President's Story

President Ir Aaron Bok: ‘Building majestic visions of Hong Kong for change’


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Ir Aaron Bok Kwok-ming, the President of The Hong Kong Institution of Engineers for Session 2022/2023, has a lifelong passion for engineering throughout his 37 years of service in the HKSAR Government. Throughout these years, he is dedicated to shaping the landscape of Hong Kong’s engineering industry by leveraging his own rich experience.


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Picturing a majestic vision

Serving in the engineering industry since graduating from The University of Hong Kong (HKU) in 1983, Ir Bok’s journey in engineering was set in motion by a picture printed by the HKIE.


Growing up in a sublet flat within a three-nil building, Ir Bok’s family was far from wealthy. His memories include his tailor dad’s workspace, into which he would squeeze for some sleep, and his yearly summer job, for which he would clean windows while standing in a gondola that hung at the height of some 30 floors. From an early age, he has always strived for personal excellence and a chance to change his own fate through hard-earned knowledge acquisition. Intergenerational poverty, though there was no such term in those days, was his chief opponent at the time.


Ir Bok says, “Back in those early days, I studied in a secondary school overlooking a majestic view of HKU, where I set my goals to further my studies.” The year he enrolled there for his tertiary education coincided with the launch of HKU Faculty of Dentistry. He was drawn by the field’s vast potential market and the lucrative income that comes with becoming a dentist. However, a picture changed the course of his life.


That picture was a computer simulation of the Tsing Ma Bridge printed in Hong Kong Engineer, the HKIE journal. The bridge would be the world's longest dual-purpose suspension bridge for railways and vehicles, which declared its magnificence with its engineering ingenuity.


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The photo image that changed Ir Bok’s life career


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“I was mesmerised by the majestic project,” he recalls, “and wished to be a part of it. I found something that I could see myself doing for the next 30 years or so.” It was around this time that he discovered his unbridled passion for engineering and began to form a vision for serving society with highly practical and quality day-to-day architecture.


During his 37 years of service in the government, Ir Bok has worked across multiple government departments. These include the Water Supplies Department, the Transport Department, the Highways Department, the Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) and the Development Bureau. He has extensive experience in traffic and transport planning, New Town development, policy formulation, major reclamations, plus planning, design and project management of major infrastructure projects.


His major projects include the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, the Central-Wan Chai Bypass and Island Eastern Corridor Link, Tuen Mun Road Improvement, Central Kowloon Route, Tolo Highway/Fanling Highway Widening, Route 8, Shenzhen Western Corridor, Lung Mei Artificial Beach, Lung Kwu Tan Reclamation and Tuen Mun West Replanning. He was also engaged in management of fill banks, over 80 public housing site projects and the construction of over 3,500 quarantine units that were instrumental in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Before retiring in January 2021, he was the Head of the Civil Engineering Office of CEDD.


Two ‘impossible’ missions

With more than 30 years of experience under his belt, Ir Bok has participated in countless projects of all sizes. “The two most memorable ones,” he says, “are the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HZMB) and the Penny’s Bay Quarantine Centre.”


The HZMB is a difficult and unique project in that it was jointly financed, implemented and managed by the Hong Kong, Zhuhai and Macao governments. From the planning and design to the funding application and construction on to the official opening and operation, Ir Bok immersed himself the entire time in the experience, with no other thought than to build a Green bridge for the community. It was during his involvement in the project – where he project-managed the bridge’s construction – that he developed his Three 3 philosophy1 with his team.


“Situated at the Pearl River Estuary and having a section that is adjacent to the Hong Kong International Airport, the HZMB was all but a mission impossible, due to its colossal scale and complexity in structural, hydraulic, geographical, ecological and environmental aspects, besides many others,” he recalls.


Among various other initiatives that were taken to tackle the risk, Ir Bok and his team created the first ever fully non-dredge reclamation plan of its kind in Hong Kong; used 180 m-long viaduct sections (what was at the time the longest spans), which, forming the bridge, pass over a navigation channel and the headland of Lantau; built the unprecedented land-based boundary crossing facilities, one of them being the iconic, soothing Passenger Clearance Building (PCB), which grants direct public access – all for environmental and customer-friendly reasons. The completed bridge could save commuters almost 160 km of mileage and 3 hours of journey time. “But we also need to minimise the project’s demand and impact on Earth resources and the marine ecology during construction,” he adds. In the Hong Kong Section, the non-dredge scheme alone saved about 22 Mm3’s worth of dredging and roughly half of the original backfilling materials needed.


