Mr. So Hung Raymond Trustee of Chung Chi College
Amid generations of Chung Chi alumni, many of whom have been forming a steadfast bond with the College through enriching campus life and intimate interactions with teachers and classmates. The indescribable sense of belonging to Chung Chi motivates them to come home and give back. Mr. So Hung Raymond (1979/Sociology) is one of them. His identities in the College have been changing over time, from Chung Chi student, alumnus, teacher, mentor to trustee today. What remains unchanged is Mr. So’s wholehearted dedication to whatever role he plays. His profound connection with Chung Chi begins with his campus life in the good old days...
Though his campus life dates back to the 1970s, Mr. So can still eloquently recount his good old days in Chung Chi. “When I was a secondary school student, many classmates aspired to study at HKU (The University of Hong Kong), but I believed CUHK (The Chinese University of Hong Kong) was the one for me. Whenever I passed by Tai Po Road on the way to visit my relatives at Fanling during childhood, I was deeply impressed by the memorial Chung Chi Gate on Tai Po Road. CUHK is Chung Chi, and Chung Chi is CUHK. That’s what I think. It is the College’s rich flavour of humanities that earns my immense admiration. I took the public exam for admission to CUHK by self-studying when I was a form six student. The biggest challenge was sitting the exam on the core subject, Chinese literature. Luckily I got admitted to CUHK and became a Chung Chi-er at last.”
As a diligent student with excellent academic achievements, Mr. So was by no means a bookworm. He actively joined in a broad variety of University and College events. Gifted with eloquence, he won the championship in numerous speech competitions and annual debate competitions of CUHK and HKU. Being a keen participant of interclass drama competitions, he proved his artistic talent by garnering the best actor award. Apart from mind-twisting debates and art-provoking dramas, Mr. So was also passionate about archery by persisting in training throughout his six-year university life. His efforts finally paid off as he achieved the best score in the First CUHK Archery Competition. As a student with all-round development, Mr. So truly embodied the Chung Chi spirit by being a master of the pen and the sword.
As an active participant of a broad array of activities, Mr. So truly embodied the Chung Chi spirit of being a master of the pen and the sword.
There were neither digital gadgets nor advanced transportation in the 1970s though, Mr. So thought such a simple campus life fostered close interactions among teachers and students. “At that time, the diesel train commuted between the town and the University only once an hour. We would stay in Chung Chi Tang chit-chatting and rush out of the campus when the train arrived. During the Chinese New Year, as the train station was crowded with passengers, we even crawled in and out of the compartment via the windows,” Mr. So said gleefully, “as youngsters, we just thought it was fun and did not get tired at all.” He recalled that Chung Chi teachers and students would walk along the railway track to either Shatin or Tai Po for having late-night meals after the College singing contest, during which they chatted and laughed with one another. He became even more excited when talking about the College activities, “There was a beach adjacent to the train station. Every Mid-Autumn Festival, Chung Chi would organise rowing activities at night. Carrying lanterns with us, we enjoyed night boat tours across Tolo Harbour. My classmates always went rowing and played Mahjong along the shore...” His much cherished campus life was never boring even without digital gadgets or social media.
(Top) Mr. So and his family have given full support to the establishment of the Student Development Complex. (Bottom) As a graduate of the Master of Business Administration programme of CUHK, Mr. So was invited by CUHK Business School to deliver a talk.
Mr. So was admitted to the Master of Business Administration (MBA) programme offered by the Faculty of Business Administration of CUHK immediately after his undergraduate studies. Meanwhile, he also served as a part-time tutor for the Department of Sociology. Upon completing the MBA programme, he was blessed to successfully join the advertising industry, and pursued the career that he was destined for. At the age of thirty-two, he became the Chief Executive Officer of a major advertising enterprise, the youngest senior executive in the advertising industry. At the age of fifty, Mr. So decided to step down from his position as the Asia Pacific Chairman of BBDO, an internationally renowned advertising agency. Having been dedicated to work in almost 24/7 mode over some twenty years, he aspired to embark on the second half of his life by better caring for his family as well as people and matters surrounding him, in the hope of making a difference in society. It happened that Mrs. Kwok Tam Kit Ying Angeline, the then College Secretary, invited him to be a College Trustee, which encouraged him to return to Chung Chi in 2010. He said, “The sweetest days of my life were at Chung Chi. That’s why I wish to come home and give back.”
Despite retiring from his senior executive role in the advertising company, Mr. So is still an active participant of a myriad of public services in the advertising field. He hopes to leverage his marketing expertise to reshape the Chung Chi brand. He said, “In general, Chung Chi is perceived as a traditional college with a religious background. In fact, our College has been keeping abreast of the times with a wealth of new initiatives. The newly incorporated hardware such as the Student Development Complex addresses the needs of education and student development. We always make the first move to approach parents and teachers of secondary schools for empowering our College with more good quality students. What’s more, we strive to expand the Chung Chi alumni network with more young members who are committed to passing down the College tradition to the next generations.”
Having been a Chung Chi-er for a half-century, Mr. So believes the College has been ceaselessly evolving itself to meet the changing needs of society. However, what have never changed are the humanities and human qualities inherent in the College. “Chung Chi-ers should uphold the spirit of inclusion and dedication. Inclusion means embracing differences and keeping an open mind to people and matters of diverse backgrounds. Always listen to others, rather than standing our ground. Dedication refers to putting ourselves into others’ shoes and helping those in need. These two essential qualities nurture us to be more objective in perceiving the world and more proactive in building a better future for our society.”
Interviewed and written by Cabbie Kwong
As a Chung Chi mentor, Mr. So (4th left, front row) always supports the alumni events and actively expands the alumni network.