Bankers chip in for the needy on office fairway

PUBLISHED : Monday, 19 December, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 19 December, 2011, 12:00am

The miniature golf course looked like a creative parade of office supplies - empty cartons, packets of printing paper, file holders, stationery and other paraphernalia - on Friday afternoon at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

The event was the bank's Office Golf Day, a fund-raising event for Operation Santa Claus at Citibank Tower in Central.

This is the eighth year the bank has held the mini-golf contest at its office as a holiday-season fund-raiser for OSC, a charity appeal jointly organised by the South China Morning Post and RTHK.

Since its launch in 1988, Operation Santa Claus has supported more than 100 charities. Money raised this year will go to 16 Hong Kong-based charities that provide timely assistance to the needy in the city and on the mainland.

Ross Milward, the bank's head of technology in Hong Kong, said: 'Operation Santa Claus has always been one of the biggest charities for us. It is a worthwhile cause.

'Hong Kong is a super-busy city. I think it is important that as we are approaching the end of the year, we take this opportunity to take a step back, work together and make a big difference to a society.'

The technology department was responsible for putting together this year's mini-golf day, and the course it built from office supplies had bridges, lakes, a seashore and even a desert. Simple in construction, it was not designed to be easy.

The players came from various departments, including investment banking, trading, research analysis and information technology.

When golf days are held at a country club, Ross said, they are more formal affairs focused on connecting the bank with clients and partners. But the office golf day is a cross-company function that brings people together. 'It is an opportunity for people to see other departments,' he said.

Players' entry fees and sponsorships go directly to OSC. Participants can buy penalty vouchers to reduce their score, and those proceeds go to this year's beneficiaries.

Mickie Lin, the bank's technology manager, said the event was great fun. Lin and her teammates designed three holes, but she was also a player.

'When you are playing, you just want to get the lowest score. But when you are designing, you want to make it challenging,' she said.

'Getting involved in the design is trickier and more fun, because you work with different people and discuss with them how to make it work. We have to be creative, make it challenging, but we don't want to make people frustrated.'

The technology team also enjoys the process of getting sponsors. 'I go around and ask people for sponsorship. People are generous because it is for charity,' Lin said.

The bank's other annual fund-raiser, Operation Santa Claus Golf Day, was held at Clearwater Bay Golf and Country Club two weeks ago.

How you can give

Donate online by credit card at

Donations can be made at ATMs or at any branch of HSBC: account number 502-676299-001 for SCMP CHARITIES LTD-OPERATION SANTA CLAUS

You can make a donation by cheque, payable to 'SCMP CHARITIES LTD-OPERATION SANTA CLAUS' and mail to: Operation Santa Claus, Morning Post Centre, 22 Dai Fat Street, Tai Po Industrial Estate, New Territories, Hong Kong

Donations of HK$100 or more are tax-deductible. If you would like a tax receipt, please send the completed donation form and original bank receipt with your name, address and phone number to the address above.

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