Our school is named after Mr. Chan Chun Ha, but whose identity is not quite known. Behind him was a touching legend. But it was Mr. Chan’s generous donations and selfless contribution to education, together with Dr. Ho Sin-hang and Dr. Ho Tim’s keeping their promise to their friend, that had allowed our school to be built and to provide education to young people. In this legend, the noble characters of Mr. Chan and the two Dr. Ho are what Chunhanians (students of CCH) would learn from.
As the story goes, Dr. Ho Tom, the late chairman of the Board of Directors of United College, started the Hang Seng Bank jointly with Dr. Ho Sing-hang and other friends in Hong Kong in the1930s. Their exchange business between Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong thrived and expanded. One day, one of their friends, Chan Chun Ha, returned to the mainland, leaving HK$10,000 behind. When the People’s Republic of China was founded in 1949, the exchange business between the mainland and Hong Kong was interrupted. And the two Dr. Ho could not get any words from Mr. Chan. His money in Hand Seng Bank was left unclaimed.
Mr. Chan had left a huge sum of money, for ordinary people at that time, with an average income of just a few yuan, would not be able to save up to 10,000 yuan in their lifetime. However, he had not got any receipt or bank statement which could prove his ownership of the money. He put his trust plainly in his friends. What is unbelievable is that Dr. Ho and Dr. Ho did not take any advantage of their friend. They invested his money into their bank as a share. As time went by, under their management, Hang Seng Bank developed into the largest Chinese funded bank, and later became a listed company. And that 10,000 yuan had also become a huge sum of over 120 million yuan.
After 1979, Dr. Ho Tim finally found Mr. Chan in Shanghai. Later, the three friends met again in Hong Kong. The two Dr. Ho did not just return that 10,000 yuan to Mr. Chan in person. They also planned to return it together with interest and appreciation over those years. Their integrity and honesty are indeed admirable! Mr. Chan was also surprised by the fact that the two had been keeping and investing the money for him, and now the amount had become an astronomical figure, and that the two had travelled all the way after all these years to find him!
Receiving a sudden fortune like this, most people must be planning on how to have a real good time. But Mr. Chan was different. He said he would only take HK$2,000 every month for living expenses. After discussion, he decided to divide his wealth into three portions: one for his children for daily use; one to be managed by Mr. He Mingsi, the then deputy secretary-general of the Hong Kong Branch of Xinhua News Agency, to establish the “Huaxia Foundation” to promote education and health in the mainland; and one portion to be managed by the two Dr. Ho, to set up the “Chan Chun Ha Charitable Trust” to support education and medical services in Hong Kong.
Managed by Dr. Ho Tim and Dr. Ho Sin-hang, the “Chan Chun Ha Charitable Trust” grew year by year and had made donations to The Prince of Wales Hospital, CUHKFAA Chan Chun Ha Secondary School, Chan Chun Ha Hostel of United College of CUHK, Caritas Chan Chun Ha Secondary School, etc. By now, the charitable trust has accumulated up to over a hundred million Hong Kong dollars.
And Dr. Ho Tim, the former chairperson of the Board of Directors of United College, fully supported the development of the college through not only donations, but also personal participation. Dr. Ho did not have a chance to receive good, formal education due to wars and social instability. But he truly understood its importance and was keen on supporting educational business in the mainland and Hong Kong. People admired him much because of his unconditional support and trust to the college. Dr. Ho’s son, Mr. Ho Hau-hay, also inherited the family’s teaching and has always been enthusiastic in social welfare. Apart from taking part in the management of several charitable funds, including Chan Chun Ha Charitable Trust, Mr. Ho is also a trustee of the United College. We can really say, ‘like father, like son’.
The establishment of the “Chan Chun Ha Charitable Trust” came into reality because of Mr. Chan’s generosity. Of course, it could not be done if the two Dr. Ho had not cared about their friend or kept their promise. Their relationship had not been put out of mind although they were out of sight of each other for decades. This kind of friendship is admirable and should be appreciated! These gentlemen were wealthy, and, at the same time, virtuous. “Confucian businessmen” we can call them. They are the role models for us and future generations!