A local columnist once said: “DGS is famous for talented girls. Maryknoll is famous for beautiful girls. St. Mary’s is famous for nuns.”
The columnist studied in one of those schools, but not St. Mary’s, obviously.
The reputation of Diocesan Girls’ School as the city’s most prestigious girls’ school was further burnished when Louisa Mak Ming-sze (麥明詩) grabbed this year’s Miss Hong Kong crown while Ada Pong Cheuk-yan (龐卓欣) won as first runner-up.
Both graduated from the famous school in Jordan five years ago.
Describing DGS as the female version of Eton College in Britain or a younger clone of Wellesley College in United States is perhaps no exaggeration. The school serves as a cradle of leadership that has churned out so many influential and well-rounded ladies in our society.
Let’s start with government ministers: we can count Elizabeth Wong Chien Chi-lien, Eva Cheng Yu-wah, Sarah Liao Sau-tung and Katherine Fok Lo Shiu-ching.
For dance, there’s Christine Liao. For Canton-pop, we have Karen Mok Man-wai and Denise Ho Wan-see. Elaine Sung Wing-yan, the first-ever Miss Hong Kong, is also a DGS alumna.
And let’s not forget Solina Chau Hoi-shuen, major shareholder of Tom.com and “close friend” of tycoon Li Ka-shing.
A DGS alumna, now a graceful lady of 60, told me that the school saw a surge in popularity in the past decade because many of its graduates became leaders in politics and business.
The school is known not just for its academic excellence (measured by how many 10As they get each year), but also its well-rounded education, which includes sports.
Interestingly, she chose not to send her daughter to DGS because “it’s too competitive”.
The rivalry between Cambridge law school graduate Louisa Mak and Manhattan School of Music opera graduate Ada Pong was one of the talking points in the beauty pageant.
Paul Pong Po-lam, Ada’s dad, naturally takes great pride in her daughter’s achievements. He recalls that when she was still studying at DGS, Ada played the leading role of a princess in the DGS Primary School final drama presentation.
That role, he said, paved the way for Ada to further her studies in the fields of music and drama.
As for the Miss Hong Kong herself, Louisa Mak said she can’t answer a reporter’s question on whether she would consider becoming Hong Kong’s future chief executive as she has no foresight on what would happen in “N” years.
That reminds us of CE Leung Chun-ying, who was also asked about his political plans in 2008, and he said he wouldn’t consider running for Chief Executive until the “Nth” year.
The King’s College graduate became Chief Executive in 2012.
If you wonder what kind of school would foster talents like the two Miss Hong Kong winners, consider the press interview with the DGS headmistress, in which she said young students who wanted to enter the school would be asked to share their aspirations, and the school would try to match those aspirations.
DGS identified academics, sports, music, service and spiritual cultivation as the five core areas for growth. Last year, most of its graduates chose to pursue studies in economics (37), followed by law (32) and medicine (19).
I don’t know too many DGS graduates to develop a general impression about them, but I can say that from the few that I’ve had the privilege of meeting, I could say that they are elegant, determined but also demanding.
I guess that’s what makes them the top ladies of Hong Kong.
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