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Civil Service Newsletter Editorial Board

Back to Hong Kong

A few years after retiring from the civil service, Hugh and his wife Ruth returned to England in 2004, but they found Hong Kong was in their blood. They returned two years later knowing that Hong Kong would be home for life. “Leaving Hong Kong for a couple of years and then coming back, you really value Hong Kong with its buzz, its beauty — the harbour and the mountains — and how safe it feels after England,” Hugh said. “And everything works here — the public transport is fantastic. My wife and I love going to concerts and it’s just 15 minutes away — it’s so convenient. And it’s very good to be back with old friends and colleagues,” Hugh said.

No time for boredom

Hugh is certainly not going to waste a minute of his retirement. “To me, one of the great things about retirement is that for the first time you’re actually a master of time, rather than a slave to time.” As well as devoting time to the church, travelling with Ruth and indulging his passions for music, sport, world current affairs and the history of aviation, he can now spend much more time with his grown up children — Sarah in Hobart, Tasmania, Tom in Hong Kong and Jane in Manchester and their families including four young grandchildren. He also finds time for charity work as a Director of the Nesbitt Centre, a service for Englishspeaking adults with learning disabilities.

 

Hugh attending Army rock climbing course for Geotechnical
Engineering Office slope inspections in 1983.
Hugh (back row left) with the Geotechnical Engineering Office
seven-a-side rugby team (PWD Sports) in 1983.

 

Hugh has always loved sport and played hooker with his university rugby team in Canada, so has always been keen to stay fit. He enjoyed distance running while working for Government, which he found a great stress reliever, but in recent years he had to draw the line at running more marathons (after completing four — the last one at the age of 62!) because of an old knee injury. He now greatly enjoys golf — a very challenging and sociable game and plays with the Hong Kong Seniors Golf Society and the PWD Golfing Society.

Now 67, Hugh has some good advice for civil servants just starting out on their careers: “Take all opportunities that present themselves to you. Develop communication skills so you can understand as much as possible about what your colleagues are doing, both the people who work for you and your bosses — what pressures they are under and what they expect from you. Prioritising is also essential for a harmonious and efficient workplace,” he says.

But most importantly for Hugh is that “we are all equal in the sight of our loving God”, so every individual should be treated with consideration and respect, whatever their rank or position.





 
 
Rev. Phillipson as choir chaplain with St John’s Cathedral Choir in 2001.