Passing on Lessons from the Field

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Dr CHAN Siu-ming admits that his story is a rather long one. Chan joined the social work profession after completing study in social work at university to serve the community in which he himself grew up. After eight years in the field, the now Assistant Professor at CityU’s Department of Social and Behavioural Sciences has decided to embark on an academic career and share his expertise with a new generation of frontline social workers.

Chan’s professional history includes serving the underprivileged, such as the homeless and low-income families living in subdivided flats or cubicles, the elderly and financially disadvantaged children. All these he did through direct service, group work and community organisations. His research interests include poverty, housing, and social work. His vision is to enhance the well-being of vulnerable groups.

His primary inspiration for going into research and teaching he says was the church. “Church activities left a large impact on me because I gained self-confidence and bravery while helping others in my church.” He was also heavily influenced by his childhood background. “I come from a low-income family, and in my childhood my family received welfare, but then the church really changed my personal life. It was quite simple. I just wanted to help people at that moment.”

During the three years he was an undergraduate, starting in 2005, he was influenced by a placement at the Society for Community Organisation. His main work there targeted cage home residents—those who lived in tiny cage-like cubicles. “Nowadays we call these subdivided units,” he says. “At that time, I was quite shocked by the different environment. I thought, why is this happening in Hong Kong? It is a financial centre, an international city. And yet, many people are living in such poor conditions. I decided to work as a social worker and did so for eight years.”

Embarking on a Journey of Teaching and Research

One could argue that Chan’s academic career started with those…

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