He is a friend indeed

While I do not look forward to writing another eulogy, not for a dear friend anyway, I deem it a privilege and honour when Diana told me that her Dad KK had said he would like me to speak at his funeral. Diana added that someone could read out the eulogy if I could not be there. Indeed, I could not; and I am sorry.

I have known KK for more than half a century, 54 years almost to the day to be exact. It was in 1956: the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals had just opened a new primary school in Shaukiwan; and KK and I became classmates in what was then known as Tung Wah Hospital No. 2 Primary School.

Everyone called him Little Chow those days because he was not exactly a big boy. Everyone except me, because I was even smaller. Maybe that was why we got on very well from the very beginning.

We were in the same classes for two years until we sat for the Joint Primary Schools Certificate Examination, after which we were allocated school places in different schools, but both in Wan Chai, so that we had occasions to meet each other outside school hours or even over lunch. I recall that a bowl of rice in the early Sixties cost exactly 20 cents in Wood Road.

Somehow, we lost contact after secondary schooling. It transpired that while I was struggling with my undergraduate studies, KK joined the Hong Kong Police Force where he stayed until he retired in 2000. I learnt that he was extremely well spoken of and highly regarded by his colleagues, superior officers and staff alike. I was at his retirement party when successive colleagues spoke of KK’s many courageous and daring assignments, sometimes beyond the call of duty, to keep Hong Kong a safer place for the rest of us. Without a doubt, KK had served the Police Force and the people of Hong Kong with dedication, integrity and exemplary conduct. Ex-Police colleagues of his would no doubt be able to echo such sentiments more forcefully and convincingly.

Interestingly enough, KK and I resumed our contact after a chance meeting at the Senior Officers’ Mess of the Customs and Excise Service in the Seventies. He was in his full Police uniform, discussing strategic and tactical matters of law enforcement. I learnt that he had already married and was bringing up a family, and that he had continued to maintain regular contact with our classmates of the late Fifties.

This is so characteristic of KK. He would always be a friend to everyone; he would always be loyal to his friends and he would never desert a friend. He is a friend indeed.

Through KK, I regained contact with a number of my primary school classmates and their friends. Indeed, he had been instrumental in keeping us together through monthly meetings which typically lasted a good part of a weekend, involving spouse and sometimes families.

It was through these regular gatherings that I got to know more about KK. The constant excitement and pressure at work could have turned him into a rather serious smoker. I can say so because I was also one until I gave up some 20 years ago, but somehow he carried on. KK also enjoyed a couple of drinks; and it seemed that he had an enormous capacity for such beverages, but I very seldom and rarely saw him drunk; or maybe it wouldn’t show up when we both had had enough quantities to drink. What was important was that he livened up after a few drinks, to the amusement of, but would never become a nuisance to his friends.

One might think that a person who habitually smokes and drinks would not be good at sports. Well, this was certainly not the case with KK, who was a top class badminton player, and who had been representing the Hong Kong Police in international tournaments with consistently excellent results. Our friend was so predictably unpredictable.

KK was also an accomplished mahjong player. It means he could play for hours non-stop and was able to postmortem the games with celerity and conviction. More importantly, he was a good loser. He might lose all his chips, but would never lose his temper. I often called him the unlucky expert, one who out-skilled his opponents but who failed to believe that he did not have their luck.

I would be doing our friend gross injustice if I do not mention his total dedication and commitment to his wife Helen of 40 years, his two daughters Viola and Diana, and his five lovely grandchildren. Each and every one of them was very near and dear to his heart and he would give up anything for them. He would stand by as chauffer whenever the children and grandchildren needed transportation and would give up his favourite badminton or mahjong games at the beckon of any one of them.

For the great part of his life, KK said that he was an atheist, and sometimes he said he would become a Taoist, for Taoism was recognized as an indigenous religion of China. God certainly works in the most mysterious ways. Towards the end of his earthly life, KK was affected by the teachings of Christianity and was baptized as a Christian. When I chatted with him in his last days, he was very much a relaxed person and he spoke with the faith of a Christian, ready and willing to leave everything in the hands of his God. Such faith is certainly God’s gift and we could be certain that KK is resting in God’s arms and watching over his family and friends from afar.

Lastly, we are here today not only to say goodbye to a friend, but also to celebrate his life and to glorify God for having sent KK among us. We would always remember his cheerful complexion and hearty smiles; and we would try to emulate his loyalty and sincerity to friends. Our thoughts go to Helen, his daughters and grandchildren; and on their behalf, I thank the countless messages and flowers, and condolences and donations from friends and well wishers; and I thank you for keeping KK company on his last trip. May God bless you all.

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