Let me thank Bro. Thomas, Dr Paul Lau and the school for supporting the memorial evening Mass. Special thanks to Father Baptista, Ronnie Poon, Basil Lim, William Yan, Wong Wai Sum, Perry Chiu, Mark Huang, Michael Leung, Ernie Corpus, Peter Chiu, Christian Wan , the School Choir, the Student Association and the old boys for helping.
That was not an easy task; most would see that night as a sad day that La Salle was saluting one of our best and loyal Uncle James Wong Chum Jum (58). He represented everything that was written in our school song and Bro. Aimar would be glad that there was truly a Lasallian who fulfilled all that our school song has to reflect.
Boys of courage and daring; Uncle James was still working hard and never gave up until the last minute of his life. Full of manliness and will, he finished his doctorate thesis while battling his illness. Many who faced death may either shy away or live in oblivion. Not Uncle James, looking back, he surprised La Salle when he accepted an interview while recovering from his operation. We were not aware of what he had encountered then and there was no sign on his face. He chose to send his two sons to La Salle and he told everyone he owned so much to our dear Alma Mater. On that evening in the school hall, his two sons and brothers were with us, our true home.
Uncle James had a simple heart but a complex character. All who knew him became his true friends forever. Flipping through the pages of condolence messages written by La Sallians. Let me quote a few for sharing:
唯霑學長之豪情放任 既為世之所容 更為世之所慕
There were countless others who, like me, did not know him personally but who nevertheless felt a sense of personal loss at his death.
For me the answer lies in the wild and unrestrained streak in his character. He loved to shock, and said and did things that I could not or dared not have done, and he was also invariably funny and entertaining in the process. There was a wonderful feeling of fun and freedom about him, which was most refreshing given the tiresome hypocrisy prevalent in our public life. I don’t think he would have wanted us to pull long faces and mutter platitudes over his death: that would not have been his style. I believe he would have wanted us, even in his death, to emulate his joy and vitality in life. After all, he was a boy of courage and daring, though perhaps an unorthodox example!
Every La Sallian inherits a part of the unique La Salle Spirit. It is in our blood. How I envy Uncle James, he had it all, a living icon since the day he joined La Salle in Primary 5.
There is only one thing we must do, to ensure that this Spirit he lived and demonstrated will go on, to ensure that this piece of precious Jewel will not be lost. We, the old boys are entrusted to guard the sacred heritage of La Salle. We shall encourage our younger brothers to explore a world of creative thinking and cultural expansion.
We La Sallians are one of a kind and together with Uncle James, we are proud of it and will make no apology for being who we are.
When the time comes for me to face my own creator, I will be looking for the warm smiling face of Uncle James Wong Jum Sum. I am sure he has already made the place much brighter and happier for us all. He will be holding his harmonica; high aloft her flag we will hold. My dream is to sing with him. When the old boys get together, they will always sing this song.
Thank you all for coming to the special memorial occasion.
Dr. Bernard Kong ’76
President, LSCOBA 2004/05