Anson Chan Interview: Conversations with History; Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley

Shaping Hong Kong's Future:  Conversation with Anson Chan, Chief Secretary of Hong Kong; 1/27/97 by Harry Kreisler
Photo by S. Beth Atkin

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What would your vision for Hong Kong's future be if you could dream it into existence?

I would like to see Hong Kong develop -- or perhaps develop is not the word -- continue to be a compassionate, open society. As I said, open to ideas, open to people. That we will remain the free economy that we are now. That increasingly we will cater better to the poorer and disadvantaged sectors of our society, particularly in looking after our elderly. Like many communities elsewhere, we are seeing an aging population in Hong Kong. There is community support for greater assistance to elderly people, particularly those living on their own. And it is certainly one area that we will increasingly be giving attention. We need also to ensure that we continue to turn out an educated, well-motivated, hardworking work force, because they are the ones on whom we depend for Hong Kong's continuing prosperity. So in other words, a society that is caring, that takes seriously its responsibilities as an increasingly affluent community, a society that will remain free and open.

One final question. How would you counsel students who envision a life in public service?

My first advice would be to study hard and to learn as much as you can. I think that as you enter the civil service it's important for you to have a clear idea of what you wish to achieve, to have a clear set of values to which you can work, but above all, to know what it is you want to be. And to remember that you cannot please everybody because you are likely to end up pleasing nobody. So it's extremely important to know your own goals, what it is you want to carve out for yourself in life, and to stick to those goals.

Dr. Chan, thank you very much for taking the time to be with us today. We wish you best luck in the many challenges that you face in the coming years.

Thank you very much.

And thank YOU very much for joining us for this "Conversation on International Affairs."

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