our two mother schools, particularly after the ongoing developments and also observe the rapid growth of the Zhujiang Delta for themselves. Besides, it will be the 80th anniversary of WYK and the 85th anniversary of WYHK in 2004, which there will be major celebrations going on in both schools. Mr. Lamís third main point that motivated him to here related to the financial problem that WYHK encountered when re-developing their campus. Since the cost of this construction is so huge, he explained that without the help from outsiders or past students, it would be nearly impossible to achieve the goal to re-develop the school. Mr. Lam asked our members for support and he presented a pamphlet from the donation committee of WYHK. In response to Mr. Lamís request, our President responded that our association would do our best to help out.
Our International Convener, Ron Lau, told us the brief history of our association, which was established in 1986. He took our guests and our members back to the days when our association was first created by the founders and expressed how much he was thankful for the membersí and their spousesí support to the association. In response to the lack of participations at Wah Yan International Conferences, Ron said that since many of our members have families and jobs, it might be hard for us to be there.
Mr. Tony Wong from WYPSA Calgary gave a short speech to thank us for being good hosts and showing them around Edmonton.
Following Tony was our member, Mr. Steven Kuang, as he shared with us his good old days in WYHK. Up next was Mr. Lee Cheung. He commented that the dinner that evening was the best function of the year and he complimented the Executivesí work for keeping the association running smoothly. Then our President, Vincent, introduced this yearís Executive as each of them stood up and Lee continued sharing his school life in WYHK with us.
Finally itís the gift presentation as each of our honorable guests was presented with a cap with WYPSA and the badge in front and "Edmonton, Alberta" on the side. Our guests were surprised to find their names printed at the back of the cap. Together with the caps, they also received a really nice book that consists of many photographs of Canadaís gorgeous sceneries.
Last but not least, Mr. Vincent Lee, the dentist, entertained us with the very original English-Chinese drama "invented" in Wah Yan sometime ago. All the audience joined Vincent in the singing as lyrics were handed out. Everyone had a great time enjoying this special performance as we ended the evening on a light note.
Group photos were taken before our guests departed and the function concluded as the sun set in the horizon.