January 2020 Volume 16

Remembering Three Who Left Us

Ray Ford
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Dr. Victor Chang: A Student’s Teacher

Not shortly after notice of his death appeared, one of my Fortis classmates called to-remind, that I was taught English at KC, by Dr. Victor Chang. That fact I had included in `50 Years On!: One Man’s Journey through Kingston College’, entertained in the March 2013 issue of this on-line magazine.

“But as much as Mr. Earle eschewed me,” I wrote, “Mr. Victor Chang my English teacher, embraced me. He was one of the younger teachers who having graduated from Kingston College, went on to attend The University of the West Indies (UWI), before spinning-around to teach at his alma-mater. Concave-shaped and with thick black-rimmed glasses, this Chinese fellow for some reason, believed in me. And in getting English and General Paper (GP) in the GCE at the ordinary and advanced levels respectively, I didn’t disappoint.”

A lot has been, and will be, written on Dr. Chang. And for the former, I need not regurgitate. I can however speak from my perspective and say, that Dr. Chang made time for me. I think that it was after one of those, `How Did You Spend Your Summer?’ essays, that he began taking an interest in my writing. Or, could it have been my profile on Tony Keyes? I can’t for-sure recall. But I remember Dr. Chang sitting with me on one of those mango-tree benches, and tutoring me, on `writing-style’. Damn he was a quick writer – scribbling alternative phraseologies on my papers. If he had known that years later, The Cricketer International – at the time, the world’s largest-selling cricket magazine – would have accepted my first three works, virtually unedited, Dr. Chang might have been proud.

Even up to a few days ago, I had to again remind another Fortis gentleman - Mr. Easton McMorris, that I am not a journalist. If I were, or if one day I should become, then that I would owe, to that student’s teacher, Dr. Victor Chang. 

Basil Waite: The Devil’s Advocate

Just leafing through the earlier editions of kctimes.org one would glean the immense contribution Basil Waite made to this online magazine. Basil was both a prolific and passionate writer. Then about five years or so ago, I started a little blog which was circulated to dare I say about thirty-five (35) people, of whom Basil was one.

Anything I wrote, before I pressed the `send’ key, I had to check and double-check. Because, if in accuracy I was off a hair, Basil would use my miscue to publicly denounce me as a quack, if not a fraud. That was my initial impression. But as time went on, I got to realize that he was expecting a high standard of shall I say, `bloggership’ from me. Because, for scholarship, Basil might have been unmatched by many, much less, by me. But I remember a few of our tussles.

On the issue of ceding the Goat Islands to the Chinese, Basil was adamant, (quote), “Curry the goat,” he would often say; On the proliferation of T20 cricket to which I maintain a disdain, he would tempt, (quote), “Young Ford, why don’t you cut-out your foolishness and get on-board?”; and on Jamaica’s taking-off, Basil would encourage me, to (quote), “Get-on-board, the train to Skaville.”

After a while, Basil would give me the moniker `Yesterday-Morning’ – for (quote), “bringing today’s news, the day-before.” How he arrived at that, well that’s now too late for me to know. On occasion, what I would posit, would turn-out to be prescient. But Basil had a strange way of conceding an argument. He would write, (quote), “Yesterday-Morning, why don’t you write a book?” For his sake, I just might.

Trevor Parchment: The Man In-Charge

On Trevor Parchment in `50 Years On’, I wrote, “I began playing Junior Colts in 1964, and first played Sunlight Cup cricket in 1967 while still a Colts player. I left cricket briefly, after Mr. Parchment took me off of the field for a mis-field at a ground called Bumper Hall - a field whose name describes it well. On that occasion, I had had enough. Then low and behold, Mr. Parchment showed-up at my home the following day, a Sunday morning, in-effect, asking me to return. And to visit me at home early on a Sunday morning was a good gesture on his part.”

On hindsight, that’s not accurate. Mr. Parchment did not ask me to return (to cricket). More accurately, he encouraged me not to give-up on myself. And to this day, that remains an important lesson in my life. Because in all spheres, life is about getting back up when knocked down, and conquering failure with success.

Parchment and I, we rarely spoke. Because, I did not want to be seen as cozying-up to him, to be selected to represent KC. I insisted on playing, on-merit. And as fate and my luck would have it, playing for him, I helped to give the school, two cricket championships, just by sticking-around. And I was glad that I did. Not for my own sake, but more-so, to repay him for the faith that he had placed in me.

In the grander scheme of things, Mr. Parchment – a strict disciplinarian - was not everybody’s cup of tea. But in-life, somebody had to be in-charge. And in no uncertain terms, he made it known, that he

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