IN LOVING MEMORY OF

王曾自當

已故王校源之愛妻

1922 - 2016

 Tribute from Second Generation

 

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Dearest Friends and Relatives, thank you all for joining us to celebrate the life of our beloved Mother.

For more than eight decades, Mother was the great unifying force of our family.  She loved everyone in the family and was in turn much loved by all of us. Mother joined the Wong Family from an impeccable upbringing and stood up for what she believed in.  Although a strong believer in maintaining traditions, she would always do whatever she regarded as morally correct.   

As a young girl, Mother was educated at the ancestral hall of her home village Shek Pai in Guangdong Province where she acquired her beautiful calligraphy, a shining example to us all.  After the family moved to Hong Kong, Mother’s parents did not give much priority to her education.  Her father attended St. Paul's College and read the SCMP regularly.  Notwithstanding his westernised education, he frequently dragged her out of school to accompany him to watch Chinese operas which became her lifelong passion and enjoyment.   

As was customary at the time, the first formal encounter between Mother and Father was an arranged lunch when they were seated at separate tables. They had no formal contact but were able to look each other over.  Mother recalled how horrified she was when she saw how much Father could eat (an ability that has been well passed on).  Mother also recalled that during their early courtship he proudly took her swimming, only to discover that he could not swim!  Despite these hiccups, she married Father in her late teens and here we are today.

When Mother married into the Wong family, in addition to the exquisite gifts from her parents, her dowry included a customary “mui-tsai”, a young indentured servant girl who would take on all the menial tasks expected of a new daughter-in-law in her new extended family.  Despite the strong pull of tradition, Mother decided it was immoral to take this girl away from her poverty-stricken parents.  She granted this young servant girl her freedom and sent her back to her parents, leaving Mother herself with the burden of getting all the chores done.  Mother never doubted this decision and she would recount this to us with great pride.

Mother was blessed with a devoted husband, our father “Ayeh”.  She often relayed how Ayeh conscientiously avoided attending hostess night clubs whenever his overseas customers requested such hospitality.  Such absolute devotion to one's wife was not so common in the male-dominated business world over half a century ago.  Ayeh in turn earned absolute devotion from Mother.   

In her days, giving birth to many children as quickly as possible was the prime goal for women.  Mother gave birth to two sons soon after our parents married at the beginning of the Second World War. To escape the advancing Japanese invasion, Father and Mother trekked 80 miles from Hong Kong to Guangzhou with their two young sons.  Not long after the War, the family was complete with six sons and two daughters and Mother’s time was largely devoted to bringing up her children.  As the wife of the eldest son of Father’s family, Mother also took on the duty of helping relatives in need.  Later in life, although she loved her grandchildren (3G) dearly, she advised us 2G not to overburden ourselves by having too many children and not to push our children too hard in their studies. 

At the end of the War, our parents decided to send their two eldest boys at the tender age of 11 and 12 to boarding schools in England.  The younger siblings still remember Mother crying her heart out saying goodbye to her two sons on the ship bound for England.  By the late Sixties, all of us were studying in the UK.  Mother and Ayeh enjoyed visiting us, bravely driving down from Birmingham to the Chinatown in London to find comfort in a plate of roast duck rice.  The six sons eventually became medical doctors in various specialties, and the girls pursued careers in accountancy, law and property investment.  Her children’s careers and endeavours gave Mother great pleasure in life. 

Family is what Mother treasured most and she kept our mammoth family united.  She taught 2G how to achieve harmony in a large family.  Whenever a dispute arose between a 2G and their spouse, Mother would invariably support her in-law rather than her own children.  Such strategy earned her incredible love and support from all her daughter in-laws and son in-laws. 

Mother believed that the family enjoyed comfortable circumstances because Ayeh earned his living honestly and fairly.  She herself was blessed with good fortune and she innately shared it with those around her.  Seeing Mother’s success in the stock market, our domestic servants expressed their wish to invest their minuscule stakes with her.  Appreciating the risk to their hard earned savings, Mother would allow the servants to participate but on the terms: “win you keep, loss I take”.

Once all her children had launched their respective careers, Mother had more time to herself.  Her regular visits to the stockbroker’s offices became a routine.  It was there that she found many lasting friendships amongst tai-tais of similar interest.  As years went by, her dealings in the stock market became more conservative, and her visits to the stockbroker’s expanded into fraternity and mah-jong meetings with friends.   

Later in life, Mother enjoyed daily early morning walks in the park close to her house. Three of her sons and their families live in the same family compound to this day.  Her physical health continued to be good until she suffered a serious stroke three and a half years ago.   

On her last day, Mother was visited by many of the 2G and 3G.  She passed away peacefully at home in her sleep.

 

Mother, We Love You And Miss You

 Jack Kwong Sun Buddy Charles Angelina  Ellen  David
and all members of the Wong family

earest friends and relatives, thank you all very much for joining us to celebrate the life of our beloved father.

Father came to Hong Kong from Guangzhou 70 years ago.  He left school at the age of 13 to help in the family business.  After his own father passed away, father took over as head of the family whilst in his early twenties. 

For four decades, father worked 18 hours every day and yet still made great efforts to continue his education.  Mother fondly recalls father going to his lessons on a sedan chair in the days when the motor car was a rarity.  This thirst for knowledge was sustained even when we were growing up.  Many of us remember the English tutor who came to our home, who also doubled up as the family herbalist, prescribing us children foul tasting concoctions.  We also have vivid memories of the