Making a difference

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 November, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 November, 2003, 12:00am

Hong Kong may be more renowned for its spirit of enterprise than its spirit of generosity, but time and again its people have proved that when it comes to charitable giving, they're up there with the best. The South China Morning Post has long had a hand in helping them to give generously, organising many charity drives on behalf of children, the sick, the poor, and the elderly, and typhoon and flood victims. Readers have never failed to rise to the occasion, at times even pushing the newspaper into action by sending unsolicited donations in response to stories.

Not all donations have been in cash. Skipping ropes arrived at the Post's Wyndham Street offices when the paper ran the story in 1967 of a little girl who said on the eve of her departure to Australia for open-heart surgery that she wanted to skip when she returned.

More than 15,000 people queued up for blood tests (see picture, right) in the hopes of being able to donate bone marrow to a two-year-old Canadian-Chinese boy who came to Hong Kong in 1991 in search of a matching donor.

Bicycles turned up at the Prince of Wales Hospital in 1993, when a little boy, whose life hung in the balance for days after a bone marrow transplant, confided to a Post reporter that he had always wanted one.

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, hotels laid on food for Christmas parties organised by the newspaper for disabled children, and organisations donated treats for underprivileged children at Christmas and Lunar New Year.

Cash donations have also poured into the newspaper. An outstanding example was Project Shield, which raised $21 million in three weeks to help protect frontline staff working in hospitals during the Sars outbreak this year.

There have been other causes and appeals too numerous to document, but on the following pages are some highlights of the Post's attempts to give something back to the Hong Kong community - and of the ways in which that community has so generously responded.