The Story of Our School Crest
Written by Dr. NG Hin-kwong (joined SGSS since 1963)
Our school crest is basically a heart-shaped shield with the various symbols arranged on it and a scroll bearing our Latin Motto beneath it. Central to the design of our school crest is an open book upon a blue background. Books are very common symbols on the crests of institutes of learning, because they are universal symbols of knowledge. The book on your crest is open, implying that it should be read and used. Therefore, I want to remind you, fellow students, that the primary purpose of your being in this very fine school is the acquisition of knowledge. Make good and full use of the knowledge of your teachers and the facilities the school provides to acquire as much knowledge as you possibly can while at school, to equip yourselves well to face later challenges when you either enter society or university. But this is not to say that you should completely ignore the other aspects of school life, such as the many sports and clubs and extra-curricular activities offered by the school. Maintain a good sense of proportion when allotting time to different aspects of your school life. Always give your academic studies your first priority.
Inscribed on the open page of the book are four Chinese characters, written in zhuanshu, which is the style of script in vogue during the Qin Dynasty. These four characters (真理至上!) translate as ‘truth is supreme’. This has more or less the same meaning as our Latin Motto ‘Vincit Veritas’, which appears on the scroll beneath the shield. ‘Vincit Veritas’ translates as ‘truth conquers’ or ‘truth prevails’. Have you ever wondered why we do not have a quotation from Shakespeare, or Einstein’s famous equation of relativity as our motto, but have, instead, these four simple characters? Because in life, it is not literature or science which is the most important guiding principle, but ‘truth’. Therefore, embrace honesty, integrity and the upholding of truth as your life-long belief and principle. If you do that, you will always tread on safe and solid ground.
Arranged above the open book, occupying a position of honour in our school crest, are three dolphins. The dolphins appearing on our school crest are drawn in a stylised form conforming to heraldic conventions, with green bodies and scarlet fins and tongues. They are not strange creatures, as the ill-intentioned or ignorant may tease. They are heraldic dolphins. Dolphins are sea animals known to man since historic times. They are agile, kind and gentle creatures of the sea. Countless stories have been told of how shipwrecked sailors on the brink of drowning were rescued by dolphins. And these stories were not mere legends. We still read newspaper reports of such incidents from time to time.
The featuring of dolphins in our school crest is not purely for aesthetic reasons, although I do think they are very beautiful. They are an allusion to the fact that Shau Kei Wan was a fishing village many years ago. But what is more important, I think, is that they are there to remind us to be kind-hearted and to be ready to help those in need, just as dolphins at sea come to the rescue of the ship-wrecked sailors. We are living in an age and world of hi-technology and computers and Ethernets where everything moves rapidly; where emphasis, in my opinion over-emphasis, is placed on competition to excel, on self-attainment, on moving in the fast track and on earning the most in the shortest time. Very often, we are carried along by this rapid current, so engrossed in our own achievements and so absorbed in our own problems that we are oblivious to the needs of those less fortunate than ourselves. We are even deaf to the cries for help of those who may be very near us. As students of Shau Kei Wan Government Secondary School, you already belong to a privileged lot. I am not asking you to ignore your own interests, but I am asking you to have compassion and empathy for those less fortunate than yourselves, to be sensitive and responsive to those crying for help, and to offer your help freely to those in need but too weak to cry out. In doing so, you will find that the greatest happiness comes not from personal achievements, or self fulfillment, or academic or social honour, or the accumulation of wealth, but from helping others and the knowledge that because of your action, however trivial or humble, some lives are touched and given new meaning. Fellow students of my alma mater, in saying this to you tonight, I am also, in no small way, reminding myself of this important message that our school crest conveys.
I hope that the next time you wear your badge or just look at it, three things will come to your mind: study well, acquire as much knowledge as you can while at this school; believe in the supremacy of truth, and that truth will conquer. Up-hold truth under whatever circumstances; have compassion and offer your help generously to those in need. If you do that, if we all do that, we will not have worn our badge in vain.