November 12, 2013         Sun Yat-sen's birthday - a school holiday?


Sun Yat-sen was born on this day in 1866 in the city formerly known as Xiangshang (香山)  but now renamed Zhongshan (中山) in his honour.
Under colonial administration, this day used to be a general school holiday in Hong Kong, but from 1997 the Education Department has left the designation of a holiday up to individual school authorities.

In the years since 1997 there has been a move to re-instate today as a general school holiday as a way of acknowledging the great contribution Sun made to Chinese history. Some people would even like to have today designated as a general public holiday - such is the esteem with which they regard Sun.

Sun and Hong Kong have a special relationship:  in 1883 Sun studied at the Diocesan Boys' School, from 1884 to 1886 he was at the Government Central School, and in 1892 he graduated as a doctor from the Hong Kong College of Medicine for Chinese (a forerunner of the University of Hong Kong).

In Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Mainland and all over the world there are many places dedicated to Sun. My favourite is the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall in Guangzhou, a beautiful 3,000-seat octagonal building that is superb for music concerts!