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    Civil Engineering
    25 years ago
    Civil Engineering Reunion on Dec 12, 2003

    Class Reunion of the Civil 1978

    Our Civil Engineering Class of 1978 celebrated the Silver Jubilee with a great reunion dinner at the new Graduate House, HKU on the evening of 12 December 2003. After a quarter of a century, 26 of the 70 civil graduates brought along their wives and children, making a family gathering of 46. We were extremely honoured to have Prof. Y K Cheung, our former Pro-Vice Chancellor and Head of Department, Mr. Peter KK Lee, the Head of Department, and Mr. Chan Yiu-hung, the mathematics lecturer as our Guests of the evening. Lui Ping Hon and Clement Siu had done a good job receiving the Guests. The group of 49 had a wonderful evening as you can see the cheerful faces in the pictures.

    We started with a good chat in the cocktail in the cozy Restaurant of Joseph in Graduate House where it was decorated with some fine paintings (reproduction). When some old faces turned up, we had first to figure out the names of the old buddies. Nicknames are easier to come to mind. Later came our beloved wives and children who also enjoyed the evening immensely.

    The whole class have almost turned into boys (all the 70 in civil were boys), rewinding the clock back 25 years. We were so excited to tell one another what had happened all these years and what others have become. We also said hello to our classmate Lewis Lee at Canada over the mobile. Everybody kept on talking, some quite ignoring the MC who tried hard to play the rundown. Each of us had "a thousand words" to tell. Everyone had a good recollection and interaction among the old buddies and teachers, wives and children.

    Many of us still remembered our laboratory work and experiments in Duncan Sloss and Ho Tung Workshop; mass lecture at the Science Building and the Lee Shu Fun Building in QM; and the toil (and nighmare) at the computer centre with the pack of wrongly placed punched cards. Those days, computers were not quite interactive. Most of us had the painful experience of having to queue for the computer clinic to get help in understanding the crytic error messages generated by the system. In today's term, they were just not user friendly. Luckily our classmate Dr. Pong Man-chi has turned our HKU Computer Centre much more friendly to use today. My kid never complains about the HKU computer centre. (Please see Dr. Pong's article http://www.alumni.hku.hk/class78/viewsouvenir.html#pong regarding his reflection in Beijing.)

    We must thank the DAAO, and Miss Janet Chung in particular who had arranged very attractive table prizes for the evening. Husbands and wives, boys and girls loved the gifts so much. My wife admired at the "castle". To thank our Professors, we had framed a little poem in a photo frame as a report card to our "teachers", reporting to them what we civils had done these 25 years after graduation, just as the Shaolin graduates in the movie returned to the Monastery in the Mount to report to their Kung Fu Masters what they have done all these years. The little rhyme is reproduced below.

    Particularly worth mentioning are those 8 classmates who brought the whole family along that evening. I would like to start with our God Child, MT Yeung's two daughters who are becoming the new "Twins' in a few years' time. KH Tao took good care of our accounts. The two little sons of Wong Pui-shun made friends with Wong Him-sun's little boy. Li Kam-por later dug up invaluable photos of 1978 for the souvenir programme this evening. Lee Tai Kwan's wife raised a good question on the paintings in the Restaurant, which led me to dig up the old picture album of the Louvre from Paris. The youngest of all, So Tat-keung's third son, a 5-year-old recited a Chinese poem for us, in Putonghua! The oldest boy that evening, my son took over the job of taking pictures for guests as you can see his work along with this article. Last but not least, I have to thank SY Chan who picked the date of 12/12/2003 so that most of our class could remember and came and had these memorable moments captured right here.

    Stephen and Florence Lam 林瑞麟 葉慕菲 (SocSc)

    Transformations at HKU

    During the three years at University of Hong Kong, I experienced two transformations which set the course for my career and the rest of my life.

    I read Science for my A-Levels. When I started to read Social Sciences, I discovered that this was a totally different academic discipline. In Economics, there were lots of formulae. But unlike Physics and Chemistry, the equations did not necessarily lead to precise answers. It took me some time to realize that in Social Sciences we were supposed to observe society and to assess what would be the right course to pursue for the community as a whole. Upon graduation, when I joined the Government as a policy administrator, the Social Sciences training provided me with the right frame of mind to approach issues such as transport, housing and other public affairs which have been my preoccupation for the last twenty-five years.

    During my university days, I also came to know the Lord Jesus through joining the Christian Association Fellowship. Knowing the Gospel was like scales falling from one's eyes, and thereafter I could see clearly that what we go through in the present life is transient, and that we all need the eternal salvation which Jesus brings to all those who are willing to accept Him as personal saviour. Florence and I shared this experience together during our first year. We never knew that the most important turning point in our life would occur during the days at HKU. Our life and family have been built on this most important foundation.


    Simon Fung 馮成章 (SocSc)










    Eddy Lee 李偉才 (Science)


    A Colourful 25 Years

    Strange as it may seem, my 25 years after obtaining my BSc degree in physics from HKU have been quite colourful. I had been a school science teacher, assistant curator of the Hong Kong Space Museum, scientific officer (and later senior scientific officer) of the Royal Observatory, part-time teacher at the University of Sydney and (at the same time) a PhD student at the University of New South Wales. After living in Australia for four years and obtaining my doctoral degree, my homecoming brought me back not only to Hong Kong, but back to HKU as well. Joining the School of Professional and Continuing Education as an assistant professor, I first headed the research and development unit of the School, and was later appointed as the Director of Studies of SPACE Shanghai - a school in Shanghai set up jointly by HKU SPACE and the Fudan University.

    Throughout the years, I have published 18 books, one of which was selected as one of ten outstanding books for young people in 2000. I have conducted radio science programmes, given countless talks in schools and universities, written in newspapers and magazines, and was awarded the Outstanding Young Persons' Award back in 1985 for promoting the understanding and appreciation of science among the public in Hong Kong. Having served the executive committee for years, I became chairman of the Outstanding Young Persons' Association for the year 2002-2003. I was the "Famine Star" in the World Vision "Famine 30" charity functions for several years in a row.

