Chan Yuk Chi

  College: College of St Hild and St Bede
  Subject: Law
  Class of: 2019
  Location: Singapore

Your Durham Inspiration

Do you remember why you first chose to study at Durham?

Durham has a fantastic reputation in the Singaporean legal industry, and I was first told about it by a family friend who's a partner at a reputable law firm here. After doing some research, I found that I really enjoyed the look and feel of Durham above and beyond what other schools had to offer, so even without visiting I decided to take a leap of faith.

Tell us about any sports, societies or clubs you were involved in at Durham.

I was the elected president of Durham Pro Bono from 2018-2019, and I was the founding president of Durham Krav Maga from 2016-2019. As the president of Pro Bono, I expanded the organisation’s scope with new projects and numerous talks and activities. I also oversaw planning of its inaugural Summer Festival, cut down on inefficiency, and rewrote its constitution to improve governance and administration. Under my stewardship, Pro Bono continued to enjoy its title of best Law Society in terms of Contributions to Society in Durham. As the president of Durham Krav Maga, I taught students self-defence through military-style combatives training. I ran everything virtually single-handedly for all three years of university, and I also taught classes for free at least twice a week, drawing on my own military and martial arts training as a basis.

What work or moment were you were most proud of at Durham?

Probably all the community work I did as president of Krav Maga: I taught students from all walks of life, but in particular the Krav Maga Society focused on marginalised or vulnerable groups. For women, people of colour, and the LGBTQ community, we ran regular seminars on practical solutions to stay safe in common scenarios that students may find themselves in - on nights out, in confined spaces like dorms or clubs, and situations involving protecting vulnerable third-parties from aggressors. By the time I graduated, I had taught hundreds of students and given them the confidence to face an uncertain world.

What are your fondest memories from your time here?

Winter walks along the river, hot chocolate in the rain, the first blooms of spring, and laying out on the college lawn basking in the summer sun.


What have you been up to since you left Durham?

I founded a space startup that's building satellite technology to open up a new frontier of satellite operations in Very Low Earth Orbit. I'm also finishing up my training contract at Singapore's oldest law firm. I've also been involved in a fair amount of international NGO work, and I recently led a team to advise the government of Uganda on their proposed draft space legislation and national space policy.

What are you doing that is most meaningful to you now? 

With my space company, we're working to create a business-positive solution to an impending environmental catastrophe in the form of the space debris crisis. Our deep hope is that our work today will secure the future of human spaceflight by ensuring our ascent corridor to the stars remains clean and clear of harmful debris, thereby ensuring its usability for the collective children of our planet.

Personal interests

Space law, science fiction, writing (academic, fiction, and opinion pieces), cooking, boxing, Muay Thai, Krav Maga, powerlifting, yoga, and strategy games.

Pass It On

What would be your top piece of advice for current students and/or recent graduates?

Always have a back-up plan.

Is there anything that you know now that you wish you’d known when graduating? 

It's smarter to apply to take the New York Bar immediately after graduation than it is to come back to Singapore and do the bar course + training contract here. The NY Bar is easier, has fewer absurd/annoying stipulations, has no practice requirement, is somehow more easy to navigate, and is instantly recognisable everywhere on Earth, thereby making it the more efficient career move with far less tedium involved and a much higher payoff.

Related Links

Any published work?
Yuk Chi Chan et al., 'How Low Can You Go: Advocating Very Low Earth Orbit as the Next Frontier for Satellite Operations' (8th European Conference on Space Debris, Darmstadt, 2021). Yuk Chi Chan, 'Protecting the Million-Year Picnic: The Importance of Importing the Rule of Law to Mars' in Annette Froehlich (ed.), Assessing a Mars Agreement Including Human Settlements (Springer Nature 2021). Yuk Chi Chan, 'Who's Right About Rights? A Critique on the Universality of Human Rights' (Cogito Magazine, 12 May 2019)

Website or blog link?

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