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The Birth of The HKCOG

                    The Birth of the HKCOG

                             ------- a history of her parturition

                                                      Dr. Robert C L Law


A dramatic beginning to this article should probably read : “In the beginning , there was nothing………..”. But the truth is : in the beginning, there was something . Yes , a history of the birth of the HKCOG would not be complete without describing her gestational period .


In the beginning……

A long , long time ago ( well , 21 March 1947 , to be exact), in a far-away land still ruled by kings and queens ( well , London, to be exact, is 5977 miles from Hong Kong) there was an organisation, established by Royal Charter, called the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists). Initially, Members and Fellows of this College came to Hong Kong to offer their services . Many years later , industrious young doctors from Hong Kong started to travel by air (and sometimes by sea and taking days) to reach this far away land to seek their own holy grail ( i. e. to become Members and, hopefully some 12 years later, Fellows of this College). In time, this group of doctors grew to such a number that the mother College saw it fit to establish a Reference Committee which would be responsible for the supervision of training and inspection of training posts, and for making recommendations to the College Hospital Recognition Committee. The time was November 1977, and there were 54 Members at that time in the whole of Hong Kong. As to the Fellows at the time , the College register showed 8 Fellows in Hong Kong and 6 Fellows in Kowloon (!). Why they made such a distinction is anybody’s guess. The members of the first Reference Committee ( with 2 of the Fellows from Kowloon) were :

       Professor Ho-Kei Ma ( Chair),

       Dr. H Abdullah ,

       Dr. P S Kan ,

       Dr. Christina Chow ,

       Dr. K K Yeung, and

       Dr. S K Yip .


Members of the early Reference Committees were entirely appointed from London directly. Then came the democratic whirlwind that swept the world, and, in 1983 London decided to bring an element of democracy into the Reference Committee . It was renamed the Representative Committee. The Chairman was to be a Fellow appointed from London while the rest of the committee members were elected through open election by all Members and Fellows in Hong Kong. Members of the first Representative Committee were :

      Professor HK Ma ( Chair),

      Professor Allan Chang,

      Dr. Enid Chan,

      Dr. John Batson,

      Dr. S G Chua,

      Dr. C M Lee, and

      Dr. Robert C L Law.


The Midwives in attendance

From 1982 onwards , the people in Hong Kong watched in wonder the gradual unfolding of the drama series featuring ”Maggie goes to Peking” which culminated in the signing of the Sino-British Joint Declaration on 19 December 1984.  By November 1985 , the HK Representative Committee decided that it would probably be time to think about gradually cutting the “umbilical cord” between Hong Kong and London. When Hong Kong was still a colony, no one would think twice about looking to London for accreditation of the specialists in Obstetrics and Gynaecology in Hong Kong , but such an arrangement would be very inappropriate by the time of the handover on 1 July, 1997 , just 12 years to go.  With this in mind, a Working Party on Future Postgraduate Training in Obstetrics and Gynaecology was set up by the Representative Committee . The 10 members of the working party were :

      Professor HK Ma ( Chair),

      Professor Allan Chang,

      Dr. Enid Chan,

      Dr. John Batson,

      Dr. K K Chow,

      Dr. L C Wong,

      Dr. Pamela Leung,

      Dr. Nancy Fok,

      Dr. Robert C L Law,

      Dr. P C Ho.


The first thing this Working Party did was to conduct a survey of the Members and Fellows in Hong Kong as to whether they would like to be independent , setting our own standards and doing our own accreditation of specialists in Obstetrics and Gynaecology. The response was an enthusiastic “yes”, and the Working Party shifted into top gear. It must be admitted that the task looked daunting at first.  I mean, starting a College from scratch is no child’s play. Fortunately, we did have a role model in the London College. We borrowed the Memorandum and Articles of Association of the London RCOG and adapted it to the Hong Kong milieu.  The more difficult question was where to hold our meetings. Queen Mary and Prince of Wales Hospital were so far away from each other.  After some deliberation, it was decided to hold them in “middle earth”, the office of Dr. Robert C L Law in central: Room 430, Man Yee Building, 67 Queen’s Road, Central, Hong Kong. Mind you, this Man Yee Building was not just any building in Hong Kong. It had the distinction of having the first ever escalator in the whole of Hong Kong, and in the 1950s, many local families’ weekend treats for their children were to take them to the building just to ride up and down on the escalator. For people born in Hong Kong around the 1950s, this escalator was part of their collective memories. Anyway, this escalator must have also carried collective memories for members of the Working Party as their rode their way up to the meeting place.


All in all , 13 meetings of the Working Party were held ( and most of them at Man Yee Building with a few in Professor Ma’s home in Bowen Road). The Memorandum and Articles of Association were signed on 14 May 1988 at the office of our Hon. Legal Advisor, Mr. Peter Mark. Incidentally , Mr. Mark’s office at the time was in the same building that now houses the HK Medical Association’s premises in Central. The Hong Kong College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologist was incorporated as a Company Limited by Guarantee and not having a Share Capital. The Registrar of Companies granted a special license for the word “Limited” to be omitted from the full name of the company.  The 10 original subscribers to this Company were the 10 members of the Working Party. Their names and signatures appeared as part of the Memorandum and Articles of Association document.


After incorporation, the first Council Meeting was held on 7th June 1988 at Room 430 Man Yee Building, Central, Hong Kong ( where else?) when the office bearers were elected. The first AGM was held on 4th July 1988 at the Jade Ballroom of the now extinct Furama Hotel, Central, when the By-Laws of the College were passed , thus setting the future workings of the College in motion . Now, the original Man Yee Building and Furama Hotel are both gone and the By-Laws of the College have been amended a number of times.


And the rest, of course, as they say, is history.