    As a Class I meteorologist according to the World Meteorological Organisation classification, I was the first meteorologist to present weather programmes on television in Hong Kong on a regular basis. Meanwhile, my work at the Royal Observatory required that I became experts in weather satellite reception, meteorological telecommunications, seismology, time service, astronomy, geomagnetism, nuclear radiation monitoring as well as disaster preparedness and prevention respectively. Outside office hours, I was engaged in the launching of the first science fiction magazine in Hong Kong, and was one of the founders (and currently the vice-chairman) of the Hong Kong Science Fiction Club. Talk about lifelong learning and multiple careers, and I can see an exemplar (however unbelievably) each time I look into the mirror.

    Pictures to Share

    幾乎與菏花池齊名的 Chem Lawn(化學大樓前的草地), 巳經湮沒在歷史的洪流之中…

    一九七七年底,出任由理學會主辦的「科學雙週」(Science Fortnight) 的籌委會主席,圖為在陸佑堂舉行開幕典禮時向校方及同學們致詞。


    Union Festival 中參加辯論比賽,畢業的那一年,更出任隊長率領港大辯論隊與中文大學一決雌雄。

    Ross Lai 賴嘉年 (Arts)











    Eric Cheng 鄭成光 (Architecture)

    搭 棚 的 工 作






    Doreen Lee 李玉芳 (Arts)
    It is a delightful surprise that some of my classmates can still recall my name for I was major in 'cutting-class' back then! Living up to the motto "working hard and playing hard in HKU", I worked very hard to earn pocket money for the latest fashions (looking good has always been the number one enjoyable thing to me) and played very hard all the time. I was almost like a hermit - hiding away from the lecture rooms.

    I was not too upset when I discovered my certificate was accidentally thrown away by my brother's maid 20 years ago. Thanks to the few friends who had unreservedly supplied me with their life-saving notes, or I have no one else that could ever testify whether I had truly graduated with honours!

    Having made a confession about my past mischievousness, I must say HKU definitely gave me a solid foundation and a good start to my career as well as social life. The Arts Faculty helped nurture my power of association and develop a boundless, creative imagination - something I believe is essential to succeed in the world of commerce. And there I learned to enjoy life to the fullest.

    Charles Hing Lung Chan 陳慶龍 (Mechanical Engineering)


    Time to Remember

    It's been 25 years since we graduated. Yes, that's a long time! A quarter of a century! But yet those memories of our university days are so vivid in our minds!

    I don't know about you, but the 3 years in Mech Eng I consider the best time in my life. How can I forget all those good things: the shock when I first went into Hornell Hall (full size full frontal poster of a Japanese girl), learnt to play Tin Kau, dinner and night snacks in Water Street.

    And all those social gatherings: preparing invitation letters, picking them up from Star Ferry, preparing the food and drinks, drawing lots to determine who's going to be the "street sweepers" (remember Captain Lee chartering a mini bus?)

    The highlight has got to be Eng Nite '78, when M3 won the President's Cup; the roar of laughter when we sang our songs. I still wonder how come we were so creative then.

    From not knowing one another at our first lecture (if my memory serves me right, it should be Drawing in Peel Lab Drawing Office, Mr Sykes asking us to buy engineering scale, and "don't insult me by bring in a ruler"), we had became great friends when we graduated. And up to this day, we still treasure our friendships, enjoying every gathering we manage to organise, however rare and geographically diverse that may be.


    在我來說,三年的 Mech Eng 生涯可算是我的黃金歲月。太多美好回憶了:猶記第一次踏入 Hornell Hall的驚訝(迎面一幅日本女優正面全身海報),其後的發揚國萃(打天九),水街宵夜 …

    還有 So Gat:砌邀請信,到天星碼頭接人,準備飲食,抽簽看誰做"清道伕"(還記得李隊長包 van仔嗎?)


    從第一堂互不相識(若無記錯,該是在 Peel Lab Drawing Office上繪圖課,Mr Sykes 叫我們買 Engineering Scale, 還說 "Don't insult me by bringing in a ruler")到三年後的沙煲兄弟。至今我們仍很珍惜我們的友誼,珍惜每一次難得的聚會。

    Wu Yin Ching 胡燕青 (Arts)









    Stephen Suen 孫漢明 (SocSc)



    Pong Man Chi 龐民治 (Civil Engineering)
    The University has provided vast varieties of opportunities for her students to explore. If not having studied at the University, I would
    not have worked at the Institute of Software, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, and got the rare experience of the "early stage of
    socialism" in China in 1986-1989 as a Chinese born in Hong Kong.
    Looking back till now, the experiences in the University and in Beijing are most memorable.

    Tang Wai-Ming 鄧偉明 (Civil Engineering)
    Yip Hung-Wai 葉鴻偉
    (Civil Engineering)

    Chow Wing-Kwong 鄒永光 (Civil Engineering)

    Tang Wai-Ming (鄧偉明) and Yip Hung-Wai (葉鴻偉) by Zhujiang at Guangzhou (珠江橋畔) in July 1978

    Civil 1978
    Front row from left: Yip hung-Wai
    (葉鴻偉), Tang Wai-Ming (鄧偉明);
    Back row second from right Chow Wing-Kwong (鄒永光) at 陳家祠 Guangzhou in July 1978

    Lee Cheuk Yan 李卓人 (Civil Engineering)

    明報 2004-02-15什麼人訪問什麼人 D04版


    李卓人 阻住地球轉


    早於 30 年前念大學時,他已受到學生運動薰陶,畢業時毅然決定放棄土木工程的專業,擔負起為工人爭取權益的責任。回顧過去 25 年參與工運的歷程,身兼立法會議員的職工盟秘書長李卓人深感「一生無悔」,他更慶幸自己多年來仍保持初出茅廬時的赤子之心,以前不滿的,現在一樣不滿;以前是憤怒青年,今日則變成憤怒中年。



    李卓人 1959 年與家人從汕頭潮陽來港時已成破落戶,但他家族以前則屬地主階級;二三十年代時,他的叔父輩家塈馧]有網球場。雖然談不上富裕,他年少時家庭也屬小康之家,不愁衣食,母親更具大學學歷。

    雖然李卓人今日在推動社會改革方面走在前線,入大學前他仍是一個住在象牙塔內的少年,對社會毫無接觸。「我記得我中學時很貪玩,給人補習掙了一些錢,喜歡與同學去打保齡,去香港酒店飲 Lemon squash (檸檬雜飲) ,又去環境清靜的教會讀書,基本上同當時的社會脫節。」

