To be able to serve others is a great honour. It presupposes trust on the side of the ones being served and competence on the side of the ones serving. This is especially true of the so-called “servant leaders”, who lead others even while serving them. It is therefore with a sense of great honour that I—the newly installed President of the HKIE, and therefore its servant leader—welcome you all to Session 2023/2024.
“Serving” is a subject I have thought long and hard about: probably because, being above all else an engineer, I have had ample opportunities to do so. What, after all, does the vocation of engineering consist in—if not in serving the public with professional skills and knowledge? Immediate Past President Ir Aaron Bok was right when he singled out pride as an engineer’s proper emotional stance towards the profession. To this I would add that this pride comes from serving—from the double recognition that we are professionals working and innovating with knowledge, and that the public trusts our professionalism and knowledgeability. The unique combination in engineers of “innovator” and “servant”, of the theoriser and the practitioner, is what distinguishes them from other professionals. This line of thought is the inspiration behind my formulation of this Session’s theme as “We engineer, we serve” (知行合一 成就專業).
Into this one single formula, I have distilled the essence of my 30-ish years of experience in engineering and management. It is, so to speak, my motto and my life lesson. Now that I have the great privilege to serve as President, I will give my best to the Institution, orienting its work in the next 12 months around this idea of “serving”. Those of you who have been following us closely would easily recognise how this is in perfect accord with our long-standing commitment to “Enhancing Services to Members”, which is one of the five major areas of focus of our Time to Change Roadmap. In the same way that engineers have been serving the public, the Institution will strive to serve its members—that is, passionately and professionally.
My colleagues and I are already full of ideas—great ones, I guarantee you—about how to address your needs and preferences properly. Our work will centre around four areas: “assisting qualification acquisition”, “promoting knowledge sharing”, “enhancing membership values and benefits”, and “driving membership growth”. In short, members’ satisfaction, derived from enhanced value-added services and information delivery, will be at the heart of everything we do.
Few emotions are more universal than the desire to make a difference for the better by embarking on something new. This emotion has driven many people to make New Year’s resolutions, and has made me put down “Be the Change” (不一樣) as the slogan of this new Session. Besides member service, I am resolved to enhance different stakeholders’ understanding of the engineering profession. In taking up this challenge, I am fortunate to have Hally (our mascot) by my side. Hally’s zeal to promote friendly relations on our social media platforms, wherever engineers are concerned, will be a great asset to us.
I will still have plenty of chances to speak to you again. For the time being, let me echo the Presidential Theme and conclude with what I want members to take away from this message, which is that “The Institution is at your service, and so am I.”
Ir Dr Barry LEE Chi-hong