Spirit of Hong Kong Awards
The Spirit of Hong Kong Awards recognises unsung heroes whose contributions to society, personal achievements, and selfless acts are exemplary. Former Chief Secretary and Acting Governor of Hong Kong, Sir David Akers-Jones will lead the panel of judges, and the Award Ceremony takes place at the end of 2013.
To the future of Hong Kong: the evening's speeches in full
In their speeches at the launch of Celebrating Hong Kong last night, city luminaries hailed its spirit
Leung Chun-ying, Chief Executive of the HKSAR
[Dr] David [Pang] [chairman, SCMP Group], distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
I am delighted to join you tonight at the launch party for Celebrating Hong Kong.
I also congratulate the South China Morning Post on its milestone 110th anniversary. The SCMP has been a valuable member of the "Hong Kong family" since it was first published in 1903, upholding the values of our city and reflecting the mood of our community.
I am very pleased that the SCMP is sharing its anniversary celebrations with the entire community through this citywide campaign that honours the spirit of Hong Kong, our home.
Since the SCMP first hit the streets of Hong Kong up to the present day, our city has experienced a huge transition. It used to be a very transient place with people mostly passing through. They came from different cultures, different religions and different social strata. They brought with them their skills, values and experiences before, in many cases, moving on to new pastures sooner rather than later.
Those who stayed, settled down and raised families here, have shown extraordinary passion for the city's culture and lifestyle. This is why we stick by each other through good times and difficult periods, through economic ups and downs and through times of great change and times of stability. This unity is what makes Hong Kong a special place. This is what really makes Hong Kong our home. This is the spirit of the Hong Kong people.
Although we are a city of seven million individuals, each with different experiences, different needs and different qualities, we share the Hong Kong spirit because we believe our city has a great future.
While our community is more settled than it was for previous generations, our city remains in a state of rapid transition in just about every aspect of our lives.
I always encourage everyone to embrace the vision that "Hong Kong is our home". In the past, by saying "Hong Kong is our home", we referred to the millions of small families living in Hong Kong. Today, the same saying refers to one big family of seven million people, with our lives and destinies linked together.
This was not simply an election campaign slogan. It is vital that we enhance the sense of belonging in our community, regardless of our nationality, religion or ideals. That way we can harness the energy and %spirit of our people to overcome the challenges ahead and move forward together.
Our free and vocal media has a very important part to play in bringing people together. I do believe that we all have Hong Kong's best interests at heart.
Your "Celebrating Hong Kong" initiative is 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 many unsung heroes.
It also complements the Government's "Hong Kong: Our Home" Campaign, which we launched last month to inject positive energy into our community, foster social cohesion and promote a shared commitment towards this place we call home.
Together Hong Kong people can overcome any difficulties and achieve a very bright future.
I wish the Celebrating Hong Kong a great success and, once again, congratulate the SCMP on its 110th anniversary. This milestone could not have been achieved without your commitment to journalistic excellence and to the people of Hong Kong.
Thank you very much.
Benjamin Hung, Chief Executive Officer, Standard Chartered Bank, Hong Kong
The Honourable Chief Executive, Sir David, fellow ambassadors and supporters of Celebrating Hong Kong, ladies and gentlemen. First of all, I would like to thank South China Morning Post for inviting me to be an Ambassador and say a few words this evening.
When Mr Robin Hu, CEO of SCMP, reached out to me a few months ago and described this Celebrating Hong Kong initiative, I thought it was very meaningful. I agreed with him that more often than not, our arch nemesis tends to be no one but ourselves - our growing sense of self-deprecation has gone too far for our own good.
I recall back in January 2009, Hong Kong was in a difficult place. It was just three months after the financial crisis. The economy was tough, the mood was down, shops and restaurants were empty.
With our marathon going to take place within a month, I thought our bank can take a lead and help inject some positive spirit; leveraging on the fact there would be tens of thousands out running early in the morning, I rang up a few friends, some from chambers and others from retail or SME associations, to rally their support.
