"Knowledge can change one's life." That was the belief of the late Mr Yang Tuck-Ming and Mrs Yang Wong Fung-Ying. Despite being blue-collar workers who did not receive much schooling, they had a strong faith in the importance of education. They worked very hard to support their family, giving their children the liberty to pursue their studies as far as possible. This is the source of the link between the Yang family and HKU.
For the Yangs, studying at HKU has become something of a family tradition. It has been the university of choice for nine family members over the last four decades, with the ties tracing back to the late 1970s and early 1980s when Mr William Yeung Wai-Ling 楊威寧 and Mr Dennis Yang Kwong-Fai 楊光輝 shared the campus with their youngest sister, Ms Betty Yeung Oi-Yung 楊愛容. The brothers even served as President and Vice-President (Internal) of the HKU Students' Union during their university days. The spouses of William and Betty, Ms Ng Wai-Chung 吳韡春 and Mr Frederick Lai Chiu-Cheong 黎照昌 respectively, are also members of the HKU alumni family.
The family's connection to the University continues with the next generation. Thomas Lai Wai-Hay 黎惠僖, Betty's son, is a graduand and three of his cousins are alumni of HKU. The knowledge Thomas acquired at HKU was even put into practical use during his service trips to Kenya and Cambodia. These experiences of Thomas not only broadened his own horizons, but also inspired his family members to dedicate a gift to set up a service learning fund.
In May 2015, HK$1 million was donated to HKU from the estates of the late Mr and Mrs Yang to establish the "Yang Tuck Ming & Wong Fung Ying Service Learning Fund" (楊德明王鳳英志願服務基金). It is hoped that the Fund will encourage local students to participate in service learning, be it in Hong Kong or overseas. This in turn will strengthen the spirit of service of the HKU community and the students' engagement in addressing community concerns or global issues that confront all humankind.
This service learning fund is named after the Yang couple in commemoration of their generosity to help others and their belief of the high value of education.
Group photo of the Yang family. Ms Betty Yeung (front, 2nd left) and her elder brothers, William (back left) and Dennis (back right) occasionally found themselves crossing paths as they were all enrolled at the Faculty of Social Sciences.