68th Congregation (2010)
Dr. MOK Hing-yiu
“The just man shall flourish like the palm tree, like a cedar of Lebanon shall he grow.” (Psalm 92:12) Dr Mok Hing Yiu passed away on 26 September 2010, but thanks to his great generosity his name will live on and the things he most valued will continue to flourish among us.
Like his forefathers before him, Dr Mok treasured the finest Chinese art. Less than two weeks ago, a lecture bearing his name was given in Mandarin at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney on the design of the mausoleum of the first Chinese Emperor. The inaugural lecture of another series bearing the name Mok Hing Yiu took place at the China Centre of the University of Oxford in May of this year. The lecturer was our then Vice-Chancellor, Professor Lawrence Lau. The series will continue for years to come disseminating research about China and its culture in one of the world’s great intellectual centres.
Himself a distinguished physician, Dr Mok has endowed several professorships in Medicine at the University of Hong Kong and The Chinese University of Hong Kong in order to “encourage medical teaching, research and development.” Our present Vice-Chancellor Joseph Sung, installed this very day, himself bears the title Mok Hing Yiu Professor of Medicine.
A devout Christian all his life, Dr Mok’s name is associated with a number of institutions and programmes supporting Christian education. None is perhaps better known in Hong Kong than SHK St Mary’s Church Mok Hing Yiu College, whose mission is “to witness God’s love and serve people through Christianity” and “to provide whole-person education with equal stress on academic and moral development aiming at a life-long learning capacity for self-learning, critical thinking, discovery, creativity and adaptation to changes.” The spirit of Mok Hing Yiu lives on in the generations of secondary students formed and nourished by the ideals he himself most treasured. It lives on too in his beloved wife and family, who are carrying on the work of the causes he cherished.
In caring for the community Dr Mok has followed in the tradition of his distinguished father, Mok Kon Sang, and his forefathers in a family of highly successful compradors stretching back four generations to the beginnings of Hong Kong in the early nineteenth century. Dr Mok himself was educated at St Stephen’s College, and at the age of 16 he became King Edward VII Scholar and started Medicine at the University of Hong Kong. The year was 1939, and his medical studies were interrupted by the war. He completed his degree in China and in 1946 returned to Hong Kong. He began work at Queen Mary Hospital where he met his wife, Rita. He was awarded the Hong Kong Defence Medal and the Auxiliary Medical Service Medal for his wartime service.
Dr Mok did postgraduate studies and clinical work in Britain and was subsequently admitted as a Member of the Royal Edinburgh College of Physicians in 1951. He returned to Hong Kong and became Acting Medical Specialist in the Government Medical Health Department, as well as Consultant Physician at Queen Mary Hospital and Kowloon Hospital. He was at the same time Medical Officer in charge of Lai Chi Kok Hospital, Honorary Lecturer at the University of Hong Kong and Honorary Consultant to Tung Wah Hospital. He was also Chief Editor of the Medical Journal of the Hong Kong Chinese Medical Association. Dr Mok was in private practice in Hong Kong for forty years from 1953 to 1993. In recognition of his distinction as a member of his profession Dr Mok was elected Fellow of the Royal Edinburgh College of Physicians (1971), the Hong Kong College of Physicians and the Hong Kong Academy of Medicine (1993).
Dr Mok’s generous philanthropy can be seen in his support for a variety of projects. He and his wife contributed to the establishment of the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals Mok Wong Fung Yee Home for the Elderly in Shatin, which was named after his wife. Dr Mok and his wife also made generous donations to equip the Sheng Kung Hui St Mary’s Church Mok Hing Yiu College; to establish the Mok Hing Yiu Building in the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui Ming Hua Theological College; and to fund the building of a Mok Hing Yiu Library in a bible college in Cambodia. In 2009 Dr Mok made a significant contribution to renovate and provide updated facilities to a crèche that was named Po Leung Kuk Mok Hing Yiu Crèche. His support for the Christian faith extended to China, Cambodia, Canada and Australia.
Dr Mok contributed significantly to his alma mater, the University of Hong Kong. In 1972, he established a Mok Hing Yiu Bursary for Medical Students. He served as Vice-President and later as President of the Hong Kong University Alumni Association. In 2007 he endowed the Mok Hing Yiu Distinguished Visiting Professorships, as well as the Mok Hing Yiu Professorship in Respiratory Medicine. The first Mok Hing Yiu Professor in Respiratory Medicine is Lam Wah-kit, Division Chief and Chair of Respiratory Medicine. In recognition of his many “contributions to the medical sector in Hong Kong and academia”, the University of Hong Kong conferred on Dr Mok in 2009 the degree of Doctor of Social Sciences, honoris causa.
Dr Mok has also contributed handsomely to The Chinese University of Hong Kong. He established two Mok Hing Yiu Endowed Professorships at CUHK to support professors of the Faculty of Medicine who are at the forefront of their fields of expertise. Apart from Professor Joseph Sung, Lawrence K S Wong of the Department of Medicine and Therapeutics has been named Mok Hing Yiu Professor. These generous donations have contributed significantly towards the advancement of teaching, research and the academic development of the University.
The Chinese University of Hong Kong has also benefited greatly from Dr Mok’s collection of Chinese art objects and antiquities. The Mok family collection, including the collections of his father, Mok Kon Sang, and of his two sons, Christopher and Edwin, is one of the most important in Hong Kong. The University community was fortunate enough to see aspects of it in 2008 in an exhibition held in the University Art Museum entitled “Timeless Legacy: The Mok Family Collections”. The array of ancient bronze, fine Ming and Qing ceramics, scholarly objects, furniture, intricate carved jades, classical landscape painting and fine calligraphy made an unforgettable impression on visitors. The exhibition has also made a significant contribution towards the study and promotion of Chinese art and antiquities.
Mr Chairman, it is my honour to present the many contributions of the late Dr Mok Hing Yiu, eminent physician, philanthropist and collector of Chinese art, for the posthumous award of the degree of Doctor of Social Science, honoris causa.
This citation is written by Professor David Parker