Development & Alumni Relations Office 

MEET LEE HUI SENG – QUEEN’S CIVIL ENGINEERING GRADLee Hui Seng, graduate and runner, against backdrop of Malaysian flag

03 July 2020

“Be patient; the economy will improve in the long run. Do not be too choosy in selecting your career path in the short term.” The perceptive advice from 1988 Queen’s BEng Civil Engineering alumnus and long distance running enthusiast Lee Hui Seng, is pertinent for all members of the graduating Class of 2020 whether in his home country of Malaysia or in Northern Ireland.

Hui Seng comes from Taiping town in the state of Perak, on the West Coast of Malaysia. It was recently listed among the top 10 ‘happiest cities’ by the country’s Town and Country Planning Department to coincide with International Day of Happiness, following a study in which 60,000 people participated.

Hui Seng attended St Patrick's School in Singapore from 1978-1981 to do GCE 'O' Levels, before moving to Methodist College Belfast in Northern Ireland to take his 'A' Levels in 1983. And it wasn’t just the close proximity of Methody to Queen’s that influenced his choice of University, as he explains.

“I was influenced by my older cousins who were already studying at Queen’s before I arrived in Belfast. Subsequently, in years to come, many of my younger cousins came to Queen’s to study too.”

During his time at Queen’s Hui Seng embraced University life enthusiastically, involving himself in a range of cultural, sporting and social activities.

“A pint of beer cost only 70p in the Bottom Bar and Speakeasy back then,” said Hui Seng. “I also enjoyed the Thursday night parties at Queen’s Elms before the local students went home for the weekend,” he added.

“Playing badminton and volleyball at the PEC – reputedly at the time, the largest University sports centre in the UK – graduation ceremonies in the Sir William Whitla Hall, going to movies at Queen’s Film Theatre and taking long relaxing walks in Botanic Gardens were all enjoyable facets of my time at Queen’s.”

It was while he was at Queen's that he met his wife Peck Hiang Tok, who graduated with BEng in Chemical Engineering (1988) and who now works for Aker Solutions Group in the design of deep offshore platforms in the regional oil and gas industry. Two of his wife's nieces are currently studying at Queen's, in line with the family tradition of choosing Queen's as the preferred higher educational establishment.

Also on his list of favourite memories from his time in Northern Ireland are long summer evenings and short winter days; even the body searches at shopping centre entrances fascinated him. 

After Queen’s Hui Seng undertook a one year taught course MSc in Structural Engineering at University of Newcastle in northeast England before he moved south to London where he worked for four years as an Assistant Resident Engineer at Mott McDonald, in London’s Docklands.

At this point Hui Seng returned to Malaysia where he took up a marketing role with Hume Industries, a company engaged in the manufacturing, marketing and sale of concrete and concrete related products. He went on to work for Reinforced Earth Malaysia Sdn Bhd for 16 years as a Director.

“For the past 20 years, I have been involved in the local infrastructure and construction industry. The company builds precast concrete bridges, flyovers, retaining walls for highways and geosynthetics products, in addition to roads, ramps and housing and commercial development projects,” he told Queen’s.

Aside from work and family, Hui Seng is currently Vice President of QUAAM (Queen’s University Alumni Association, Malaysia), one of the University’s thriving graduate networks around the world.

“I got involved in QUAAM after attending a Queen’s University alumni dinner which was graced by our then patron Tun Dr Lim Keng Yaik back in 1996,” said Lee Hui Seng.

Tun Lim Keng Yaik SSM, who graduated with a MB BCh BAO in 1964, was one of the earliest Malaysian students to come to Queen’s when he arrived in Belfast in the late 1950s. A successful doctor, he was also an influential politician and was a former Minister of Energy, Water and Communications in the Malaysian government. Just before his death in 2012, he was among the only four living Chinese with Tunship holders in Malaysia.

Hui Seng is keen to encourage the University’s alumni returning to Malaysia to join the Association. “We hope graduates will keep in touch with QUAAM for social networking purposes and also to promote Queen’s as a viable educational institution for students in this region,” he said.

QUAAM offers regular events for graduate members and their guests, including informal receptions, dinners and golf outings. It has supported numerous visits by senior University personnel to the region over the years, including facilitating introductions to key Malaysian companies and educational institutions. Back in 2009, members also made a generous donation towards the new McClay Library at Queen's, in recognition for which there is an area of the building dedicated to QUAAM. 

The Association also works closely with British High Commissioner's Office in Kuala Lumpur, the British Council, the Malaysian Irish Alumni Association (MIAA) and the British Graduates' Asssociation Malaysia (BGAM), for joint social networking events.

Apart from his day job and his role in QUAAM, Hui Seng spends many hours pounding the streets. A member of Pacemakers' Running Club, he is a veteran mid and long-distance runner who takes part in more than 60 running events - 10k races, half and full marathons - each year. It is his lifelong ambition to participate in the London Marathon. He also enjoys travelling and reading up on current affairs issues.

Hui Seng is also current Chairman of Putra Utama Residents' Association in Sg Buloh and current Chairman of Famemas Sports Supporters Club, the official sports supporters club of Malaysia, since 2002.

For more on QUAAM please visit Queen’s University Alumni Association, Malaysia on Facebook or you can follow Lee Hui Seng on Twitter.

For general enquiries about this story, or to submit a graduate news item, please contact Gerry Power, Communications Officer, Development and Alumni Relations Office, Queen’s University Belfast. 


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