One Couple Two Cultures
Dan Waters was born in 1920 in Norwich, England, a city of pubs and churches. 'There's a pub for every day of the year and a church for every week'.
With the advent of World War Two, Waters accepted the 'King's Shilling,' pledging loyalty to Monarch and Country, and facing combat in North African deserts and later in Salerno and Anzio, Italy. He was wounded three times and Mentioned in Despatches. After demobilisation, he rejoined the family building business established by his great-grandfather in 1853 and later became managing director, all the while studying and then teaching at Norwich City College.
In 1954, before he had even met a Chinese person, Waters joined the Colonial Service and set sail for Hong Kong where, as a member of the Government Education Department, he taught at the Technical College that has since become the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. In the late 1960s, he became Principal of the Morrison Hill Technical Institute, was then transferred to the Education Department Headquarters for planning and administration, and was eventually made a Companion of the Imperial Service Order by Her Majesty the Queen for his work in education. Waters also co-authored three volumes of Understanding Technical English, of which Volume One has sold over a million copies.
Dan and his Hong Kong Chinese wife, Vera Chan, were married on the Queen's Birthday in 1960, and they have lived together in Hong Kong ever since. Dan's athletics also spans cultures: an Eastern-Counties weight-lifting champion in England in his younger years, he obtained a Black-Belt in Karate at the age of fifty-seven, ran marathons in his mid-sixties and holds Hong Kong All-comers records at 800 and 1,500 metres in the Over Seventy, Veterans Class.
His education also embraces his adopted homeland of Hong Kong. After studies at Portsmouth Polytechnic and Manchester University, his Ph.D, on the history of Hong Kong education, was conferred on him by Loughborough University in his sixty-fifth year. His 'Big Birthday' at the age of eighty was celebrated in true Chinese style, and in his vintage years, he remains active in the community: Dr Waters volunteers on committees, researches local history and Chinese culture, gives lectures and climbs Victoria Peak. He has served as a Justice of the Peace, as Past President and Honorary Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong Branch, and in 1998, was awarded the Bronze Bauhinia Star by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China for his work in heritage conservation.
Over the years, Dan has published widely about the meeting points between things Chinese and Western, such as 'A Comparison of Western and Chinese Humour,' and 'Feng Shui for Foreigners'. Before One Couple, Two Cultures, Dan authored 21st Century Management: Keeping Ahead of the Japanese and Chinese (1991) and Faces of Hong Kong, An Old Hand's Reflections (1995).