那麼小六派位時Kelly很順利被派回玫瑰崗吧？原來事實並非如此，「其實我當時是被派去另一間中學升讀中一的，但媽媽和我都不大喜歡那學校，媽媽便帶着我和我的小學的成績表回玫瑰崗『叩門』，我記得我們見的是當時女中部的副校長Ms Cathy Lau，問她可否給我一個中一學位。我記得當Ms Lau看完我的成績表時，她留意到我從小四開始成績一直都在進步，所以她亦很爽快地着我辦理中一註冊手續。」
當問到Kelly對哪些老師較有印象時，出乎我們意料之外的是她記得很多中學時期的老師。例如：Ms Cathy Lau, Ms Law Kam Sun, Ms Doris Cheung, Ms Georgia Cheung, Mr Evans Tsui, Ms Mayne Wong, Mr Lawrence Leung等等……對某些老師印象更特別深刻呢。「有一位英文老師(Ms Judy Leung)，她教英文教得很好，人也非常漂亮。還有一位教烹飪的老師叫Mrs Tang，那時因為我們不知道她是星加坡人，總覺得她說話很攪笑，我們在背後都叫她的花名『大樹菠蘿』。我還記得有一位我們叫她『肥啤梨』的老師(Ms Lee Wai Hing)，她是教我們中國歷史科的，她真的教得很好，她有方法令到一科本來應該頗沉悶的中史科變得有趣，使我們全班都對那一科特別用功，我記得在那一科的考試中，我班最差的那一位也有九十多分。她還建議過我去參選香港小姐呢！」
我們問Kelly中學時的生活,她坦言自己並不算是一位活躍的學生，由於自己一向對體育方面興趣都不大，所以她甚至沒有參加過社際陸運會(Kelly是麒麟社的)。那麼她有否參加什麼課外活動呢？「我有參加過插花學會，我還記得當時的負責老師是Ms Amy Lo。」估不到的是Kelly還參加過校內的插花比賽呢，而且當中還有一段小插曲。「記得比賽完畢回家後，我發覺我在家裡帶回學校的剪刀不見了，深信如果給媽媽知道了，一定會給她怪責我不小心，所以我立即趕回學校在垃圾桶內找回我的那包垃圾，亦真的在我的那包垃圾尋回我的剪刀，真的嚇得我一額汗呢。」除了插花之外，Kelly記得在小學和中學的時代均有在禮堂表演過，「小學時我記得上台表演過中國舞，而中學時亦有作過戲劇表演。」不知道Kelly日後在演藝工作上的興趣是否在那時萌芽呢？
在演藝圈，已故的張國榮(Leslie)是其中一位我校的舊生，筆者聽聞在Kelly剛出道時Leslie頗照顧Kelly這位後輩，不知道她有否用玫瑰崗舊生身份跟Leslie『相認』過呢？「有呀！他還告訴我他以前經常跟當時的校長神父Fr Xavier打羽毛球呢。他還告訴我學校的兩個羽毛球場都是因為Fr Xavier熱愛羽毛球才設有的。」筆者也是第一次聽到這個傳聞呢。
當Kelly離開玫瑰崗後，她在日本度過三年並在國際學校完成了高中的課程。之後她便考進位於美國紐約著名的Parsons School of Design修讀平面設計，打算將來成為一名設計師。她告訴我們這個志願跟她在玫瑰崗讀過美術科不無關係。「我讀中學時很喜歡美術，尤其是畫畫。記得有兩位美術老師對我有頗深的影響：第一位是徐耀祥老師，他告訴我們他最不喜歡人在剪紙時剪得很粗疏，他一定要我們小心翼翼地沿着線地剪。」亦因為徐老師教導有方，她同行助手向我們透露，時至今日，Kelly在有需要剪紙時仍然會非常認真，亦剪得非常乾脆利落。
「另一位對我有深遠影響的美術老師是Ms Helen Lai。我記得當年她給我們其中一份美術功課是要我們畫兩幅畫，結果我用心及花了很多時間畫了一幅劉嘉玲的肖像畫，因為我覺得她很美；但到我完成第一幅畫後，我發覺我已沒有時間去完成第二幅，最後我唯有草草地完成第二幅畫。結果那張劉嘉玲的肖像畫我得了A，還獲得Ms Lai的讚美和表揚，但那幅草草完成的作品最後只拿了個C。經過那次後，我發覺到我下苦功畫出來的作品原來是會受到讚賞的。這件事除了使我領略到做事認真是會得到回報之外，亦增加了我對美術方面的自信心。」怪不得Kelly一向都外界視為極具美學品味的藝人，原來老師的一句簡單的讚美是有那麼大的影響力的。
身為現今玫瑰崗眾學生的師姐，Kelly對他們有什麼建議呢？「我希望他們無論是讀小學或是讀中學也應該好好地為自己打好基礎，因為吸收到的知識最終是屬於自己的。如果基礎打得不好的話，有機會到外國讀書時就會跟我當年一樣追得很辛苦的。另外， 記得當時在差不多離開玫瑰崗時 ，有位負責就業方面的老師跟我們說很多時候修讀的修科目未必跟將來的工作有關連的，當時的我聽到後的確有點懷疑，現在我發現這句話是真的很對的。」
備註： 亞洲歌后陳慧琳由1995年出道以來，氣質出眾丶形象健康丶專業丶正面丶零緋聞，經過多年在亞洲各國的樂壇及電影方面的努力，更獲獎無數。她於2002年創立「陳慧琳兒童助學基金」，同年榮獲香港十大傑出青年獎，在2004年獲得世界傑出青年獎， 2005年她榮登日本著名的雜誌《日經娛樂》中的亞洲藝人排行榜「最喜歡女藝人」及「演技最佳女藝人」第五位。她更於2009年更被世界經濟論壇（World Economic Forum）選為全球200大青年領袖，此獎項肯定她的專業成就、社會參與及推動全球發展的貢獻http://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E9%99%B3%E6%85%A7%E7%90%B3 - cite_note-11。她是首位香港藝人獲得此世界級獎項。
Rosarian Interview: Kelly Chen
In the past 55 years, Rosaryhill School has had a number of students who have outstanding achievements in the entertainment industry; apart from pop legend Leslie Cheung, Kelly Chen is another alumnus who is widely recognized as an Asian pop diva. It is the honour of RHSOSA to have an opportunity to have an exclusive interview with Kelly in a quiet afternoon in Rosaryhill School. During the interview, Kelly shared with us her childhood memories in Rosaryhill as we strolled around the school campus, which was Kelly’s first visit to RHS since she left RHS in 1987.
It seems to be a popular question among Rosarians as to how long Kelly attended RHS and Kelly immediately gives us the answer “I started my education in RHS from Primary One and I left RHS soon after I was promoted to Form Four when my parents decided to send me to Japan for further studies there.”
