I am a global citizen. I was born in China, my parents took us to Hong Kong and Taiwan before moving to lndonesia. I studied in Australia, married my husband, and now live and work in Penang. However, I still travel back to Australia frequently to collaborate with Australian architects.
I came to Penang in 1974, joined Architects Team 3 and worked under the award-winning Architect Dato Seri Lim Chong Keat. The firm had just been awarded the first urban renewal project in George Town by the State Government. The project was named Komtar, in honor of the second Prime Minister of Malaysia, the late Tun Abdul Razak bin Hussein. It was the vision of the then Chief Minister of Penang Dr Lim Chong Eu to revitalise the urban center of George Town and usher the State forward. The site covers an area of 11 hectares and comprises a 4-storey shopping complex, a 64-storey office tower for the State Administration and private sector, a 17-storey international hotel, public buses interchange, an 11-storey car park and a multipurpose Geodesic dome.
I was one of the project architects for Komtar in charge of the podium retails, the 64-storey tower and geodesic dome. As a young woman architect, I was fortunate to have had a mentor like Dato Seri Lim Chong Keat, who regarded man and woman as equals to be given equal opportunities. The Komtar tower was completed in 1988 and was then tallest building in Malaysia. Today, it is still the tallest building in Penang.
I am still practising full time, and have been actively involved with the Malaysian Institute of Architects (PAM) to advocate the advancement of architecture and the architectural profession for the betterment of society.
My family has a special bond with Melbourne University, especially the Faculty. My husband and I have three children, and all five of us are graduates of Melbourne. My eldest son and daughter are working in Melbourne, and my second son is assisting me in my firm in Penang. My fond memories of our Architecture School always include many outstanding teachers: Mr & Mrs Coldicutt, the very caring Hugh O'Neill, Mr Rani, the flamboyant Mrs Merz, the talented Jeff Turnbull, and Ta-Wen Chu.
The fact that University of Melbourne alumni make up the largest group of overseas-trained architects in Malaysia is largely a tribute to Prof Lewis (as we called him). With his extensive involvement in Malaysian architecture, Professor Brian Lewis contributed much in setting up the Architecture Diploma course at KL Tech, which sent many students to complete their studies in Melbourne when Professor Lewis was the Dean of Faculty.
Our education in the School of ABP had equipped me well and enabled us to adapt to the Malaysian architecture practice. Architecture education was international and it is very universal today. Education must keep ahead of our ever changing world and I watch with interest the restructured new curriculum and architecture course.