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星期四 2016年11月03號

【SCMP Education Post:親子關係】 Extraordinary CEO, extraordinary mum

This is the last column in a mini-series of write-ups focusing on the role of parents in their children’s education and life outside of school. This time, I refer to an intriguing interview with Managing Director of Million Group Holdings Limited, Anthea Lo, whose parenting philosophy certainly errs on the side of liberal whereby grades are not the be all and all ...


Anthea Lo is flying high. Having graduated with a master’s degree from The University of New South Wales back in the ‘90s, her career has gone from strength to strength. She is the Managing Director of Million Group Holdings and the proud owner of a popular hotel in the upmarket Hong Kong district of Mong Kok.

Yet, Anthea is not just an extraordinary CEO. She is also an extraordinary mother of two sons who mean the world to her. Extraordinary in the sense that her two sons are perhaps not your typical technology wizards as they are just as content to satisfy themselves with the wonders of nature, reading, museums and music.


Throughout this interview, Anthea’s sense of rationality, particularly in relation to balancing her children’s interests and time, touched me. Her elder son, Hamish, was not pushed into receiving extensive tutoring early on in his childhood and he was encouraged to reveal his own interests. Hamish loved piano and drawing, thus Anthea and her husband, a Rugby School alumni, took him to classes.


I think the point here is to let children become more autonomous in their decision-making. Once again, Hamish was the one to decide when to give up playing piano as he became eager to learn nunchucks. With skiing and diving two of Hamish’s other great passions, Anthea and I concurred that taking exams for extra-curricular activities to enhance a child’s portfolio should not be forced upon children. Children should be given room to breathe and enjoy what they want to - even if nunchucks may not impress a school’s admissions team as much as more traditional pursuits.


Anthea has enough on her plate with managing a group of people at work. Thus, the idea of being a “helicopter parent” as well would be exhausting. In Anthea’s words: “Many of my friends are overly anxious about their children’s academic results, they even set targets for their children to achieve as they progress with their study path.” For Anthea, though, raising children to have varied interests and enjoy them should be more of a priority. Hamish achieved 11 A*s at GCSE. He did not cram all hours of the day for these results so it begs the question - does less parental pressure from an early age reap long-term benefits for children?


A further discussion point was the cultivation of reading habits and the learning of Chinese from a young age. Anthea never forced her children to read English books, opting rather to place trust in her two sons’ schools to develop their interest in reading. Hamish and Hayman, Anthea’s younger son, both came to love reading, picking up books as they pleased. There were no strict patterns determined by their parents. Simply, Hamish loved reading Chinese books, especially Jin Yong novels, while Hayman currently likes reading English books.  

The fact that Hamish was reading Jin Yong novels in P4 is extraordinary but it also had knock-on effects in terms of influencing his parents’ decision to send him to the UK. Essentially, Anthea and her husband cleverly realised that they could sit back and relax when they sent Hamish abroad because they knew that that he had a strong command of Chinese already under his belt. As Anthea said: “my son’s Chinese language capability allowed us to let him study in the UK, without worrying that his mother language would be degraded.” Food for thought, clearly.

One final topic I would like to mention is school selection. For Anthea, it is all about matching a child’s characteristics with the school’s ethos. Realising that Hamish may not fit in well at the likes of Eton or Harrow, Anthea and her husband thought that he would “get along with students much better at Rugby”. Indeed, Rugby can offer a well-rounded education with perhaps less emphasis on academics.


Anthea had Hamish’s best interests at heart but there was never any pressure for him to go to the UK. Yet, she knew that exposure to a new culture and the broadening of his horizons would help him later in life. After a few years in the UK, Anthea talks eagerly about how much Hamish came out of his shell. From being “quite a quiet” boy, he blossomed into a talkative, happy teenager and certainly one of life’s go-getters.


Anthea’s parenting philosophy in a nutshell - consistency, encouragement, allowing room for development, freedom of choice and the idea that ‘it all comes naturally”. Words of wisdom from a very wise lady.



1 寄宿百科 2 英國大學
3 談英國 4 赴英須知
5 赴英遊學 6 選校攻略
7 留英所得 8 親子關係
9 英名校大比拼 10 留英專家分享

陳思銘(Samuel Chan) 並非如一般外界人所認為的「富二代留學生」,家人數代都在流浮山經營海鮮買賣,父母學歷程度雖然不高,但努力工作賺錢把Samuel從小(9歲)就供養到英國寄宿學校格雷舍姆學院 (Gresham College)讀書,才能讓他早早就體會到英式教育優越全世界的原因。
Samuel Chan在留英之前亦都曾苦於在香港的教育體系中掙扎求存,但是香港朝令夕改的教育制度卻令他的成續止步不前,甚至感到老師也對自己失去興趣。直到接受英式教育後,他深深感受到兩地學制的差異:在英國,永遠是先發掘學生的興趣,再透過「興趣」作為推動其學習的原動力,釋放潛能。在英國,他獲得了使自己能夠表達自己並嘗試新事物的信心,最終以優秀的成續升讀英國頂尖的學府。
Samuel Chan留英長達15年,在諾定咸大學(University of Nottingham)獲得經濟學學士後,在華威大學(The University of Warwick)攻讀完政治經濟系碩士後回流香港。回流香港的Samuel鑑有感於香港教育制度無法充分釋放學生潛力,於是回流英國的他創辦了英識教育,以幫助更多有志留學英國的同學提供各類支援及顧問服務。
白手興手固然辛苦,但奮鬥數年英識教育終獲香港品牌發展局頒發「香港服務名牌」的升學教育中心,亦是同業首間獲此認證的品牌。後來,Samuel於2017年奪得「英國傑出校友獎」,該獎是英國文化協會及多家英國高等院校的共同構思,並由英國文化協舉辦,評選活動獲不少名人及王室人員支持及參與。可見,讓身為香港人的「陳思銘」的名字深深烙印在英國學術界傑出人仕的陳列櫃中。雖然事業受到肯定,但Samuel並不安於現狀,後來在2020年更創立Britannia Gateway 的學術培訓平台,提供更多元化的課程以幫助客戶適應英國課程。

論名氣,Oundle 未追得上 Eton、Wycombe Abbey 等頂級名校,但學校的學術成績在英國依然名列前茅。作為傳統名校,Oundle 非常重視全人發展,為學生提供多元課餘活動選擇。學校奉行英國碩果僅存的 House Dining System,或是令香港家長趨之若鶩的一大原因。
Bromsgrove 的師生比例是一比八,比一般的寄宿學校低。此外,綜合我曾到訪的學校,此校硬件設施之完善,可入選全英設備最佳的三大校園。校方不惜工本為學生提供舒適環境,甚至收購附近的酒店改建成宿舍,令宿生有名符其實的「五星級享受」。此校極具前瞻性,是國際化的英國宿校。
Brighton College 是英國首屈一指的私校,是香港家長最愛的寄宿學校之一。 看一間學校,除了教育宗旨、多元化活動、成績之外,更要看校長的魄力。十年前,校長 Mr. Richard Cairns 成為 Brighton College 校長後,把學校由全英國接近 150 名推至首 20 名。除了在教育方針上大力推動改革之外,也為了保持學生的求知慾而非常努力,是難得的好校長。
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