    他 1975 年進入香港大學念土木工程系,開始受到學生運動的衝擊。當時,學運仍有兩條路線之爭,即分為標榜「認中」的國粹派及「關社」的社會派。


    入大學初期,他很少關心周圍的事物,大部分時間去遊玩,到大二那年,他正式成為聖約翰堂的宿生,並出任宿生會的文化秘書,負責推展關社活動。 1976 年他開始參與艇戶事件,稍後更與余仲賢 (「平機會風波」主角) 及馮可立 (前社區組織協會主任) 等活躍分子一齊搞活動。「當時我有去香港仔探望艇戶,怎知在途中不小心跌落水,成身濕透,本來去關心人,變成要被人照顧。那次落海飲艇戶水,可以說成為我積極參與社會運動的一次『洗禮』。」


    大學畢業時,李卓人已決定不做老本行。「我不想一生人對住那些工程,只想做關於人的工作;要有承擔,為窮人爭取,改變處境。」他也想不到,有關勞工權益的工作,一做便做了 25 年。如果他與當年的同學一樣,畢業後加入政府,現可晉升至首席工程師,再上一級便到助理署長。



    對於他選擇了一個風險高、經常要上街抗議的行業,他父母一直很擔心,原來他們已經先後三次勸喻他要小心,最好盡快轉行。「第一次是 1989 年,我被人拘留3 日,父母很擔心,勸我回來之後不要再做,但我一口拒絕。第二次是 1997 前,已移民美國的父母因曾吃過共產黨的虧,所以再勸我及早離開,老一輩很多有這種想法,認為無得同共產黨鬥。最近他們已降低標準,又再勸我不要罵董建華那麼多,講話不要那麼絕。」

    雖然身為香港數以萬計「無產階級」的代表,原來他始終不懂得唱普羅大眾喜歡的歌曲。「我中學已聽英文歌,到 1987 、 88 年時又開始愛上古典音樂,由於很少去卡拉 OK ,所以被街坊或工友邀請上台唱歌時,我總感到有些尷尬,通常只靠一首《友誼之光》過關。」



    李卓人經常要搜索枯腸,想辦法協助工人解困。他建議應實施工時限制,以騰出更多職位,例如數年前他曾成功爭取兩政府部門實施外判管理員每日只工作8 小時,騰出了 4000 個職位;另外,他又成功迫使政府規定,將外判工人的工資列為考慮標書的因素之一,使工資不致偏低。「這是幾年來我做議員覺得有些用的例子,亦是比較成功的例子。」



    李卓人慨嘆經常要扮演「阻住地球轉」的角色。「現在的問題是有人願打,有人卻願捱,所以我們要頂住這個趨勢,實在不容易,有人話我們阻頭阻勢,阻住地球轉,我們就是要阻住地球轉,若轉得太快,會『 fing 甩晒』!有時有人話李卓人搞事,如果我唔搞 ,根本無可能有得傾。」

    常讀《孫子兵法》深記 84 年慘敗教訓


    畢業後的 10 年內,李卓人在勞工界默默耕耘,見報率並不算高,但 89 年六四事件令他「揚名海外」。6 月初當他以支聯會代表身分前往北京支援學生後,返港前突然被北京公安人員帶走,扣查了3 天才獲釋,頓時成為頭條新聞人物。自此,他與支聯會結下不解緣,多年來均出任常委,但一直無法再踏足內地。



    雖然多年來曾為工人成功爭取利益,他卻深刻記得 84 年一次慘敗的教訓。當時地鐵員工為長短更問題抗議,有 200多人參加罷工;資方最後發難,將全部 200多人解僱,然後限令他們寫悔過書才准復工,最終有 13 名不肯就範的工會領袖被裁。他形容這一仗是徹底的慘敗。

    談到看書,李卓人在大學時很少看政治書,但喜歡看一些與工運有關的書籍,如共產黨組織工人抗爭史等。近年,除了一些與經濟有關的書籍外,個人則特別喜歡看年代久遠的中外歷史小說,包括清朝的乾隆、康熙及曾國藩的小說,以及最少 1000 年以前的外國歷史小說。

    Lam Lak On Leon 林力安 (Arts)










    我重拾年輕時的興趣 - 寫作。我不是那些天天寫專欄的作家,而是看書的興趣最大,有發現、有衝動才下筆的那種作家。




    今年五十的我正在享受人生黃金般的季節 - 秋天。


    Cecilia Lai Wan Chan 陳麗雲 (Social Sciences)
    From Student Movement to Social Activism

    Cecilia Lai Wan Chan, Professor, Department of Social Work and Social Administration, as well as Director, Centre on Behavioral Health. (Dean of Faculty of Social Sciences, January 1999 - January 2002)

    Studying Social Sciences (1975-1978):
    1. Professor Peter Hodge criticized us (HK students) for being too compliant and submissive in the first lecture of Introduction to Social Work. I learnt to be critical.
    2. Professor Nelson Chow guided us on policy analysis and come up with feasible alternatives while we were working on the Street Sleepers' Project, when he was working on his Ph.D. thesis.
    3. Dr. Joe Leung coached us into the circle of social action and taught us Rules for the Radicals. His party song was "The Impossible Dream".
    4. Mrs. Kathy Young gave us examples of how family relationships did not work out, and ways to correct them. She had so many touching stories to tell in her casework lectures.
    5. Professor S.L. Wong taught us social problems and how to ask appropriate questions for the understanding of Chinese communities, crime, family, and culture.
    6. Professor Edward Chan in his Introduction to Economics helped us understand the relationship between economic and social development. Economic or fiscal growth without increase in jobs is not be in the best interest of society.