It is not a secret that Kelly used to be called Vivian before she joined the show business. In fact, we can easily identify her in her old class photographs in the old school annuals.
Kelly in Primary
Since Kelly has left RHS for over two decades so we thought perhaps she would not remember much of her days in RHS; on the contrary, Kelly tells us that she still remembers her Rosaryhill days vividly. “I have lots of happy memories of my primary days in Rosaryhill. I still remember that there was a platform in the covered playground, a teacher used to stand there everyday during the morning assembly.” Moreover, Kelly also remembers one particular Religious Studies teacher who had used thick ruler to punish the naughty students. Apart from that, Kelly tells us tuck shop was her favorite place as she could buy her favorite snacks during the recess.
To our surprise, Kelly was originally allocated to another secondary school after having graduated from primary; however, Kelly and her parents did not like that school so they came back to ask the school to give her a place in Form One. “I still remember my mom and I met with the then Deputy Principal Miss Cathy Lau. Miss Lau gave me a place immediately after she read my report cards. I believe it was because she noticed my steady academic improvements from Primary Four to Primary Six.”
Kelly’s Secondary School Days
To our surprise, Kelly remembers most of the secondary teachers, such as Miss Cathy Lau, Ms Law Kam Sun, Ms Doris Cheung, Ms Georgia Cheung, Mr Evans Tsui, Ms Mayne Wong, Mr Lawrence Leung…etc. There are a few teachers Kelly remembers particularly well, “I remember there was a great English teacher (Miss Judy Leung). She was very good at teaching English; besides, she was very pretty. I also remember Mrs Tang, our cookery teacher, we did not know she came from Singapore back then but we liked her as she was very funny. We always called her “Jack Fruit” behind her back. Besides, “Fatty Pear”(Miss Lee Wing Hing) was also a great teacher. She taught us Chinese History, it was because of her excellent teaching, we all did well in this subject. I remember the worst student in our class also scored over 90 in the examination. She had also encouraged me to join the Miss Hong Kong Pageant Contest”.
Although Kelly was a member of the Unicorn House, she admits that she was not particularly active during her secondary days. Since she was not very good at sports, Kelly had never taken part in the athletic meets or other sports competitions. On the other hand, she did take part in some extra-curricular activities “I remember I had joined a flower arrangement club and Miss Amy Lo was the teacher-in-charge. I even took part in a flower arrangement competition in school once, I clearly remember after that competition when I returned home, I found that I had left my scissors in school, so I rushed back to school to look for my scissors as I knew my mom would definitely blame me for being so absent-minded if I lost my scissors.” Moreover, Kelly tells us that she had performed Chinese dance and drama in her primary and secondary days respectively.
