Speech by Mu. Ramanathan, Parent-Representative at the 39th Speech Day Ceremony of Delia English Primary School and Kindergarten at Ko Shan Theatre, Hong Kong on Tuesday 20 July 2004.
Mr. Wan 1, Mr. Cheung 2, Mr.Ghimire 3, Dr.Cheung 4, Ms. Chor 5, teachers, parents, boys and girls,
I am extremely delighted to stand in front of you. When I was asked to participate in this Speech Day as a parent’s representative, I was surprised. Let me tell you why. My daughter graduated in a similar colourful function two years ago. My son is one of those merrier boys graduating today. As, such, I have been attending this programme for the past three or four years. In all these Speech Days I attended, it is always mothers who have represented the parents. It didn’t seem unusual to me. Hong Kong is a place where women not only enjoy equal rights, but also outnumber men. I read that in the year 2040, there will be only 650 men for every 1000 women in Hong Kong. For instance, there are some 25 teachers in Delia School, and only one-third of them are men. So I was surprised when I was asked to talk on behalf of parents, but the same time grabbed the opportunity, as I didn’t want to miss one of the rare chances provided to father folk. Having agreed, I wondered what to talk. As mothers have continuously spoken in the previous years, I thought to seek the advice of a mother, and consulted my wife. She told me that in an occasion like this, the role of a parent representative is purely ceremonial; neither the students nor the parents would expect you to say too much; please stand up when called for, and try to smile when photographed… I see wisdom in the School management choosing mother folk to do this job in the yester years.
Still I have to say some thing! I thought I could share my experience of witnessing young talents of Hong Kong in a well-organized programme three weeks ago. It was an inter-school radio drama competition conducted by Longman Education at Hong Kong Cultural and Exhibition Centre. There were 5 finalists chosen from 270 participating primary schools. You might have guessed by now, Delia School was one of the finalists and performed first. The drama was a mild comedy and singularly concentrated on the central issue. Every element of a radio drama like dialogue delivery, voice modulation, interludes, music etc., has been chosen to amplify the threads of the theme. Confident Delians staged a well-coordinated effort. Subsequent schools also played well and made the competition very tough. At, the end, the result was announced in the reverse order. Fifth place was announced first, followed by the fourth place. At this point of time, I looked at Ms. Leung sitting in the first row. She had trained the children for weeks together and now looked very tense. However, Mr. Cheung seated in the second row, was cool, pushing his hair back. Third place was then announced and taken by a famous school. Ms. Leung was relieved for a while, but only till the anchor person rose-up to announce the second place. This went to another famous school. More than the recipient of the second place, Delians cheered much, as by the process of elimination it then became clear that the coveted first place would go to Delia School. I saw Mr. Cheung calling someone in his mobile phone. I could guess who it could be, because I learned later that Ms. Chor was waiting at the school to receive the successful team and to buy them a lunch.
A victory like this is not a unique event. Mr. Ching has spearheaded the School’s football team to championship. He made this possible despite the best striker of the team could not make it for the finals. The annual Hong Kong Schools Speech Festival organized by the Hong Kong Schools Music and Speech Association is an individual event where Delians normally perform well, but this year was exceptional as they grabbed first, second, third, fourth and fifth places, thanks to the tireless training given by Mr. Siu, Mr. Lan and Mr. Chim among others. Oriental Dance Competition is another event where Delia School is consistently standing first. Please remember there are some 750 primary schools in Hong Kong, and these victories are earned in fierce competitions.
These are only to name a few. All these indicate that education at Delia School means more than text book knowledge. Learning extends beyond the classroom and reaches out at sports, music, debating skills and community services. The dedicated teachers make the education at Delia a lovable experience.
For Primary Six students participating in the government’s Secondary School Place’s Allocation System, school choice is a difficult task. Delia School predominantly consists of non-Chinese students and as such, the school choices are restricted. The school arranged a special seminar to help the parents on the available schools and facilities. Primary Six teachers were all busy in the subsequent weeks explaining to the parents on chances with respect to their child based on their merit. Individual attention is given to every student in all such occasions.
The majority of the students of Delia School are from South and East Asia. Young friends! I would request you to recognize that Hong Kong is your home. You must get to know the Chinese culture, history and heritage. We must maintain the values and system of Hong Kong-rule of law, equal opportunity, freedom of expression, free flow of information. This is the spirit of the slogan, “Hong Kong- Asia’s World City”.
I wish to underscore something to graduating Delians. You have had the privilege of learning from the best teachers of the town. You have had ample opportunities of exercising critical thinking and liberating your creativity through the rich and diversified school life. Please acknowledge gratefully your principal and teachers for their guidance. The future is yours.
On behalf of all the parents, I thank the visionary principal and dedicated teachers and offer good wishes to all children.
1-Mr Mark Wan, Chief School Development Officer(Sham Shui Po and Sai Kung), Education and Manpower Bureau
2-Mr Li Chi Cheung, Senior Education Officer, Newly Arrived Children Support Unit, Education and Manpower Bureau
3-Mr Madhav P.Ghimire, Royal Nepalese Consul General
4-Dr William Cheung, Hong Kong University, Old Student
5-Ms Chor Siu Har, Principal, Delia English Primary School & Kindergarten