    Undergraduate Days in HKU: A Taste of being an Agent for Social Change
    1. University is the training ground for future leaders with a passion: Visits to victims of government evacuation of squatter huts during student orientation camp, learn about Mao and Marx in study groups, cultivated a sense of patriotism during the time of the Cultural Revolution in China.
    2. HKU students as agents of social conscience: Being Chairperson of the Street Sleepers Project, we had 250 school mates from various faculties and halls participated in the survey of street sleepers during a deadly cold Chinese New Year. The Report and subsequent lobbying resulted in changes in the social security system, health service delivery and public housing eligibility for single and homeless older adults. We could make a difference.
    3. Age of Social Change: Cagemen Project of Tsuen Wan, changed housing policy to make rehousing for displaced residents in private accommodation possible. Children drown in Yaumatei boat squatters leading to advocacy projects and campaigns that subsequently changes of housing policy. Participation in the Tai Hang Tung Community Health Project helped us in becoming bare foot doctors to promote grassroots participation for public health in the community.

    Student Activities and the Campus: Abundance Opportunities
    1. Lily Pond with songs and study groups. (Now most of the Lily Pond is gone, yet there is a Sun Yet San Status.)
    2. Library open everyday and close at 11:00p.m. (Library opening hours are shorter now compared to our good old days.)
    3. Knowles 751, Social Work Society Room where overnight work was possible.
    4. Discussion groups and chit-chats in the only student canteen, the Student Union Canteen (now part of the Library and the Extension Building).
    5. AIESEC international exchange to Thailand, I learn about poverty and affluence. (First time living away from home for three months. Now there are much more opportunities of international exchange for undergraduate students.)
    6. Study Tour to India, Nepal and Bangladesh, the enmeshed relationship between politics, administration and livelihood of the people. The multi-ethnic and multi-language groups in this region reminded me of the important contribution of the First Emperor of Chung who unified the written language and measurements.
    7. Tours into China and the Big Character Posters in the Student Union Building before and after the Cultural Revolution, I was perplexed by the sudden changes in political propaganda.
    8. Fun time in mass dance, debates, canteen, library, Lily Pond…

    In 25 Years of Social Activism: with joy and enthusiasm
    1. Served the Mount Davis squatter area in Kennedy Town for six years, I contributed to the formation of a Joint Council on Squatter Policies, and developed models of community development in Chinese communities. Took on as Chairperson of the Kennedy Town and Mount Davis Area Committee. We promoted environmental concern groups and changed housing policies without confrontation. Cooperation and collaboration with officials are possible.
    2. Formed the Kennedy Town and Mount Davis Environmental Concern Group and moved incinerators, poultry laans, wholesale markets to make room for parks and public facilities. Encouraged local leaders to participate in District elections and we had good successes.
    3. From geographical communities to functional communities: With the development of political parties and district elections, I moved to focus on those who cannot advocate for themselves. They are the individuals who suffer in silence and in pain: persons with chronic illness or cancer, children on welfare, new arrivals, children whose parents are mentally ill or in prison, victims of domestic violence and bereaved families.
    4. From policy change to individual empowerment: With a comprehensive social safety net and infrastructure, I began to work towards individual empowerment for a peace of mind. Promoting resilience and inner strength in handling adversities become the focus of my social activism.

    Personal Growth and Fulfillment
    I am most grateful to my teachers, classmates, workmates and peers for making this path of humanity possible. All of my clients are my teachers for life. Their sharing of their personal stories and pain had given me strength in the battle-field for justice, social equity and peace of mind. Stories of dying patients, rape victims, cancer survivors, persons with disabilities reminded us how privileged we are, of being able to serve instead of being served.

    The Social Science Faculty Today
    Teaching in Faculty of Social Sciences has changed from mainly Undergraduate focused into a very strong Post-Graduate programme. Now, we have Master Programmes in criminology, behavioral Health, counseling, public administration, politics and international relations, social work, mental health, gerontology, clinical psychology, educational psychology, media studies and journalism, Buddhism, family and marital therapy, housing … These master programmes provide basic training to professionals as well as contribute to continuous education of administrators and managers.
    Structurally, we become more dynamic. Economics, Business and Statistics moved out of the Faculty. Social Sciences Faculty remains the most innovative, creative faculty with bright and intellectually superior students. There are new research centres in the areas of: Media Studies and Journalism, Buddhist Studies, Behavioral health, Criminology, Aging, Civil Society, Suicide Research and Prevention, Social Science Research, Family Institute, Global Economy and International Studies, Anthropology etc. These research centres provide solutions to urban problems, local and global.

    Visioning into the Future: Social scientists will continue to contribute on
    1. Enhancing social cohesion and reducing social alienation.
    2. Balance between an effective social safety net without hampering incentive to work among the population.
    3. Fostering social and familial support while containing community and relational dis-integration.
    4. Make life interesting and contain social problems of suicide, gambling, depression, crime etc.
    5. Altering the pathological perspective of problem solving into a strength-focused intervention for prevention and structural change.

    Winnie So 蘇詠翹 (Arts)

    I did not graduate in 1978. Due to some misfortune, I had to defer for one year. But I would like to be considered as the class of 78 because I grew up with people of this class.

    I have to say that HKU has shaped the path of my life. I became a Christian 4 months after I entered HKU. Influenced by the brothers and sisters in the fellowship, I gradually chose to be a secondary school teacher as my career. This career gave me great satisfaction and also opened the door for me to emigrate to Sydney in 1992. I met some good people from the HKUAA New South Wales Chapter there. Sydney will probably be the place of my retirement. I am now working as secretary in the School of Business. If God permits, I wish to stay in HKU for the rest of my working life.

    Below is a little poem I wrote recently:

    Back to HKU

    After all these years of wandering
    I stood gazing at the lilies
    in the pond
    and the same feeling aroused
    as Dr. Sun Yat Sen did in 1912
    of coming back to HKU ---
    A sense of homecoming.

    In the library, new to me
    I searched for old books
    written by Fowles and Larkin
    They were my former friends
    I got to know them
    in my undergraduate days
    And now I read them again
    in another light
    Refreshed by my various experiences
    they were not the same any more.

    Familiar girlhood and boyhood laughter
    you come across
    in corridor and escalator
    But of different generations
    still linger on
    in the University of Hong Kong.