Kelly has been recognized as a very good singer and she tells us that she has always been fond of singing; she used to be a member of the school choir both in Hong Kong and Japan.
Kelly’s encounter with another alumnus: Leslie Cheung
Leslie Cheung was another hugely successful artiste and he was also a Rosaryhill alumnus. Kelly tells us Leslie had actually shared his memories in RHS with her “I told him I was also from Rosaryhill and he told me that he used to play badminton with Fr Xavier very often in the past, he even said it was because Fr Xavier liked playing badminton, that was the reason why there are two badminton courts in school today.”
After Kelly left Rosaryhill, she spent three years in Japan where she completed her high school education there. Subsequently, she was admitted to the Faculty of Graphics Design in Parsons School of Design in New York. We are delighted to learn that Kelly’s interest in art started in Rosaryhill “I already liked art very much when I was a student here. There were two art teachers who had a great deal of influence on me. Mr Tsui Yiu Cheung taught us how important it was to cut paper properly. Ms Helen Lai was my another art teacher. I remember she had given us an art assignment that required us to draw two paintings. I spent a lot of time to draw a portrait of Carina Lau, an artiste I admired a lot at that time; however, after I finished that painting, I found that I had only very little time left so I finished another one half-heartedly. Finally, I got an A for my portrait of Carina Lau and I won Miss Lai’s praises too; on the other hand, I only got a C for the other painting. Since then I realized that I did have some talents in art and my talents would be recognized by others if I made efforts to finish the task.” Now we get the clue why Kelly is always recognized to be one of the artistes who has good taste in art and fashion.
So why did Kelly choose to study graphics design? “I asked myself what kind of job would still be interesting to me even after many years. I found that design was the job that would allow me to do different tasks such as graphic design, product design, packaging design etc so it would not be boring; therefore, I decided to become a designer in the future.”
Then how did Kelly start her road to stardom? ‘One summer I came back to look for a summer job in advertising companies. I applied to one company but they told me that there was no space for summer jobs; however, they still told me to leave my contact details. To my surprise, that advertising company called me later and asked me if I was interested to play a part in a TV commercial, I thought it would be fun so I did it and I also did a few more TV commercials that summer.’It was through these TV commercials Kelly met her present agent and other friends in the entertainment business, who all have played important parts in the making of Kelly’s stardom. Kelly also told us that originally she was not expecting she would achieve such a success in entertainment, she had even prepared to go back to work as a designer in case she found the industry was not what she wanted to do or she could hardly establish herself in the entertainment sector. We all know that Plan B turned out to be unnecessary.
It is a fact that Kelly has an impeccable image in the public with minimal rumors or negative publicity about her since she became an artiste. We ask her how she could keep her image so ‘clean’ and she frankly shares with us, “It is very important to choose who you hang out with. Never cut a deal with ‘devils’, not even once. Moreover, I am very lucky to have an agent who is very well connected so she doesn’t require me to attend unnecessary social functions.”
Kelly being a mother
Being a mother of two sons, what is Kelly’s philosophy in respect of the education of younger generations? “I think we should give them more opportunities. I believe that as long as we give them proper guidance and options, they can use their explosive potentials and make huge achievements.” Kelly tells us that she also is using the same attitude when she teaches her two sons. She thinks training their perspective and patience is far more important than forcing them to achieve good grades in school. Since Kelly had the benefit of receiving education in different kinds of schools in different countries, such education experiences allow her to compare the pros and cons of different education system; therefore, she finally chose to arrange her sons to study in international school which offers a more interactive learning environment.
Kelly’s advice for fellow young Rosarians
As an alumnus of Rosaryhill School, Kelly has the following advice for the fellow current students, “I wish that no matter whether they are in primary or secondary, they should study hard to build a strong knowledge foundation; otherwise, in case they get to study abroad in the future, they would have hard time catching up the school work, just like what I did in the past. Furthermore, I also remember before I left RHS, a teacher gave us a career talk. That teacher told us we might not do what we study in the future, I was feeling very skeptical when I heard that at that time but now I can’t agree more as it also happened to me.”
After the interview, we show Kelly around the school campus and she is quite amazed that the school had not changed much since she left.
Kelly Chen has been a popular pop icon since she started her stardom many years ago. During the interview, she impresses us as a punctual, friendly and professional artiste, which undoubtedly are the some of the key elements why she is so successful and popular for so long. We are really grateful to Kelly for coming back to RHS to share with us her childhood memories. We would also want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who had assisted to make this interview possible. Last, we wish Kelly and her family all the best in the future.
Interviewed by: David Chow, Peggy Ng, Edward Ng
Written by: Edward Ng, Peggy Ng
Photos taken by: Janny Yau