THE ADVOCATE 737
VOL. 77 PART 5 SEPTEMBER 2019
By R.C. Tino Bella
Harry E.S. Fan
We are all shaped by our experiences during life’s
journey. The successes, the challenges, the choices
we make, how we respond to the opportunities we
face, how we react to uncontrollable situations and
the profound encouragements of others all combine
to influence how we live and the character that we
become. That is undoubtedly true in this man’s story.
Harry Fan was born on October 10, 1922 in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province,
on the east coast of China, approximately 100 miles southwest of Shanghai.
As a young man, he was faced with family pressure to become successful.
He was the eldest of eight children and was sent to board at a private educational
institute while his siblings attended local schools in Hangzhou. In
1939, while in grade 12, Harry and his classmates were persuaded to join the
203rd National Division of the Youth Army. When the war against Japan
ended three years later, Harry had reached the rank of major. One of his
responsibilities was being the physical fitness trainer in the military academy.
A typical day in basic army training started at daybreak with running
a couple of miles, followed by obstacle course challenges.
When Harry returned home, it was his father’s decision to send him to
the School of Law at Suzhou University near Shanghai for four years. His
professors inspired him to dream about life as an academic. All of his professors
were trained at Columbia University in New York. He understood
that the study of law in China did not necessarily mean you would practise
law. It was an education and an opportunity to learn scholarship. His focus
of study was Anglo-American law, to prepare for an international future.
Meanwhile, his siblings worked in the family food distribution business at
home. That pressure led Harry to be ambitious, assertive, determined and