'Cha Stone' unveiled

On 4 July, the Vice-Chancellor of the University and the Master of St John’s College, helped by two graduate students, Echo Ouyang and Selena Yuan, unveiled an engraved stone in the Rose Garden, north of the Scholars’ Garden. The five-foot high piece of Taiwanese sandstone is a gift from Mrs May Cha, whose husband, the famous martial arts novelist Dr Louis Cha (Jin Yong), received an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University in 2005.

Louis Cha applied to St John’s in 2005, reading for an MPhil and then the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy which he received in 2010 aged 86. He was admitted as an Honorary Fellow of the College by the Master, in Hong Kong, in September 2010.

The stone is inscribed with a poetic couplet composed for the College by Louis Cha in 2005, at the start of his career as a graduate student. The couplet reads:

The scent of flowers, the scent of books clings to the College paths;
The sound of oars, the sound of song drifts through the Bridge of Sighs.
[Signed] A student, Jinyong.

Guests at the unveiling ceremony included representatives of University and College Departments. Louis Cha’s many readers were represented by seven different Chinese student associations from the University. The Master emphasized that Louis Cha’s fiction transcended political divisions in East Asia and that through his novels he had brought pleasure and knowledge to countless numbers of young Chinese, including those born in Britain.