Indie Scribe Magazine September Issue - Page 32

Born in Hong Kong after WWII, it was a hard time for my family along with many others. Some did not have sufficient food, water, clothing, housing, health care and education. Although, conditions got better starting the 1980s when the economy took off, many children in HK did not have much training in the arts and music. Growing up, I went through some of the adversities. I was fortunate enough to attain university and subsequently post-graduate education but never had the chance to develop my writing, painting or photography skills.

My first brush with photography came when my secondary school classmate taught me how to develop B&W photos. My brothers and I prepared a dark room which was basically made dark under a long table surrounded by blankets and that was fun! My photography didn’t start until some years after I started working, cameras, films and processing were costly and I did not take many photos. Then when digital cameras became popular, this was the opportunity for me to develop my love and interest in photography.

I was trained in Civil Engineering and also later in Business Management. For most of the time in my career, my job was mainly technical. I designed bridges, highways and various types of engineering infrastructures.

For 18 years I headed engineering groups for the planning, design and construction supervision of new towns – towns which accommodate 350,000 to over one million people; providing them with housing, water, sewerage disposal and transport etc. I also headed maritime engineering groups that planned, designed and supervised the construction of fluid / material handling and container terminals, not only locally but also throughout the world. This gave me a global perspective.

In my job, I didn’t have to do much writing; writing was mainly limited to emails or reviewing / re-writing bidding proposals. Writing has never been the best of my skills.

Michael Lai.