An interview with Chan Po Lam – our graduate and a former Outstanding Student of Sai Kung
Emily Sham 5B and Natalie Lam 2E
Chan Po Lam, awarded highly-regarded honours and prizes, such as Grantham Scholar of the Year, Outstanding Student of Sai Kung district and the New Territories, and the Student of the Year of Tung Wah Group of Hospitals, spoke of how she nurtured her potential and had her achievements recognized. She also shared her learning experiences and inspired us to bravely take on challenges.
An all-rounded student
Po Lam scored 7As in HKCEE and was granted early admission to university. She was admitted to one of the most renowned programmes in Hong Kong – Global Business at the University of Science and Technology – and graduated with first honour about a year ago.
‘I was not that outstanding in my academic performance during my primary school years. I didn’t study very hard or care much about exams, however, I liked to explore new things and develop my interests. At the time, I was the head prefect, the MC of school functions, a choir member, among other things. Actually, I continued to join many extra-curricular activities in my secondary school as well. The most important one, of course, was public speaking, which really benefitted me in my ongoing education and career development. I am thankful to the Principal and teachers of my secondary school for introducing me to such a rewarding activity. ’
Po Lam recalled that she joined the Youth Leadership Programme co-organized by Toastmasters International and our school, and learned a lot about public speaking, which was really useful in building up her confidence and in training her presentation skills. ‘Now, in my daily work, I have to speak to a lot of people, sometimes even as many as two thousand people at some public events. However, my past experience in public speaking really helped me overcome stage fright and present my ideas confidently. So try to engage yourself in different activities; find your interests and develop your talent. You never know how such experiences can help you in your later life.’
Chasing her dream
Everyone needs a dream to push themselves forward. Po Lam said she hoped to contribute to the world by saving people from poverty and inequality. However, she is now a manager of a large banking corporation. Is she still chasing her original dream?
‘Of course,’ she said, ‘but it is not merely a dream anymore; it has become a realistic target. In the coming few years, I will most likely stay in the banking business and gain more experience and exposure, which will enrich and enable me to achieve my dream one day. I hope, with my expertise and experience, I could do some consultation work for the government to help formulate policies to stimulate economic growth. I want to be an ethical business leader too and will try to exert influence in the future.’
Po Lam remembered how the supervisor of our school supported her by giving her generous scholarships. ‘Besides financial support, Mr Lui, gave me and my whole family heart-warming care. Being a busy businessman, he is still willing to contribute so much to education. I promise one day to do the same, like him, offering scholarships or any kind of support to encourage students to study and chase their dreams.’
Towards the end of the interview, Po Lam shared her thoughts about ‘Connecting dots’. She quoted Steve Jobs’ words, ‘You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.’
Po Lam explained, ‘Stay passionate and hopeful about life. Be brave to take up challenges though they may be the most difficult experiences. But when you look back to your experiences, you can see how the past experiences will contribute to what you have been doing and those are some of your best decisions.’