    Ng Wai Ngan Helen 吳慧顏 (MBBS)


    一九九七年我曾回到美國母校Wellesley College 參加畢業廿五週年慶典,並重遊MIT,漫步麻省劍橋查理士河畔,可說是再訪校園想當年吧!去年年底特回港參加我醫學院78班廿五年班慶,今年初得楊紫芝教授帶遊醫學院新校園時,不禁覺得與孫中山先生的一句「我有如遊子歸家」(見《港大畢業生議會通訊》(Convocation Newsletter) 二零零三年秋季一期 )深有共鳴。中山先生一九二三年重訪港大時的講話,說「香港與港大是我知識的誕生地」,值得我們三讀而為香港自豪、為中國深思。



    Lau Siu Lung 劉小龍 (Architecture)
    The Road Not Taken

    When the Silver Jubilee Organizing Committee asked if I could write an article about my career and life experiences since graduation, my mind traveled back in time to spring 1980 when I received my US immigration visa in the mail. At that time, my wife and I were both working in HK and were at the start of our careers. After thinking it through, we decided to immigrate to the US. It was not an easy decision as it meant leaving what we had accomplished behind and striking out on our own in an unfamiliar country.

    In April 1980, we landed in San Francisco. After settling down, I started looking for a job. In late April, I interviewed with JBA, a construction management firm located in the picturesque Marina District in San Francisco. After more than an hour's Q&A on various technical topics, I got the job. Thanks to my Alma Mater for giving me a good knowledge base.

    JBA specialized in CPM scheduling and construction claims. A CPM schedule is a graphic presentation of a contractor's battle plan. How well it is thought out and executed directly impacts the bottom-line. US contractors take scheduling seriously. In the early 80's, schedules were processed with mainframe computers. At JBA, I learned how to apply scheduling as a planning tool as well as a claims tool.

    Claims analysis is an interesting game. Its first phase is like the bloodless version of a crime scene investigation - sieving through volumes of documents, conducting interviews, piecing evidence together, and establishing cause-effect-responsibility. Its second phase involves devising defense and offense strategies, and engaging in negotiations, legal maneuvers and court proceedings. Of the different types of claims, delay-and-disruption claims are the most "lethal". They carry huge price tags, yet are difficult to prove and defend, especially in pinpointing the elusive "as-built critical path" and quantifying inefficiencies. Coincidentally, the subject matter of my HKU graduation dissertation was construction claims. At JBA, I turned theory into practice.

    In spring 1984, I left JBA to join J&A, another construction management (CM) firm in downtown San Francisco. J&A's services covered the full spectrum of the CM business, including pre-construction services, program and project management, construction management, and post-construction services. I focused on the core of the business -- onsite construction management.

    In the US, the term "construction management" means more than just the traditional management of construction by a contractor. It also means an independent profession, abbreviated to "CM", which specializes in managing and delivering projects on behalf of project owners. Practitioners are primarily licensed engineers, architects or contractors with technical and contracting expertise. CM emerged in the 60's when developers began hiring construction managers to manage overlapped design-construction and multiple prime contracts. In the 70's, the US Government adopted CM in public works. Since then, CM has become the mainstream for government entities charged with capital improvement projects. They find the other benefits of CM equally attractive: adding technical and contracting expertise without expanding their permanent staff, transparency and accountability, insulation against blames and claims, and avoidance of conflict of interest.

    From 1984 through 1995, I stayed on consecutive CM field assignments covering different types of projects up and down California - two wastewater treatment plants; 10 miles of pipelines; a medium security jail complex; a community center and theater; a conference center; and a 120 acre project comprising a solid waste processing center, a city corporation complex for 8 city departments, and periphery roads.

    I started out as a field engineer and learned the trade from ground up. By mid-1985, I was given a free hand to run a pipeline project. In 1987, I became responsible for the make-or-break of a jail project. Between 1990 and 1995, projects I headed were primarily those won by submitting bids and leading team-members to compete in presentations. I enjoyed my projects, as each was unique - different location, different design, different construction methods, new teams and new friends. Bringing out a team's full potential, overcoming unexpected site and design problems, and steadily steering a project on the right course were challenges I dealt with on a daily basis. I felt great satisfaction when my projects were completed within time and budget and my clients and the public started using the facilities.

    Fifteen years passed by in a blink. Our family had established roots in our adopted country. Our children became teenagers. Life settled into a routine pattern. Just as I began to muse over the direction that our family was heading, an unexpected call from Taiwan in March 1995 took us on a new course.

    The caller was the project manager of a German general contractor constructing a US$800 million subway project in Taipei. He had been looking for a bilingual engineer conversant with US construction practices and techniques to head an architectural team managing 4 subway stations. He offered me an overseas assignment. In mid 1995, I started working in Taipei. My family joined me two months later. We stayed in Taiwan until mid 1999, shortly after the start of the subway line's revenue service.

    In those four years, I gained new perspectives at many fronts. Career-wise, it was a switch to the high-pressure high-risk side of the business, and a leap onto the league of mega-projects. The challenges were immense and the odds were high: a staff of 200 technical and administrative professionals assembled from 28 countries under three payroll systems; 2,000+ construction workers recruited from Thailand and the Philippines; countless suppliers, subcontractors and direct-hire locals; mafia influences; a joint venture Taiwanese partner in serious financial distress; language barriers and cultural differences (e.g. German perfectionism versus the locals' take-it-easy mindset); public relations with neighborhood residents; complicated regulations and procedures, etc. What is the best and fail-safe way to manage a mega-project like this? It was a question that fascinated me from the first day. I observed the way the project was managed, our strengths and weaknesses, our mistakes, the consequences and the price we paid, and I learned the dos and don'ts.

    What I value most though, are the experiences and insight I acquired in interacting with government officers, subcontractors and coworkers. Prior to going to Taiwan, I had thought the business culture in Taiwan would be similar to that in HK. It turned out to be quite different, and was closer to that described in stories from the old days when Guanxi was more important than the contract. It was an eye-opener.

    It was also during those four years that Taiwan went through rapid political changes that had far-reaching impacts on the society: constitutional amendments, the emergence of the DPP, the first public presidential election in 1996, and the 1999 Taipei mayoral election. These changes were paralleled by other socio-economic developments: a switch from traditional industries to IT manufacturing, rapid westernization, the expansion of Tzu-chi (a charity organization) into the global scene, and rampant scams involving millions of dollars and countless victims, etc. These events prompted me to think about the plight of the Chinese people, in the past, the present, and the future.

