PresidentDr SO Hing Yu
1st Vice PresidentDr CHEE Yee Eot
2nd Vice PresidentDr CHEN Phoon Ping
Honorary SecretaryDr CHAN Simon Kin Cheong
Honorary TreasurerDr CHAN Chi Wing (Timmy)
Assistant SecretaryDr WONG Man Kin (Henry)
Assistant TreasurerDr KHU Kin Fai
Council MembersDr CHAN Albert Kam Ming
Dr CHAN King Chung Kenny
Dr CHENG Chun Pong (Benny)
Dr CHOW Yu Fat
Dr LIU Tak-chiu (John)
Dr John LOW
Dr SO Hang Kwong Eric
Immediate Past PresidentProf CHEUNG Chi Wai
In attendanceMs Kristy Cheung, CEO
Ms Fonia Lam, SAO

My sincere thanks to the support of all fellows and members of the college, as well as all council members, for me to have this opportunity to be President of the Hong Kong College of Anaesthesiologists. The “mission” of the college, written in the college webpage, is to ensure the quality of our specialists through training, examination, certification, continuing medical education, accreditation and other related activities. Since founded in 1989, the college has been a leader in patient safety, quality improvement and medical education. We should all be deservedly proud of those achievements. However, we are facing major changes in our society especially in the last few years. Those changes are imposing major challenges to our systems. On the other hand, insecurity could bring about a sense of urgency which may drive changes and improvements. “It was the best of time, it was the worst of time,….it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” I think we should reflect on those words of Charles Dickens in The Tales of Two Cities and see how we can make this the best of our time and our spring of hope.

Dr Hing-yu SO

Dr. Chui Tak Yi, Dr. YF Chow, Dr. Theresa Li, Presidents and representatives of our sister colleges, honourable guests, fellows and members, new graduates, ladies and gentlemen,


Welcome to the 34th Congregation of the Hong Kong College of Anaesthesiologists. May I start by congratulating all our new fellows on behalf of the College. After years of hard work, in this very evening you will soon be admitted to be fellows of our college. Having gone through the pathway myself, I fully understand that undertaking training in Anaesthesiology or Intensive Care is not an easy undertaking, and I imagine that would be the same for Pain Medicine. I am sure that along this arduous journey you must have been supported by your family, your friends, your seniors and your colleagues. This evening would be an opportunity for you to express your gratitude. May I invite all new graduates to standup, face those you want to thank and wave your hands to them. Thank you, you may sit down now. On the other hand, this ceremony would not mark the end of challenges you are going to face. Winston Churchill had the right words: this is not the end, not even the beginning of the end, but may be end of the beginning.


Talking about challenges, the college and its council has been facing several since I took up presidency. Some of those information you might have discovered from the media, the rest of the details I should not disclose here. But I must, on behalf of the college, take this opportunity to convey our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Dr. Kwan Pui Yan, who has sadly passed away on 11th October. Would you all join me and remain silent for one minute.

And I must also thank all members of the council, and staff of the College under the leadership of our CEO for providing me with all the wisdom and support I needed to handle these challenges.


In my message to you posted on the college webpage, which I suspect not many of you have noticed, I have used the words of Charles Dickens “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” And Tao Te Ching (道德經) said Misfortune lies on the blessing, the blessing lies on the misfortune” (“禍兮福所倚,福兮禍所伏” ). Crises are but opportunities in disguise. In my opening speech to the ASM this morning, I mentioned that in 60’s there was a crisis that the public started to lose confidence in anaesthesiology because of the high anaesthetic mortality. Our predecessors had turned that crisis into an opportunity, and now we as anaesthesiologists are proud to be pioneers in patient safety. I also mentioned that during that crisis some of our predecessors had gone through a phase of emotional reactions and denial. It was only when our profession overcome our emotions and started to think and act rationally then anaesthetic safety started to improve. Emotion before cognition, we must learn from that lesson.


There are now two opportunities open to us. First, well-being of our trainees and fellows. As I mentioned, all of us would face challenges during our career and some of those could result in a personal crises. As a fraternity we must support one another. The college has established a Well-Being Workgroup and they have already performed a survey and identified issues which we must look into. The strategy of the workgroup is not only reactive but proactive. Those are not easy undertakings. We have bought this to the attention of the Academy and Prof. Gilberto Leung and his team promised to provide necessary support to all colleges. During the HKAM Council Meeting this Thursday, the President of the Hong Kong College of Psychiatrist shared thoughts on how to engineer those support. We are not alone in this.


Second, training and assessment. Confidence of the public in our specialists can only be maintained and enhanced by us demonstrating to them that we have effective and robust training and certification processes. The College is proud to be a pioneer in medical education, but that does not mean we need not improve further. One example is the introduction of workplace-based assessment (WBA) into our curriculum. A review by Dr. Henry Wong and a study performed by myself and Dr. Albert Chan indicated that we need to further empower and engage our trainers and prepare our trainees. We also need to cultivate a feedback culture. As Dr. Chui and Dr. Lee are here, may I also reiterate the importance of resources. Similarly, building a valid and fair assessment system has never been easy. We are grateful to our predecessors and colleagues for building our current assessment system. However, the world is rapidly progressing and what has been adequate will be outdated tomorrow. Early this year, before I take over presidency, the Board of Examination reported to the Council on the needs for improvement. That included the need to enhance confidentiality of examination questions and how to improve the validity of our assessment system. The College has sponsored six of us from various Boards to participate in an assessment course to keep us updated and we will look into improvements. The Academy has also promised to support us to undertake pioneer works in assessment.


While we are really thankful to the Academy for its supports, there are a lot of work for everybody in the College if we want to seize these opportunities. The College certainly must take the lead. The Board of Education under the leadership of Dr. Albert Chan and the Board of Examination under the leadership of Dr. Benny Cheng will be the driving engine. And the Council will provide all the support we can. But we will not be going anywhere without the support of the training units. May I call on the Chief of Services for their support. But in this evening, I would especially mention our Supervisors of Training (SOT).


Our SOTs in all training units are critical links between the college and our trainees. We rely on them to implement various activities: be those related to training, examination or trainee support. The work of SOTs are most challenging and we are not sure whether the college has already provided them with supports they required. The Board of Education has organized a retreat for the SOTs and of the SOTs on 5th Dec to explore how we can best support our SOTs. And this evening, I would, on behalf of the College, express our sincere gratitude to them. Would there be some SOTs and ASOTs in the audience? Would all of you please kindly standup. Please kindly join me and give them a big applause.


May I take these opportunity to call on our new fellows to join us in these activities. You being a new fellow is in the best position to understand the stress facing both trainees and fellows, so please engage yourself in related activities. In my research I realized the most trainees welcome young fellows to perform WBA for them, so please come and join our WBA workshop.  Next year, many of you will be able to be nominated as assistance SOTs soon, , and after a few years you will be eligible to become examiners. In short, the College needs you!!


With that I would like to thank you for your kind attention!

Past PresidentsYear
Dr TM MOLES1989-1991
Prof TE OH1991-1993
Dr Ronald LO1993-1995
Dr HUNG Chi-Tim1995-1997, 1997-1999
Dr LEE Tsun-Woon1999-2001, 2001-2003
Prof Tony GIN2003-2005, 2005-2007
Prof Michael IRWIN2007-2009, 2009-2011
Dr Yu-fat CHOW2011-2013, 2013-2015
Dr LIU Tak-chiu John2015-2017
Prof CHEUNG Chi Wai2017-2019, 2019-2021