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The artificial island of the Hong Kong Port of the HZMB


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Qingzhou Channel Bridge of the HZMB


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Iconic roof of the Passenger Clearance Building, Hong Kong Port, the HZMB


The other memorable project was the Penny’s Bay Quarantine Centre. Soon after the 2020 Chinese New Year, when the COVID-19 pandemic began to sweep the world, Ir Bok was tasked with another impossible mission: viz., to build 1,500 quarantine units2 on undeveloped land in the shortest possible time. Starting from scratch, it was a project that would usually take one year, but Ir Bok managed to accomplish the mission’s first phase in only two months.


“At unprecedented speed – within the first ten days – we went through all the designs, got quotations from contractors, got approval for land acquisition and tree felling, gained legal advice, budget and a lot more, satisfied all the statutory and administrative requirements,” he recalls. “We were racing against time and a pandemic.”


Finishing in less than a quarter of the normal construction period, Ir Bok described the working conditions as 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


To succeed in these projects, Ir Bok kept faith in his philosophy–to look ahead and avoid potential risk from the very start. From the beginning, he encouraged his team to conduct risk assessments. This included assessing not only problems that could occur in the near future, but also possible risks that might expose themselves in half years’ time or the subsequent two to three years. He emphasised the importance of taking immediate action to reduce or even avoid risks.


One team, one goal

Ir Bok also strongly believes in the philosophy of ‘One team, one goal’. Taking the HZMB and the quarantine facility projects as examples, Ir Bok stresses he is grateful that all the units worked together and brainstormed potential threats.“With each individual thinking ahead and applying the Three Attitudes of No Workers Mentality, Collaborating, and Embracing and Enjoying Challenges, we could work together to perform miracles.”


“My vision of what ‘one team one goal’ means is a real-life interpretation of the‘Spirit Bomb 元氣彈’ in the well-loved Japanese cartoon, Dragon Ball,” he adds. “In Dragon Ball, Son Goku gathers energy from all the creatures in the universe to create a powerful bomb, an act which resembles any project in the engineering industry where teamwork and team spirit are required to succeed.”


What touched Ir Bok the most occurred during the third wave of COVID-19 in July 2020 - nearly all his team members that participated in building the first two phases of the Penny Bay’s Quarantine Centre took the initiative to help build the new phases. Striving to contribute to society despite some dissenting voices, they must have believed that it was more of a blessing to give than to receive.


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The Penny’s Bay Quarantine Camp


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YMC of the Institution visiting the Penny’s Bay Quarantine Camp


Formalising the road map for Session 2022/2023

Immediate Past President Ir Edwin K F Chung had taken the bold step of rolling out the Time to Change Roadmap3 in rising to the unprecedented challenges faced by the HKIE. Thanks to this daring initiative of Ir Chung’s, in Session 2022/2023 the HKIE is able to commit itself to a higher degree of proactiveness in problem-solving and nurturing a culture of change. Ir Bok believes that the process of change is a long journey, involving extensive planning and refinements along the way. With their clear vision of how to make conspicuous changes in the HKIE, therefore, Ir Bok and the Vice Presidents are all ready, heart and soul, to enforce the 5-year roadmap set out by Ir Chung.


The roadmap consists of five key components, which, in brief, are:


  1. Pursuing digitalisation – Offer digital tools or solutions that align with the changing digital landscape and trends, upgrade current system architecture for more efficient daily operations, and ensure high-level security for confidential or sensitive information and data. Plans will include revamping the HKIE website, digitalising the membership application process, introducing a mobile application and reviewing social media strategies to promote institutional news and events.
  2. Enhancing services to members – Increase members’ satisfaction and membership value by improving value-added services, enhancing information delivery to members, as well as encouraging exchange among members that would establish in them an enriched sense of cohesion and belonging.
  3. Boosting professionalism – Uplift the professional status of the HKIE and engineers in society at large through intellectual exchange, policy advocacy initiatives, and explorations of further collaborative opportunities for training and development. In particular, the HKIE intends to assist in the performance of public and private works projects by facilitating policy review, top-notch intellectual exchange and professional advocacies to the government, public and major clients. By being always ready to offer quality and high-level advice, the Institution will strengthen engineers’ professional image in the public eye.
  4. Facilitating innovation – Foster a culture of innovation amongst members, and inspire engineers to bring their ideas to bear in real life through applications of innovative approaches or technologies with an aim to increase productivity, efficiency and project delivery outcomes. With the establishment of the Enginpreneurs (EP) Hub, it is hoped that the HKIE will contribute further to the sustainable development of society and drive further economic growth, in particular the development of Hong Kong into a new innovation & technology hub.
  5. Undertaking governance review – Revamp the HKIE’s governance to adapt more effectively to changing demands and new circumstances. It is now an opportune time to review our governance including our structure, constitutions, administrative framework and so on.


