Alumni Bonding

From Temple Street Kid to Respected Professor: Unveiling the Legendary Life Motto

Student Translator Hau Wing Yin (TRAN/Year 3)

Professor Calvin H F Tse embarked on his entrepreneurial career in 2012. Despite the arduous journey weathering the storms of the pandemic and different adversity, he remained resilient and emerged as a prominent figure in the business realm. In 2022, he won the Ten Outstanding Young Persons Award and was recognised as one of the outstanding leaders in Forbes China Outstanding Enterprises. His business network spans far and wide with a management team exceeding 1500 people and wide range of renowned brands. By beginning his career with bitter hardships and setbacks, he deeply understands the lack of entrepreneurial opportunities and platforms for young people. Hence, Calvin serves as a Chairperson of The Hong Kong General Chamber of Young Entrepreneurs and has organised numerous projects to support young entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds in Hong Kong. He firmly believes that diligence is a crucial indicator of success.

Diligence is a Crucial Indicator of Success

La Salle College has always been Calvin’s dream school. However, he once felt incapable due to his ordinary background. As he reminisced about his admission interview – The principal, who is a foreigner who only speaks English, sat across from him and his mother. They exchanged perplexed glances, and the room was filled with silence. Fortunately, Calvin still got admitted and practiced English hard during the summer break. He vividly remembered his first exam, where he ranked 104th out of over 300 students. He was ready to be smacked. “My mom thinks even scoring 90 is considered a failure!” He chucked and spoke. While the exam results hit him hard, it ignited his determination and resilience to work harder. Calvin knew he was not clever, but he made up for it with unwavering diligence, even studying through the night. Ultimately, he ranked seventh in his third year of junior high school, showcasing a remarkable improvement. “Failure? Then let’s push ourselves even harder!” – His story has motivated his classmates, reminding them once they have a goal in sight, sailed up the river, and persevere against adversity.

Calvin grew up in Temple Street before the age of 18, where his parents worked as hawkers. He openly shared his insecurities about his background during his childhood – whenever he encountered classmates, he would instinctively turn away for fear of being spotted studying at the food stalls at Temple Street. As he grew older, Calvin started asking himself, “What are you feeling inferior about? You’re not up to something unethical.” Looking back, some classmates might even think you were cool. “Even when I studied in such a chaotic environment in Temple Street, I still got the first place in my history exam!”. He exclaimed proudly and encouraged classmates to embrace their backgrounds. He believes that in this world, the only person who will make fun of you is yourself. Instead of restraining, it is better to accept your fate and change it through hard work.

Calvin has a life motto: “Life depends on fate and hard work”, and he believes that with determination, man can fight against the fate. Since he was a child, he had helped his parents to manage their stalls and he could only go to bed at 3:00 or 4:00 am every night; and could only stand out of the shop to study. But he emphasised again that family background does not matter as everyone has the opportunity to change their life path. With endeavor and hard work, many Hong Kong people have gone from cubicle apartments, sub-divided units, public flats, and eventually to private apartments, and he is one of the successful examples. He added, wealth, disease, and disability are all destinies that we cannot choose, yet he encouraged students, especially the grassroots, that as long as you persevere, not to surrender and give up, you still have chances to change, and you will be halfway to success!

Calvin also has a motto, “To have what others don’t, and to excel when others do.” In 2013, he first started operating his Hong Kong-style café. At that time, there were almost no similar styles of restaurants in Hong Kong, and he was the monopoly cornering the market. However, good times do not last long as successful business models are constantly be replicated. He knew that to stand out from the competitors, he needed to have his own edge, and he firmly believed that by being just a little better, one could achieve victory.

With his career on track, Calvin has actively participated in social affairs. He joined hands with the government in organising the “Strive and Rise Programme“, providing underprivileged youths a platform to embark on their entrepreneurial journeys.

Advice to Students: Seize Every Opportunities to Equip Ourselves

Having witnessed the rapid development of Shenzhen, he also encourages students to explore opportunities in the Greater Bay Area, as he believes that the market in Hong Kong is limited compared to the boundless business opportunities in the mainland, especially with the support from both governments. He hoped that students could set aside their preconceptions and be more inclusive and understanding of the mainland. He emphasised, “If you don’t take action now, you’ll regret it 20 years later. It will be too late to go back to the mainland by then!” He also revealed that he is currently working with the government to provide financial support to aspiring young entrepreneurs who are interested in starting their own businesses in the Greater Bay Area, and that he welcomes CUHK students to reach out and contact him.

At the same time, Calvin strongly advises fellow students to gain proficiency in accounting and law to protect themselves from being taken advantage of. Whether in government or social enterprises, our lives are closely intertwined with numbers. Acquiring accounting knowledge enables us to understand the intricacies of the business world, while law is even more omnipresent, and can foster multi-perspective thinking and critical reasoning. By equipping ourselves with these skills, we can seize opportunities and embark on new journeys at any time.