We Love UM

Text:Ella Cheong │ Photo:Ella Cheong, Manuel Reis   │  Issue 69 May My UM 

In this last issue of the summer holiday break, we My UM before interviewed some UM staff and students and asked how they feel about working and studying at UM. The answers we received more or less resemble the following, ‘UM has a beautiful campus and friendly colleagues and students who treat each other like family. It’s really nice to work or study here.’

Going to Work Is Like Going Home

Many faculty members and staff have been working at UM for 10, 20, or even 30 years. They feel a special bond to the university and work tirelessly to impart their knowledge to the students and make the university a better institution. Dean of Students Paul Pang has been working at UM for nearly 32 years now. He often uploads news about student lives on campus to social media. ‘Social media allows me to keep in touch with many students and alumni. I could share student activities through these posts, and our students and alumni can “like” these posts, I think this is a good way of fostering a greater sense of belonging among faculty, students and alumni,’ says Pang.

Dean of Students Paul Pang

Pang joined UM in 1985 as a computer programmer. While working in the computer department, he obtained a master’s degree in business administration from UM. Having served as the university registrar for many years, Pang was appointed as the dean of students last year. ‘I have become so used to working here,’ he says. ‘Every day when I go to work, I feel like I am going home, because wherever I go, I see familiar faces. I have become friends with many students. And I feel very happy to witness their growth. It’s really hard to find another job that can make me feel so happy.’

UM Scholars Receiving Increasing Recognition

UM presents the Long Service Award and Outstanding Administrative Staff Award every year. This year, 104 staff members who have been serving the university for 10, 15, 20, 25, or 30 years, received the Long Service Award. 18 administrative staff members received the Outstanding Administrative Staff Award.

Recipients of the Outstanding Administrative Staff Award were voted for the first time by all UM faculty and staff members. The awards were presented by Vice Rector (Administration) Dr Kou Mei

Kou Kit Ian, an associate professor from the Faculty of Science and Technology (FST), received the Long Service Award (20 Years) this year. Prof Kou is most pleased to see the continuous progress of the university over the years. ‘In the past, UM was just an obscure university. When we attended conferences off the campus, many people would tell us that they didn’t know much about the university. But with the university’s increasing rankings in recent years, more and more people are starting to hear about our university. As a result, UM scholars are also receiving increasing recognition. This is a change I feel keenly.’

Prof Kou Kit Ian

Prof Kou received her bachelor’s degree in mathematics from UM’s Faculty of Education in 1996. She subsequently studied for a master’s degree in mathematics in the FST, while also working as a teaching assistant there. After earning her master’s degree, she was promoted to the rank of lecturer. Despite a busy teaching schedule, she continued to pursue a doctoral degree in mathematics. In 2005, she became the first UM-trained doctor of mathematics. ‘I am really happy to work at UM, because I can devote myself wholeheartedly to teaching and research. No words can describe the joy I feel when the research conducted by my students produce benefits to society,’ she says.

UM’s Loyal Fan

Candy Lam, a senior administrative officer in the office of Prof Lionel Ni, vice rector for academic affairs, this year received the Long Service Award (10 Years) and the Outstanding Administrative Staff Award. She is appreciative of the support of her colleagues for winning the awards. ‘I feel really lucky,’ she says. ‘I have worked in many different departments, and I have always met good bosses and colleagues.’

Candy Lam

After graduating from UM’s Department of English, Lam worked as an English teacher in a local primary school for four years. Later, she decided to change jobs because of her vocal cord problems. ‘At the time, many of my friends were working at UM. I often heard them say nice things about working at UM, so I decided to give it a try, and to my pleasant surprise I passed the exam,’ she says. Lam has worked in different positions at UM, including the position of secretary. At one time, she was responsible for managing security-related issues. Although every position comes with its own challenges, she describes the current position as the most stressful. ‘Many documents I receive are in their final version, ready for signature by the vice rector, so I have to be very careful to make sure there are no mistakes. So in that sense, it is very stressful,’ she says. ‘But every time when I help my colleagues solve their problems and hear them say, “Thank you so much, Candy”, I feel a great sense of achievements.’ Lam says she is UM’s
loyal fan. ‘I will always support UM,’ she says.

A group photo of the recipients of the Long Service Award andt he Outstanding Administrative
Staff Award with UM’s 
management and guests.

‘Love at First Sight’

Terry Lam from the Campus Management and Development Office has been working at UM for 22 years. He joined UM after graduating from UM’s Department of Government and Public Administration in 1994. This year he received the Outstanding Administrative Staff Award. Lam has worked as a faculty secretary and a leasing operations officer for restaurants on campus. Currently he is responsible for matters related to campus restaurants and venues. He describes his relationship with UM as ‘love at first sight.’ ‘I already fell in love with UM when I was still studying here,’ he says. ‘I dreamed of working at UM while I was still a student. I felt it would be a blessing to be able to work at UM. Over the years, I have met many friends through my work, and I have also become good friends with many students. These all motivate me to work harder. Now my job can help UM members eat better, and that gives me a sense of gratification.’

 Terry Lam

Even though he often needs to deal with tricky problems at work, it is still much better than when he first started working at UM. ‘At that time, students had to line up the whole night for course enrolment. So we suggested randomly allocating course enrolment time slots to students so they could come to the office during the assigned time slots,’ he says. ‘We also borrowed the buy one, sell one practice in the stock market and asked the students to first pair the courses they wanted to add with the courses they wanted to drop before completing the relevant formalities with us in the office. This course enrolment method was pioneered by the Faculty of Business Administration. At the time, we didn’t have a computerised course enrolment system, so we had to enter all the data manually, you can imagine the amount of work involved. But everyone was happy, probably because we were young.’

 Eric Chan

UM’s Diehard Fan

Eric Chan, also known as ‘UM’s diehard fan’, has been studying and working at UM for 12 years. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UM’s Department of Electromechanical Engineering. Currently he works in the university’s Institute of Applied Physics and Materials Engineering while studying for a PhD degree at UM simultaneously. During his six years of undergraduate and postgraduate studies at UM, he was an active participant in campus activities. From writing songs, playing musical instruments, and going on exchange trips, to performing magic tricks and hosting events, he tried his hand at many different things. He played hard but also studied hard. He obtained his bachelor’s degree with a GPA of 3.87, and for his master’s degree, he obtained the full marks of 4.0. ‘I developed many of my hobbies while studying at UM. My biggest gain from UM are the friends I have made here, especially my current PhD supervisor Prof Kwok Chi Tat. He is both my teacher and my friend. And I decided to pursue a PhD at UM because of him.’

Even during holidays, Chan would return to the campus for research or other campus activities. He also regularly shares news of UM on his Facebook. While studying at UM, Chan wrote the song for the Peer Support Programme, and now he feels moved whenever he hears students sing this song. ‘I think there should be more love and care on campus. I chose to develop my career at UM because of my love for the university.’