Old Man And The Star
And Hundreds Of Schools, all by the name of “Tin Ka Ping”
The old man in the picture was born into a wealthy family in Guang-Dong, China, in the year 1919. When he was sixteen, his family was hit by financial hardship and he had to give up his study to join the work force. He actually tried to make a living in Indonesia, by selling porcelain and later, rubber. In 1958, he migrated to Hong Kong and built up his business in manufacturing of plastic and leather goods. His business picked up well but he did not forget for one minute how he had to quit his schooling years before. In 1982, he was not exactly one of the richest merchants in Hong Kong at that time. Nonetheless, he made an unbelievable donation of one billion Hong Kong dollars, a major portion of his assets, to establish his own charity fund for education and other areas of community needs. As a result, hundreds of schools were built and named after him in Hong Kong and Mainland China. In Hong Kong and some parts of China, everybody knows of at least one Tin Ka Ping School nearby, long before we can say the same about many of the American chain fast food outlets. Queen Elizabeth II awarded him the Medal of Honor in 1982 and Member of the British Empire in 1996 for his remarkable contribution to education and public good. Mr Tin’s recognition by the community reached its peak when the Nanjing Observatory named the planetoid 2886 after him. He was conferred the honorary doctorate degree by over thirty universities, and honorary citizen by over fifty Chinese cities. Mr Tin gives like a multi-billionaire, yet lives a frugal life. For many years, He had been going to work by public transport. Even in his late seventies, he sold his gracious home of 37 years and moved to a much smaller apartment. What did he do with the money received for the sale? Sorry, no prize for the right answers. Yes, he again gave it away. Now, why am I writing about all these? I could hardly think of a topic to hub about tonight, now that the Olympic games are all around us this week. Then I drove by one of his schools by chance, had the radio tuned to one of his interviews by chance, and looked up and saw the starry night. When the Goddess Muse speaks, we'd better listen.