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Cecilia Law

Cecilia Law

Engineer at the Hong Kong government's Transport DepartmentI

Expertise

Design, Project management, Water

Location

Hong Kong
Career highlights

Joining ICE and becoming member of the ICE Caring Engineering Committee since 2012

Using my skills to improve people’s lives in remote areas of China and south east Asia

Why I became a civil engineer

In 2014, I visited San Tong Village in Quing Yuan County of China, about an eight-hour journey from Hong Kong by various land transport. I felt like I had travelled from Earth to Mars.

Children here drink, bath, poo, wee, wash clothes all in the same pond of stagnant water.

What made this worse was that the pond of water would vanish in winter when the people would take a bucket and walked for 3km to get water for cooking.

There were no baths nor hand washing at all during winter.

The life expectancy of the village was about 60 years, and people started to get sick since from age 30.

There were about 200 frequent residents, and the number would go up to 1,000 during Chinese New Year.

That was the day I said to myself I would devote myself wholly to improve such living conditions.

I’m a civil engineer, but I’m also ... a volunteer who provides technical services to improve the living conditions of the people in remote areas.

My career inspiration 

When I was in secondary school, aged 17, I visited the University of Hong Kong and met a civil engineering student at the podium of Haking Wong Building overlooking the glamourous city.

He looked into my eyes and proudly said to me: “Look! All the things you see, the road, the building, the bridges over the harbour, the school, the tunnel, everything, are civil engineers’ works.”

I was entirely absorbed by his words.

What’s one great thing that you love about civil engineering that you didn’t know until you started working in the industry?

No project, big or small, will be identical.

You’ll be stretching yourself for each new challenge and find yourself being so much more elastic than you’re aware of, especially when you find meaning in the works you’ve done.

Which civil engineering myth(s) you would like to bust?

Engineers are nerds.

This is totally not true. I met my husband in this field and he's so cool!

Which civil engineering project (past or present) do you wish you’d worked on?

I haven’t touched marine works yet, although I’m located in Hong Kong, which is surrounded by sea.

I'd love to work on some marine projects in my career at least once.

What about being a civil engineer inspires you?

You can see you’re making the world a better place, bit by bit.

Would you recommend a career in civil engineering?

This is a fun job with a good salary and social status. Which part don’t you like?

Education and career

Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering (3 years)

MPhil in Water Engineering (2 years)

Graduate engineer (3 years)

Assistant resident engineer (1.5 years)

Assistant engineer 

Engineer (since Dec 2012)

Hobbies

I enjoy painting and cooking a lot, which I think are both “engineering” in a different context.