Hactl’s got female talent!

With the steady progress of gender equality in the workplace, it’s becoming more and more common to find female colleagues in various job positions. In this edition of Hactlink, we hear the inspiring stories of three such Hactl workers. Each supports the operation of the terminal in a different role, while also leading a fulfilling life outside work: Swimming, street dance, marathons — even challenging triathlons. Behind each of their passions stands resilience and resolve — not for the sake of winning alone, but for the personal growth they achieve with every step.

Triathlete Cherry: I won’t let fear defeat me

Cherry Ho, Head of Customer Services at Hactl’s Operations department, has participated in numerous triathlons. The first part of any triathlon is, of course, swimming, and Cherry remembers most vividly one competition in which she gave up halfway through. She was competing with other athletes at Hong Kong’s South Bay Beach. Shortly after setting off, she was overcome with a feeling of immense panic, and found herself grabbing onto a rescue boat; this meant she was disqualified.

“I had just started competing in triathlons. After coming ashore, I cried and scolded myself for giving up so easily. I told myself that I couldn’t let fear defeat me — and I haven’t given up in any competition since then,” Cherry declares.

Cherry has been working at the terminal for nearly a decade. She is known for her strong and resilient personality, and likes to try new things. Since she started running in 2006, she has constantly challenged herself with marathons and triathlons, which require both endurance and physical fitness. Cherry has already been women’s champion in one local triathlon competition.

Triathlons should have been an impossible task for Cherry — because, while she possessed a natural talent for running, and had practiced for some two years before successfully undertaking her first full marathon in 2007, she had a profound fear of swimming after nearly drowning as a child.

In an effort to participate in triathlons, she finally decided to learn swimming when she was in her 30s. Fortunately, she met an excellent coach who taught her basic swimming skills in a pool where her feet could touch the bottom, before moving onto a standard depth pool. Finally, Cherry took on the challenge of the sea, accompanied by her coach. “The first time I swam out to sea, I realised how beautiful the scenery was when I looked back at the beach from the floating platform,” Cherry recalls. In 2012, she participated in her first triathlon competition.

Cherry says that her husband and friends all praise her exceptional physique, but she believes the most important things are faith and perseverance. “You have to keep trying, and leave your comfort zone, while believing in yourself,” she concludes.

Cherry and her husband met through triathlon competitions. They are both sports enthusiasts, always training together for running, cycling and swimming. Even their wedding attire was triathlon sports wear! The couple completed the London Marathon earlier this year and will soon be participating in the Chicago Marathon. Cherry will then have completed five of the six World Marathon Majors: Tokyo, New York City, Chicago, Berlin and London — with only the Boston Marathon remaining.

You have to keep trying, and leave your comfort zone, while believing in yourself.

Dancer Chloe: on stage, I’m not afraid any more

Millennial Chloe Lam is a relative newcomer to the workplace: she has been an Operations Trainee at Hactl’s subsidiary, Hong Kong Air Cargo Industry Services Limited (Hacis) for less than a year, travelling daily between SuperTerminal 1 and her home in Stanley. During the journey, she says: “I put on my headphones and listen to music. I imagine how to dance and choreograph, and the two-hour commute passes quickly.”

Like many, Chloe was enrolled in dance classes from an early age. She started with ballet in kindergarten but, in primary 5, she discovered street dance and quickly fell in love with it. “I like Hip-hop, Jazz-funk and K-pop dance. Street dance offers greater variation and spontaneity, allowing free expression,” she explains.

In form 1 of secondary school, she joined the cheerleaders, frequently entering school competitions and, later, choreographing performances. Through training, she came to realise that dance is not just about individual freedom of expression. In street dance, more than 20 people practice together, and some learn quickly, while others learn more slowly. They need to accommodate each other and adjust the formations according to everyone’s height. This process taught Chloe the importance of teamwork and helped her grow rapidly.

“Do not assume you alone stand out. Everyone on the stage has their own strengths, and we complement each other to achieve a performance together,” Chloe says.

At first, Chloe’s parents did not really understand her interest in dance, and worried that devoting so much time in training would impact her studies. It was not until Chloe’s first year in university that her parents attended the dance club’s annual performance. Chloe performed four dances in a row, and was exhausted when she left the stage. Her father left a message of appreciation on the board at the venue: “Seeing your efforts and hard work, that must have been tiring.”

For Chloe, dance is a way for her to transform herself. Now invested in her career, time for practice may have lessened, yet she finds a way by incorporating lessons learned through dance into her work. What dance has taught her is presenting herself with confidence: “I used to be quite shy when I was younger, but as soon as I step onto the stage, I am not afraid any more, as I believe myself beautiful when dancing, and want to share that side of myself with others.”

Everyone on the stage has their own strengths, and we complement each other to achieve a performance together.

Swimmer Rosa: explode towards the finish line!

Rosa Fong is Assistant Manager of Hactl’s Finance department. She is always focused and working flat out when meeting tight deadlines: “I stare at the computer monitor and papers, and keep working until I complete the task. It’s the same when swimming: my goal is to reach the finish line in an explosion of effort!” Rosa says with a smile.

Rosa holds a swimming coach certificate. During her university years, she worked part-time as a coach, teaching children to swim. Having received swimming training since childhood, Rosa says that swimming shaped her personality and benefited her greatly.

Rosa started learning to swim in primary 1 and quickly revealed a talent for it. She joined a swimming club and specialised in freestyle and backstroke. Every weekday she trained at least two hours after school, then went home to do homework. She maintained this routine for over ten years, winning multiple awards in inter-school and swimming club competitions.

Rosa says swimming is a relatively “lonely” sport. Although there are relay races, most of the time she trains alone: stretching, physical training and swimming, repeatedly reminding every muscle to remember the feeling of exploding in the water, while combining with the rhythm of breathing. Compared to men, women generally have less resistance in the water due to their flexibility and body size, but their monthly menstrual cycle also brings many challenges.

“The arrival of menstruation often hinders training progress. For athletes, it is best to avoid interrupting training as much as possible. After stopping for a week, it feels like starting from scratch,” Rosa explains. But she really enjoys the feeling of being in the water, so has persisted for many years: “Doing something I enjoy doesn’t make me feel tired.”

Perhaps because she has been used to training and striving alone for many years, Rosa is independent and assertive. During holidays she often travels alone, even enjoying some private time away from her husband. No matter how busy she is at work, she still takes time to swim every week: “Swimming non-stop for at least an hour, completely emptying my mind, and only thinking about how to sprint to the finish line, is a great way to relieve stress.”

Swimming non-stop for at least an hour, completely emptying my mind, and only thinking about how to sprint to the finish line, is a great way to relieve stress.