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
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
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
all members of the Wong family