Civility, Compassion, and Change for Good
Serving with Passion and Care - CHAN Tek Long
CHAN Tek Long
CUHK Chemistry alumnus CHAN Tek Long (CHEM 2012, SC; CHEM 2017, GS) serves at the Macau Municipal Affairs Bureau Laboratory Division, and the Division recently received a medal of dedication for their services amidst the continued COVID-19 epidemic.
Alumnus CHAN Tek Long obtained both his bachelor’s and PhD degrees in Chemistry from CUHK, and is currently the President of Executive Committee of the CUHK Alumni Association in Macau. Throughout his years at CUHK and even now, Tek Long has been passionate towards helping others, and his contributions have certainly made a difference to those around him.
Bridging the Gap from Macau to Hong Kong
Thanks to a workshop that brought Tek Long, then a senior secondary student from Pui Ching Middle School in Macau, to CUHK and being introduced to the Department of Chemistry, he subsequently decided to embark on his undergraduate education at CUHK studying Chemistry.
During his undergraduate studies, Tek Long served on the cabinet of Chemistry Society in 2008-09 “Chemosphere”, helped with the Chemistry Department orientation camp as a member of the organising committee and as a group leader. Moreover, he kept true to his Macau roots and provided crucial assistance to newcomers from Macau at CUHK to adjust to life in Hong Kong and on campus. It was the little things – how to purchase and activate an Octopus card, where to buy small appliances and daily necessities – that would matter most to newcomers, while they tried to adjust and merge quickly to the local campus life, according to Tek Long, who himself received such help from his fellow Macau seniors studying at CUHK.
(Left) Tek Long, seen on far right in the rear row, posed with fellow Chemistry Society cabinet members in front of Chung Chi College Chapel.
(Right) Throughout his time at CUHK, Tek Long (far right) was eager to give a hand to all his fellows from Macau, and here, they can seen enjoying a welcome meal together.
A Solitary and Satisfying Pursuit in Knowledge
While studying at CUHK, Tek Long had the chance to study and conduct research at several laboratories, but two supervisors in particular left a lasting imprint on him. In particular, he worked at Professor XIE Zuowei’s lab for five years, where Tek Long not only learned about organometallic chemistry and published a number of journal articles, but he also took on a number of tasks in laboratory management. Moreover, he learnt the importance of prioritising and planning his tasks so that he could most efficiently use his time and accomplish more at the lab each day, helpful skills even to this day.
A look inside Xie Lab, where Tek Long spent five years studying and doing research. His self-motivation compelled him to learn more about the equipment at the lab, which has been helpful to him in his subsequent career.
Professor Xie, who was Tek Long’s PhD supervisor, has not only guided him on his dissertation, but also imparted the lesson that doing research is ultimately a solitary journey, that one must be able to persist and remain focused on their goal, but still remember to appreciate the scenery along the way. To Tek Long, this has been very good advice, and fortunately, his positive attitude in life has helped him overcome the challenges while maintaining a happy mindset. Fortunately for Tek Long, he also had the chance immediately after his bachelor’s programme to become exposed to another lab culture during his work at current Department of Chemistry Chairperson Professor KWONG Fuk Yee’s lab at Hong Kong Polytechnic University. To Tek Long, it was great to experience a different laboratory style so that he could be exposed to a different sort of dynamics working with different lab members, further honing his interpersonal skills. His training also took him outside Hong Kong, and in particular, in 2015, he spent a brief period at the lab of Dr. Jean-Luc FILLAUT at Université de Rennes 1 in France, and fortunately he was well-prepared to stay motivated while working independently, and he managed to make good use of his brief time abroad.
(Left) Prior to leaving Hong Kong, Tek Long hosted a meal to thank Professor Xie and his fellow lab group members for their continued support over the years.
(Right) Though his time at Professor Kwong's lab after his undergraduate studies was brief, it was an eye-opening experience for Tek Long, seen here enjoying a hotpot gathering with his lab fellows.
From Hong Kong to Macau – Writing a Safer Future for his Hometown
With the wealth of experience working at different laboratories and having learnt both hard and soft skills from his supervisors, Tek Long successfully obtained his PhD in Chemistry in 2017. November of year, he took up a position at the Macau Municipal Affairs Bureau Laboratory Division as a Technical Officer, working on food testing to ensure food safety and peace of mind for the local people.
His past experience working at the Xie lab has especially been helpful to Tek Long, as he had become well-trained to schedule his time to maximise work efficiency, a strong familiarity with various equipment, and following up on their installation and maintenance. Now in his 5th year at the municipal government laboratory, Tek Long is keen on developing new methods to reliably test for new parameters in food safety, and he is even interested in taking his subject expertise fuelled with a passion for the public’s well-being to use his scientific background to influence food safety policy in Macau.
Alumni Association Presidency – from Macau to Hong Kong and Back Again
Tek Long has embarked on his two-year term as President of the CUHK Alumni Association in Macau, with the aim of reinforcing the linkage between fellow Macau alumni and their alma mater.
Besides putting his scientific training to good use for the benefit of his fellow townsfolk, Tek Long’s spirit to serve and help others has taken a new turn as of end of November 2021, when he became elected as the President of the Executive Committee of the CUHK Alumni Association in Macau. He had become involved in the Association for a few years, and having felt that the network among veteran and recent alumni is in need of development, he felt that it would be beneficial for recent alumni to get connected with the Association. Moreover, it would give CUHK alumni in Macau a sense of belonging united by their common history at their alma mater, while also possibly enjoy the opportunities for networking and discovery of new windows for growth in the Greater Bay Area.
During the coming two years of his term in office, Tek Long aims to attract more recent alumni to enter the Association, reinforcing the connectedness between Macau alumni and their alma mater, build up a more vibrant network, while celebrating their shared identity as CUHK alumni. From his undergraduate days helping fellow Macau students transitioning to life at CUHK to his ambition to use his training in chemistry to influence food safety policy and his days as an alumni leader back in his hometown, Tek Long’s story is a prolonged story of service to helping others.
(Left) The Faculty reached out to Professor Xie on what he recalled about Tek Long, and he shared that "He is a very nice person to work with. Every member in my group likes him very much. He is willing to offer help whatever the circumstances." Here, Tek Long and his dissertation supervisor Professor Xie can be seen enjoying a healthy hike together.
(Right) Due to the global pandemic, it had been quite some time since Tek Long had returned to Hong Kong, and so a Zoom session was arranged with Professor Kwong to catch up with Tek Long, and the two recalled fondly of the brief time they worked together at the lab in 2012.
* Thank you to Tek Long for sharing his time and photos, and thank you to Professor Kwong for meeting with Tek Long on Zoom, and to Professor Xie for his feedback.
Text: Christine Ling | Editing: Cindy SUNG, Angela HUNG