Proud to be Engineers

While we will proceed in Session 2022/2023 with the various initiatives under the “Time To Change” Roadmap, greater emphasis will be placed on rendering the Institution more visible and improving the image of the profession and our members, especially by foregrounding our professionalism. With a membership of over 33,000, the HKIE has, Ir Bok believes, a ‘Spirit Bomb’ of its own ready to be used. That is to say, it has members aplenty who could help boost its image as apt ambassadors–provided, of course, that they are also proud of being engineers and feel respected as such. It is thus the Institution’s deepest wish to cultivate aspiring engineers and provide the tools that they need to grow into proud professionals. In return, it is hoped, they become the sine qua non of the profession’s growth and perpetuation. Ir Bok appeals to all members to pitch in and participate in this important mission for the engineering profession. His slogan for the year is:


We are Proud to be Engineers! We will:

  • deliver our services to community professionally and with heartiness and diligence;
  • tell good engineering stories; and
  • nurture talented successors


In the coming years, Ir Bok aims to act on the above resolves by the following four means:


  1. Fostering visibility – To uphold the public image of the engineering profession, propagate knowledge about and the latest advancements in engineering, and highlight the accomplishments and contributions of engineers to the public.
  2. Contributing to the society with a long-term vision – To offer insights on specific, especially high-level, issues relating to engineering, thus boosting the HKIE image.
  3. Nurturing future competent engineers – To arouse the younger generations’ interest in choosing engineering as their lifelong career and support them to acquire knowledge of the field.
  4. Increasing recognition of professional status – To promote the professional status and recognition of the HKIE membership.


Helping to develop young engineers

Ir Bok shares a particular challenge with engineers and the engineering industry at large: he is aware that the Government, in order to meet public demands, is planning to push on vigorously with infrastructure, as well as land and housing development, with a much faster pace than it has done up to now. It is also planning to transform Hong Kong into a new innovation & technology (I&T) hub, as a new pillar of economy growth. On the surface, all these would combine to usher in a golden era for the engineering industry; true as that may be, these opportunities also pose a big challenge to those in the field, for it is becoming clearer that the engineering industry lacks young professionals. “Engineering is not as attractive a profession to young people as it used to be in my time, because of its pre-established associations with long working hours and huge workload.”


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Ir Bok takes off with a group of energetic future successors


Therefore, bringing in young professionals who could succeed the previous generation will be one of our key tasks in Session 2022/2023. One of the year’s highlights, therefore, will be to engage with parents, teachers and students, thereby informing them about the exciting career opportunities that engineering offer and instilling into students a genuine interest in STEM,” he notes. “To do so, we will introduce new educational initiatives, paying visits, for instance, to primary schools and secondary schools to introduce the engineering profession to students.”


“To me, being an engineer is not only about having a rewarding income, but also about contributing actively to our community members’ quality of life and even the stability and prosperity of mankind,” he adds. “For, as the famous engineer Theodore Von Karman once said,‘Scientists discover the world that exists; Engineers create the world that never was4!’”


Breaking the vicious cycle

Ir Bok also highlights the existence of a certain vicious cycle in the engineering industry. “Nowadays, there is stiff market competition in the industry, which results in low tender bids in public works,” Ir Bok says. “Bids that are significantly low could affect the projects negatively and bring about quality, health and safety issues that are to the disadvantage of the government as well as the public. They could lead to poor working conditions for engineering professionals, especially the younger ones.”


In his attempt to break the vicious cycle, Ir Bok led a group of young professionals to compile two research reports on augmenting engineering manpower to cope with the foreseeable surge in demand and procurement policy review for works contracts and consultancy contracts. The reports were submitted to the Government, which, so far, has accepted two recommendations found in them: one aims to discourage unreasonably low bids by enhancing the fee diving control mechanism on consultancy; the other suggests setting consultants’ reference staff rates for additional services. More efforts on this front, especially on works contracts, will be exercised in trying to build an environment that would allow for better work-life balance within the engineering community, especially the younger engineers. “I wish,” Ir Bok says, “to entreat all the consultants and contractors to submit reasonable bids. With more experienced engineers, there will be greater motivation for creativity and innovation, thereby improving productivity and reducing the total costs.”


