'The value of a man should be seen in what he gives and not in what he is able to receive,' Albert Einstein said in a speech in Albany, New York, in 1936. The quote sums up how accountant Paul Chan Mo-po sees public service and has guided him in his last four years as a lawmaker. Earlier this month, Chan stood down from the legislature, leaving him at a crossroads in his political journey. That quote, which featured in his 2008 book Pure at Heart, may yet help him decide how to proceed. Chan is tipped to join the government as development secretary after the resignation of Mak Chai-kwong on July 12, when Mak was arrested by the Independent Commission Against Corruption over allegations that he abused a government rent allowance scheme in the 1980s. The arrest came less than two weeks after Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's cabinet took office. A week later, Chan admitted that the administration had approached him about filling the post. 'If the government invites me, I will proactively consider it and I am willing to take it up ... [the administration] needs someone to help out now.' Chan rejected suggestions that he might not be qualified for the job, noting that he was a former secretary general of the Construction Industry Training Authority and non-executive director of a listed real estate firm. He stressed that he would not accept a ministerial post just because he wanted to be an official. Rather, his desire stems from his dedication to serving the city. Chan had been regarded as the front runner for the post of deputy financial secretary that would be created under a restructuring plan that has yet to be approved by the Legislative Council. When asked if he might switch to the new post after being appointed as a minister, Chan did not rule out the possibility. 'One day is a long time in politics,' he said. If that is the case, then Chan's political career has been an epic journey; it took him four years to win a seat in Legco. Growing up in a Shek Kip Mei shanty town and graduating from Chinese University, Chan, who declined to comment further on his job situation, stood for a seat in the accountancy sector for the first time in 2004 against eight other candidates. He lost to his key rival, pan-democrat Mandy Tam Heung-man from the Civic Party, by only 37 votes, or a 0.4 per cent margin. That he had come so close to victory took many by surprise. That did not deter Chan from public service. He became a member of the government's Commission on Strategic Development in 2005, chairman of the Legal Aid Services Council, and president of the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants a year later. Subsequently in the 2008 election, he won 42 per cent of the ballot, beating Tam by an 11 per cent margin. Chan vowed to do his best to serve the accountancy sector and help Hong Kong's economic development. Tam recently said she was unconvinced by what Chan had accomplished during his term and felt he should not take on an important role such as a minister's. 'The competition within the accountancy sector has become more intense, and opportunities are diminishing, but Chan has done little to help accountants,' Tam said. 'He promised to help abolish functional constituencies ... and become a full-time legislator, yet he has not lived up to his promises. 'Chan is just a local accountant without international or civil service experience ... he is only joining because he helped C. Y. [Leung] become chief executive. It is political favouritism.' However, insurance sector lawmaker Chan Kin-por, who sat next to Paul Chan in the Legco chamber for the past four years, believed Chan's experience outside the civil service might help bring insights to the bureaucracy. 'As a lawmaker, Paul is clear about how the government works, and [if he becomes a minister] he might bring breakthroughs to old policies ... he is also enthusiastic, diligent and keen to learn,' he said. 'I only worry that if he is to join the government, will the civil servants give him their full support? I think we should let him try and have faith in him.' Chan Kin-por's verdict echoed another quote in his friend's book, this time courtesy of Mother Teresa: 'God doesn't require us to succeed; he only requires that you try.' But as the development bureau's primary mandate is to facilitate Hong Kong's continual development through land-use planning and steady land supply, few Hongkongers may be generous enough to allow failure even if there was plenty of effort behind it. Paul Chan Mo-Po Age 57 Currently Accountancy sector lawmaker, chairman of Legal Aid Services Council, board member of West Kowloon Cultural District Authority Previously President of Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants in 2006, chairman of ACCA-Hong Kong from 1996 to 97 Education A bachelor's degree and a master's degree in business administration at Chinese University of Hong Kong Personal Married with a son and a daughter.