Our Stories @ ENG: GiGi To Man Chee

Our Stories @ ENG: A series in which teaching staff and students share their memories of the ENG Department to coincide with the 60th Anniversary of the department. [Read all entries.]  [Revisit the “Pride of Place” series.] [Revisit the “Pet Sounds” series.] [Revisit the “Headspace” series.] [Revisit the “Ongoing” series.] [Revisit the “Interrogative” series.]

HKBU ENG Taught Me to Think
by GiGi To Man Chee
Saturday 8 June 2019
(4 days after June Fourth. 1 day before Sunday 9 June 2019)

Context can’t be transferred, I don’t believe in communication. But.

People who know me well know that I was a major failure in life before I went to Hong Kong Baptist University. So when BU picked me up, I was already so screwed up that I just wanted to get this over with as quickly as possible. I didn’t expect anything.

BU English saved me.

I was amazed by how teachers replied to emails within a day or two, and if you happened to write late at night, Tammy would actually reply so fast, within minutes, that at first you’d think there was some problem with the computer network. I still wanted to throw the computer into the sea, mind you. Teachers would actually remember your name, answer questions outside of lectures, and more. A friend of mine told me he was no longer in contact with his lecturers three years after graduation, but that’s not the case with the legends that are Lian-Hee and JSP, who would still advise on your problems. There are many life lessons I have learnt in the English department. It’s pretty cool to have an ATV star from your childhood to teach you Cantonese for example. You would secretly despise English-speakers who are monoglot and can say no more than ni hao. I mean, I don’t even speak Mandarin and am illiterate okay? And Jason would actually invite students to off-campus poetry social events for further personal development. Of course, I am such a well-known social moron that I used to go to the Phonology Lab for peace and once the lab assistant Vesper saved my life when I almost fainted. She has probably forgotten about it now. But I wouldn’t forget that Ruth would actually blink and smile, distracting me from listening to what she had to say. And Hans, when he was still teaching at BU, along with Lian-Hee and JSP, appreciate my drawing with words. And of course, Prof Christie who encouraged me in literature and poetry, assured our social responsibility, at the first semester in BU. As my Bin buddy often says, the world is bleak anyway la. But I remember our year’s top student Kwun said when asked his opinion about BU’s whole-person education, ‘I feel broken inside.’ But inspired by Tim2 and encouraged by Grace, in this dystopian world, we can only move forward, and rest assured that these guys understand.

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GiGiGiGi To Man Chee is a graduate (Class of 2016) at the Department of English. [Read all entries by GiGi.]

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