The Oxford and Cambridge Society of Hong Kong
President’s Report for the Year 2010 - 2011, for the AGM on 16 April 2011
The year has been challenging yet very rewarding as I served as the President of this Society. I am delighted to deliver the President’s Report for the year 2010 - 2011.
As one of the most active alumni societies in Hong Kong, it is the responsibility of the Committee to be able to deliver a broad and diverse range of activities to offer to our members. I am pleased to report that we held some 26 events during the year for our members to attend.
We had organised a number of speaker dinners and drinks events throughout the past year. The series of events started on a high note when our Boat Race Dinner last year had a high attendance of 103 guests, listening to Mr. Timothy Beardson and Mr. Rodney Ward (who rowed against each other in the Oxford and Cambridge blues), who spoke with eloquence and wit. In October last year, we hosted a dinner talk by Mr. Andrew Tsui, Chairman of Korn Ferry Hong Kong, and Ms. Alice Au, Regional Managing Director of Heidrick & Struggles, who offered insights on how to rise to the top of your professions. Earlier this year, we also had a dinner talk by Mr. Billy Leung, Chairman of Tung Wah Group of Hospitals, who gave us a very informative presentation on the history, development and contribution of Tung Wah Group.Some of our members had the chance to lunch with Lord Patten, Oxford Chancellor, during a gathering organized by the Royal Overseas League; and to take part in the popular "Red Sea Rig" dinner and dance evening at the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club in Middle Island.
There were also the favourite social events of the Society. The fifth "True Blue Dinner" was held at Tung Po Seafood Restaurant (a lesser known but outstanding restaurant hidden in a food centre in North Point) where many members and guests indulged in fantastic Cantonese cuisine. A total of 119 members and guests celebrated Christmas together at the Christmas Cocktails held at The Hong Kong Club, where the servings of Swiss Raclette cheese and honey glazed York ham continued to be a hit. The Chinese New Year Dinner at Luk Yu Teahouse Restaurant started promptly again, as David Fu insisted on opening the finest bottle of red wine at the beginning of dinner rather than at the end. The quarterly mixers at Kenneth Fok's LKL Private Club in Lan Kwai Fong attracted many new and potential members to gather after work over cocktails.
We have been building strong ties with other alumni from the UK and the US, and have organized some joint events successfully this year. On the UK side, we had our Joint UK University Alumni Groups drinks gathering. We also co-organized the ever so popular Interclub Speed Dating Event and All Alumni Social Mixer with several Ivy League universities and UK universities. The Speed Dating Event was limited to 40 guys and 40 girls (and was fully booked of course!), and the Mixer that followed was well attended by around 160 people.
We had organized quite a number of sporting events for our members to burn off the extra calories after numerous dinners and drinks. Many members, including myself, learnt to play croquet under Rupert McCowan’s expert guidance during our Garden Party but perhaps the Pimm’s were ever so slightly more popular. Some members embarked on a 12 km hike from Tung Chung to Tai O last November which was challenging but enjoyable. The Golf Tournament took place at the Hong Kong Golf Club at Deep Water Bay in January this year, and was followed by a famous "suckling pig" B.B.Q. Dinner. For the third year round, the Society participated in the MIT Sports Days held in February. The Annual Regatta was held at the Middle Island earlier today, and the event (which was organized by Gail Southward and Jeremy Young) was well supported by members and guests.
On the cultural side, alumni Ben Brown offered our members and guests an interesting talk in the intimate and exclusive setting of his gallery in Central. The Society also managed to secure special discounts for the elegant Opera "Manon" and the romantic Opera "La Bohème" presented by Opera Hong Kong. Some of our members also attended the "Paganini's Gut" concert which was performed by the City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong (and Robert Langston, a member of the Society, performed on the organ during that concert).
