The Presidential Address and Dinner was successfully held on 24 September 2021 at the JW Marriott Hong Kong. The President Ir Edwin K F Chung shared with members his plan in the year ahead under the theme “The HKIE – Time to Change” (香港工程師學會 – 專業維新) with a view to working towards a better HKIE and a better Institution for the members. The HKIE Best Transactions Paper Prize, the HKIE Outstanding Paper Award for Young Engineers/Researchers and the HKIE Long Service Award were also presented during the Address. The Presidential Address was well attended by some 200 members and guests.
The Presidential Dinner was held following the Address. Being the first time the Institution organised a dinner gathering since the pandemic, the Institution received enthusiastic response from members. Although the number of people participating in a banquet is limited under the prevailing regulations, all members and guests attending the Presidential Dinner had an enjoyable evening.
More details about the Presidential Address are reported on page 29 of the Journal.
President delivering his Presidential Address
(To view the Presidential Address by using the QR Code)
Group photo of the President (middle of the front row), Immediate Past President (left 6th of the front row), Past Presidents, Senior Vice President (right 6th of the front row), Vice Presidents and Chief Executive and Secretary
The President and the awardees of the HKIE Long Service Award (L to R): Ms Teresa Lam, Mr Kim Chan, Miss Mandy Tao, Ms Labby Cheung and Miss Joey Li
The HKIE - Time to Change
香港工程師學會 – 專業維新
Honourable guests, Past Presidents, Council Members, fellow members, ladies and gentlemen, good evening.
It’s my privilege to make this address as President of The Hong Kong Institution of Engineers for Session 2021/2022.
I feel fortunate and deeply honoured to be taking the leadership at this important juncture for the Institution, and I am grateful to Immediate Past President Ir Prof P L Yuen and our Past Presidents who, in addition to facing down some unprecedented public health crises, made sure we always remained on the fairway!
As many of you may know, I love golf, maybe because it’s as precise as engineering, yet as unpredictable as the weather! Let me share a little story from the golfing world. PGA Tour winners rarely, if ever, change their swing. That’s because changing your swing involves either adopting a totally different motion or a complete change your grip or setup. It may work but it can also completely ruin your game and take ages to recover. Anyway, after turning pro in August 1996, Tiger Woods – as expected – won his first major and climbed to No. 1 within less than a year. But just as he was on top of the world – and to everyone’s surprise – he changed his swing! The process took much patience on Tiger’s part because he didn’t see immediate results. It only paid off due to a high level of commitment and unbelievable amounts of hard work. Then in 1999, Tiger had a huge year and his run of success lasted for a decade. As Tiger realised, what made you successful yesterday won’t be good enough to win tomorrow.
Making changes is a journey that requires both careful planning and the abilities to make refinements along the way. Determination is not enough. You also need time and loads of patience.
In a much different way, the COVID-19 pandemic took the world by storm, changing the world in an all-encompassing fashion. It affects all members of the society. Despite causing much human suffering, it also brought out the best in people, including many of our engineers who stepped up to help wherever they could.
The world is moving fast as the digital era unfolds. Massive, far-reaching change is coming our way whether we like it or not. Now, each cycle lasts less than five years and that period is reducing.
More importantly, the digital age is fundamentally impacting the way all, and especially young people, look at engineering. While some will no doubt be happy to pursue traditional avenues, others are committed to exploring new and often multidisciplinary pathways.
As some of you may know, my two children are engineers. But that’s where the similarity ends. Instead of working in Hong Kong, they have chosen to pursue careers abroad in AI, big data and chip designs, fields that did not even exist when I decided to become an engineer.
In addition to embracing the digital challenge, we as engineers, must prepare for fundamental macroeconomic changes impacting Hong Kong.
When I returned from Canada with my civil engineering degree back in the late 70s, Hong Kong was set to embark on a golden age of development. Ports, roads, buildings, bridges, tunnels… There were problems to be solved, work to be done and careers to be pursued. But times have changed. Today, we live in a modern and fully developed city with a population that is getting old fast. And while megaprojects like Lantau Tomorrow will keep many of us busy, we must strive to open new pathways for the next generation of engineers across all engineering disciplines, from manufacturing and automotive to aviation and even space.
But if we are to meet these challenges and seize these opportunities, we all need to change. I was asked on many occasions (Mr President) what would you like to see with the proposed changes. My simple answer is that I would like to see a better HKIE, a better Institution for the members and eventually a better Hong Kong, our home.
The change begins by putting our house in order. In the last few years, we have been hearing strong voices calling on the Institution to address many important issues, including our perceived institutional inertia, procedural obstacles for attaining professional qualification, the absence of an influential voice to advocate for engineers and a general lack of vitality in our institutional image.
