Leung Chun-ying

What makes Hong Kong great? SCMP campaign celebrates city's spirit

Major Post initiative to hail city's unsung heroes and highlight its history and culture for newspaper's 110th anniversary praised by chief executive

PUBLISHED : Friday, 31 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 02 December, 2013, 12:16pm

The South China Morning Post launched a campaign last night to celebrate the city's culture, history and ordinary people as the newspaper marks its 110th anniversary.

The campaign - Celebrating Hong Kong - includes awards to recognise the city's unsung heroes and will also feature debates and a charity auction.

SCMP Group chairman Dr David Pang Ding-jung said the aim of the campaign was to "focus a measure of our energy on the positives around us".

He said at the launch in Admiralty: "The South China Morning Post was born in the city 110 years ago. We've seen good and not so good times, sickness and health, war and peace, poverty and prosperity. Throughout it all, we have always loved our home, and have watched it grow from strength to strength, one day at a time."

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying described the Post' s initiative as "a great way to bring people together in the best interests of our city, to mine the best ideas, to envision the city's future and to recognise our unsung heroes." Former chief secretary David Akers-Jones will chair the judging panel for the Spirit of Hong Kong Awards. They will be based on stories in the Post's Heartbeat series about people in occupations not commonly known among Hongkongers.

He said the Post's name was redolent of the city's history.

And of the awards, he said: "We're looking for the unsung heroes - people that perhaps don't automatically come to mind but really, in their way, great or small, they made a contribution to Hong Kong."

Standard Chartered chief Benjamin Hung Pi-cheng, seven-year-old artist Kenny Lau Kin-gi and Olympic cyclist Sarah Lee Wai-sze are the campaign's ambassadors, along with other business and academic figures.

Lau said: "I love Hong Kong because I was born in Hong Kong. It is so colourful - the dolphins are pink, Big Buddha is brown, the beaches are golden, cha siu bao is white and the people come in all different colours."

The Post will also host a series of debates called Redefining Hong Kong. The lunchtime discussions will be co-hosted by industry experts and the campaign ambassadors and will cover a wide range of topics.

The charity auction, which will feature donations from artists and designers, will be held early next year. It will raise funds for the needy.

The Post's chief executive officer, Robin Hu, said the newspaper had played the role of a recorder, observer and interpreter in the past century. "As history evolves, we've always been there. We're there on the front line."

He said the Post would seize the opportunity to become a "global newspaper" in the digital world and amid the growing global focus on China.

He added: "We must offer first-class journalism, and that must remain our top priority."

Hu said the campaign was the newspaper's way of giving back to the city, after the newspaper was nurtured by Hong Kong.

Editor-in-Chief Wang Xiangwei said the Post hoped to feature stories about things Hongkongers appreciated, but perhaps took for granted.

"These things deserve to be recognised and reported on," Wang said.