Ex-police cadets reminisce about good training
The former Royal Hong Kong Police Cadet School will mark its 40th anniversary in 2013, and ex-cadets have formed a Cadet School 40th Anniversary Working Committee to organise celebration activities. As the anniversary draws closer, former staff members and cadets have more and more fond memories of their days in the school.
Mr Frank Drake, former Head of Physical Studies, Mr Ng Kwong-yeung, former Physical Education Instructor, and several former cadets working in Fire Services Department (FSD), Customs and Excise Department (C&ED) and Correctional Services Department (CSD), have talked about their jobs and studies in the school.
Dedicated to making cadets physically fit, Mr Drake recalled that establishment of the cadet school, a new venture and challenge for the Force, attracted him to transfer from Police Tactical Unit to the school. When asked what model of overseas physical training was adopted for the school, he proudly responded: "Made in Hong Kong." Given the aims and uniqueness of the school, no overseas models were entirely suitable at that time, he noted.
Uniqueness in training
Most of the newly recruited cadets, who were just 15 years old, did not measure up the robust image of a police officer. Therefore, the physical training programme for first-year cadets was designed to beef up their muscular power and build a strong body. The programme for the second year aimed at developing their talents in sports and instilling the concept of healthy lifestyle.
Both Mr Drake and Mr Ng have high regard for the leadership of the Cadet School Commandant, Mr Birney, especially his PR skills which made their job smoother.
Mr Ng pointed out that as the cadet school started from "zero", it had only limited resources. Therefore, Mr Drake and his team had to seek resources from various channels for purchasing equipment to meet the needs of the diverse physical training for cadets. In this regard, Mr Birney had good connections with many organisations, secondary schools and the Gurkha recruit training centre of the British Army in Shek Kong. Thanks to his PR skills, Mr Drake and Mr Ng succeeded in borrowing expensive sports gear such as a boxing ring.
Mr Drake is looking forward to meeting his old colleagues and cherishes the cadet school's passing-out parade, which had a special feature of graduating senior cadets performing "slow march" past the junior cadets.
Seven ex-cadets working in the other disciplined services said they were attracted by the job nature of their department after graduating from the cadet school.
According to Chief Customs Officers Li Tze-wai and Tsang Chor-ming, as well as Senior Customs Officer Lau Kwan-shing, C&ED attracted a lot of graduating cadets in the 70's. The training class they were in comprised entirely some 20 graduates from the cadet school.
Station Officer Li Hoi-lam and Senior Fireman Szeto Chung-hang pointed out that some cadets preferred the job of FSD. Having received very tough and intensive physical training, these cadets took FSD's physical test in their strides.
According to Assistant Officer I Lau Chuen-lung and Assistant Officer II Kan Ka-chi, both from CSD, cadets were also suitable for the job of CSD because the cadet school had moulded them into individuals with discipline and integrity. Like C&ED, CSD made use of former cadets' unique experience and knowledge and deployed them to work in correctional institutions or rehabilitation centres for young offenders.
Despite their different careers, they concur that the cadet school had trained them up for serving society in different capacities. And despite their different uniforms, they always cherish memories of the cadet school.
Mr Drake and Mr Ng (third left in front row) still have pleasant memories of the "slow march" in police cadets' passing-out parade
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