Annual Dinner | Friday 27 March 2015
Tammy Ho Lai-Ming
Thank you, Effulgence, for all the hard work you have done to put together this wonderful annual dinner. I am so happy to be here tonight and to be able to share this evening with colleagues, students and friends. I was asked to give a speech — a short one — and I promise you it will be just about three minutes.
I joined the Department of English at Baptist University in January 2013 and many of the students who are graduating were in my very first class, Literature and Culture. That is to say, my entire time at Baptist coincides with the time I’ve known you. And I feel that you and I have grown together; and I will always remember you very fondly. Over the past two years or so, a number of you have taken or audited ALL my elective courses. That, in itself, is remarkable, as I believe it requires certain courage to take my courses, for I am not always an easy professor.
You have seen me at times being strict, being stern, being disorganized, being playful, being forgetful, being temperamental, being shy, being suddenly crazy. And I have seen you being hardworking, lazy, annoying, surprising, hilarious, impressive, lovely and genuine. You have enriched my life so much and made me feel very fortunate to be teaching at Baptist. The poet Maya Angelou once said, ‘If I believed in reincarnation, I would have done something very right in my last life.’ The fact that I have had the opportunity to teach YOU tells ME that I must have done pretty well in my previous life.
Now, when I think of the prospect of not seeing you on the campus in the next academic year, I can’t help but feel a little sad, a little lonely.
But all of you who are graduating — all of you, I know, have great things ahead of you. Your undergraduate life is only one of the exciting phases you leave behind, so you can move on to the next phase, and the next, and the next. Some of you will continue to study, some of you will be entering the work force, some of you may not yet know what you will do and others among you may still be looking for the road less taken. There’s a saying, ‘If you follow your passion, you’ll never work one day in your life.’ I hope all of you will be able to find something that you love, that you feel is rewarding and beneficial. Your life is limited, so don’t waste time doing something you hate. Be good to yourself. And I hope you will also be good to Hong Kong. Hong Kong now, more than ever, needs people who believe in its potential, and are not afraid to fight for what it can achieve economically, socially, politically.
Having said all this, I will now congratulate the students who are graduating this year. I hope you will enjoy the remaining weeks of your undergraduate life and that you will all do well in your final exams. You have come so far in the past few years. But not far enough. As the poet Robert Frost put it, you have ‘miles to go’ before you sleep. And I sincerely hope that these miles are wonderful and unforgettable.