Sam Tet and I

by Eddie Chee Tai Kong

Primary and Secondary educations are the most fundamental and defining phases for an individual's life. I totally owed this to Sam Tet and I will forever be grateful for that. In 1964, I started my Primary One in Sam Tet and left in 1976 (Lower Six) to pursue matriculation in Melbourne, Australia. I graduated in 1980 with a Computer Science degree from Monash University and has been pursuing a career in the Information Technology (IT) industry. I am now a naturalised Australian citizen with a permanent residency of Hong Kong.

My last 25 years of IT career has given me lots of opportunities to work in different companies in different countries interacting with people from different cultures. A high level summary of which is as follows:

*              1980        Penang                   MACS (Software service bureau) (IT Consultancy)

*              1981        KL                           United Malaysia Banking Corp (now RHB?) (Banking)

*              1983        Sydney                  Hospital Contribution Fund of Australia(Health Insurance)       

*              1986        Sydney                  Computer Power (IT Consultancy)

*              1988        HK                          Standard Chartered Bank

*              1994        HK                          Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) (IT Consultancy)

*              1999        HK                          General Electric Company (Consumer Finance)             

I truly feel blessed by having the opportunities to work & live in different countries. Since 1988 the companies I worked for are multi-national and my roles were regional in nature, that further allowed me to work closely with people from different cultures. My present role is the Chief Information Officer for GE Consumer Finance Asia Region. I have overall responsibilities for Information Technology matters for the 11 Asian countries covering South Korea, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and India. I have a team consisting of over 500 IT staff supporting a business with over 10,000 employees and a Net Earning Asset of well over US$8 Billion.

At this stage of my life, I am contented with my little career achievement because I'm working for one of the best companies in the world (GE has been awarded many years by Forbes, Financial Times etc as the Most Admired Company in the World) and I'm enjoying working with all the talented, passionate and committed GE staff around the world. As a matter of fact, though I'm based in Hong Kong, I spent 65%-70% of my time traveling & working in different countries. Interacting with people from different cultures is a truly life-enriching experience.

I feel indebted to Sam Tet for helping to lay the foundation for me in 2 particular areas. 

1) Values System - I remember how we had Civic classes to study how to become a good person. The values system of honesty, compassion, responsibility, morality etc. Things which are rarely talked about or taught nowadays. Holding on to one's principle and be honest had carried my through corporate political storm before. I always hold the view that if being honest gets me fired, then that's not the company I aspire to work for anyway.

2) Passion of Learning - The passion of learning is like a "virus infected" by the teachers' relentless commitment/dedication to teach/coach.

I remembered the days when Bro John Heng's eagerness to teach us about modern maths after school hours. Though this particular subject was not part of the standard curriculum, it was certainly useful in my later years. I remembered during my Melbourne High Schools days, I was able to solve a maths problem that the maths teacher couldn't solve in front of the class. This "virus" is now all over me, I have never stopped learning, and I always carry/buy books while I'm traveling, and learn to use idle time to read.

I'm often asked to share with young & talented GE staff about my "recipe" for success. I use "ROE" as the acronym. In the financial world, ROE stands for Return on Equity, which is an important ratio used by investor to measure the company's performing based on the equity invested. Well, we need to invest on ourselves too. Here we go.

R = Read

We must continue to expand ourselves, not just on the domain knowledge where our career specialty is, but also a much wider scope. Tiger Wood doesn't just practice his golf swing, he also train his body, train his mind, watch his diet etc etc. Reading is a great way of acquiring knowledge.

O = Observe

I have created my own quote: "The answers are out there, do you know the questions?" I believe we do not observe our environment closely environment to learn from it. The answers are always there in front of us, but we never have the questions in our head. Next time you go around observing successful people with one simple question: "How to dress for success?" I'm sure you will quickly find out the common traits of how successful people dress.

E = Execute

After all the reading, and observing based on some of the things we read, it's time to give that a trial. Execute, execute & execute. Practice makes perfect.

In summary, I am grateful for what Sam Tet had done for me, and I'm sure all the present & future students will feel the same.

Eddie Chee


GE Consumer Finance - Asia

T: +852 2100 6225

F: +852 2100 8199

C: +852 9103 0992

D: *331 6225


General Electric International, Inc.