Today is Mother’s Day. First of all, I would like to wish you all a Happy Mother’s Day! Like last year, we are spending this year’s Mother’s Day amid the COVID-19 pandemic. All of you please take care of your health and continue to protect yourselves from the virus. This time, I have made a special invitation for a working mother from the Architectural Services Department (ArchSD) to talk to us about her daily work and, of course, share with us her busy life looking after a pair of boy-and-girl twins amid the pandemic.
Introducing innovative technologies and new construction technologies
Ms LAU Pui-ling, Iris, joined the Government as a Building Services Engineering Graduate in 1997. Currently, one of her major duties as a Senior Building Services Engineer of the ArchSD is to introduce innovative technologies and new construction technologies into works projects. For example, the West Kowloon Government Offices (WKGO), a construction project she has participated in, was built with various innovative construction methods, one of which was the building information modelling (BIM) technology that allowed the project team to carry out design and construction works in a virtual environment to enhance work efficiency. Also, another example was the use of the MultiTrade integrated MEP (MiMEP) approach in the condensing pipework and the cooling tower plants in the air-conditioning system. The condensing water pipeworks were divided into a number of modules that were prefabricated in a factory and then transported to the site for assembly. This approach not only enhanced productivity and site safety, but also significantly reduced the time for on-site installation from three months to one and a half months for the project.
Adopting sustainable and smart architectural designs
According to Ms Iris LAU, the WKGO project has also adopted a number of sustainable technologies, such as the installation of a solar lighting system and a thin film photovoltaic system, which can still maintain a reasonable electricity yield even on cloudy days to provide clean energy for the building, indicating the ArchSD’s determination to adopt architectural designs that are environmentally-friendly and smart.
Construction of many quarantine camps within a short time
Having worked in the Government for over 20 years, Ms Iris LAU shares with us that the most memorable experience is her participation in the design and construction of quarantine facilities last year. She tells us that in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ArchSD had to construct many temporary quarantine camps within a short time. The biggest challenge encountered was the extremely tight project programmes, making the task a race against time. She had many late nights working side by side with colleagues from her department and other departments, as well as with consultants and contractors, and continued to communicate with team members after work to solve various problems and monitor works progress. She says that although it was tough during the process, she could feel that every team member, regardless of positions, was dedicated to the task and united to fight the virus for Hong Kong. The spirit was indeed commendable and she is very proud to have participated in the project.
Not easy to be a mother of boy-and-girl twins
Apart from a competent engineer, Ms Iris LAU is also a mother of boy-and-girl twins. With a smile on her face, she recalls how worried and delighted she was when knowing at the early stage of her pregnancy that she was carrying a pair of boy-and-girl twins. The twins turned out to be born six weeks earlier than the expected date of delivery, which made her worry again, “back then I simply hoped that they would grow up healthily.” The twins have grown taller than their mother by now.
Already students at the junior secondary level, her boy-and-girl twins need to stay home for e-learning amid the pandemic. When they run into difficulties with homework, Ms Iris LAU has to take up the role of a “teacher” immediately after work. She says, smiling, that she is terribly busy as if having two jobs. Given her relatively long working hours, Ms Iris LAU is also concerned she might have overlooked her children’s needs. Therefore, in the past she always travelled abroad with her family during holidays, in order to spend time with her children all day. As travelling is not currently an option under the pandemic, they will spend more time to go to the countryside for cycling, hiking, etc.
Children choosing activities and schools according to their own interests
Ms Iris LAU says the twins have entirely different personalities – one enjoys things mechanical while the other loves nature and animals. For their happy upbringing, they are allowed to choose extra-curriculum activities and schools according to their own interests. Regarding her expectations for the children, she considers herself not the “boosting type”; what matters most is that they can grow up healthily with lots of positive energy to weather tough times, be a person of integrity, and make a contribution to society.
After Ms Iris LAU has shared her story with us, I hope that you have got to know more about the work of the colleagues of our departments. To address the needs arising from anti-epidemic work, the Government had to build additional quarantine camps within a short time. Colleagues in works departments under the Development Bureau, including Ms Iris LAU and many others, put so much of their time and effort into work, having to take care of their families at the same time. As it is Mother’s Day, I wish to take this opportunity to express my gratitude and support to all of you.
9 May, 2021Back