Leading a balanced life

Contributing to society is the key reason Ir Bok became an engineer, and it remains the focus of his life after retirement.“Aiming to serve the youth community, and as a board member of directors of several primary and secondary schools, I love talking to students and helping them pave their own way for the future,” he says. “It is also a dream of mine to establish schools in places in poverty, as I believe that only knowledge can change one’s fate.”


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Ir Bok cycling in Mongolia


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Ir Bok cycling in Latvia


To cope with his massive responsibilities, Ir Bok loves to indulge in the immersive fun of cycling to restore balance in his hectic life with the unparalleled beauty of nature. Like the physicist Albert Einstein, Ir Bok believes: “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving forward5”. On his own, too, Ir Bok has thought up quite a few lessons in life wisdom while cycling across the mountains. “Just give me a call and I can share them with you in the happy hours!”


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“Staying healthy is another focus of mine. I find it particularly invigorating to ride up the mountain and breathe in some fresh air,” he says. “In 2015, when I participated in a cycling trip around Taiwan, the oldest rider in the group was 72. My target for now is to be still able to ride around Taiwan at the age of 72.”




  1. Ir Bok advocates his self-invented project management philosophy called “Three in One, Three Zeros and Three Attitudes”.
  2. Another 2,000 units were built at the onset of the 3rd wave in July
  3. The road map was launched in June 2022. Copy of the report can be found at here
  4. Quote from Theodore Von Karman
  5. Quote from Albert Einstein














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卜國明參與過的主要項目包括港珠澳大橋、中環及灣仔繞道和東區走廊連接路、屯門公路改善工程、中九龍幹線、吐露港公路/粉嶺公路擴闊工程、八號幹線、深港西部通道、龍尾人工泳灘、龍鼓灘填海及屯門西地區規劃。此外,他還負責管理填料庫和80多個公共房屋工程項目,並參與建設超過3,500個檢疫單位,對2020年的抗疫工作貢獻良多。卜國明在 2021年1月退休前,任職土木工程拓展署轄下的土木工程處處長。





港珠澳大橋由香港、珠海、澳門三地政府共同出資、建造及管理,項目艱鉅而獨特。從規劃、設計,到申請撥款興建,再到正式啟用、營運,卜國明一直埋頭其中,一心為社區搭建這座「綠色大橋」。卜國明正是在管理大橋工程時,總結出他的項目管理理念 —— 「三個三哲學」,即「三位一體、三個零、三個心態」。




卜國明和團隊全力投入,採取了多項風險管理措施,以確保工程順利完成,例如引進全港首創的完全不浚挖式的填海工藝;團隊亦設計了多段各180米長的高架橋段,以橫跨機場水道和大嶼山的岬角,為當時最長的預應力混凝土橋樑跨度;團隊亦建造了規模前所未見的陸路汽車過境口岸設施,包括首個容許人車直達並具標誌性的旅檢大樓。團隊採取這些措施均是為了更好保護環境和切合用家需要。港珠澳大橋啟用後,為使用者節省近 160 公里的車程,相等於三小時的駕駛時間。卜國明補充:「除橋樑本身完成後能幫助環保外,我們還須在工程期間盡量減少耗用地球資源和影響海洋生態。」香港段中,單單非浚挖式的填海工藝便避免了浚挖約 2,200萬立方米的淤泥,並節省了約一半回填材料。


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One Team, One Goal

卜國明堅信「一個團隊,一個目標」(one team, one goal) 的理念。以港珠澳大橋和檢疫設施項目為例,他十分感激工程團隊能夠齊心找出潛在風險,他指:「只要每個團隊成員都能登高望遠,預想可能發生的問題,並採取三個心態—— 不抱打工心態、以協作心態處理對立意見、還有擁抱挑戰、享受挑戰,就能一同創造奇蹟。」


卜國明補充說:「『one team, one goal』的理念正是日本人氣動畫《龍珠》中「元氣彈」的現實版本。《龍珠》中,孫悟空從宇宙萬物借取能量,製造出強大的沖擊波戰勝敵人,就好比工程專業中所有項目,均需要合作和團隊精神才能成功。」


