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Sticking to your comfort zone will not lead you to greater success. Be bold and courageous when you plan your career.

Ir Chan Siu-hung, JP

Electrical Engineering graduate

Awardee of Outstanding PolyU Alumni Award 2015

Managing Director - China, CLP Holdings Limited

Chairman, CLP Power China Limited

“Sticking to your comfort zone will not lead you to greater success. Be bold and courageous when you plan your career.” 

Life is beautiful but it isn’t always easy. As we encounter challenges at different stages of our life, it is our attitude that makes the difference. Ir Chan Siu-hung (SH) chooses to embrace life’s challenges by keeping up his spirit and activating his “Can Do DNA” which helps him ride through the storms in his life and career. 

SH drives past the PolyU campus on his way to office every morning and he can still recall vividly his good old days at his alma mater. Although the University looks completely different from the days he studied there, he still feels connected to it and is glad to see how it has evolved and grown in scale over the years. “All the iconic landmarks of PolyU conjure up a picture of what it represents today – dynamic, international and forward-looking. Be it the award-winning Jockey Club Innovation Tower, the iconic red brick main campus, or the modern Hotel ICON, they all represent a university with vision and mission,” said SH. 

SH was a freshman studying Electrical Engineering at the then Hong Kong Polytechnic back in 1975. At that time, the institute commenced its first expansion and many container-like “huts” were built as temporary classrooms. All students had to walk along a long sandy road to attend classes. “The pathway to these ‘huts’ turned muddy on rainy days and we all had our socks soaked in mud and water as we arrived at the classroom.” It was quite an awkward situation but it also turned out to be one of the best memories they have together. “The classroom-turned-laundry-room is still a shared funny memory among my classmates as we recollect our campus life today,” he added.

“Teamwork” is another important learning SH acquired from his school life at the HK Polytechnic. They formed study groups of four to five and often challenged each other in a friendly manner. Debates had become an essential part of their study routine, through which they also recognised the power of togetherness. To date, as a member of senior management of CLP Group, SH is responsible for the company’s China business with projects encompassing a wide range of energy technologies and spanning across 15 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities in Mainland China. He still puts team spirit at the heart of what he does. “Teamwork among business units and regional offices is pivotal for driving outstanding performance in our business.”

“Chance favours the prepared mind” is one of SH’s mottos. He pointed out that it is not just about preparing one’s skillset but also one’s mindset. A key success factor would be having a “Can Do DNA” rooted in you.

SH shared his experience in a mandatory outward bound training course that he joined when he was a young engineer at CLP. It included an 18-day sailing trip on a brigantine to the Philippines. At the crack of dawn every day, all crew members had to line up on the deck and jump from a 4-metre height into the water. It was quite a challenge to overcome. Looking back, SH said he can still feel his trembling feet at the first trial, but it was also the moment that he stepped out of his comfort zone and unleashed his “Can Do DNA”. After a few dips, he realised he could do it.

The training also involved camping alone on a deserted island in Sai Kung for two nights with two canned food (without an opener) and two bottles of water given for survival. After many years, SH still feels grateful for having such a “memorable” experience: “Starving, surprisingly, sharpened one’s mind, and made you re-think what life is and what matters most.”

Throughout the years, SH has continued to exemplify his “Can Do DNA” by taking up various management positions in CLP, as well as contributing his spare time to serve in different professional bodies and public posts. “The ‘can do DNA’ has indisputably benefited my nearly 40 years’ career path – helping me to ride through the storms and conquer many challenges.”

SH encourages young people to step out of their comfort zone and be bold when they plan their careers. He suggests that they should look beyond Hong Kong and grasp the abundant opportunities that come with the development of the Greater Bay Area.

SH is keen to share his life and work experience with the young people at PolyU. He is a mentor of the OPAA Master Class Mentorship Programme as well as the PolyU INSPIRE Mentorship Programme. He shared how he realised his “can do DNA” at the OPAA Master Class Speaker Forum in 2021.


The above story is excerpted from the Pulse@PolyU, issue 3, People Story.


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