This has been showing in our numbers. While our membership appears healthy on the surface, the underlying trends are worrying. Despite an increase of 7.8% for Graduate Members and a 2.9% growth in our Corporate Members annually, we seem to have lost touch with our Student Members which have been decreasing 5.7% per year since 2017. We have also lost many Associate Members.
Our image is also a huge issue and could be one of the reasons for the reduction in Student Members. Several high-profile incidents relating to engineering have hurt the reputation of our profession. The reality is that engineers are ignored when things go well, only to become convenient targets whenever problems occur. Yet, as professional, we must – rightfully so – be held to a high burden of excellence. Indeed, it’s “Time to Change” for the HKIE.
While Past Presidents correctly diagnosed our problems and proposed sound treatments, implementation has always been an issue, due to the difficulty in executing a substantial agenda within the one-year presidential terms prescribed by the Institution. With the strong support of Past Presidents, Vice Presidents and other key stakeholders, including many presents here today, I believe we have the opportunity to take a bold step forward. Since I retired upon taking up the Presidency, I feel this is the right time for doing the right things, in the right way to create a better HKIE.
In this Session, we will assume a high degree of proactiveness to solve problems and nurture a culture of change. I have therefore adopted for Session 2021/2022 – “The HKIE - Time to Change” (香港工程師學會 – 專業維新) as my Presidential Theme.
Roadmap to change
My plan is to develop a roadmap to future-proof the HKIE and better support our members for what lies ahead. Subject to further insights from our members, it will underpin our vision while prescribing visible and foreseeable changes over the next five years. Perhaps more importantly, it will provide a detailed plan so that future Presidents will be able to carry on engaging members and nurturing a culture of change within a coherent, sustainable and consistent vision.
In my first two months as President, we have already completed a benchmarking exercise with sister Institutions. We also collected the views of more than 1,330 members across seven membership grades via the HKIE Time to Change Survey. After visiting many Divisions/Committees from July 2021, we conducted a HKIE Time to Change Strategy Day on 14 August 2021.
The key findings show that our Overall Member Satisfaction averaged a mere score of 3.31 out of 5, while – perhaps predictably – respondents perceived the HKIE as being: “traditional, conservative and old-fashioned”.
Findings also suggest that the Roadmap should focus on five key areas, namely “Pursuing digitalisation”, “Enhancing services to members”, “Boosting professionalism”, “Facilitating innovation” and “Rejuvenating governance”. Each of these areas will be explored further as we articulate formal milestones and timelines to set up the roadmap with clear deliverables.
It’s vital that the HKIE practice what we preach. In the coming Session, I want to make sure the Institution has the digital tools it needs to better support our members. And by that, I don’t mean just revamping our emails system.
Digitalisation is a mind-set. We need to re-engineer our software – both human and electronic – just as much as we have to upgrade our hardware to truly engage with the new generation and improve our services to members.
Beginning now and for the next five years, we will invest around 3 million dollars each year on average plus an annual recurrent expenditure of 2 to 3 million dollars to implement projects that will help us better serve members across all areas of services, from membership application to event management. By empowering us to transform the landscape, digitalisation will deliver the extra efficiency we need to turbo-charge our initiatives.
Enhancing services to members
These digitalisation projects are the tools for enhancing our service to members.
If we expect a lot from our members, they should demand a lot in return from us. But like other institutions with a long history, we might have lost some of the vitality that comes with youth and growth.
In a complex world driven by technology and globalisation, the Institution has an important role to play in helping our members succeed. We are confident that the tools we are seeking to develop as part of our digitalisation plan will further enhance our services by making it easier for members to connect locally and internationally, exchange knowledge, grow professionally and support each other.
We will keep working to increase our members’ satisfaction and hence their perception of membership value, especially with regard to their career development, by improving our value-added services and encouraging exchanges among members to foster cohesion and nurture their sense of belonging.
As mentioned earlier, public incidents have caused a crisis of confidence amongst some members of the public. And while it’s incumbent upon each of us to identify our own development needs, it’s the Institution’s duty to give you the tools you need to grow as professionals.
With the objective of increasing our visibility, we will facilitate intellectual exchanges to generate innovative ideas while seeking to develop our role as an institution respected by the public. By delivering objective, professional and actionable recommendations on topics and issues related to our expertise such as public work projects, we will enhance the visibility of the Institution and improve the image of the profession and our members.
As an early start, we are set to launch “What Do Engineers Do?”, a video campaign, on social media. Produced by young HKIE members nominated by engineering companies and government departments, these short videos will introduce various engineering disciplines to the public. I am glad to report that we have received an overwhelming response from over 30 organisations, and we expect to release over 100 videos to help the public visualise what engineers actually do. It is essential that our young engineers are proud of their works. With a membership of over 34,000, our members are the most appropriate ambassadors to enhance our image, but only if they are proud of being an engineer.
