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03 Nov 2023
The next generation - Joseph Yan Shun Chee

Many Swire employees have benefitted from the educational opportunities offered by the Group. Mr. Joseph Yan Shun Chee is one of six brothers who all attended Taikoo Primary School in the 1950s and 1960s, when their father worked for Taikoo Dockyard. With Hong Kong weathering an economic recession during his early childhood, Joseph says he feels fortunate to have benefitted from a free primary education in the years before the government introduced the six-year compulsory education system in 1971. “Taikoo Primary School offered free education for children of all Swire staff. Although the offer was initially limited to only one child per family, the rule was relaxed once the school campus was expanded and was able to accommodate more students. Our family was very lucky, because all six of us were able to study there.”

During that time, Joseph lived with his family at the Taikoo staff quarters in Quarry Bay. “Ninety-nine percent of the students at the school were the children of Swire employees. We used to gather at the Dockyard entrance in the morning – almost 100 of us – to walk to school together and then return after school ended. It was a really happy time for me,” he recalls.

Speaking of his family, Joseph talks fondly of his father, whom he greatly admires: “My father spoke English fluently, and he was therefore promoted by Taikoo, enjoying a higher salary and better benefits. Sometimes in the afternoons, he would dine at the red brick building next to the Dockyard. It had a big restaurant that served only the company’s Taipans and senior staff.”

Joseph graduated from Taikoo Primary School in 1969 and since then his school days have retained a special place in his heart:

"The school’s motto is 'Have integrity and be down to earth.' It’s a principle that I’ve held dear – and have tried to live by through the years. "

Students playing sports at Taikoo Primary School in 1961.

And almost 30 years on, Joseph sent his own daughter to Taikoo Primary School - and also became Chairman and Parent Manager of the school’s Parent-Teacher Association. He says: “I will always be very fond of my school and I believe it’s an ideal place for learning and growth. When my daughter graduated in 2017, she was responsible for designing and drawing that year’s graduation yearbook cover. I have also kept my brothers’ graduation certificates. I was so proud of them…”