In the book Hedda Morrison’s Hong Kong, Edward Stokes writes “Old rural virtues — self-reliance, hardiness, and an abiding respect for learning . . . — characterized the countryside” and these same virtues continue to inspire the extensive media coverage given on a regular basis to the results of the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education Examination, as well as those 狀元 johng6 yùhn4 or “Number One Scholars” who manage to achieve outstanding results. This report by TVB’s 陳逸思 Chàhn4 Yaht6 Sī1 is also interesting for its frequent use of the modal verb 會 wúih5, in addition to the solid array of educational terms. I find it intriguing that Hong Kong’s most intelligent students are all keen to become doctors: perhaps these are the people who might be able to provide a solution to Hong Kong’s current difficulties . . .
12 new words:
文憑試 màhn4 pàhng4 si3 = 香港中學文憑考試 or Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education Examination (HKDSE)
放榜 fong3 bóng2 = publish the results; publish a list of successful candidates/applicants
佳績 gāai1 jīk1 = good result; success
修讀 sāu1 duhk6 = to study (at university level); to do further study
養育 yéuhng5 yuhk6 = to bring up (a child)
摘星嘅決心 jaahk6 sīng1 ge3 kyut3 sām1 = the determination to reach for the stars
狀元 johng6 yùhn4 = Number One Scholar
屬意 suhk6 yi3 = to fix one’s mind on; to have one’s heart set on
立志 lahp6 ji3 = to resolve; to be determined
劍橋大學 gim3 kìuh4 daaih6 hohk6 = Cambridge University
固有 gu3 yáuh5 = usu. intrinsic; inherent; innate; in this context = “fixed” (?)
熱誠 yiht6 sìhng4 = sincere; sincerity
The results of the HKDSE have been published.
Twelve people, from nine [different] schools, obtained [a grade of] Level 5** in at least seven subjects.
Of these, a student from the Kwun Tong Maryknoll College and a student from St Mark’s School obtained this excellent result for the first time ever.
The majority of them will study [修讀] medicine.
Note: Here, 會 wúih5 is a modal indicating high likelihood: the students will definitely do this.
- Student 杜焯賢 Douh6 Cheuk3 Yìhn4 speaks:
I grew up in a public housing estate.
And, well, my mother worked very hard to bring me up.
Experiencing the death [離世 lèih4 sai3] of his elder brother when small and [having] a single-parent background [are two things that] have not deterred Dou Cheuk-yin from reaching for the stars.
Note: The reporter uses the phrase 摘星嘅決心 not only to mean “the determination to reach for the stars” but also “the determination to get a Level 5** result”, since asterisks are treated like stars in Cantonese and pronounced sīng1.
He obtained the result of Level 5** in seven subjects, and is the first “Number One Scholar” in the school’s history.
- 杜焯賢 Douh6 Cheuk3 Yìhn4 speaks again:
Attitude, and putting in a lot of effort oneself — these, I feel, are more important.
Now, resources can perhaps make a difference [係一個分別], but they cannot limit your result.
Note: The verb 局限 guhk6 haahn6 here means “to limit the movement of sb. or something; to confine; to restrict”.
St Mark’s School also “registered a first” (?).
Note: The expression 零的突破 lìhng4 dīk1 daht6 po3 is sometimes translated as “a zero breakthrough”, but this is not something I have ever heard anyone say.
- Student 陳韋諾 Chàhn4 Wàih4/Wáih5 Nohk6 speaks:
Well, I feel very grateful because at this school I have come across many different good teachers and good classmates.
At La Salle College there were three people who obtained Level 5** in seven subjects, and all of them have set their hearts on [屬意 suhk6 yi3] studying medicine at CUHK.
Wong Tsz-fung also got a Level 5** in the Extended Part for Mathematics, making him [係 haih6] a “Super Number One Scholar”.
- Student 黃子峯 Wòhng4 Jí2 Fūng1 speaks:
The main reason is because the professors at CUHK are relatively friendly.
They’re not up themselves, no way.
Note: Here, the modal verb 會 wúih5 is used again to indicate high likelihood. Negated, it suggests the low likelihood of the professors behaving badly.
- Student 許友灝 Héui2 Yáuh5 Houh6 speaks:
My feeling is that the atmosphere at CUHK is extremely friendly; also, there are a lot of other students from this school [師兄] studying medicine there.
Note: The noun 師兄 sī1 hīng1 is an unusual one. It usually means “senior fellow apprentice; the son of one’s master (older than oneself); father’s apprentice (older than oneself)”. In this context, it refers to students from La Salle College who are already studying at CUHK.
Kam Chun-kei from St Paul’s Co-educational College, (a student) who once had leukaemia [白血病 baahk6 hyut3 behng6], also got a Level 5 in eight subjects. He is determined to practice medicine.
- Student 甘浚祺 Gām1 Jeun3 Kèih4 speaks:
I really hoped to be a doctor when I grew up, and to give sick children in hospital the same hope [I once received], so that they know that once they get better, they can still go on living a beautiful life.
Note: The doubling of 俾 béi2 in the second part of the sentence is curious. 俾翻希望病童 would mean “to give sick children hope”, but perhaps because of all the extra modification (相同嘅；喺醫院嘅), a sort of back-up 俾 is added to reinforce the meaning.
Diocesan Girls’ School [拔萃女書院 baht6 seuih6 néuih5 syū1 yún6*2] have their own “Super Number One Scholar”; she will go to Cambridge University to study economics.
Note: Future action is often expressed by the combination 將會 jēung1 wúih5, in which 將 jēung1 indicates future aspect, while 會 wúih5 (as we have already seen) is a modal indicating high likelihood.
[She] also said that she didn’t approve [of the view that] Liberal Studies was a failure.
- Student 蔡欣平 Choi3 Yān1 Pìhng4 speaks:
Here in [this] school we don’t force students to think about issues from [within] some kind of fixed [固有嘅 gu3 yáuh5 ge3] frame.
Note: Again, negated 會 wúih5 suggests the low likelihood of students being treated like mere bricks in the wall.
Intellectual space is left for students, that’s all.
[I can] really appreciate the sincerity of the Hong Kong people, well, and their perseverance in demonstrating.
Nevertheless, I hope Hongkongers don’t resort to violence.
Both Diocesan Girls’ School and Pui Ching Middle School had students that got a Level 5** in seven subjects, while students from Queen’s College, Diocesan Boys School and St Paul’s Co-educational College obtained a Level 5** in eight subjects.
Report by TVB News reporter Chàhn4 Yaht6 Sī1