Posted on Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

By Hendon Harris

Hendon Pole Vaulting

 This picture taken on the KGV athletic field was used by Jardine Matheson Travel Services for an advertisement they ran on November 25, 1964 in the South China Morning Post

Our family arrived in Hong Kong in 1963. My uncle who had worked in the U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong had just been posted to Manila. Although we were sad not to be able to spend time with him and his family it was fortunate for us because we were able to use the remaining time on the lease on his home in Kowloon Tong until we found our own apartment in Sha Tin. A funny thing happened while we were there. Right after we moved to Kowloon Tong I was casually soaking in the bathtub. Suddenly I heard a distant roar that became louder and louder. Before I could react items on the bathroom counter seemed to bounce and clatter. The sound was unbelievable. I just knew that the house was somehow on train tracks and that I was going to surely die. Fortunately the rattling and the roar dissipated as suddenly as it had occurred until it completely disappeared. I threw on a towel and ran out of the bathroom to ask about the “train” only to be told that we were right under the flight path of jets coming in for landing at the Hong Kong airport then, Kai Tak. I got used to those flyovers but it was always amazing how low those jets were when flying over. Life in Kowloon Tong was full of numerous memories not the least of which was my first romantic kiss with another missionary kid who also lived in the neighborhood. I had met her (who will here remain nameless) through Christian Youth Fellowship run by Mr. and Mrs. Harrington a wonderful missionary couple who realized that the missionary kids in Hong Kong needed organized social activities. The first event I went on with the group shortly after we first arrived was a bike ride in the New Territories. During the time I was in Hong Kong CYF was a significant part of my social experience and I will always appreciate the efforts of the Harringtons because of that. Those events included hikes to the top of Lan Tau Island, weekend retreats, boat parties, Friday night parties’ etc. in addition to that original great bike ride.

These new friends all attended King George Vth School. It was the school to attend for the children of international families and KGV students literally came from all parts of Hong Kong. Being initially unprepared for the British school system in order to join my friends at school I attended Royden House on Hong Kong Island to prepare for the entrance exam. It’s worth mentioning what it took for me to get to Royden House school every day. By that time my family had moved to Sha Tin View Terrace just above the Temple of Ten Thousand Buddhists in Sha Tin. (If you’ve ever been to that temple you will certainly have an appreciation of what it took for our family to leave and come home everyday) To get to Royden House I walked down through the temple grounds down the hill and over to the Sha Tin train station, took the train all the way down to the Star Ferry, over the harbor via the ferry to the island, took a bus to the Peak Tram and finally the Peak Tram itself halfway up to the school. That process was repeated in reverse everyday to return home. I was admitted to KGV in 1963 into Form 3.

Several of my friends at KGV such as Richard Bush Ш (now with the Brookings Institute) and others were serious scholars. However, that was not my experience. Whether my late arrival into the British school system contributed to this is subject to debate. In 1963 KGV had and hopefully to this day has a wonderful inclusive agenda in athletics as well as scholastically to draw from students talents that those students didn’t know they had. Before arriving in Hong Kong I had no idea I was a runner. Upon joining the school I started running along with all my fellow classmates during our physical education classes. Every time we ran I was able to work my way through the pack until I was consistently 1st in my Physical Ed class. As the result of these efforts I was eventually invited by our coach, George Bird, to join the school cross country team. In 1963-1964 as a member of that team with Francis Yeh as our team captain we won the All Colony School Championship. In 1964-1965 I was captain of the KGV team with several excellent runners remaining from our previous year. In 1964 and 1965 I was Junior Colony Cross Country Champion of Hong Kong in races held in the New Territories. In 1965 I won the last event on KGV Sports Day by defeating the favorite, Robert McKirdy, in the Mile Run who had earlier that year defeated me in my event, the KGV All School Cross Country run.

In addition to sports I also enjoyed my KGV experience in being in the cast of two plays. Those plays were 1. Lady Audley’s Secret 1964 and 2. The Trojan Women 1965.

On May 11th  1965 I left Hong Kong harbor at night aboard the President Cleveland to return to the United States to complete my high school education in South Carolina. The beautiful lights of the harbor were the last images of Hong Kong I saw that night and still remember as we sailed away. I graduated in January 1971 from California State University, Long Beach with a BA in history. I have had several interesting and unusual experiences such as a page boy at the Disneyland Hotel (1970),CIA local operative in Beirut Lebanon as a Safe House/Listening Post operator(1971), owner of a real estate loan company, real estate developer and a witness to my sister Lillian Craig Harris investiture into the Order of the British Empire at Buckingham Palace in (July 2007) among many other fabulous memories. However, for a missionary/preacher’s kid who attended 16 schools in 12 years with 2½ of those years at King George Vth School I will leave it to you to imagine how memorable those stable 2½ years in Hong Kong and at KGV have been to me.


 My KGV Lion Crest that I still have today 


The 1964 KGV Cross Country Team Winners of the Inter-School Cross-Country Championships


My father, Dr. Hendon M. Harris, Jr. relaxing in our home in Sha Tin


Four friends at a CYF dinner in Kowloon. That’s Richard Baker to my immediate left


Signing a yearbook in the quad in 1964 just before the summer break



Winning the Hong Kong Junior Colony Cross Country Championship on December 5th, 1964 in the New Territories, as I had also done the previous year in leading KGV to another cross country team victory


The One Mile Race winner on School Sports Day, Saturday February 13th, 1965


The Beak of the 10th Sun Raven – STILL GLOWS

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