最讓卜國明感動的是,2020年7 月爆發第三波疫情時,幾乎所有參與興建竹篙灣檢疫中心首兩期的團隊成員都主動請纓協助建設新一期檢疫單位。面對社會不同的聲音,團隊仍一盡己力貢獻社會,這必定是因為他們皆認同施比受更有福。



學會上任會長鍾國輝工程師在其任內踏出了堅決的一步,推出「專業維新路線圖」,為應對學會可見的新挑戰作好準備。鍾國輝的決心令學會在 2022/2023 年度能夠更主動處理問題和培養積極改革的文化。卜國明認為,改革維新的過程必然漫長,並須不斷規劃和改進。卜國明和三位副會長對如何改革學會有著清晰願景,亦已作好所有預備功夫,貫徹鍾國輝工程師制定的五年路線圖。




1. 實行數碼化——採用能夠應付變化不斷的數碼環境和趨勢的電子設備或解決方案,同時提升系統架構以改善日常營運效率,並加強機密或敏感資料和數據的安全性。計劃包括重新設計學會網站、會員申請程序數碼化、推出流動應用程式,以及檢討社交媒體策略,加強宣傳學會活動和資訊。


2. 提升會員服務質素——提升增值服務質素,加強會員通訊,並鼓勵會員互相交流,以增強會員間的凝聚力和歸屬感,從而提高會員的滿意度和專業價值。


3. 提高專業地位——透過交流專業知識、宣傳政策及研究更多有關培訓和發展的合作機會,以提升學會和工程師於社會上的專業地位。例如,學會計劃促進公共政策檢討、推動專業知識交流,以及加強向政府、公眾及主要持份者提供專業意見,以幫助提升工務和私人工程項目的質素。學會將適時提供高質素的專業意見,以改善大眾眼中工程師的專業形象。


4. 促進改革創新——在會員間培養創新文化,並鼓勵工程師透過創新的方法或技術將想法帶到現實,以提高生產力、效率和項目交付成果的質素。隨著學會工程企業家平台 (Enginpreneurs Hub) 的成立,有望為社會的可持續發展作更大貢獻,並進一步推動經濟增長,特別是協力將香港發展成為創科中心。


5. 進行管治檢討—— 改革學會的管治模式,以適應持續轉變的需求和環境。現在是檢視學會管治模式的大好時機,包括學會架構、憲章、行政框架等。



學會於 2022/2023年度將繼續推行「專業維新路線圖」的項目,工作重心為增加大眾對學會的認識,並提升工程專業及會員的形象,特別是透過突顯工程界的專業精神。卜國明認為,學會現有超過33,000名會員,擁有自己的「元氣彈」可以隨時使用。換言之,學會有充足會員基礎,可以幫助學會提升作為業界代表的形象。當然,前提是他們也為能夠以身為工程師感到自豪。因此,學會深深希望培育有抱負的工程師,並提供資源幫助他們發展成為自己、為業界感到驕傲的專業人士,在未來發揮延續工程行業的重要角色。




  • 全心全意以真誠、勤奮的態度為社會提供優質的專業工程服務;
  • 說好工程故事;
  • 培育有才華的新一代




1. 提高知名度——維護工程專業的公眾形象,宣傳工程知識和最新發展,向公眾展現工程師的成就和貢獻。

2. 以長遠眼光回饋社會——就與工程有關的各類具體問題,特別是高層次的問題提供見解,從而提升學會形象。

3. 培育未來的傑出工程師——培養年輕一代選擇工程作為終身職業的興趣,並支持他們學習工程知識。  

4. 提高工程專業的認受性——提升學會會員的專業地位和認受性。





卜國明續說:「正因如此,培養能夠接班的年輕工程師是學會2022/2023年度的主要任務之一。今年的一大重點是要與家長、教師和學生互動,讓他們了解工程專業蓬勃多姿的就業前景,並培養學生對 STEM 的興趣。為此,學會將推出新的外展教育活動,例如到中小學向學生介紹工程行業。」


卜國明補充:「對我來說,成為工程師不僅是為了豐厚的收入,更為了能積極貢獻社會,改善人們生活質素,以達至人類文明的繁榮穩定發展。正如著名工程師西奧多 · 馮 · 卡門(Theodore Von Karman) 說過,『科學家發現已經存在的世界,工程師則創造新的世界!』」


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