    Our family made many new friends. We traveled extensively within Taiwan, enjoyed its natural beauty, its cuisine, tea, art and culture, and the hospitality of its people, especially those in remote parts of the island. Our children benefited a great deal during those 4 years. They were enrolled at an international school that stressed balance between academia, extracurricular activities and character development. They had the opportunity to mix with students from different parts of the world. They also experienced different aspects of the Chinese culture and began to appreciate it.

    At the end of June 1999, we moved back to California. Soon I joined a US company to work on the US$16 billion Korea High Speed Rail Project. In August 1999, my family moved to Seoul, except my son who was in college in the US.

    I was one of the foreign advisors helping our client to manage the project. My main role was to provide construction management oversight for passenger stations. I spent my first year providing feasibility, constructibility and interface analyses, as well as technology transfers. Then I moved to the largest station site and became part of the client's management team and covered all aspects of the US$160 million station construction. It was interesting to observe the wide variety of materials and construction methods that Koreans adopted from different parts of the world. It was even more interesting to see Koreans' military management style, emphasizing on obedience and efficiency. I believe it has a lot to do with their society's hierarchal structure, which is rooted in Confucianism.

    Korean society is far more Confucianist than HK, Singapore and Taiwan, the three Chinese societies with which I am familiar. Subordinates still bow to their superiors when superiors enter the office. Grown-up children still stand to the side when their father enters a room. Conformity, loyalty and hardworking remain the key virtues valued by society, and contributed to the economic miracle that Korea accomplished in the short span of 50 years. Their achievement became more respectable after I learned of the economic plunders that Korea suffered during 36 years of Japanese occupation (1910 through 1945). Koreans are proud of their ethnic homogeneity, and feel more at ease in group-activities involving their own kind than with foreigners. While the use of English is gaining popularity in business settings, it is difficult to find English-speaking service providers in restaurants, cinemas and shopping malls. Language barrier remains an inconvenience in expatriates' daily lives.

    Nonetheless, as foreigners, my family found Seoul a highly livable city. In general, Koreans are very friendly, courteous and hospital towards foreigners. We could get around easily in this city of 12 million people. We were fond of visiting Korean ancient palaces and Buddhist temples, as well as its ever-expanding collection of modern shopping malls and skyscrapers. Personally I found certain aspects of the Korean culture, such as Korean cuisine, costume, folk dance, furniture, etc. very interesting as they had distinctly Korean origins. Shopping in Seoul is a unique and pleasurable experience. The entire city is like a gigantic shopping mall, with a few areas specializing in merchandise that cater to foreigners' tastes. My family had an enjoyable time during my first assignment in Korea, which lasted till December 2001.

    In February 2002, I went to Brazil as part of a project rescue team. It was a US$170 million hydro-electricity project, located in Mato Grosso State, the savanna region in Brazil's southwest. The project owner, a US power company, asked my employer to take over when the Brazilian general contractor defaulted. My responsibility was to finish the incomplete earthwork, which included 7 km of canals, two intake structures, a lateral spillway, a stilling basis, river closure, and extensive erosion repair. Earthwork must be completed in order to introduce water to start the turbines. With two superintendents and a deputy engineer, we planned, improvised and executed the work. When manpower peaked, we had 900+ workers working up and down the slopes of the canals, and had more than 25 pieces of earthwork machines moving all over the site.

    It was a single status assignment as security was a major concern. This remote region was notorious for highway robberies, kidnaps and frequent road-blockades by native Indians. Our jobsite and camp were completely fenced off and patrolled by arms-bearing security guards. Phone and Internet availabilities were very limited. I call those few months "A Tale of Four Cities" (but with good endings) as my family was living in four different parts of the world.

    But the temporary hardship was worth it, in exchange for a taste of the natural beauty of Brazil, and the spirit of its people. Our team commuted every day through agricultural fields and cattle ranges that stretched endlessly into the horizon. Often we saw emus in the fields. Sunrises and sunsets were spectacular. The last 10 km of our route snaked through a forest, where we saw several trees full of green parrots every morning. The jobsite was at the edge of Pantanal, the largest wetland in the world (twice the size of Colorado) and the habitat for countless species of living creatures. At the jobsite, sightings of toucans, macaws, and armadillos were common. We captured tarantulas, scorpions, and snakes, including an anaconda 14 feet long. My friends and I made several boat-excursions into the heart of Pantanal. I was mesmerized by its biodiversity: alligators sunbathing on the banks; colorful tropical fishes swimming in the river; capivaras diving and disappearing; eagles and vultures soaring in the sky; flocks of white herons resting on trees; king-fishers, giant cranes and many other types of birds dashing over the river; glimpses of the elusive tapirs; a giant ant-eater carrying its baby on its back crossing a trail gracefully; and four savanna wolves watching us from a distance. The rivers are infested with piranhas up to 10 inches long. We caught 16 in one trip and tasted deep-fried piranhas. We even swam in the rapid part of the river, betting on who would get bitten by piranhas first.

    Brazilians in this region may be poor, but poverty can't hold back their spirit and passion. Their favorite hand sign is the thumbs-up. They love to share. When they caught big fishes, they threw parties and invited a few of us along to get drunk. During the 2002 World Cup football series, most of the administration staff of 60 skipped work to watch the games on TV in a room designed to hold 20 people. When Brazil won the championship game, the whole room went crazy. During Brazil's annual carnival, we visited the town closest to our jobsite. Almost the entire town of 120,000 people came out to celebrate. Men and women, old and young all joined in singing and dancing their samba and mamba in the hot humid evenings. Their passion was electrifying, contagious and intoxicating.

    At the end of my Brazil assignment, I spent 5 days in the Amazon jungle, which offers a different biodiversity from Pantanal. I climbed a 120 feet tall tower to the top of the jungle to watch sunrises and the unveiling of the forest, the majestic flights of several species of Macaws (rainbow color large parrots close to 3 feet long), the lovely acrobats of families of spider monkeys, and many other types of parrots and birds that only stay at the top of the rain forest. I walked amongst hundreds of butterflies of different colors at a sandy beach. One evening I hired a boat and two guides to go into the river and captured two alligators, with one about 4 feet long. I also spent 4 days in the stunningly beautiful city of Rio de Janeiro, relaxing on Ipanema Beach and Copacabana Beach. Brazil is a place that one can't forget.

