The Four Pioneer Brothers of Chan Sui Ki (La Salle) College
By Brother Patrick Tierney, Director of Hong Kong Lasallian Family
Brother Herman Fenton
Supervisor (1969-1972), Principal (1969-1970)
Brother Herman was the first Director and Founder of the school which opened its doors in 1969. He was also the Founder of ChanSui Ki (La Salle) Primary school in 1974. Both schools became the joy of his heart until the day of his death at the ripe old age of 95.
Much has already been written about Bro Herman's life mission, but what about the man himself? I knew him for over forty years and these are my recollections.
The first adjective that enters my head is "stubborn". Brother Herman was as stubborn as a mule, always standing up for what he thought was right. He would rarely take no for an answer but would doggedly pursue whatever he felt was good for the schools. In this he had a clear vision and was firm and single-minded. The two schools were his pride and joy and he was constantly on the lookout for news of them. He loved to hear how the students, staff and alumni were faring.
Another trait of Brother Herman was his phenomenal memory. Even when he was in his 90's he had a memory for faces and names. When asked to write something about the old days he could remember every detail.
Brother Herman always wanted to help the poor and needy as far as his modest means would allow. Janitors and auxiliary staff were never forgotten at Chinese New Year. I believe one of his nicknames was "Wong Tai Sin", a Chinese god of healing and benevolence.
As the saying goes, one could write a book about Brother Herman but I hope I have written enough for the purpose.
Brother Eugene Sharkey
Supervisor (1972-1991), Principal (1970-1991)
Often referred to as the strong, silent man, Brother Eugene was a rock of strength and commonsense. He became the second Principal of the College in 1970 and stayed at the helm for 21 years. Never one to parade his virtues, he was much appreciated by the Brothers as a man of wisdom, understanding and compassion. I knew Brother Eugene for thirty years and these are a few personal thoughts and feelings in his regard.
I played against him in a football match on La Salle field (the old one) and thought from his age, appearance and bulk that he would be easy meat. How wrong I was. He beat me in the air and hustled me off the ball with ease. I also tried him in tennis and never wanted to repeat the exercise. Of course he would never boast about these exploits.
Although stern and serious in class, outside the classroom he was gentle and soft-spoken. Although he himself could not sing a note he enjoyed a good sing-song, especially if there were songs about the sea. He loved the sea from his youth and it called to him at holiday time.
Perhaps a little known trait of Brother Eugene was his strong loyalty to his Brothers in religion. I never heard him criticize them for faults or failings and he was always on the lookout for Brothers to join his staff. On his death we lost a true friend.
Brother Cronan Curran
Teaching staff (1969-1974)
Brother Cronan taught in Chan Sui Ki from 1969 to 1974 but he had first started teaching in St. Joseph's College as far back as 1934.
Since Brother Herman was busily involved in getting the new school ready for opening, he asked Brother Cronan to take care of the Brothers' residence and chapel. He chose with taste and for qualities that would last and the chapel vestments were beautiful. Wherever he went he alway sseemed to want to be in charge of the chapel.
He was also put in charge of the school prefects, library and scout troop. He had already done much for scouting in St Joseph's and for Hong Kong so the scout troop in Chan Sui Ki benefited much from his involvement.
Although he was somewhat stout in later years, he was a keen sportsman when young and was one of the pioneers that set up the Hong Kong Schools Sports Association after the War and was Chairman of the Inter-School Football Competition.
Brother Paul Hackett
Teaching staff (1969-1970)
Brother Paul was only about one year in Chan Sui Ki before he was transferred to La Salle.
Like Brother Cronan, he was a scout and loved the outdoor life. He could spend many happy hours in scout activities, from camping to singing. In fact he could sing quite well.
Brother Paul and I were in University together. One "weakness" was his taste for sweet cakes and tarts and this we exploited to the full. He would visit his family and return with these sweet goodies. We would then retire to his room and scoff the lot.
We are indebted to these four pioneering Brothers, as well as to the early members of staff, who helped to set the school on a firm foundation.