Supervisor not Autocrat

Since I became Supervisor last December, many have been curious to know my "new policy", esp. in view of some of the real or imagined changes that I have been trying to introduce. As Supervisor, I am only the chairman of the Management Board. It can be a position of leadership and responsibility. But I cannot just lay down a "new policy" as an autocrat.

Appreciation of Wah Yan

First of all I wish to express my appreciation for so many good things in Wah Yan, my Alma Mater. The following is an excerpt of what I wrote on December 3rd last year, Silver Jubilee of my ordination as a priest in Wah Yan Chapel:

"What are our assets?

Extremely dedicated and knowledgeable people in administration. They are men of integrity, with genuine spirit of service and humility, preferring to take on more work themselves and make others' work easier, having great respect for each person, tolerance and patience for human limitations . . .

So many loyal and dedicated teachers and staff with a real love for WYK and the students.

Much respect and trust for teachers and students. For mature and responsible ones, such atmosphere encourages initiative, autonomy and development.

Emphasis on all-round education.

Good achievements in sports and music also.

So many Student Association and extra-curricular activities, providing great opportunities for training in cooperation and leadership.

Much initiative and a lot of capabilities and good will among the students.

Mostly band one students. No really serious and big problems.

Good structures of management board and numerous committees and panels.

Involvement of Jesuits, and retired Fathers still teaching.

Much initiative and ingenuity and having a leading role in the development of school computer applications and thorough and meticulous

computerisation for use and storage of much school information.

Spacious and lovely physical environment with a lot of green.

Some excellent and hard-working cleaning staff.

A lot of resources among past students and parents and parishioners, which can be tapped more." Since then I have only grown in my esteem for the openness and positive attitudes of our Principal, Mr. Norman So, for his deep grasp of the Ignatian values in education, and also for the great dedication of our Vice-principals and so many teachers. Pioneering projects, like "Happy Wah Yan Boy", "Mentor Scheme", "Journeying Together" reflect so many creative initiatives in building the Wah Yan community.

Minor Changes

It is true that there have been some changes since I came on the scene. Aside from the morning hours, outsiders cannot come into the campus as easily and freely as before. This change greatly helps the security and cleanliness of the School.

Being Pastor of St. Ignatius Chapel also, I am glad to make the air-conditioned and quiet Chapel available for more frequent morning assemblies. This move may provide more opportunities for personal formation, sharing and community-building.

 

What are my hopes and dreams as the Supervisor of Wah Yan Kowloon?

I have always been an idealistic type of person, focussing on how things can be better rather than regretting over the past. So I am never short of ideas. Here I'll only select a few themes.

1. Catch up or become dinosaurs

'The whole world, or even the universe, is becoming so much one.'

There are huge transitions happening all around us. Not only are we moving towards a new millennium in less than two years, but more fundamentally, we are shifting from the predictable Newtonian clock-like world, through Darwinian natural selection, Spencer's "survival of

the fittest", Carnot's Second Law of Thermodynamics into that of the unpredictable world of complexity, of order out of chaos, of self-organisation. The whole world, or even the universe, is becoming so much one. The "butterfly effect" (flutter of the wings of a butterfly in Brazil may trigger snow-storm in Chicago or Europe), the El Nino phenomenon which affects the weather world-wide . . . all indicate how everything is intimately connected with everything else. We cannot just talk about evolution, but have to think in terms of co-evolution. Applied to organisations, centralised and hierarchical control of power must eventually yield to greater participation and democracy of shared responsibility. We need to work towards a common destiny together.

We are also moving from the slow processes of the Print Age to the Web Age of instant communication. ICQ (I seek-you), a venue for simultaneous connection on the net, has one million additional subscribers --- about every three weeks. The "Democracy Wall" and the school magazine, traditional ways of teaching and learning may all soon become relics of the print culture. If we don't catch up in acquiring new world-views and ways of forming on-going learning communities, we may all soon become dinosaurs of the Web Age.

2. Why do we still come back to school ?

If it is just information that we want to learn, a computer hooked up to the Net will supply much more than what teachers can provide. We can even learn some critical thinking through the debate in the Internet discussion groups. But the school provides an indispensable role to help us to grow as persons. The processes of discovering and loving oneself, being true to one's feelings, learning how to relate to others, forming good values, working in cooperation with others, becoming authentic persons, building communities... cannot take place in isolation at home.

I like the Japanese animation VCD set, Evangelion. It addresses many of these soul-searching questions and issues that good education must respond to. The moral and religious education in schools must focus on helping students to really develop a sense of identity and find the meaning and mission of their lives. The formation in faith, in being able to see beyond with the eyes of love and wonder, in going deeper than mere pragmatism, is a top priority for education indeed.

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