    In October 2002, my wife and I moved back to Seoul on my second assignment in Korea - the US$3 billion rail link between Incheon Airport and downtown Seoul. The client is a private-public BOT consortium. My role is to provide interface management between different work-disciplines. The new assignment is quite demanding, and I enjoy the challenges. On weekends and holidays, my wife and I explore new places, meet new friends, and develop new hobbies. What lies ahead of us? Que Sera, Sera.

    In Robert Frost's poem "The Road Not Taken", my wife and I find an echo:

    "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
    And sorry I could not travel both,
    And be one traveler, long I stood,
    And looked down one as far as I could,
    To where it bent in the undergrowth;

    Then took the other, as just as fair, ….. ".

    (This article is dedicated to my wife Winifred, my son Frank, and my daughter Michelle.)


    CHOY Cheuk Mun 蔡焯敏 (Arts)


    香港大學的日子, 在如煙如夢如歌如戰鼓間, 便走了二十五年. 回首前塵擠身往陸佑堂的山坡若朝聖的新鮮人隊伍中, 頭上真的有個光環, 在耀目的太陽下跳躍, 飛翔,探問, 期待. 如今, 移居美國的人海江湖, 也是二十五年的時光, 斷續相間或艱苦或安逸的人生旅程. 這裡的晴空下, 我撐著一葉扁舟, 回記往日凌散片斷的波光韻律.

    二十五年的時光是一片廣大而看不到彼岸的時空. 中國就在這段的日子由一個貧窮歌頌人力木頭車的鄉土年代, 重點建造處處的現代化城市, 吐氣揚眉的在國際上抬起頭來. 香港也在這段時光在人才外流回歸回流的境說, 跨越種種困局成為世界上一個屹立不倒的超級大城市. 我的眼目在身居紐約後, 集中在一個白人主義唯我獨專的社會輾化成為一個多元文化模式的首席大都會, 而後來我又遷到美國的古都費城, 活在新舊交替, 舊多於新的保守氣候中. 我是以悲喜交集的心情活在中美的兩大時代, 起勁的吸收美國的積極樂觀及高度透視的文化,骨子裡又深深護植自己的中國根, 中國情.

    我就是在這兩種的文化衝突中渡過了二十五年. 猶記,一次在紐約的地鐵捧著港大友好的來信, 嚎哭得再不顧慮鄰座的目光. 直到今天, 我偶爾還會提起自己在昔日港大校園愛國家愛民族的星點豪情. 我在美的主流文化的狹縫裡, 徘徊在唐人街一所公立中學, 目睹一群自命教育家,借標榜雙語教育卻不顧學生吸毒入黨的處境, 只求偷生糊口. 後來我踏進哥倫比亞大學的教育學院的雙語系中, 雖在西班牙裔的教授的莫大勢力下, 幸得到一位來自台灣的中國教授提攜. 猶記在香港自小認知學好英文這件大事, 卻是在海外的教育理論確認讀好母語的重要性, 我欣然珍愛有五千年歷史, 仍唯一流存的中國文字.

    繞旋在文化衝突的十字路口, 我仍是要作出選擇, 我修了應用語言學的博士課程, 並在不同的大學教英語, 生活在新移民學生及國際學生的多元化經驗圈子, 我是在美國文化得到不少的薰陶. 最偉大的變化是我肯定了人權的種種價值. 記得往日在港會見移民局, 那高高在上超然的氣派, 頓然感到自己纖微無力. 居住在美的日子, 感到甚麼事情都可以和不同的機關部門, 不同的人平等的交談. 其次, 我極之欣賞西方的研究精神; 那種的創意, 問題上剝繭抽絲的態度和對學問的真誠和不恥下問的精神, 令我這個歷盡考試滄桑的戰客深受動感. 猶記我的一個語言系教授 Lois Bloom 蹲下來記錄女兒學前五年的語言發展, 開創了第一語言的發展理論. 我認識多種研究方法, 最深受 ethnographic research的影響, 將自己處於旁觀者的位置, 仔細記錄身邊如流水的資料, 然後將資料攤開,用各種的分析層層深入找新的據點領域. 這是一種深入民間深入民心深入民性的研究方法, 我發現身邊盡是數不清的無名英雄.

    九十年代以後的美國, 不得不進入多元文化的現實, 四週的空氣清新迷人起來. 我感覺自己的血緣和中國根的價值被肯定, 一掃自己飄泊於異地成為異鄉人之苦. 儘管不是堂堂的大門, 這裡有不可勝數的窗軒, 可以一窺中國的文化. 我讀高中的女兒會走來查問阿Q正傳的阿Q精神是甚麼, 及我對蔣介石的評論如何. 偶爾, 我們會到華盛頓的 Freer Gallery 和 Sackler Museum看豸j的中華文物展. 在我教書的社區大學, 儘管是英文系仍可以人民科學的名義研究中國歷代的文學. 生活在美, 沒有香港的繁華及剌激, 沒有走出港大扶搖直上的青雲路, 我默默的奔走自己的路, 卻是一片自由舒閒的天空, 讓我在心靈的草原上奔馳, 呼喚, 探奇, 享受. 我寫詩並結交了一群詩友, 又在帆布架上應用中國畫的技巧繪畫山水花叢.

    我多年來感到自己是一個邊緣人. 最近重讀沈從文的邊城, 處處細緻的描繪苗人的正直, 誠實, 平凡而又極優美 , 在民國的時代已正面地肯定少數民族的豐富社會文化. 中國人在美亦有一系列動人的故事及獨特的貢獻. 我又想起劉再復和劉劍梅在共悟人間談到故鄉的定義是 "我走到那裡, 那裡就是故鄉" 這個想法, 再一次反醒自己的境況, 不經意的已由一個邊緣人輾轉變了一個雙緣人. 我覺得在標榜二十一世紀國際化的紀元, "邊緣" 的意義並不怎樣重要了, 我較喜歡 "雙緣", 這個名詞的意思是對中西的文化有雙重的緣份. 這樣說來, 無論在美在香港, 只要對中美文化保持興趣, 都可以遇上雙緣人或多緣人, 道道鄉情. 說著, 說著, 我的扁舟又在動了.

