Morant Bay old boy now cultural ambassador
Growing up in Seaforth, St Thomas, 33-year-old Andrew Chong had dreams of becoming a doctor. It had a nice ring to it, "The sound of being a medical doctor was enticing, but my attributes - creative, mathematical, analytical ability to think logically and solve problems - led me to the engineering field," he told Flair.
One of the 10 proud recipients of the prestigious Excellent Foreign Youth Employee Award, Chong and his siblings and cousins spent most of their free time exploring the outdoors. "We went to the beach, river, rode bicycles and played games and sports," shared the Morant Bay High old boy. A graduate of the University of Technology, the country boy, as he often calls himself, holds a honours diploma in structural engineering and a first class honours degree in construction engineering and management.
A sound education coupled with strong principles laid the foundation Chong needed to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming an engineer.
Today, he is the quality control engineer and utility relocation coordinator at the China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC).
Upon being awarded the ambassadorship, Chong was charged by his general manger with the responsibility of being a cultural ambassador for the company. This includes bridging the cultural gap between Jamaica and China. and promoting the vision and mission of China Communications Construction Company (CCCC)/CHEC, which is to build a connected world and "provide value to its clients through win-win cooperation". A mighty task for the father of two, who is also a facility management professional of the International Facility Management Association, shared, "I do strongly believe that I will be successful in anything I pursue."
But how did Chong achieve these new responsibilities? CCCC is the parent company for 34 subsidiaries (including CHEC) and operates in more than 120 countries, to which they sent out applications for the award to qualified members of staff. Chong had to submit a 5,000-word essay and video presentation that went through several levels of screening before the final decision was made through online voting.
Chong was successful and he, along with the nine other recipients, travelled to China to collect their awards. Upon his return to Jamaica, he shared his gratitude and excitement. "It felt good to be among those who were described as some of the best employees, and I am immensely proud to work with such a company." He continued: "I was elated to meet the vice-president of CHEC in Beijing, and other senior managers. The trip also provided me with an opportunity to learn more about the culture of the company, such as the vision and goal to build a connected world. The fact that I was able to meet colleagues from other parts of the world, who were just as thrilled, was great."
While in China, Chong visited the Great Wall, Tianjin Port (the world's fourth-largest port that was built by CCCC) and the Forbidden City. He also got the opportunity to ski for the first time - living up to his adventurous nature. At home, he enjoys, "natural gifts given to us by God - exploring our hidden treasures (St Ann's Blue Hole, Moneague's Blue Hole, Reggae Falls in St Thomas, and so much more). I enjoy living where others vacation. I love travelling to other countries and learning new things. Mostly, I enjoy spending time with family and friends."
He lives by a quote from late reggae legend Bob Marley, "Money is numbers and numbers never end. If it takes money to be happy, your search for happiness will never end." This, Chong says, has brought balance to his life. He shared, "Too often we are so absorbed in our work, in our pursuit for money, that we forget why we wanted money in the first place - to enjoy life, to love, to laugh and to be able to spend quality time with family and friends without worry. There are so many successful, rich people who are unhappy because they have failed to leave behind the legacy that really matters. Being able to live through the hearts of the people they have impacted personally and significantly. I want to live my life in such a way that my great-great-great-grandchildren will know about me."