In the past several weeks, I visited several tertiary institutions, government departments, and engineering organisations and some common issues came out from the visits.
First, both the quality and quantity of engineering students are of a concern. Very few top students decided to enter engineering school, while many students who selected engineering did not study Maths and Physics in secondary school. This poses huge challenges for faculty staff as they try to prepare good engineers for the industry. Major adjustments to the education system appear necessary to support STEM education as promoted by the Administration. We hope that the quality and quantity of students will improve with time.
Second, there appears to have been deterioration in the quality of engineers joining the industry in the past several years.
Third, the working hours for engineers are relatively long, while remuneration remains generally lower than that of other professionals. The job satisfaction is generally low.
Increasing the profile of engineer is a medium- and long-term battle that the SVP and VPs will continue waging for the foreseeable future. But with your support and the support of our members, I am hopeful that the image of engineers will increase gradually, which will help attract better talents into engineering school. With better “raw material”, the universities could “produce” better engineers for the engineering industry.
With creativity replacing capital as the currency of the future, digitalisation is having a dominating effect on innovation.
Traditionally, the creative efforts of engineers have mostly been captured by the large corporations that employ them. But as more engineers are keen to bet on themselves and chase their dreams as entrepreneurs and innovators, the Institution is eager to support them.
Immediate Past President Ir Prof P L Yuen moved the needle last year by launching the HKIE Enginpreneurs Hub, and we are glad that he has agreed to remain in charge of the innovation hub, where he will play a key role in helping engineers turn their ideas into actual products and solutions.
We are committed to continuing the work of the HKIE Enginpreneurs Hub by introducing knowledge exchange opportunities and strategic collaborations with external parties. We will also intensify our efforts to integrate with the innovation ecosystem emerging throughout the GBA.
We also note the resounding success of the Innovation Expo. Conducted despite the constraints of COVID, it received overwhelming technical and financial support from the industry and corporations.
Our current governance system has been well in sync with the wisdom of the past. But we must get ready for the demands of the future.
As our profession evolves and the environment changes, a robust and an effective governance structure will provide the core for the sustained and continuous improvement of the Institution. Findings from our survey revealed that 30% of our members do not think there is enough opportunity for members’ feedback, while many suggested that both fairness and transparency could be improved.
Since there has been no major revamp of our governance structure since 2005, the time has come to upgrade the Institution. Please get ready to work together to develop a governance tailored to the changing demands and new circumstances in which we operate.
As the world gradually emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, the post-pandemic order will be very different from the one that prevailed before the world was forced to lockdown.
I already began meeting major stakeholders and industrial leaders to hear their views and see what employers, universities, and government officials have to say on topics that matter to us. I will also organise focus groups and town hall meetings to broaden our engagement and make sure that we hear from more members. I am also committed to distributing a finalised “Time-to-Change Roadmap” incorporating members’ feedback and views collected during the Session, with actions and timelines to be announced around June of next year.
Digitalisation will only accelerate further while the drive for globalisation might slow as countries take stock of the vulnerabilities exposed by COVID-19. Knowing where we stand and where we want to be is vital if we are to set the right priorities.
Change will come to us regardless of what we do. As I mentioned at the beginning of my address, Tiger Woods, convinced himself that he needed to change his swing to maintain a world-class ball striker. After changing his swing, he embarked on an unprecedented run of wins that included seven Majors by 2002. What did he do then? Yep, you got it, he changed his swing once again! This time to suit his body!
Fortunately, Hong Kong has never been afraid of change. Once described as a barren island with hardly a house on it, Hong Kong has re-invented itself many times. From its humble beginning as a trading entrepot, it grew into an important manufacturing centre before evolving into today’s services-driven city and, if we are to look ahead, a genuine smart city. It is often said that a city reflects the spirit of its people. If this is true, I am confident that we have inherited that same ability to change and that we are destined, in due time, to succeed once again. I am looking forward to seeing a better HKIE in the making.
The Award is an international competition first launched in 2006 which aims to promote engineering among the younger generation by encouraging young engineers and researchers to publish their works and advance in their professional fields. The competition is open to young engineers and researchers worldwide aged 35 or below. The results of the Award this year are as follows:
The Award is bestowed to:
- “Potential and prospect of photocatalytic disinfection: Using sustainable solar-energy-driven photocatalyst” by He Juhua*, Kenny Hui and Irene Lo, Hong Kong
List of shortlisted papers:
- “Development of a novel design approach for rigid landslide debris-resisting barriers” by Anthony L Wong, Hong Kong
- “Accuracy and precision of the CSLT measurement system. An experiment to defect diagnoses in deep drilled shafts” by Wang Zezhong*, Eric T C Ho and Inez Maria Zwetsloot, Hong Kong
- “Implementation and characterisation of a sterilisation module consisting of Novel 265 nm UVC LED packages” by Qiu Xing*, Jeffery C C Lo, Cheng Yuanjie, Xu Hua, Xu Qianwen and Ricky S W Lee, Hong Kong
- “An advanced endoscopic surgery robotic platform for removal of early-stage gastrointestinal cancer using endoscopic submucosal dissection” by Lau Ka-chun*, Yam Yeung, and Philip W Y Chiu, Hong Kong
The authors of the awarded paper received the award at the prize presentation ceremony at the Presidential Address on 24 September 2021. The awarded and shortlisted papers will be published in a special issue of the HKIE Transactions in December 2021. A public lecture will be organised in 2022 for the awardee Dr He Juhua to present his paper for academic exchange.