I told them the bank would be happy to initiate a "Cheer Up Hong Kong" campaign, where we would develop a common website and sponsor some advertising dollars. In return we needed retailers to come up with some promotions.
Within three weeks, we were able to gather more than 3,000 retail shops, each with their own unique promotions. Some offered discounts, others with special bundled offers. The most memorable one was from a small mom-and-pop egg tart shop. Their promotion was simple: any runner going into their shop and saying Hong Kong ka yau will get a free egg tart.
The campaign itself was a small deed. What impressed me was how quickly people from different sectors - chambers, associations, large and small retailers alike - joined forces together, dropping their differences and rallied to create a positive impact. I was touched by their unity. It reflected the true Hong Kong can-do spirit. It is therefore wonderful to see SCMP taking this lead and creating what is a great initiative.
Today, Hong Kong is in a different spot. Strategically we are very well-positioned, especially against a prospering Chinese hinterland. Other major financial centres including New York and London remain challenged. Our fiscal health is strong. Our financial industry is robust. There are rich opportunities ahead of us. They are ours to lose.
Being the oldest bank operating in Hong Kong, it is our role to play a part in supporting Hong Kong in whatever way we can. Which is why I am happy to be an ambassador for this Celebrating Hong Kong initiative. There are a number of areas we are exploring with the Post which I shall not elaborate here.
My simple and sincere hope is that between the people in this room, and their spheres of influence outside of this room, that we can collectively make an impact, and do our part for this city we call home.
Thank you and Hong Kong ka yau.
Kenny Lau, Celebrating Hong Kong Ambassador, aged 7
Good evening ladies and gentlemen,
I have the great honour to serve as the youngest ambassador of Celebrating Hong Kong.
I love Hong Kong because I was born in Hong Kong. Hong Kong is so colourful: dolphins in pink, Big Buddha in brown, beaches in gold, cha siu bao in white, and people in different colours.
I love Hong Kong because I enjoy the four seasons. It gives me so many inspirations. I draw Chinese New Year in spring, I draw the Bun Festival in summer, I draw lanterns in autumn and Santa Claus in winter.
I love painting very much. I am happy to express the beauty and culture of Hong Kong through my paintings. I want to introduce and promote Hong Kong to people all over the world.
If there will be more greenery in Hong Kong, I will add more green colours to perfect my paintings in the future.
Thank you very much.
Dr David Pang Ding-jung, SCMP Group Chairman
Honourable Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, ambassadors and supporters of Celebrating Hong Kong, ladies and gentlemen.
Thank you all for joining us tonight. It is my great honour to share with you some words on this occasion and specifically, the motivation behind Celebrating Hong Kong.
When you reach 110 years old, as the South China Morning Post does on November 6 this year, it's only normal to start reflecting on the past.
But if you are here tonight, chances are you share our desire to focus not just on our past, but also on our present, and our future.
You're here because you believe, as we do, that the future of Hong Kong should be, and shall be great. We have met and talked to many of you in this room, we are grateful for the tremendous support you've given us to push ahead with this initiative. Thank you for spurring us on.
The South China Morning Post was born in this 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.
So it's only fitting that in the 110th year of our journey, celebration is not of us, but of Hong Kong.
As a newspaper of record for Hong Kong, we know things that deviate from the status quo make for news. Usually no news is good news - scandals, disasters and such are more newsworthy, and it's rare to get a chance to focus on the positives, the stuff that makes Hong Kong great. It is perhaps timely to focus a measure of our energy on the positives around us in "Celebrating Hong Kong".
As part of this celebration, South China Morning Post will regularly feature stories that express our appreciation, and uncover good news stories for the year ahead. Over both online and in print, we'll be sharing with readers here and around the world, insights into what makes Hong Kong great.
And to take the spirit of positive thinking and celebration to the broadest audience, we're inviting you, our partners and ambassadors, to join hands with us to make an impact on people within our respective spheres of influence.
