Time flies and here we are again at the year’s end. May I first wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
2022 is a fruitful year for the HKIE. We have launched the Time to Change Roadmap; submitted three reports to the Government on procurement policy review, manpower forecast and streamlining submission and approval processes; embarked on my “Proud to be Engineers” campaign, which has received supports and recognitions from our fellow members, as well as fellow professional institutes – not just on engineering arenas. Let’s all be Proud of our own work and our profession, and continue to strive for excellence; tell good engineering stories; and nurture talented successors.
In the construction sector, however, anyone looking back on 2022 could recognise what an eventful year this one has been. Catastrophes struck and saddened us all: in the past week, for instance, there were two more fatal industrial accidents at worksites. In 2022, there were a total of 17 fatality cases, all but one belonging to private project sites. May I appeal to all stakeholders in the private sector to learn more eagerly from examples of good practices in government contracts for your projects. Though I am certain that most private practitioners have already adopted them, let’s step up our efforts to Design for Safety; Establish a Registered contractor or sub-contractor list; Pay for Safety; Smart Site Safety; and Boost the safety roles and responsibilities among all parties, especially frontline colleagues and supervisory staff. In any case, we engineers must position ourselves as problem-solvers, finding ways to improve the industry’s safety culture.
I have repeatedly publicised the “Proud to be Engineers” message in the past few months, advocated the idea that “Engineer’s work is right at the heart of Cities’ advancement and human civilisation”, and stressed the need to “Nurture our successors”. Incidentally, President Xi’s recent insight into engineers’ contributions is a case in point: “卓越工程師，扛起現代化建設重任 New technological and industrial revolutions require nurturing outstanding engineers”. The message reaffirms the Institution’s recent efforts to achieve sustainable professionalism by rejuvenating ourselves; repositioning ourselves as a welcoming body; and intensifying our school engagement via programmes like “工程伴理行”.
On this account, the Institution has developed “Hally” to serve as our new mascot and KOL. Hally’s design had its origin in the beaver that figures in the HKIE coat-of-arms. This adorable animal’s stature as nature’s ecosystem engineer represents the HKIE’s vision perfectly: while professional, it also has its youthful side, as you must already have discovered for yourselves in the batch of social media stickers of Hally, mostly about Christmas greetings, that we have distributed among members. The second batch would be ready before Chinese New Year. Your active distribution of them is needed in promoting “Hally”.
This youthful side of the HKIE would also be reflected in our newly developed theme song, aptly named “Proud to be Engineers”. In its Music Video, which is currently in production, the Protégés and our Officers will celebrate Hong Kong’s engineering spectacles with our own voices. Besides music, I have also connected with industry practitioners through direct exchanges. For example, in an interview conducted with Dream Girls — a group of seven young ladies now working in the construction industry — I and SVP Barry answered questions that those who are curious about the Institution’s workings and engineering at large might harbour. Stay tuned for these two videos.
And although it will not be until March next year that the Hong Kong Engineers Week 2023 began, its publicity activities are already well underway. A series of four interviews, each with a distinct focus, have been planned. I had the pleasure of participating in the first of them, which featured my conversation with entrepreneur Mr Stark Chan Yik-hei and 13-year-old university student Mr Peter Liu—hands down two of our greatest role models—about entrepreneurship and career opportunities in STEAM.
You may also have learnt of my Presidential visit to the UK in early December, together with SVP Barry and Director Davis, to strengthen our dialogue with six professional engineering institutions and hold a Presidential reception and presentation there; all these have been suspended for 3 years due to COVID. Another highlight of the visit is the HKIE-HKETO seminar, in which I presented the developments and career prospects in Hong Kong to around 100 engineering students.
2022 is not without something special of its own: after all, it marks the 75th Anniversary of the establishment of the Engineering Society of Hong Kong, the predecessor of the HKIE. A newspaper article has been published to celebrate this happy occasion.
These ventures of the HKIE’s are undertaken in the spirit of optimism and hopefulness, that is, despite the tragic happenings that I began my message with. Moving forward into 2023, we are apt to be confronted with as many challenges as we did this year, or even more. In preparation for them, it is necessary to take a break, especially at this time of the year. Let’s spend time with our families, friends and colleagues and allow the festive moods to sweep over us for once. Let’s all “embrace the challenges”; “enjoy the challenges”; and “keep work-life balances”.
Ir Aaron BOK Kwok-ming
1. President's speech and presentation on the “UK Presidential Reception Address 2022/2023” and "HKIE x HKETO - Student Meeting at Imperial College": https://www.hkie.org.hk/html/newsletter/pm-20221223-rl.htm