Those of us who attended the secondary school known as KGV(King George V) located at 2 Tin Kwong Road, Kowloon during the Sixties and Seventies, were so very very lucky, and which we might only be learning to appreciate now.
Then again, maybe those KGV days comprising friends of every nationality, school uniforms, the chore of attending assembly, prefects, teachers who became some of our first mentors, playing cricket etc are inextricably part of our DNA, and which we really should celebrate and wear like a badge of honour.
Honestas Ante Honoras: Honesty Before Glory.
There was something magical, mysterious and exciting and inspiring about attending what was a very special school at a very special time in the history of Hong Kong.
The once barren rock was being shaped into something we had no idea what it might become.
Here was a blank canvas, and with each of us contributing in our own ways towards creating The Big Picture by knowing that anything and everything was possible.
Nothing was impossible, because, well, we didn’t understand nor see anything holding us back.
We were an international community in one school, and, maybe, with each of us having different dreams that morphed into one.
What was this dream?
It was whatever we wanted it to be in this city that gave us so much- the tools for mental agility and everything else around us to help create our own futures.
We might not have known it at the time, but there was an open road ahead that dared us to make right turns, the wrong turns, left turns, U-turns and see where we ended.
We were “keeping it real” without understanding what being unreal meant.
We made mistakes, and from these, we learned life lessons and moved on.
We didn’t need “likes” nor “followers”.
We needed friends, and some of those friendships still last.
Life was simple and as complicated as we wanted it to be, and always interesting.
KGV somehow prepared us for what lay ahead and how to navigate our way through a Hong Kong that was on fast forward and offering a buffet of new choices every day.
We didn’t “travel” by scrolling via Instagram or Facebook, but by going out into the real world and hanging out in places like the Hong Kong Hilton coffee shop, the Scene discotheque and the Firecracker Bar at the Hyatt Regency.
Our parents worried about us as we went from watching school bands at Friday and Saturday night church dances to somehow growing up within a few months and discovering the underbelly of Kowloon and the very weird ghetto that was Chungking Mansions where everything was for sale. But receiving a few dollars for pocket money, it was about learning at a young age to be creatively frugal.
We met all the available pretty girls in a row and if we liked them and they liked us, we dated and enjoyed whatever journey might have been there.
Sometimes, we went the distance.
We had school boy and school girl crushes and maybe these were dress rehearsals for “going steady” and which sometimes lasted a lifetime.
Otherwise, it was about looking outside of KGV and seeing what else was there, and with all the necessary homework already done.
We were dating by now and songs were becoming the soundtracks to our lives.
We communicated on landlines, met up in person, and let the weekends take us wherever they took us.
Hong Kong was growing up, we were growing up.
Life was simple and fun and never boring.
Thanks, KGV, for the schooling, the memories and helping us to keep it real and be the individuals we’ve become.