Aroma from the Pine Lodge

Professor and Mrs. Samuel Sun dwell in the Pine Lodge. The proximity to student hostels helps students to communicate with them. Facing Tolo Harbour, it is situated among the pine trees and is thus named ‘Pine Lodge’. An afternoon tea gathering is held every Friday afternoon, and around 15 S.H. Ho students are treated at the Pine Lodge each time. The Pine Lodge has received more than 400 students so far, which is 70% of students at the College. Mrs. Sun will prepare cookies, cakes and snacks, while Master Sun will also make punch and refreshments. They talk about the University, the College, academic and all aspects in life. Over time, the afternoon tea at the Pine Lodge has become students’ fond memories. A feature story on Mrs. Sun is covered in this issue, exploring her solicitous care to students revealed in the healthy culinary delights.

Every time when we meet Mrs. Sun at high table dinner or other college activities, students and college staff will address her as ‘Mrs. Sun’ or ‘Piera’. In fact, Mrs. Sun’s Chinese name is ‘Leung Shu Choang’ (梁淑莊) and ‘Piera’ is her baptismal name given by the Father who baptized her. After graduating from a bachelor degree in Chemistry from The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Mrs. Sun received her MS degree in Food and Nutritional Sciences and PhD degree in Food Toxicology and Diseases from the University of Wisconsin. Like Master Sun, Mrs. Sun is also a graduate of New Asia College. With family as her top priority, Mrs. Sun primarily took care of her son after getting married and had been baking her son’s favourite chocolate cookies. Mrs. Sun returned to Hong Kong in 2007. One day, Master Sun and Mrs. Sun received the Lord Wilson of Dinton, Master, Emmanuel College, Cambridge University and Lady Wilson. At that time, Lady Wilson shared her aspiration to receive and know every student. Mrs. Sun was inspired that she could build a ‘home away from home’ for her 600 S.H. Ho sons and daughters as the wife of Master Sun. The idea has now evolved into the afternoon tea gatherings at the Pine Lodge. Whenever Mrs. Sun receives the participating student namelist, she will prepare different ingredients according to student distribution. Having mainland students as the majority, she will make pizza and pasta. If many exchange students visit the Pine Lodge, she will prepare dimsum to give them a taste of Chinese dietetic culture.

Same as Master Sun, Mrs. Sun solicitously cares for S.H. Ho students, particularly their physical and mental health. Other than caring students in afternoon tea gathering, Mrs. Sun conducts Cookie Class at the Pine Lodge and shares with students the healthy cookie recipes she has modified. For instance, she substitutes sugar for honey. She adopts cholesterol-free margarine to replace butter which is full of saturated fat. She also adds healthy ingredients like dried grapes and walnuts into her recipes. All these well explain Mrs. Sun’s healthy and delicious cookies. Mrs. Sun said, ‘The cookies sold in the market contain much sugar and butter which aren’t good for health. I hope that from explaining the modified recipes my students’ health consciousness will be enhanced. They can bring back hostel the cookies they baked. Instead of eating unhealthy snacks, they eat the healthy cookies while doing revisions.’ Conducted twice a week and two hours per class, Mrs. Sun deliberately teaches the cookie class in small class size (two pairs of students per class) to facilitate the interactive atmosphere and ensure students understand the rationale behind the ingredient selection and cooking procedure. Mrs. Sun is thankful to the three students who coordinate the cookie class. ‘No matter it’s afternoon or cookie class, I enjoy every moment shared with S.H. Ho students. They are my own children and my friends. Some students didn’t know each other before, they made friends at the Pine Lodge,’ Mrs. Sun smiled sweetly. She aspires that the activities held at the Pine Lodge help students to know one another, especially break the cultural barriers between the local and non-local and thereby nurture friendship between them.

Mrs. Sun used to conduct researches related to shrimps at the University of Hawaii. At that time, Professor Sun had already returned to his alma mater CUHK in 1996 to be Professor of Biology and Department Chair. The couple lived apart for 12 years during which they could meet twice per year. Mrs. Sun’s gene-transfer research has successfully increased shrimps’ body weight by 30% and raised virus-resistant shrimps, resulting in a significant decrease in shrimps’ death rate. Her groundbreaking research contribution has won her several patents and drew the attention from the French, Malaysian and Chinese governments. At her career peak, however, Mrs. Sun chose to return to Hong Kong and be reunited with her husband. Apart from the craving thought of reunion, her return is primarily due to her much-treasured ‘home value’. She hopes to build a warm home with Master Sun as well as 600 S.H. Ho sons and daughters, and to inspire students’ growth through her life experiences. Mrs. Sun expects S.H. Ho students to cherish their learning time and concentrate on their studies. She also encourages them to be ‘financially and emotionally independent’ when they grow up and lead a satisfying and autonomous life.

The aroma from the Pine Lodge is not only about culinary pleasure, but the indelible fragrance of human touch.