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Dr Patrick Wong

From Academic Pursuit to University Governance: Dr. Patrick Wong's Lingnan Journey
The phrase "Once a Lingnanian, always a Lingnanian," perfectly encapsulates the spirit shared by generations of Lingnan alumni. Among them, Dr. Patrick Wong, the esteemed Chairman of the Court of Lingnan University, is a prominent figure, often seen at various university events.
Dr. Wong's association with Lingnan University extends beyond his role as Chairman. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Lingnan Education Organization and as the Sponsoring Body Manager of Dr. Chung Wing Kwong Memorial Secondary School. His commitment to Lingnan is unwavering, with the university occupying a significant part of his life and energy, even in retirement.

His affiliation with Lingnan University has deep roots, tracing back to his student days. Reflecting on his time at the university, he credits his enriching experience to esteemed professors like Chan Cham-chuen and Leung Kan-nang in the Chinese department. Given the opportunity, Dr. Wong confidently declares that he would choose Lingnan University without hesitation.
Determined Goal, Fearlessly Crossing Boundaries to Become a Solicitor
It is often said that teachers play an influential role in shaping individuals' lives. This rings true for Patrick, whose life journey was significantly impacted by several exceptional educators. Despite not initially standing out academically, Patrick was fortunate enough to encounter supportive teachers at various stages of his education. One such teacher, a mathematics instructor during his primary years, guided him to excel in the subject.

Transitioning into an English-medium instruction (EMI) school, Patrick struggled with English and made relatively slow progress. However, in Form 4, he was introduced to a remarkable teacher whose innovative teaching methods and motivational approach significantly improved his English skills. Consequently, he achieved grades in Mathematics (A), English (C), and Chinese (E) in the public examinations. Initially, he was on track to pursue further studies in Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer at another tertiary institution. But, a chance encounter with an inspired student leader (Mr Wai Biu Lui, a good friend of Patrick) from the Chinese Department of Lingnan College changed everything, finally he enrolled in the Chinese Department and spent a total of five years in Lingnan College under the 2-2-1 Scheme.

In the interview, Patrick emphasized his desire in his youth to improve his family's livelihood. He once worried that choosing to study Chinese might not offer many career prospects, so he actively pursued other courses to obtain a degree related to English. After graduation, he worked in distance education sector and later became a Community Relations Officer at the  ICAC. During this time, he obtained a law degree from the University of London through part-time study. He then went to the UK for the final examination for solicitors in England.

"As a student proficient in both Chinese and English, I saw law as a viable professional path," Patrick stated. When asked why he chose law, he candidly admitted his desire for a job that could enhance his family's livelihood. "At that time, amidst a political tempest, it seemed everyone was vying for internationally recognized qualifications to enhance their competitiveness. I decided to take the final examination for solicitors in the UK." Before leaving, he had an interview opportunity with Johnson Stokes & Master (now Mayer Brown), a prestigious law firm. Upon his arrival in the UK, he received a job offer from the firm, and upon returning to Hong Kong, he joined them as a trainee solicitor.
Seizing the Opportunity: Becoming a Partner in a Law Firm in Three Years
The legal industry typically leans towards hiring fresh graduates, which initially placed Patrick at a disadvantage as he entered the field five years later than his peers. However, his dedication and hard work eventually paid dividends. Patrick acknowledges, "The traditional legal sector places a significant emphasis on a candidate's English proficiency. Given my grasp of English, coupled with my foundation in Chinese, they decided to give me an opportunity."

Qualifying as a solicitor, he then chose a path less travelled by local lawyers and joined the firm's corporate finance practice. The timing coincided with China's entrepreneurial transformation and Hong Kong's rapid growth as an international financial center, presenting both challenges and opportunities. "Although I was considered a mid-level solicitor in terms of age, my experience was akin to that of a junior lawyer," he humbly admitted. "I am often recognized for my communication skills, which helped garner the trust of clients." Patrick highlighted two reasons for his success. “Firstly, many of his younger colleagues, despite their impressive academic accomplishments and outstanding English proficiency, showed little interest in work related to mainland China. Conversely, he saw this as an opportunity to deepen his understanding of modern China, a topic he is deeply passionate about. Secondly, at that time, China's reform and opening-up had progressed from the initial stage of attracting foreign enterprises to the stage of state-owned enterprises "going global" and learning to follow international rules. Coincidentally, I was primarily involved in securities financing and mergers and acquisitions of listed companies, which brought me many opportunities.”

Due to his exceptional capabilities, Patrick was entrusted with a significant workload. In his first year as a partner, he led multiple projects, often embarking on business trips for six or seven consecutive days in a week. He recalled meeting a foreign solicitor on his way to the airport returning home due to unemployment caused by lack of work. This encounter solidified his resolve to approach his work with gratitude. Despite the challenges, Patrick persevered, achieving various significant milestones in his career. Alongside his professional ascent, he also built a warm family with his wife, a fellow Lingnan College alumna.
Serving for 30 years, upholding Red-Grey spirit of Lingnan
As a proud Lingnanian, Patrick has been deeply moved by the red-grey spirit of passion and determination that he has witnessed amongst his fellow Lingnanians. This spirit inspired him to accept the enthusiastic request from his teacher's friends, senior alumni Dr. Wai Kee-kau and Mr. Tse Kai-yui, to dedicate over 30 years of service to Lingnan Education Organization and Lingnan University. He jokingly said that both Lingnan Education Organization and Johnson Stokes & Master gave him a similar feeling, as they provided great opportunities and he had to work with a team. In his role as Chairman of the Court of Lingnan University, Patrick wholeheartedly embraces the responsibility of fulfilling the Court's duties, recognizing the shared expectations that Lingnanians hold for the institution, which resonate deeply with his own.

Today, Lingnan University is moving towards becoming a research-oriented liberal arts university, and Patrick recognizes that continuous innovation is necessary to carry forward the spirit of the past. Reflecting on the past, he notes that the former Lingnan University had already established scientific and medical programmes in Guangzhou, thus making these programmes crucial for it to evolve into a comprehensive university. A few years ago, the Lingnan Education Organization supported the introduction of data science-related fields to Lingnan University. Patrick is therefore thrilled with Prof Qin, the President of Lingnan University, for promoting this field and expresses his full support for its development.

Encouraging students to excel in language skills for future value
Patrick encourages students to enhance their language skills in the first one or two years in the University. He pointed out, "The learning resources in university are significantly different from secondary school. Students gain access to a wealth of learning resources, a diverse pool of exceptional teachers, and the chance to engage in overseas exchanges and interact with students from various countries. This environment provides ample time and opportunities for students to enhance their language proficiency.” He believes that academic qualifications are merely an entry ticket to the workforce, graduates have equal opportunities to show their capability.
Starting from a slow-paced life in 2015
Several years ago, Patrick embarked on a new journey after leaving his full-time career as a lawyer. He began to relish a leisurely lifestyle, fully embracing the slow-paced rhythm of life. He was inspired to pen a Chinese poem reflecting this newfound appreciation for tranquility, which he shared with his circle of friends. Today, even though he has returned to a more hectic schedule, he continues to find joy in the challenges and opportunities that add vibrancy and richness to his life. Here's the poem he then shared with his friends: (In Chinese only)

慢活尤其快活, 來之則與安之;
得醉由他一醉, 此時不樂何時?
快活時光過得快, 誰知「慢活」時光更快!告別往日的工作,放下纏身的業務,偶與故人淺酙慢酌,半年來對時光流逝也有一番新的體悟。即便以《慢活》為題,寫幾行遊戲文字博君一笑,並𧫴以此祝各位新的一年得享快活、慢活之樂!