Grewal’s family originates from Punjab, India.
Grewal spent most of his childhood in his ancestral village of Ballowal in Ludhiana District, Punjab. He attended primary school in the village, and when the family returned to Hong Kong in 1947, continued his schooling at Sir Ellis Kadoorie School and then King’s College. He is an avid field hockey fan, and in his younger days represented Hong Kong as a player at the international level, with the high points being the Asian Games in Djakarta (1962) and Bangkok (1966) and the Olympic Games in Tokyo (1964). He was an active member of the Royal Hong Kong Regiment (The Volunteers) from 1963 to 1984 when he retired with the rank of Major. He was appointed Honorary Colonel of the Regiment in 1987 and served in that capacity until 1990.
He attended primary school at the Sir Ellis Kadoorie School, Hong Kong, in the late 1940s. He then went to King’s College, Hong Kong for his secondary schooling before entering the University of Hong Kong in 1956. He graduated with a B.A. (Hons.) in English from there in 1959, and completed a Diploma in Education the following year. He then went on to England to study at the University of Cambridge for two years before returning to Hong Kong in 1962.
Career with the Hong Kong government
He initially taught at Queen’s College in Hong Kong, from 1962 to 1964. When the Government was recruiting Administrative Officers for the 1964 intake, he applied and was taken on. He served in various posts over the years, including that of District Officer Taipo (1970 – 1973), Deputy Director of Urban Services (New Territories) (1976 -1980), and Deputy Secretary for the Civil Service (1980 – 1984). He was appointed Commissioner of Customs and Excise in 1984, followed by his appointment as Secretary for Transport in 1986. He took on the portfolio of the Secretary for the Civil Service in early 1987 and held that position for just under three years. He retired as Secretary for the Civil Service in 1990.
He retired to Canada at the end of 1990.