The Oxford and Cambridge Society of Hong Kong
President's Report for the Year 2011 - 2012, for the AGM on 28 April 2012
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 2011 - 2012.
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 27 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 113 guests, with Professor Andrew Hamilton, Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University as special guest of honour and Mr. Victor Apps and Mrs. Rachel Cartland toasting to Oxford and Cambridge respectively. In June 2011, we hosted a dinner talk by Mrs. Carrie Lam, Secretary for Development who gave an insight on "The New Era of Infrastructure Development". In November 2011, we had a dinner talk by Mr. Norman Chan, Chief Executive of Hong Kong Monetary Authority who gave us a "heart-to-heart talk on monetary issues". In February 2012, we also had a dinner talk by a number of British Members of Parliament during their visit to Hong Kong.
There were also the favourite social events of the Society. The sixth "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 109 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.
The highlight of the year was of course the Biennial Ball themed 'The Red Carpet Ball' which was held at the Hong Kong Country Club. We obtained sponsorships from Cartier and RBS Coutts Bank. Due to overwhelming demand and limited seating capacity, the Committee also decided to sell 'after dark' tickets to allow access to the after party which continued to almost 4 a.m. I would like to thank Jonathan Hui and the Ball Committee, as well as the sponsors, Cartier and RBS Coutts Bank. The ball was, of course, nominated as one of the top events of 2011 by the Tatler Magazine.
Two weeks ago, the Cambridge Leadership Conference and Alumni Group Weekend was held in Hong Kong with presence of the Cambridge Vice-Chancellor and a number of Heads of Cambridge Colleges. It was first time for such an alumni conference to take place outside Cambridge. Our Society and the Friends of Cambridge are extremely honoured to play host and support such a meaningful event.
We have been building strong ties with other alumni from the UK and the US, and have organised some joint events successfully this year. On the UK side, we had our Joint UK University Alumni Groups drinks gathering.
We had organised 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. For the fourth year round, the Society participated in the MIT Sports Days held in February 2012. The Annual Regatta was held at the Middle Island earlier today, and the event (which was organised by Gail Southward and Jeremy Young) was well supported by members and guests.
On the cultural side, the Society also managed to secure special discounts for the elegant Opera "Dr. Sun Yat-sen" presented by Opera Hong Kong and the "The Sixteen" 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. Jonathan Hui, Arthur Shek and I had organised the second year of our mentorship programme which 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 16 committee members from the Hong Kong/Chinese student societies at Oxford and Cambridge and 15 committee members from the Society. This 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 formalise 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 518 members. Of these, 483 are full members and 35 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. 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) HUI, Man Sze (Cambridge): Attending World Youth Congress in Rio de Janeiro as an Asian Delegate and participation in the United Nations Development Program Internship in Beijing. (HK$20,000)
(2) KWAN, Ping Kan (Cambridge): Three-week internship with Centre de Solidarite Nationale (CSN) in Congo in July 2012. (HK$20,000)
(3) LAW, John Shiu Kaai (Oxford): To participate in Project Little Dream medical research in Cambodia in 2012. (HK$20,000)
(4) PAK, Chun Yu Gabriel (Cambridge): To participate in Project Little Dream Cambodia Service Trip 2012. (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 "Wu Zhi Qiao (Bridge to China) Charitable Foundation" whose aim is to reach out to people in remote locations in China, to build the bridges they need, and to build bridges of the mind and spirit cementing peoples together. The Society has donated the Christmas cocktails proceeds of HK$20,955 to this foundation.
We also donated HK$75,000 to The Samaritans from the proceeds of our biennial ball to support their Outreach Programme.
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 27 events during the past Society year. In particular, I would like to thank Ronald Kwok, the Society's Past President, for his many years of invaluable and continuous contribution to the Society. 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.
28 April 2012