Getting Closer by Martial Arts and Cooking
Mr. Thomas Kwok Ming Fung studied the programme in Mechanical and Automation Engineering at CUHK. During his undergraduate years, he was affiliated to S.H. Ho College and his college life was enjoyable and fruitful. After graduation, the College alumnus returned to his alma mater in a new role. He is now a resident tutor of Ho Tim Hall.
Since Secondary 5, Thomas has been learning a wide spectrum of martial arts specialising in Wing Chun, Tai Chi, Choy Li Fut, Korean Hapkido, Japanese Hapkido, Karate and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. When he was in first year, he applied for College Student Activity Fund (SAF) and established the S.H. Ho Martial Arts Club. Its goal is to gather students for an exchange of different types of martials arts and promote the important philosophy and culture in it. At that time, Thomas taught the class of Wing Chun and Tai Chi and sometimes he would invite instructors to teach at the College. After he became a resident tutor, he has kept on teaching Tai Chi.
“We practise Tai Chi on the lawn once a week. Each class lasts for around one hour. At 9 p.m., we start the elementary class on training for fitness and health. At 10 p.m., we begin the advanced class on training for combat and self-defence. A lot of non-local students come to join us but usually it is the local students who can keep up the training throughout the whole semester. In general, we recruit 20-30 students in a class at the very beginning but at the end, only 10 students will stay. In a small class, I will be able to explain the techniques and skills in greater details.” Thomas finds it immensely rewarding every time the participants are dedicated to practising martial arts.
Apart from martial arts, Thomas is also proficient at cooking. He said, “I love delicious food and I love eating homemade food. Therefore, I had been exploring different kinds of homemade food since year one. When I had time, I would ask my mom for advice and gradually I learned how to cook.” For Thomas, cooking is so much more than what he was expecting. It can actually bridge the gap between people. “When I stay in the common room for cooking, I will come across many students. If they happen to cook, we will start to chat naturally.” One day, he saw a student peeling ginger but the student was not doing it in a correct way. He then showed the student how to peel properly and this is how he got to know the student from then on.
Thomas considered that a resident tutor must set a good example. “Most importantly, we must let students know that we are around to support. S.H. Ho College is a family. We are family members, not tenants. Resident tutors are not security guards. We must reach out to students and care about them.”
Full residence and communal dining are core programmes of S.H. Ho College. In hostels, students live together, see one another frequently and therefore form a closely-knit community. Thomas recalled when he was still an undergraduate student, his peers on the same floor would go out for late night snacks in Fo Tan or for desserts in Shatin. They would talk about anything, ranging from studies to daily life, with their friends. The resident tutors also got along well with students. A simple greeting such as “how are you” would warm his heart like he was at home. He hoped that the lasting friendship among the College students as well as between the resident tutors and students will continue. The strong bonding in this big family will also become distinctively characteristic of the College.