Dear Fellow Members,
As we start the Year of the Dog, 2018 will be for the FCC a year when we reluctantly bid farewell to our esteemed General Manager, Gilbert ‘Tiger’ Cheng. His retirement in August will mark the end of an era for our club, which he has steered since his appointment as General Manager in 2000.
Gilbert actually started work at the FCC in our previous home, Sutherland House (now CCB Tower) in 1972. His connection to the club’s history is heightened by the fact that he was mentored by legendary bar manager, Papa Liao, who had served in our even older homes in Hong Kong and Shanghai.
Fully committed to all of us in that time, including 45 presidents, Gilbert has become the epitome of many things that we love about the club. In his own words: ‘Enjoy, forgive and forget, learn from yourself.’ He also has qualities we all wish we had: an encyclopaedic recall of names, an ability to deal smoothly with the most awkward of situations and the drive that comes from the fourth prong of his personal philosophy: ‘Don’t expect others to help you’, although many members of the club know how they can always expect Gilbert to help them.
Gilbert took over as acting general manager at a difficult time for the FCC, as we were losing members after the 1997 handover. Our membership has almost doubled since. The board is confident that with his assistance, our next general manager will help us meet our future challenges and build on Gilbert’s excellent legacy.
As he prepares to step down this coming summer, coinciding with his next birthday, Gilbert will continue to ensure that our staff are as dedicated as he has always been, and he will work closely with governors and his successor for as seamless a transition as possible.
Gilbert’s long service and importance to the club were previously recognized in 1997, when he was made an honorary life member. That should reassure all of us who can’t imagine the FCC without him.
In the months before his retirement, there will be more opportunities to celebrate and thank Gilbert for his extraordinary contribution to the FCC. In the meantime, we express our deepest gratitude to him for his distinguished service and congratulate him on all he has achieved in his career.
Florence de Changy