President’s Report for the Year 2017-2018, for the AGM on 21st April 2018

I have the pleasure in delivering the President’s Report for The Oxford and Cambridge Society of Hong Kong for the year 2017-2018.

Purpose

For many years we have been one of the most active and thriving Oxford and Cambridge alumni organisations in the world, serving alumni residing in Hong Kong. Over the past twelve months, we have been able to maintain and reinforce this success. I am proud that today we represent a diverse community of graduates as well as students from different academic backgrounds and fields of specialisation.

Our purposes as a society remain unchanged: to build links between Hong Kong and the UK with a focus on Oxford and Cambridge; to promote interaction and exchanges among alumni; and to undertake charitable endeavours for the benefit of society through offering project-based scholarships to Oxford and Cambridge’s Hong Kong students of limited means, whilst supporting various charities through fundraising.

Membership

We have worked emphatically on membership drive this year. The membership currently stands at 751 members. Of this total, 55% attended Oxford and 45% Cambridge. Some attended both. We continue to encourage more graduates to join as members partly through close cooperation with official university bodies such as University of Oxford China Office Limited, and partly through widening the range of academic, social, cultural and sporting events we organise.

Committee and Administration

I would like to thank all members of the Society’s Committee for their support and assistance over the past year. Without such an outstanding and hard-working committee, it would not have been possible to hold so many events within twelve months. I must extend particular thanks to: our two patrons, Sir David Akers-Jones and Sir David KP Li; Immediate Past President Michael Wong; Vice-President Lizzie Fraser who organised our immensely successful and enjoyable biennial varsity “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” ball at the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel on Saturday, 4th November 2017; Kenneth She as Honorary Treasurer; and of course David Fu, our Honorary Secretary, whose tireless and inimitable efforts have been invaluable to the efficient running of the Society.

Allow me to convey my thanks to all the rest of the Committee and mention them by name: Victor Apps, Natasha Brown, Kenneth Fok, Andrew Haskins, Arthur Law, Howard Leung, Roger Lin, James Liu, Edward Ma, Julian Marland, Rupert McCowan, Michael Ng, Arun Nigam, Christopher See, Gail Southward, Yong Kai Wong, Jonathan Young, Jessie Zhang.

Lastly, I must also express my sincerest thanks to our administrator Irene Lee for her constant and diligent maintenance of our website, membership list, communication works and, last but not least, her support of various events.

Events

As one of the most active alumni societies in Hong Kong, it is the responsibility of our Committee to deliver a broad and diverse programme of activities to our members. I am proud and pleased that we have continued to do so, holding 27 events over the course of the year and supporting some additional ones. I cannot mention all of our events in this report, but I have pleasure in pointing to some of the particular highlights.

The year began in April 2017 with our traditional Boat Race Dinner, which was attended by some 154 guests. We were delighted to have Mr John Slosar (Trinity College, Cambridge) proposing the toast to Oxford University, and Mr Gordon Orr (Brasenose College, Oxford) proposing the toast to Cambridge University.

We held a well-attended Joint UK University Start-up Debut at the British Council in May 2017. This was followed by a drinks reception with Dr Allan Zeman and our ever-successful Garden Party in June, our popular and now traditional True Blue Dinner at the Java Road Cooked Food Centre in July, and a succession of career workshop, board games night, mixer drinks events and dinners of the student societies.

The next memorable event on our calendar was the Biennial Varsity Ball with the theme “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” held on Saturday, 4th November 2017 at the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel. I must thank our sponsors for their generosity in supporting this event, as well as our Ball Committee chaired by Lizzie Fraser for their dedication and devotion in organising this splendid evening, which with over 500 guests also broke our attendance records and must have counted as one of Hong Kong’s greatest social events of 2017. The Ball is meant to be hugely enjoyable but has a serious purpose, and so we are very pleased that it raised substantial funds for our scholarship programme, on which further comment will follow.

The Ball was followed shortly afterwards by a memorable speaker dinner in early December with Professor Peter Mathieson, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Hong Kong, who shared his insights from his challenging and pivotal role in Hong Kong’s dynamic higher education system.

We held our classic Christmas cocktail party at the Hong Kong Club on 12th December 2017. Attendance was high; the servings of Swiss Raclette cheese and honey glazed York ham remained a hit; and we raised a considerable sum for UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency.

The Society started 2018 with a mentorship programme lunch and a mixer drinks evening in January. In late January, we held our regular Chinese New Year Dinner at Luk Yu Teahouse Restaurant, which was organised as impeccably as ever by our Honorary Secretary David Fu.

In February and March, we held an art jamming and wine night, a cocktail reception with private viewing of the Rolls-Royce Dawn Black Badge, a wine tasting evening, a mixer drinks evening and a private tour of Art Central.

We finished the year in style with a speaker dinner with The Honourable Mrs Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, who spoke to our members and guests at The Hong Kong Club on Wednesday, 4th April 2018 and answered many questions from our members and guests on Hong Kong’s latest developments afterwards.

Scholarships

The Committee allocated about HK$98,000 for scholarship grant awards for this year to five students studying in Oxford and Cambridge. The awards are summarised as follows:

  • (1)  CHEUK, Sze Kan Cecilia (Oxford): To present on endometriosis at the 34th annual meeting of The European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology at Barcelona, Spain in July 2018.
     

  • (2)  LAU, Kinran (Cambridge): To undertake research internship on artificial photosynthesis at the Tokyo Institute of Technology.
     

  • (3)  MUI, Chun Hin Jonathan Victor (Cambridge): Introduction of a sustainable “three-year-plan” for the “Cambridge Hong Kong Operation International Children’s Education” (CHOICE) and embarkation of educational project in impoverished communities in India.
     

  • (4)  NG, Tsz Wing (Esther) (Cambridge): To volunteer at a summer programme for Syrian refugee children in Lebanon.
     

  • (5)  WONG, Kai Yu Katherine (Cambridge): To undertake an 8-week health project of Cambridge Development Initiative at Dar es Salaam, Tanzania as the monitoring and evaluation officer.
     

The projects should deepen the recipients’ learning experience, enabling them to make a difference in the world or make significant contributions to the disadvantaged through their volunteer work.

Final Word

It has been an honour as well as a pleasure to serve as the President of the Society. It only remains for me to thank all the Society’s members for their friendship and continuous support. Please join me in wishing the incoming President and Vice- President every success in the year ahead.

Arthur Shek
President
2017-2018 21st April 2018