John Gardner at Home

Memories from Lusina Ho

Dear John,

Warmest greetings from half way around the globe. I doubt if you remember me, but I hope you don't mind my writing still. I was your tutee in 1991-2 for Comparative Human Rights. I joined academia after doing the BCL and am now teaching at the University of Hong Kong and a colleague of Peter Chau.

I wanted to thank you for being such an inspirational teacher - I guess I am not the first one to say that :-) You have shown me how law can be studied and critiqued from a philosophical angle, which was a breath of fresh air for me. It was tough at the beginning, and took me a while to get up to speed with some basic understanding of moral and political philosophy (with a lot of help from my boyfriend (now husband) who is a philosopher). But after the initial hurdle it was great fun!

Do you remember having replied to my email about academic life? This must have been around 1995. You were very frank about the burdens of teaching and admin that left only the summer to write - I don't remember why I still stayed on in academia after hearing about the realities - must be moth attracted to fire, but alas it doesn't matter. What matters is, you are the only teacher who bothered to reply to me. In fact, you are also the only teacher who hang out with students at the common room next to the Law Bod, where the best treat was a vending machine that sold powdered tea and coffee for something like 15p. Your laughter was hearty and never fake. So, thank you for being so generous and for treating students like equals. There are many great philosophers and famous academics but being also a caring and generous one is a rare treat to human kind. Thank you!

I am thinking of you and praying for miracles, but I realise you already are a miracle and a great example to all of us who have the fortune of meeting you.