"I still can't believe that having shot my first movie, I am now a filmmaker," says KA Sing-Fung, director of Hong Kong movie ‘Lost Love’. Having evolved from being a journalist to a film director after completing his studies at HKUST, Ka’s cinematic debut has captured a multitude of hearts and earned several prestigious awards nominations. The always modest director hails his "magical and fortuitous" luck in having the freedom to unlock and nurture his passion during his three years at HKUST.
From Chemical Reactions to Literary Reasonings
Armed with the highest score in Chemistry in the Hong Kong Advanced Level Examination, Ka began studying at HKUST with a major in Chemistry in 2004. “While I worked hard during my freshman year, my grades did not reflect all the effort I put in,” the director recalls now. Realizing that Chemistry was perhaps not his destiny after all, Ka stumbled upon a treasure trove of inspiration on the shelves of HKUST’s library. "The books on literature and design I found there were incredibly inspiring. Soon, I was immersing myself in the feast of award-winning posters and thought-provoking graphics contained on the pages of the ‘Graphic Design in Japan’ Yearbook."
A self-confessed “introvert” while at HKUST, Ka would spend hours reading literature and design books in the university library.
The scientific rigor I learned proved to be hugely beneficial in my journalistic endeavors. This scientific background is evident in my hypothesis-driven approach.
Captivated by the craft of writing, he set sail on an ocean of words and elected to minor in Literature. He subsequently put his heart and soul into penning book and film reviews for literary journals. By his second year at HKUST, Ka became a part-time reporter for a local cultural magazine. "The praise I received for my writing set my heart ablaze, and I immediately knew that I had found my calling! Upon graduation I went full-time and remained a journalist for more than a decade." Over the years, Ka’s byline regularly appeared on various lifestyle and travel articles in several local magazines.
This 2015 trip to Spain was one of many Ka made as a well-travelled lifestyle and travel journalist.
How Scientific Training Paved the Way for Artistic Success
Although his Chemistry major seems to have little or no bearing on his eventual career path, Ka sees significant connections between the two. "Science students conducting experiments must not only harvest but also fact-check and verify data from diverse sources. The scientific rigor I learned in this process proved to be hugely beneficial in my journalistic endeavors." When Ka eventually moved into directing films, he continued to devote a great deal of effort on analysing vast amounts of data from multiple angles. "My scientific background is also very evident in my hypothesis-driven approach."
Ka (right) credits the scientific training he received while majoring in Chemistry as being hugely beneficial in his creative pursuits.
Be sure and make the most of your time at university by finding your passion. For only when you are interested in something can you excel in it.
University Offers Students Unlimited Freedom of Choice!
While balancing studies and a demanding part-time job meant Ka faced a hectic schedule while at HKUST, he thoroughly enjoyed his time here. After the university library, his fondest memories are reserved for his old student dorm. "Hall IV where I lived had a pond called the “mosquito pond” at its rear. Each time a resident celebrated a birthday, they were tossed into the pond." Ka Sing-Fung smiled as he recollected the “thrilling” dunking he himself experienced during his freshman year.
After strolling through Ka’s old dormitory, one eventually comes to a tranquil waterfront embankment. In his halcyon days as a student, the future filmmaker and his classmates would often sit here and exchange ideas and opinions into the wee small hours of the morning. Asked for his advice to his juniors, the director says: “Be sure and make the most of your time at university and potential in later life by finding and fervently pursuing your passion. For only when you are interested in something can you excel in it."
In urging future generations to relish the boundless choices opened up by tertiary education, Ka recommends that, rather than simply evaluating subject options based on future prospects, students’ personal interests should reign supreme. "We have but one life to live, so why not spend our days doing things that fill our hearts with joy?"