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30 May 2016
For T. K. Yeung (MBA 1993), sport is an inseparable part of his life. Even during his school days, he was a devoted sportsman and an organiser of sport activities. After graduation, he joined the civil service and worked for the Home Affairs Department to help promote community sport. During the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, he was appointed Equestrian Events Coordinator by the Home Affairs Bureau. Earlier this year, he was appointed the first Commissioner for Sports. TK compares life to an athlete —— you need to take on the challenges with a competitive spirit!
TK graduated from his MBA program in 1993 and here dons his gown at the University Mall
Tk says he was a minority in the secondary school. Never able to sit still in class, TK loved to run around in school. He was active in basketball, football and handball and later became captain of the South China Athletic Association handball team, leading his team to the Hong Kong league championship. In addition to leading university teams in tournaments, he helped organise more than 180 students travelling to Singapore to participate in inter varsity games. He also acted as a student representative, offering opinions about the university’s sport facilities.
And yet, this so-called ‘jock’ returned to campus a few years after his graduation to pursue an MBA. “I had never thought of joining the business sector but I wanted to learn more about our society. Since business has always played an important role in Hong Kong and I have heard positive comments on the MBA program from my friends, I decided to enrol.” He jokingly told us that he has forgotten most of what he had learned in classes during the 3-year program. However, he felt very fortunate to have made the acquaintance of alumni involved in all trades and professions. He felt he gained a lot from his classmates and remains in contact with them today.
TK (back row, centre) always encourages friends and colleagues to play more sports. While serving at the Home Affairs Department’s Yuen Long District Office, he and his colleagues played friendly matches regularly with other departments and the district council
Prior to joining the government’s administrative officers’ grade, TK served in the Hong Kong Police Force for ten years, eight of which were spent in the Criminal Investigation Department where he rose from inspector to chief inspector. Normally, most people yearn for advancement, but with TK, promotions were the incentive to change jobs. “I prefer action to desk work. When I first joined the police force, it was because I loved front-line action and fighting crime. The higher rank I became, the further I drifted away from the front line. Since I had spent more time on desk work, I thought I might as well transfer to work as an Administrative Officer to do policy research in order to broaden my horizons.”
This was how TK gave up the pistol for the pen to brave the new challenges posed by administrative duties. Over the years, he had completed tours in various government departments but he favours working in Home Affairs the most. From his earlier years spent in the Home Affairs Department in North District and Yuen Long, to the organisation of the Equestrian Events in the 2008 Olympics and Paralympics and his current appointment as Commissioner for Sports, this has become his fourth posting in Home Affairs.
In March this year, TK (2nd from left) and Dennis Irwin, the former Manchester United player, visited a secondary school and joined students for warm-up and a game of football
TK was born in the Year of the Ox. He says ox is commonly known to be diligent and industrious. As the first Commissioner for Sports, his biggest wish is to enhance the local sporting culture and atmosphere and make Hong Kong a healthy and energetic city. Through sporting activities, he wishes to strengthen the unity of the community. He listens to people from different sectors, with the hope to pick their brains and steer the city’s sporting activities towards reaching three major goals: to support elite athletes, to host more major sporting events and to promote sport within the community.
“To support elite athletes, in the short term, we will render full support to the members of the Hong Kong Team in the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games to be held in Rio de Janeiro, in August and September respectively, so they can really shine. In the long term, we hope to increase the number of full-time elite athletes and assist retired athletes in transition. As for major sporting events, we have recently attracted two significant sporting events to Hong Kong, one being the UCI Track Cycling World Championship, the other being the Volvo Ocean Race. These activities will help build Hong Kong’s status as the centre for international sporting events. Last but not least, to promote sport in the community, we are working hard on providing more venues for sports activities to meet the increasing demand. This includes a plan to build a football training centre in the former landfill in Tseung Kwan O which will provide six football fields for training purposes. Meanwhile, the pre-construction work and consultancy studies for Kai Tak Sports Park are also well under way.”
TK (back row, 1st from left) and his teammates win the 2014/15 and 2015/16 Hong Kong Squash League championship in the Over Forty Category for the second year in a row
As we listen to him outlining his development schemes for sport in Hong Kong, we cannot help but chuckle over his wife’s comments: “He’ll work just as hard even if he doesn’t get paid!”
Although the road to success is long and winding, TK says that sportsmen are positive thinkers and are highly competitive. “Difficult? I’ve got to try it,” is a mantra for him. It seems to TK that his entire life has been connected to sport. He reflects on the coincidences: “Many years ago, I led my fellow schoolmates to compete in inter-varsity games overseas. Now, I have the opportunity to be with the Hong Kong Team to compete in the Olympic Games. Many years ago, I provided advice about the construction of my university’s sports ground. Now, I am responsible for the planning of sports facilities in Hong Kong.”
TK continues to challenge himself. In recent years, he took up distance running and has completed two marathons
Other than work, TK’s hobbies are all related to sport and, over the years, he has continued to challenge himself. When he was young, he favoured team sports and developed a strong team spirit. While in his thirties, he fell in love with playing squash, an indoor game that is not restricted by weather. He is still an active member of the squash league and competes in many squash tournaments. When he reached forty, he started to play golf as he became fascinated by the various techniques required which appear to be so simple yet are exactly the opposite. At fifty, he was told that marathon running was difficult so he had to give it a try. Eventually, he completed two full marathons.
As Shakespeare wrote, “All the world is a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” For TK, if life is a tournament, all you need to do is to be true to yourself, showing your competitive spirit. Eventually, as TK has done, you will have the opportunity to strike at the crucial second and conquer the challenges you face.