## Mathematics at WYK in the Seventies

- Details
- Created: 06 September 2017

6 Sep 2017

Dear Lai Sir,

Dear Lai Sir,

In a recent conversation with a friend who attended Pui Ching and took the HK Cert exam within a couple of years as I did (1973), she said she took exams on two math subjects in her Cert exam, an "ordinary math" and a "higher math". I am am very puzzled by this. I positively do not recall there were more than one math exam in our school cert. Can you please shed some light on this?

Best, Kam.

Kam Y. Lau, Professor Emeritus,

Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences,

253 Cory Hall, U.C. Berkeley, Berkeley, CA94720

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In your CE days, yes, there were two maths subjects, Maths and Additional Maths, which was the more difficult subject. The Wah Yan Fathers preferred boys to take another social subject, whuch was Chinese History, for a complete education rather than taking Additional Maths. The Fathers had confidence in our students. They also asked me for my opinions, and I said our students could study higher maths any time without difficulties. In fact, in later years WYK joined interschool maths competitions and was looked down by other schools as a school not providing Additional Maths. But WYK boys beat them. WYK started offering Additional Maths very late, almost after 1985. I was appointed to teach both maths. Main reason of offering Additional Maths at that time was that many students with good CE results were not good enough to be accepted back to WYK for Form 6S, and they had difficulties finding another school to study science because they did not take Additional Maths in Form 5.

Regards,

Lai Sir

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Thanks for clarifying this for me, Lai Sir.

I really was extremely lucky in being able to get back into F.6S at WYK. I only had two A's in Physics and Chemistry. I didn't get an A in math, sorry to say. And in my matric exam I got B's in both Pure Maths and Applied Maths, much to the disappointment of you and Mr. So, as well as myself! As I said in my autobiography, my secondary school record was just plain average. My passion was in Chinese ink painting at the time, as you well know! It was indeed a miracle that Caltech accepted me with full financial aid!

I am cc-ing Norman and Anthony in this email.

Best, Kam.

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