"Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get."
- Forrest Gump
I grew up in Hong Kong, a very international city where you can find Eastern and Western culture melted from both sides, especially food. I spent most of my time in my childhood studying hard under our famous cramming education. Memorizing all the book content and scoring high in examinations are the common goal for Hong Kong students. Yet besides studies, I was fortunate to explore the arts of ancient Chinese literature, ballet, and music, where I play piano and percussion in my leisure time.
All the grown-ups always tell us that if we could not enter the top 3 universities here, we screw up our lives. So on the day when I was appointed to the top 4, I was hopeless. I thought the world was ending, and I would never be happy again in my life. However, being part of the City University of Hong Kong became one of the best things in my life. I was blessed with great resources from school to explore the world, along with my 2 exchange studies and 1 overseas service trip. I would say my real life actually began from the moment I stepped into the school.
My first adventure was in 2012, when I went to Suffolk University in Boston for 6 months as an exchange student. It was scary at first. No friends. No families. And all I had was a little room far away from downtown with my books and TV series. Worse still, since I was under age 21, no alcohol or party outside for me at all. That was the beginning where I started to learn about solitude and how to control my own time. And with tremendous flexible time alone, I started my blog on Facebook and occasionally wrote about what inspired me in America.
My second adventure was in 2013, when I spent another 5 months at Peking University, the top school in Beijing, China. I have to say that it was the happiest time in my days. Life can never be more convenient in the city. The Chinese enjoyed speedy and low-cost online delivery since 2009, whereas UberEat was only founded in the US 5 years later. So during my stay, I ordered food, glossaries, clothes, and books with few clicks online, and it would be delivered to my door within a day or so. Receiving a parcel became the most exciting moment in my day with the great products at a low cost. Between my studies, I also did my internship in online marketing at Toy“R”Us. I managed the social media for the brand, including drafting creative content to post online and proactively engaging our followers.
I then concluded my university life with a one-month service trip in Cape Town, South Africa. Our university partnered with the University of Cape Town through an NGO called SHAWCO, which seeks to improve individuals’ quality of life in developing communities within the Cape Metropolitan area. During my time in Cape Town, I worked in an NGO called Mothers Unite. We helped migrate the organization’s website to the CMS systems and run the social media platform. I was impressed with the local volunteers’ dedication and unity to fight for something they cared for together. Cape Town was one of my favourite cities with its remarkable nightlife and breath-taking natural scenery. My trip’s highlight was going shark-diving while hang-over from an overnight party. Once we arrived on the boat, 5 of us all vomited together due to seasickness. After emptying our bellies, we then directly jumped back to the cage, went down to the sea, and swam with the giant white shark.
Coming back to Hong Kong, my school time was officially over. I was so excited to start my career at IBM as a Consulting Trainee. As a young consultant, I was given opportunities to wear different hats as Business Analyst, Functional Consultant, Project Manager, and Scrum Master in client projects across industries.
Finally, I found my passion for Design Thinking. I started to plan and conduct user research & interview for a design challenge. Based on that, I led multiple Enterprise Design Thinking workshops for commercial clients to design a better way to improve users’ experience for their product/solution. Those were the most fruitful days where I lived with sticky notes, sharpie, and color dots.
In 2019, I made a big leap. I came across the opportunity to study at the Apple Developer Academy in Italy. It is the Apple school where they invite 400 people worldwide for a 9-months course developing human-centric iOS apps. Without second thoughts, I flew to London for the assessment test and eventually took the offer to study in Naples. It was an impulsive yet fantastic decision. Together with my team, I built 3 apps to help children in hospital, staff in social enterprise, and people in depression:
This helps children feel more comfortable with the MRI examination process by playing an interactive game with augmented reality elements.
It aims to improve social cooperatives’ workflow in assisting new immigrants with bureaucracy matters in Italy. It is an app that automatically fills in forms by creating a profile and storing it in an encrypted QR code.
It is a game designed to comfort and relax people for those who need help with their emotions. I was given a chance to compose my first song, "Wash The Water” as the app’s background music.
Time in Europe was remarkable, especially I enjoyed traveling to different cities throughout the year. I spent some time roaming around in the UK, Germany, Greece, France, Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, and Italy. And while going on my solo trip, I met several people I still keep in contact with today. I found it fascinating how fate could lead me to inspiring souls like them.
After finishing the Apple school, I joined a life-changing volunteer trip in Elephant Nature Park, an elephant rescue and rehabilitation center in North Thailand. In the beginning, I thought it would be just a fun and exotic experience. Yet, it turned out to be an unforgettable time that I spent with the elephants and other volunteers from different parts of the world.
During that week, I helped clear up the elephant’s poo, wash the cage, and prepare the meal for them. It is the place where I learned humans and animals could live together in such a harmonious way. No riding, no chain, no pain — I can see the genuine happiness in the eyes. So when I got out of the camp, I wrote a little song dedicated to the elephant I took care of during that week in here.
Back in Hong Kong, I started my new journey in EY wavespace as a Design Strategist. Here, facilitation and design thinking become my primary focus. I host workshops to drive the outcome, including envisioning, digital transformation, and user experience design. On some occasions, you will find me on the spot talking about human-centric design. Then at some other time, I will be standing at the back of the room, keeping the time and ensuring everyone on task. And recently, I am also expanding my skills in graphic recording and Lego Serious Play. Stay tuned on that!
I am always happy to connect with interesting soul around the globe.