*The first author who was aged 35 or below on the closing date of submission
The Prize has been organised for 22 consecutive years since 1999 to recognise outstanding papers published in the HKIE Transactions. This year, two distinguished papers were acclaimed for the Prize.
The two papers awarded the HKIE Best Transactions Paper Prize 2021 are:
- “An optimised multiple kernel learning support vector machine (SVM) classification based on the fireworks algorithm and its application to the fault diagnosis of gearbox” by Yong Bin, Chen Jin, Su Zuqiang, Pang Xiaoping and Yang Xinghua (published in the HKIE Transactions Volume 27 Number 2)
- “Chillers of air-conditioning systems: An overview” by Michael K H Leung, Tso Chi Yan, Wu Wei, Zheng Zhanying and Cao Jingyu (published in the HKIE Transactions Volume 27 Number 3)
The prize presentation ceremony was held at the Presidential Address on 24 September 2021.
For those who are interested in reading the awarded papers, you may go to http://www.hkie.org.hk/hkietransactions to read it online anytime, anywhere.
Continuous learning is a timeless subject close to engineers’ heart. With an aim to equip members with enhanced skills to prepare for the economic recovery, the Construction Dispute Resolution Committee (CDRC) applied for the Matching Grant Scheme for Skills Upgrading (Scheme) to provide training programmes at preferential tuition fee. The Scheme was launched by the Development Bureau of the HKSAR Government as one of the relief measures under the Anti-epidemic Fund in 2020.
Following successful application for the Scheme, the CDRC launched three courses from June to October 2021, providing quality coaching for enhancing members’ competence and competitiveness in the industry.
The HKIE Certified NEC Professional Training 2021
The Government has extended the application of New Engineering Contract (NEC) in public works project procurement after 2016, in particular, the adoption of target cost options in suitable mega scale projects over HK$1 billion. The HKIE Certified NEC Professional Training 2021 was designed to assist project managers of projects adopting NEC3 or NEC4 ECC contracts in fulfilling the relevant qualifications and requirements. The “Certified NEC Professional” training is approved by the Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors and recognised by the Government as equivalent to “Accredited NEC Project Manager”.
The “Certified NEC Professional” training was delivered by BK SURCO Limited, comprising three stages from preparatory course, four full-day classroom training to final examination. This training covered the necessary skills and knowledge required for managing NEC3 or NEC4 contracts, including theory, practices, procedures and commonly adopted changes in Hong Kong. It was well received by almost 120 members in six classes from June to August 2021.
The HKIE NEC PMA Training delivered by the representative of BK SURCO
Group photo during the first class held in June 2021
“Preparation for the Hong Kong Mediation Accreditation Association Limited (HKMAAL) Stage 2 Assessment” Training (Stage 2 Training)
Designed for members who have completed “40-hour HKMAAL Stage 1” training and wish to be listed on the HKMAAL Panel of General Mediator, the Stage 2 Preparation Training was successfully held in two full-day sessions on 14 and 21 August 2021 at West Kowloon Mediation Centre of the Joint Mediation Helpline Office.
In addition to being equipped with the practical skills as required in the HKMAAL Stage 2 Assessment for achieving better performance, the 17 participants who had successfully completed the whole training were also sponsored the assessment fees to attend two days of Assessment.
Participants having group discussion on case studies
Class photo taken after the training
“Upgrading of Award Writing Skills” Training (Award Writing)
18 HKIE members with FCIArb/ FHKIArb qualification or equivalent and intending to practise as arbitrators participated in Award Writing to enhance their competency in award writing to become arbitrators in October 2021.
Participants having lecture
“Upgrading of Award Writing Skills” Training delivered by trainer Ir Prof Christopher To
The Way Forward
Delighted to witness members’ enthusiastic response, the CDRC believes that these programmes not only serve as training courses under relief measure, but also support cross-discipline talents to gather together to be inspired, upgraded and prepared for the challenges and opportunities ahead. With the new initiative of establishing the HKIE Panel of Adjudicators in September 2021, the CDRC will continue to promote alternative dispute resolution and render support to members by provision of training programmes and webinars.