We have developed five initiatives for supporting Celebrating Hong Kong that need your support: the Ambassador Programme, the Charity Auction, the Partners Programme, the Redefining Hong Kong Debate Series and the Spirit of Hong Kong Awards.
The Ambassador Programme is already starting to build momentum. We have industry leaders, leading academics, and Hongkongers from different walks of life, to help us by helping to lend perspectives and leadership to the Celebrating Hong Kong message.
Tonight we will hear from our distinguished ambassador, Sir David Akers-Jones, former acting governor of Hong Kong, one of our business sector ambassadors, Benjamin Hung, CEO of Standard Chartered Bank, and our youngest ambassador, Kenny Lau, already an accomplished artist at the tender age of seven.
The second initiative is our Charity Auction. We will be engaging artists and designers both locally and internationally to donate pieces that encapsulate the spirit of Hong Kong to raise funds for the poor and the elderly over the course of the year, and Sotheby's - our sponsoring venue partner tonight - will host the auction in early 2014. Thank you Sotheby's.
Our third initiative is the Partners Programme. We invite partners to help us spread the word wider. We're proud and delighted to announce support from MTR, G2000, Lane Crawford, Agnes B, Chow Tai Fook, DHL, Standard Chartered Bank, Sotheby's, Jaeger Lecoultre, Hang Seng Bank, PwC, Cathay Pacific and Ecovision amongst a pipeline of many esteem institutions to help support Celebrating Hong Kong. In such good company, we shall make a difference.
In the pursuit of constructive discourse on helping Hong Kong's future, South China Morning Post will also host six debates called the Redefining Hong Kong Debate Series. These lunchtime debates will be co-hosted and co-curated by industry experts and Celebrating Hong Kong ambassadors, and will cover a range of topics most pertinent to our future, from improving our city's livability, to constructing greater competitiveness and opportunities for growth. I'd like to thank DHL for being our first official sponsor for the debate series.
And finally, the Spirit of Hong Kong Awards. These awards are designed to recognise the unsung heroes in our midst. Over the course of the next few months, through our Hong Kong Heartbeat editorial series, we'll be uncovering stories of amazing individuals for their exemplary acts of kindness, generosity, dedication, charity or personal achievements. Their testimonies epitomise the spirit of a great Hongkonger - tenacity, selflessness and industry. We are privileged that an esteemed panel of judges chaired by Sir David Akers-Jones will select and decide on winners towards the end of this year.
Ladies and gentlemen, once again, let me thank you for spending time with us this evening. Your presence and support mean a great deal to us. Let us join our hands and hearts together in Celebrating Hong Kong - our home, our city, our responsibility. Have a wonderful evening.
Sir David Akers-Jones, former Chief Secretary and Acting Governor
Honourable Leung Chun-ying, ambassadors and supporters of Celebrating Hong Kong, ladies and gentlemen.
Tonight, as we snatch a few minutes away from our daily lives, we have come together to celebrate the greatness of our city and especially to recognise some of those who, in all its diversity, have made this city great.
When you fly into our city on a clear day and look down on the green mountains, Lord Buddha with his hand raised in blessing, the buildings shining in the sunlight, the sea of islands: Hong Kong is a wonderful place. Do you feel, as I feel, home again? Glad to be back!
It was not always like this; gradually over the years I have watched the city grow into greatness. Surely, we have our problems, but tonight is a night to set aside our differences, our quarrels, and to team, and dream together, to reflect upon the things our culture and traditions, our hard work, have achieved and, while remembering these things, how we have done them, stiffen our resolve to face the challenge of those things still left to do and as part of the celebration to sing the song of the unsung heroes!
Tonight, too, we remember with gratitude our hosts, the South China Morning Post, known affectionately as SCMP. A name, "South China", which is redolent of our history, delivering the news daily on our doorstep throughout these long years and now shooting it off into cyberspace and changing its content as the years unfold, now with mainland and world news, commentary and criticism delivered without fear or favour and, where needed, a wry sense of humour!
So thank you SCMP for asking us tonight, on your 110th birthday, to join you in CELEBRATING HONG KONG!