A Responsibility to Give Back

A Responsibility to Give Back

Arts alumnus Kwan Chuk-fai CF Kwanhas the kind of resume that might inspire current Arts students to see a bright future for themselves in the business world: more than 20 years in management, corporate communications and executive development with such firms as Hong Kong Telecom, Cathay Pacific and Hang Lung Properties, where he is currently Assistant Director. But corporate achievement is not the message he wants to convey to today’s youth.

Rather, he hopes they will draw from the other side of his experience – that of unpaid volunteer – to have a positive impact on society and one’s personal development. Mr Kwan serves on such organizations as the Community Investment and Inclusion Fund,

Independent Commission Against Corruption and Urban Renewal Strategic Review Steering Committee and helps sponsor children in rural China to get an education.

A Responsibility to Give Back

“All students pursue academic excellence. But I encourage them to open their eyes to the world outside their own and make an effort to help those who are in need,” he says.

That means also opening their eyes to the advantages of their own situations.

Mr Kwan grew up in a 200-square-foot home that housed seven people but, as an active member of the HKU Student Union’s Social Service Group, he was also exposed to the harsh living environments of boat people and those living in cage homes. “I realised my situation wasn’t so bad – and I still had the capacity to support others,” he says.

He has given his son a similar experience, taking him to remote villages in Guangxi to see the primitive conditions in which Mainland students must study. “It was no doubt also a good way for him to see how privileged he is in comparison,” he says.

With privilege comes responsibility, though. Mr Kwan, who is also a member of the HKU Court, encourages students to embrace responsibility and cultivate understanding and compassion so their giving is sincere. “We have to do it with our hearts, not just with money,” he adds.