There are Mother Teresas in HK, too, says Red Cross

PUBLISHED : Monday, 10 December, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 10 December, 2007, 12:00am

Anyone can have the heart of Mother Teresa, even in this city, is the message from the Red Cross, which has organised the first Hong Kong Humanity Award.

Hong Kong people have a sense of humanity, despite their reputation for being money-minded, greedy and uncaring, said the Red Cross as it held the awards ceremony yesterday to recognise professionals and volunteers who have shown their compassion and humanity to the vulnerable in society.

The six award recipients were Emily Chan Ying-yang, a professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong medical school; David Begbie, Life X-perience programme director under Crossroads International; Dennis Lam Shun-chiu, a professor; Oliver So Wai-sang, a registered nurse at Kwai Chung Hospital; doctor Chow Pak-chin; and To Chung, founder of the Chi Heng Foundation.

'It was wonderful to win an award,' said Mr To, who heads the foundation that helps Aids-affected children on the mainland. 'It's also a good opportunity for the foundation to raise more awareness about Aids and the orphans on the mainland.

'I agree with the organisers' goal of promoting humanitarian efforts in Hong Kong. A lot of people think that people in Hong Kong just think about money and are greedy, but many people dedicate time and volunteer to help society both here and in China.

'I think the awards also act as good example to children, that there are other ways of living other than making money. For us at the Chi Heng Foundation, the award, as public recognition, helps break down the stigma associated with Aids in China.'

Wilson Wong Mok-fai, deputy secretary general of the Hong Kong Red Cross, was tight-lipped ahead of the event about the prizewinners, but said they would come from the professional and volunteer sectors.

'Humanity is not an abstract, so we wanted to highlight some models within the community who have contributed to protecting human life, helping people in distress and respecting human dignity' he said. 'Some of the prizewinners were chosen through their medical or professional backgrounds who help the vulnerable here or outside Hong Kong.

'Some of the awardees work to correct discriminatory behaviour towards the more vulnerable, the voiceless in our society.'

Mr Wong said the Red Cross had taken photographs of Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi and Florence Nightingale and put them in Hong Kong settings to indicate there were also people like them here.

'Being the world's largest humanitarian organisation, we feel it is our responsibility to raise awareness about humanity.'