Headmaster S.J. Lowcock - R.I.P.
Headmaster S.J. Lowcock had inspired me to become who and what I am today.
The pivotal point, where I changed my behavioral view in life, transpired from a single incident that happened to me in Form 4, the year Mr. Lowcock became the Headmaster. Joseph Chou, my best friend since our DPS days and my partner-in-mischief, and I were ordered to the Headmaster Office during a Mandarin class taught by Mr. T.C. Chang (Mandarin Lo). We were there because Mandarin Lo had noticed paper balls were flying across the aisles while he was writing on the board, and we became the prime suspects, even though there were other culprits.
Lowcock (as he was frequently referred to, besides Har Gau Lo) was surprised to see us at his office. We were considered two of his favorite students after all, being quite athletic and religious. Nevertheless, before he would meter the punishment, he said to us, “Do the right thing. Admit that you were throwing paper balls, and that it was the wrong behavior to do in a classroom.” In my heart, I thought Lowcock needed to hear a confession from us first, as a principle, before he would carry out the punishment. However, by telling us to “Do The Right Thing”, it immediately trumped over all other feelings and excuses that we might have had at that time. We both confessed, thereby relieving other offenders from being called to the carpet. Ten canes later, we obviously felt the pain, but more critically, we felt a lot more at peace and renewed, knowing that we had done the right thing by confessing and by owning up to our (mis)deed.
From that day on, “Do The Right Thing” became my conscience and my guide in life. Joseph Chou eventually excelled academically in DBS. But his life was cut short soon after he entered HKU. To this day, I still reminisce our time together in DBS. Meanwhile, I continued to participate in sports. “Do The Right Thing” rewarded me once again the year I became the school swimming team captain in 1961 -– In order to maximize our total points in the Inter-School Swimming Competition, I volunteered to enter a vacant slot in the Butterfly event that no other team members could or wished to participate. Even though Butterfly was my weakest style, I did not want to give up the opportunity to increase our total team points. I wanted to do the right thing. Not surprisingly, I came in last, but I gained a point to the overall score for the team, and solidified our Inter-School Championship that year. I still treasure the victory and the award ceremony to this day.
Headmaster Lowcock continued to be my mentor and advisor after I entered the business world. When I wanted to marry the love of my life, he would “Do The Right Thing” for us and walked my bride down the aisle at our wedding because her father was not able to make it. For that, Juliana and I are forever grateful to Headmaster Lowcock, especially when we celebrate our 50th anniversary in two years.
For us, “Do The Right Thing” continues to inspire and guide us in cultivating team spirit and having a clear conscience on things we do in our daily life. Juliana and I are very saddened by Headmaster Lowcock’s sudden departure. We had looked forward so much to seeing him at our ’62 Class Reunions (DBS and Pooi-To Girls’ School) this year. We shall miss Headmaster S.J. Lowcock dearly. May he rest in peace.
Kenneth Wan, Class of 1962
Lt. Governor (retired)
New York State District, U.S.A.
February 2, 2012