Little dancer provides big lesson in how to conquer adversity

PUBLISHED : Monday, 28 August, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 28 August, 2006, 12:00am

Born with only seven fingers and short forearms Pun Ka-po started to study ballet at the age of three. She battled against the odds for seven years - and yesterday her performance won storms of applause.

The 10-year-old's hard work has been rewarded with a Children Improvement Award Scheme by the Boys' and Girls' Clubs Association. Set up to encourage children to fight obstacles and difficulties, the award was presented yesterday to 10 outstanding children among 164 candidates who have proved themselves in spite of adversity and inherited diseases.

Some were born with physical problems or suffered learning difficulties or autism. Others recently immigrated to Hong Kong and had a difficult time adjusting to their new environment.

'These 10 children each faced different adversities and they faced them bravely,' said Kam Siu-lam, a management committee member of the Boys' and Girls' Clubs Association.

'Their persistence and courage was so touching that we adults could learn from them.'

Ka-po said she used to think life was unfair when she was little. She had to endure stares and mocking from strangers.

Once a group of children blocked her way just to laugh at her. But the Year Five pupil said she was happy with who she was and did not give her handicap much thought.

'I used to feel very upset when other children laughed at me or stared at my arms, but not any more. I can write and do most chores myself,' she said.

Talking about her passion, she said: 'I love ballet. I think the movements are very beautiful. But I need a lot of practice.'

Ka-po practises ballet at least once a week and she has had to spend more time at it because it is difficult for her to balance and her short arms make some movements impossible.