17 June 2016

Hong Kong: The same but different

HONG KONG, SAR, China—Five days ago, less than a week after transferring through Hong Kong International Airport, I was back, jet-lagged. Although I have been through the airport 10 times since my last visit, this was the first time I had stepped out of the airport in 12 months.

I am back in Hong Kong to sit on the University Grants Council (UGC) Humanities and Social Sciences Sub-Panel. Under excellent chairing by Cindy Fan, PhD, vice provost for international studies and global engagement, UCLA Department of Geography, we disbursed approximately HK$ 50 million for research to eight universities in the Special Administrative Region. I am halfway through a six-year term (maximum), which guarantees me three more annual visits to Hong Kong.

We also made a UGC advisory visit to the University of Hong Kong. My assignment was to meet with the dean and colleagues in the Faculty of Medicine, which includes the School of Nursing. The University of Hong Kong is the oldest in Hong Kong and, for 50 years, its only university. Currently, the president and vice-chancellor is Peter Mathieson, a nephrologist from the United Kingdom. En route to a meeting, he introduced himself to me in the elevator, and I was able to tell him I was from the University of Hull. The University Grants Council, under which the Research Grants Council (RGC) sits, hosted an excellent banquet on the final working day.

Friends, old and very new
Graeme and Maggie Smith with Nathaniel
Outside of meetings, I had dinners with a series of old friends and colleagues, including Eric Chan, MBA, RN, dean of Caritas Institute of Higher Education and member of GAPFON. I extended my stay to attend a 100 Days celebration for Nathaniel Smith, 100-day old son of my good friends Graeme Smith, PhD, RN, of Edinburgh Napier University (UK) and his wife Maggie. I attended their wedding here six years ago. This was my first meeting with Nathaniel, and I think I made quite an impression.

The weather is always a topic of conversation in Hong Kong, something I think the locals inherited from the days of British colonisation. It’s been wet, humid, and increasingly hot over the course of the past week. That’s the same as usual, but during my 12-month absence a new high-rise building has risen on the Kowloon side of the harbour. Also, Louis’s Steakhouse, Hong Kong’s oldest and one of my favourite places to eat, has closed, priced out of business by rising rents in the Wan Chai district. I am lucky this year, because I will be back in Hong Kong in early July en route to Australia. I am taking my son Joseph, and we are meeting my daughter Lucy. Some of that will feature in my next entry.

For Reflections on Nursing Leadership (RNL), published by the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International. Comments are moderated. Those that promote products or services will not be posted.

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