Huang Chen Ya wrote:

I found this song "40 Years On" which you might remember singing in 1957. Might find it quite fitting now. Maybe someone can write it up as fifty years on. Regards.


Chia Chee Yoong wrote:

If I recall, Chen Ya, Earnest Lau introduced this song in 1956 when he was fresh back from Oxford. We were all in Secondary IV, a year before the Cambridge exams.


Albert Chan wrote:

"40 years on " was first taught to us by Ernest Lau. I still remember the first stanza...it's stirring and nostalgic at the same time. Hope to find the entire lyrics on the internet. Regards to everyone who still remembers me.


Cheong Kun Lum aka Mac wrote:

Well, Chee Yoong, I must say that you have a great memory in your tender years to remember E. Lau teaching us "40 yrs" If I remember anything of E. Lau, it would be English Literature like "She Stoops To Conquer" and midshipman Horatio Hornblower. So now I have something else to thank E. Lau for. Thanks, Ernest.


Chia Chee Yoong wrote:

Kun Lum, yes, I remember how Earnest emphatically pronounced "stoops" when he enunciated the title "She stoops to conquer". I still bump into him once in a while and he has a fantastic memory, calling me by name (despite not being the naughtiest or the top 20% of the class to have him remember my name). He hasn't changed!

Norman Wee wrote:

Hi, I read through the words and so much I could relate to. For some insight of this song, go to: www.harrowschool.org.uk/html/tradition/song/#download

We are fast approaching the 1/2 century. Let's do something about meeting again.

Winston Choo wrote:

I guess that this surge of emails on Ernest Lau must mean that he has really made a tremendous impact on our lives. I too share this sentiment. I have always remembered him as a proper English gentleman, never without a tie (tartan design with a frayed edge) on his short sleeve shirt. He was responsible for inspiring me to play rugby early start in Pre-U One and went on to play rugby in military college and in the army. Met him recently in a book store in Holland Village, only to be told that he was happy to see me in a book shop as in all the years in school he could not get me to read. Great Guy!!

Chia Chee Yoong wrote:

Earnest was one of a handful of teachers in my life that came across as a friend, then a teacher. He wasn't a punishing teacher in my mind! In his days I am sure he was looked at by his peers as being too much a liberal. That's OK with me - I benefited.

Forty Years On

[Click here to hear the song sung]

Forty years on, when afar and asunder
Parted are those who are singing today,
When you look back, and forgetfully wonder
What you were like in your work and your play,
Then, it may be, there will often come o'er you,
Glimpses of notes like the catch of a song -
Visions of boyhood shall float them before you,
Echoes of dreamland shall bear them along,

Follow up! Follow up! Follow up! Follow up! Follow up!
Till the field ring again and again,
With the tramp of the twenty-two men.
Follow up! Follow up!

Routs and discomfitures, rushes and rallies,
Bases attempted, and rescued, and won,
Strife without anger, and art without malice, -
How will it seem to you, forty years on?
Then, you will say, not a feverish minute
Strained the weak heart and the wavering knee,
Never the battle raged hottest, but in it,
Neither the last nor the faintest, were we!


O the great days, in the distance enchanted,
Days of fresh air, in the rain and the sun,
How we rejoiced as we struggled and panted -
Hardly believable, forty years on!
How we discoursed of them, one with another,
Auguring triumph, or balancing fate,
Loved the ally with the heart of a brother,
Hated the foe with a playing at hate!


Forty years on, growing older and older,
Shorter in wind, as in memory long,
Feeble of foot, and rheumatic of shoulder,
What will it help you that once you were strong?
God give us bases to guard or beleaguer,
Games to play out, whether earnest or fun;
Fights for the fearless, and goals for the eager,
Twenty, and thirty, and forty years on!