    揚起風帆, 一串清寧的芝蘭
    花瓣的通明 , 飄向沒有邊赤獄漡
    載動我的彩虹, 信念, 驚訝

    Patrick Li 李頌基 (Medicine)
    Year Reunion in 1988 Class Photo in 1974
    Group travel to Philipines after final examination in 1978 Silver Jubilee Reunion in December 2003
    Senior clerkship group photo during Year 4 Physiology tutorial group during Year 1

    How the Practice of Medicine has Changed over the Past 25 Years

    Medicine is one of the most rapidly evolving professional fields. Many of the technological advances over the past 25 years have made profound impact on how medical services are delivered. These advances have become such an integral part of the practice of medicine that we tend to take them for granted. It is only on looking back that we realise that medical care was so different back in 1978. Ten key areas of changes are highlighted below:

    1. The average life expectancy for men in Hong Kong was 70.6 years and for women 78.6 years back in 1978. The longevity had increased to 78.6 years and 84.5 years for men and women respectively by 2002. This has resulted in significant ageing of the population, with the proportion over the age of 65 years doubling from 6% in 1978 to 11.9% in 2003. In the meantime, the population has grown from 4.77 million (1978) to 6.81 million (2003). A considerable proportion of medical practice nowadays is related to care of a growing number of elderly patients who have multiple chronic medical problems.

    2. With the availability of potent antibiotics and improvement in environmental hygiene, infectious disease was considered to be a declining problem in Hong Kong in the 1970s. However, the medical profession increasingly has to tackle unusual or serious infections among a growing number of patients whose immune system is weakened by drugs for treatment of cancers, prevention of rejection after organ transplantation, and immunosuppressive therapy for autoimmune disorders. A number of important new infectious diseases have also emerged over the past 25 years, including AIDS, variant CJD (linked to mad cow disease), H5N1 influenza, and most recently SARS. Antibiotics resistance from excessive and indiscriminate use also threatens to result in resurgence in infections especially in the hospital setting.

    3. Diagnostic imaging has made significant technological advances over the past 25 years. Back in 1978, the medical profession was beginning to master the clinical applications of non-invasive investigations such as ultrasonography and computed tomography (CT). With the availability of faster and more powerful CT machines and development of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology, the image resolution has been greatly enhanced and it is now possible to reconstruct two- and three-dimensional images of different parts of the body, including the brain, spinal cord, blood vessels, joints and various internal organs. This has improved diagnostic accuracy and provided better visualization of the pathology to guide surgical treatment. More recently, advances in functional MRI and the positron emission tomography (PET) have opened up the opportunity for assessment of the functional integrity of different organ systems.

    4. Pathological diagnosis has been greatly enhanced by the development of molecular biology. Minute quantity of DNA can be amplified and easily detected by polymerase chain reaction (PCR), thereby increasing the diagnostic sensitivity and accuracy. This has reduced the need for operation to obtain specimen for diagnosis, allowed earlier identification and treatment of various viral infections, and facilitated prenatal detection of hereditary diseases.
    5. The practice of surgery has been revolutionalised by the development of minimally invasive surgical procedures. Examination and operation on intra-abdominal organs, joint structures and the lungs can be performed via small key-holes using specially designed instruments such as laparoscopes. The "gamma knife" can focus beams of radiation on small intracranial tumours or abnormal blood vessels for ablation. Enhancement of fibroptic technology has also allowed diagnosis and treatment of many diseases of the gastrointestinal and respiratory using flexible endoscopes. These treatments entail much smaller or even no surgical wounds, thereby facilitating faster recovery and shortened length of hospital stay for the patients.

    6. There have been considerable advances in catheter-based therapeutic procedures over the past 25 years. This has resulted in the development of interventional radiology and cardiology for treatment of patients with cardiac and arterial disorders. Narrowed blood vessels and other structures can be dilated by balloon angioplasty and secured by metallic stents while abnormally dilated and weakened blood vessels can be obliterated by metallic coils or "glue" delivered by catheters.

    7. Pharmaceutical research and new understanding of the causes of diseases have led to development of drugs for conditions which previously had no effective treatment or required surgery. These include new medications for treatment of peptic ulcers, high cholesterol level, osteoporosis, depression, prostate enlargement, viral infections and male sexual dysfunction.

    8. Advances in genetic engineering and biotechnology have allowed the use of microorganisms such as bacteria to produce new and effective drugs such as human insulin and interferon. The Human Genome Project from 1990 to 2003 has identified and sequenced the more than 30,000 genes in the human DNA. This holds promise for diagnosis, therapy and even prediction of various inherited diseases. The ability to clone cells and even whole animal has opened up immense potential for organ transplantation but also created considerable debate among the public and the medical profession about the ethical controversies.

    9. Medical practice has benefited from the significant advances in information technology over the past 25 years. The development of electronic patient records allows sharing of clinical information across clinics and hospitals. Updated information on medical advances can be easily accessible via the internet, and intelligent decision support system are being developed to assist the clinicians in handling the information explosion and delivering the best medical care to their patients. The availability of high-speed broadband telecommunication technology has also fostered the development of telemedicine, allowing specialist consultation for patients located far away from specialised referral centres.

    10. The medical profession in Hong Kong has also witnessed a number of important developments over the past 25 years. Due to rapid technological advances and accumulation of new knowledge, medical practice has become increasingly sophisticated and complex and there is a trend towards subspecialisation in medicine. The establishment of the Hong Kong Academy of Medicine in 1993 has fostered post-graduate specialist training and the Medical Council has introduced requirements for continuous medical education to maintain the standard of medical practice. The Hospital Authority was set up in 1991 and improvement in the public medical services has led to significant shift of patients from the private to public sector. A new medical school was established in the Chinese University of Hong Kong in the early 1980s and the proportion of female medical graduates has steadily increased at both universities.

    A quarter of a century is a short time but there have been numerous significant advances in the practice of medicine. Just as the medical care in 2003 was very different from that in 1978, and for that matter 1978 very different from 1953, we can anticipate that the practice of medicine in 25 years will be very different from what we experience today. While medical advances such as gene therapy and cloning of human stem cells are holding promise in tackling many of the medical problems for which we still do not have a solution today, it is likely that new challenges will continue to emerge. Yet despite all the technological advances, the practice of medicine will remain an art and the human and caring aspect will always be fundamental to patient care.

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