ESF The First 50 Years - People stories

Sponsored by:

English Schools Foundation

Where it all began

ESF alumna: Christine Loh

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 08 June, 2017, 5:20pm
UPDATED : Friday, 09 June, 2017, 9:02am

[Sponsored article] Christine Loh was among the early batch of students attending Island School, which opened in 1967. With about 130 students, the school was small and had rather limited facilities. “I can’t say I loved the swimming pool, because we didn’t have one. PE meant running on Bowen Rd,” she quips.

However, she loved the school‘s multicultural atmosphere and the school’s tight-knit community, which was like that of a family. The lack of resources was amply made up for by the quality of the teachers and the school’s deep aspirations. Overall, Island School left a deep impression on the teenager, who loved sports and a talent for organising activities at the school.

“For me, Island School was a blossoming moment,” explains Christine. “I wasn’t really good at school, my grades were somewhere in the middle. But there were lots of other activities [I was good at]. So for me, it was a great moment to realise that it was not all about academics, a lot of other things were also important in my school life, in my happiness. So it stood me in good stead later on in life.”

Christine has had a varied and successful career. Trained as a lawyer, she spent 12 years as a commodities trader. She founded a number of non-profit organisations, including the well-known think tank Civic Exchange, Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor and the Society for Protection of the Harbour. She was a member of the Legislative Council for eight years, and in 2012 she was appointed Undersecretary for the Environment in CY Leung’s government.

Her hard work has been rewarded with a string of awards, among them Woman of the Year (2006) for Hong Kong Business, and Entrepreneur of the Year (Woman of Influence 2003). She was also granted the titles of Justice of Peace (JP), Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE), Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite, and two honorary doctorates.

Although she has had a remarkably successful career, Christine still appreciates what the school has given her.

“I had a wonderful time, made some wonderful friends and the lessons from my teachers carried me through life,” she says.

She learned some small things, such as how to express herself clearly, the importance of being a good listener, and how to write more concisely and precisely. She tries to express her gratitude by giving back to the school in cash or in kind, and generously giving back to society as a whole, which is one of the school’s core values.