It is with deep sorrow that we tell you that Timothy Chu, LSESU HKPASS 2006-07 Public Affairs Officer, has unfortunately passed away. He went missing at a scuba diving trip, and his body was subsequently found at Race Rocks in Victoria, British Colombia. Timothy was a fine member of our society who made significant and enduring contributions. Our hearts go out to his friends and family.
Below is an article prepared by the 2006-07 committee.
Timothy Chu was the Public Affairs Officer (“PAO”) of HKPASS in 2006-2007. Tim passed away from a diving incident in July 2015.
Nine years ago we worked with Tim in the HKPASS Committee. Back then, HKPASS was a small student society. We did not have a big membership base or a lot of sponsors. What we had was a dedicated Committee and a core group of members who believed in what HKPASS stood for: promoting public affairs awareness and social services. As the PAO, Tim played an important role in our work that year.
Tim organised a good number of activities for HKPASS. There was the annual Cambridge Quiz for which Tim put together the LSE team. Tim also interviewed Emily Lau, Long Hair and James Tien with other members for the society’s newsletter. Looking back at those interview reports from nine years ago, you see pictures of a young, smiling, bright-eyed Tim standing next to the politicians, having just quizzed them on the hot political topics of the day such as Goods and Services Sales Tax, Chief Executive election and universal suffrage.
The main event which Tim organised that year was the “Public Affairs Tea”. As Tim reported in the society newsletter, it was the first of its kind and, from what we could gather, probably also the last in the history of HKPASS. The genesis of this “Tea” was that we did not manage to invite any speaker of some calibre to host the usual “Global Forum” (this caused some commotion within the Committee), and so as a fall-back Tim organised what some of us liked to do best: sitting around and discussing public affairs over tea and crisps.
As far as “talking politics” go, the “Tea” was pretty informative and intellectually heavy-going. The “Tea” was organised around the Chief Executive election which was to take place later that year. Tim had the sub-committee prepared a document pack to facilitate discussions. Two members presented on the platforms of the then Chief Executive candidates, Donald Tsang and Alan Leong. The finale was a mock election, in which 30 or so members voted for the candidate of their choice in a classroom in the East Building. In the event, Donald won in this HKPASS election, as he did in real life. Right after our election result was announced, without missing a beat, Tim played the Miss Hong Kong Pageant theme. That was Tim’s style of humour.
More generally, Tim saw the fun in public affairs and other intellectual endeavours, and wanted to share that view with us and to instil that playfulness in what he did for the society. Many of us in the society found Tim endearing. A kind, fun-loving and somewhat intellectually serious young man like Tim would always have, you know, his fair share of the “market interest”. The Committee certainly noted with interest that Tim was affectionately referred to as “Tim朱豬” by a group of female members.
That year Tim and us tried to promote public affairs and social services in our humble ways, with our humble resources. We are not sure to what extent we succeeded or failed. After all, it was somewhat of a hard-sell telling people that what HKPASS was doing was sexier than, say, strutting your stuff at the Ministry of Sound with the Chinese Society. However, what we are sure about is that Tim was most probably the best man we could get when it came to selling that almost impossible message. It was because Tim believed in it and lived it, and he did so not just as PAO in 2006/2007, but also throughout his life.
Tim stood out amongst this Committee as the one who truly lived and breathed the ethos of HKPASS, of being politically and socially aware and giving back to the society through volunteering work. After LSE, Tim worked at the House of Commons as a Parliamentary reporter. He also served in the British Army Reserve and was awarded Solider of the Year in 2011. Further, Tim volunteered as a Metropolitan Police Special Constable. On top of that, Tim engaged in other charity and church commitments. Tim also completed his law degree whilst working, and was about to begin his traineeship with the HMRC Legal Department. Tim somehow also managed to squeeze in time for his language studies (he was fluent in French and proficient in Japanese, Spanish and Latin), travels and interests. We lost track of Tim’s long list of interests, and only knew after the incident that Tim was also an avid diver.
We last saw Tim during Chinese New Year earlier this year, when he came back to Hong Kong for holiday. True to HKPASS form, we talked extensively about Occupy Central. Tim also updated us about his life in London. It was clear that Tim was loving life and looking forward to the next stage in his career in the legal field. It was actually refreshing to see Tim, because having lived life to the fullest the way he had, you could feel that Tim rose above the fray of us average Hong Kong graduates, who walk around Central with our expanding waistlines and that tired expression that suggests an early onset of a mid-life crisis. In juxtaposition, over the years Tim seemed to have become happier, more contented, and actually looked better compared to his younger self back in LSE.
In the last two months since the incident, Tim’s friends from different walks of life got together to show support in their respective ways. We learnt from each other more about Tim, and how Tim had touched our lives. We also got to learn more about Tim’s family, who has dealt with this very difficult situation with tremendous grace and composure. Tim left us way, way too early. There was clearly a lot ahead of him.
We would like to end with an excerpt of a poem by Rupert Brooke. These two lines by Brooke are set on the walls inside the 12-sided WWII memorial shrine in the Memorial Garden in Central. As Tim was a soldier, we thought these lines to be a fitting tribute to him:
“These had seen movement, and heard music; known
Slumber and waking; loved; gone proudly friended”
HKPASS 2006 – 2007