A Brave New World
The University of Hong Kong faced bankruptcy within years of its establishment and was rescued by Loke Yew, a business magnate in British Malaya. Many of the students, too, came from Malaya while quite a few others were sponsored by Chinese government institutions. Tuition was an important source of income. The accoutrements of a university sprang up, such as a tennis club, a football club, a cricket club, a debating society and, of course, a medical society. In the 1920s, the Rockefeller Foundation endowed chairs in surgery, medicine as well as obstetrics and gynecology, providing a major boost to the faculty of medicine. The Japanese invasion of China in the 1930s created a wave of refugees into the British colony, and the population, which was under 850,000 in 1931, had doubled by 1941. The war drew closer to Hong Kong and, by December 8, 1941, when the university was holding examinations, Japanese bombs began falling on Hong Kong itself.