Diocesan Old Girls’ Association Ltd
拔萃女書院舊生會
Solina H S Chau - Class of '78

Ms Solina Chau (Class of ‘78) is a prominent businesswoman in Hong Kong. She has a wide range of experiences in project planning and business development in China notably the Beijing Oriental Plaza Project with the Tung Group and TOM.COM LIMITED, a company listed on the Growth Enterprise Market of the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong since March 2000 (stock code: 8001).

 

In addition to her exciting business endeavors, Solina is keen to promote educational development in China focusing on education for women. In 1996 she set up the HS Chau Foundation as a vehicle to further this vision.


The Foundation launched a series of “Project Tomorrow” projects, an integrated system supporting the multi-faceted elements in education: from primary schools to universities, from teachers to students, from cultural learning to technical training, from school supplies to tele-education infrastructure.


To date the Foundation has contributed more than HKD50 Million. For details of these initiatives, please refer to the Foundation’s website at http://www.hschau.com

 

In mid February of 2002, Winnie Kong and Helen Wong of the Editorial sub-committee visited Solina at her office where she was kind enough to discuss her experiences. Below is an account of that conversation.


Winnie:

How many years did you spend at DGS? Were there any significant and memorable, happy and unhappy moments?

Solina:

I studied at DGS from age 6 – 18. As far as I can remember, it was always a lot of fun. A group of us grew up together and we were quite an energetic lot. Some of us still meet up regularly for dining and golf games. At times when we are nostalgic we may reminisce the good old days. As of this year, we would have left DGS for 24 years. Please note that most of us from the class of 1978 are now in a state of denial, purporting ourselves as a little bit over 30 or around 30ish!!

Solina and her classmates in a choir rehearsal at DGJS. Can you guess who is she?


Helen:

Are your teachers still teaching at DGS? If not, do you know what they are doing now?

Solina:

I know some of our teachers are still with DGS, still devoting their services to education, as they have always done.

Winnie:

How did your school life at DGS prepare you for the challenges you face?

Solina:

One of the most memorable activities at DGS was doing précis in our English classes. I remember we had to do a précis piece every day, expressing the gist of a 2-3-page essay within 60 words or in a paragraph. And I loved doing them. I believe doing précis sharpens one’s mind. Don't you sometimes wonder why people harp on and on about nothing of significance?

Helen:

Of all that you learnt at DGS, what do you consider as the most valuable - and did you realize at the time how much it would mean to you?

Solina:

Well, I think the bible knowledge I learnt from the Religious Studies classes was the most valuable. During my time, we had assemblies, bible reading and chapel services; it was the bible reading that provoked a lot of thought and reflection. Sometimes, I did not realize how deeply some verses were ingrained in me, until at times it came back to me suddenly.

Winnie:

I know you studied overseas. In what way did your DGS experience differ from that of your overseas studies?

Solina:

Yes. I pursued further education in economics in Sydney, Australia. Sydney is quite an unforgettable city; I made a lot of friends and the experiences were certainly an eye opener. Australians are very friendly people, I remember a dorm-mate Kathy, who always helps me get lecture notes, and God forbid, sometimes signing in lectures for me. There were quite a number of my DGS classmates who were together with me in college, and they were very supportive, as always. As far as comparing my overseas experience with that of DGS, I guess without uniforms, I suddenly realize how much our tunic and blue socks mean. It was a kind of identity and provided me with a sense of belonging.

Winnie:

How did you go about making your choice of career after completing your education?

Solina:

I have never consciously chosen a particular career path; choice is always a luxury! I believe I am good at doing business, especially good at weighing pros and cons and calculating the odds. Life is like a game of Go; the masters set the scene, the players tirelessly participate, opportunities excite us easily and in business, especially in China, pondering before making a move is the most strategic move you can ever make.

Helen:

What would you consider the most significant and memorable moment / event in your life since your schooldays?

Solina:

The most significant moment in my career life was taking on the Beijing Oriental Plaza Development Project. It was a huge project to take on.

Winnie:

Do you consider yourself successful?

Solina:

If the definition of success should simply be measured by a balance sheet, then it is pretentious to claim otherwise. But life is not simply a balance sheet, right? And I guess I still need time - time to see whether I still have the energy and drive to accomplish the goals I set out for myself. Maybe in a few years’ time you can come back and ask me this question again.

Helen:

What advice would you give to our girls at DGS to help them in the future?

Solina:

If it has to be just one word of advice, then I would ask them to read as much as they can. (Helen: What kind of reading?) I tend to read quite a lot of books on philosophy; and magazines too. You should come and visit my home – it is like a library with all kinds of books, except novels – I don’t read that many novels. You know, for the past ten years, I need to fly to Beijing for business every week and hence spending at least 6 hours of idle time on the plane. I am determined that I will not waste a single minute of my time, so I read during the flight time. On average, I finish a book in a week .

Winnie:

Other than reading, do you play sports?

Solina:

Yes I do. I play golf. I enjoy the walk and the company. But I am trying boxing now. (Astonished looks from Winnie and Helen) Yes! Boxing! I have a trainer who teaches me the correct way of punching the sand bag. It is a relatively handy sport which you can do at home. A very good intense cardiovascular exercise for strength and concentration. Given a busy schedule, a 15-minute session is quite something already.

Winnie:

Do you have any other hobby?

Solina:

Yes, art collection. (Winnie: What kind of art?) – paintings and sculptures. Collecting is a good hobby. That's why I like to give little gold coins to children as their birthday presents. You know, a toy is a “write-off”, but a coin is an asset. Just imagine giving a child a coin every year; he/she will end up with an asset - a collection of coins – by the age of 18.

Winnie:

That’s very thoughtful. Well, thank you very much for spending your precious time with us. It has been a great pleasure meeting and chatting with you.

Solina:

Oh, not at all. Thank you for visiting me.

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