We have made a conscious effort this year of reaching to the students currently studying at Oxford and Cambridge with events well timed during their term breaks. Michael Ng, Jonathan Hui and I hadrolled out a mentorship programme aimed at helping existing undergraduates from both Oxford and Cambridge through the one-to-one mentor-mentee pairings. A kick-off luncheon before Christmas was attended by 15 committee members from the Hong Kong/Chinese student societies at Oxford and Cambridge and 15 committee members from the Society. This pilot programme has proven to be very successful thus far as mentors and mentees have respectively kept in touch via the internet and physical meetings, and we hope to expand the coverage of the mentorship programme to other members of our Society and the two student societies in future years. Looking back and considering the time since university, many will agree that at some point you would have been the beneficiary of the sage advice and guidance of another; the mentorship programme looks to formalize this relationship and extend a hand to our under-classman at a time in the world economy where future outlooks and directions remain unclear. I strongly endorse this mentorship programme, and believe that it would be a highly rewarding experience for those who participate.
It was great to see many old friends at the above-mentioned events, together with a number of new faces. Only with the active participation of our members and their guests can the Committee continue to offer a quality event calendar.
We have been very conscious of our membership drive for this year. The membership currently stands at 509 members. Of these, 434 are full members and 75 are student members while the Oxford/Cambridge mix is approximately 57%/43% in favour of Oxford. In order to attract more potential members, especially recent graduates of the universities, we have further improved our website interface and utilised internet social networks such as Facebook. We hope that all members will encourage Oxbridge alumni and students of their acquaintance to join the Society or re-join in the case of those who have allowed their membership to expire.
The Committee allocated HK$80,000 for scholarship grant awards for this year to 4 students studying in Oxford and Cambridge. The awards are summarised below:
(1) CHEUK, Ka Kin (Oxford): To study Hindi language in India and to research on Chinese food cultures in India. (HK$20,000)
(2) LEE, Siu Yau (Oxford): Field trip to Guangzhou, Shanghai, Wuhan and Nanning during October 2011 to January 2012 to explore a range of popular resistance to the State's historic attempts to promote the use of Mandarin on a national scale. (HK$17,800)
(3) TSOI, Ming Chun (Derek) (Cambridge): To build a school in Takeo, Cambodia under the "Cambridge Hong-Kong Operation International Children's Education". (HK$20,000)
(4) WONG, Sheena (Oxford): To participate in Project Little Dream Cambodia Service Trip 2011. (HK$20,000)
The projects will clearly deepen the recipients’ learning experience or allow them to make significant contributions to the disadvantaged through volunteer work.
The Christmas Cocktail Party is traditionally not just a seasonal get-together for members and guests but also an occasion to raise funds for a good cause. This year's chosen charity was "Jet Li One Foundation",which was founded by Red Cross ambassador Jet Li under a strategic partnership with the Red Cross Society of China. Its four pillars of focus are: education, health, environment and poverty in China. Apart from disaster relief, this foundation also provides philanthropy awards and develops awareness of philanthropy and charity. The Society has committed to donate the Christmas cocktails proceeds of HK$ 26,821 to this foundation.
The net proceeds of HK$17,260 for the Speed Dating Event and All Alumni Social Mixer was donated to Mother's Choice, which provides care for babies awaiting permanent homes, and for single girls and their families facing crisis pregnancies.
I would like to express my sincere word of thanks to our administrator Irene Lee, who has been very helpful to the committee as always. I would also like to thank David Fu, our Honorary Secretary, who has been invaluable to the efficient running of the Society for so many years and has kept the President in check on many occasions.
It has been an honour as well as a pleasure to serve as the President of this fine Society. I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every member of the Committee for their support and assistance. Without such an outstanding committee, it would not have been possible to put on as many as 26 events during the past Society year. In particular, I would like to thank Rachel Cartland, the Society's Past President, for her 6 years of invaluable and continuous contribution to the Society. Rachel has decided to step down to make room for the young and energetic members to join the Committee (and to fully enjoy grandparenthood). It has also been a great pleasure to meet so many members and guests. Thank you all for your continuous support! I am looking forward immensely to my new role as the Immediate Past President and to the Society's new year.
16 April 2011