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  • Dec 23, 2014
  • Updated: 5:22am
Spirit of Hong Kong
NewsHong Kong

Spirit of Hong Kong Awards winners embody spirit of the city

11 selfless individuals gain recognition for their efforts in helping to build a better Hong Kong

PUBLISHED : Monday, 25 November, 2013, 11:19pm
UPDATED : Monday, 02 December, 2013, 12:19pm

They are 11 ordinary people who lead extraordinary lives. People who achieve against all the odds and set an example for others.

Last night they were unveiled as the living embodiment of the spirit that makes Hong Kong a great city.

The Spirit of Hong Kong Awards - launched by the South China Morning Post as part of its Celebrating Hong Kong initiative - were the culmination of seven months of published stories about inspiring individuals.

Ten winners were selected by a nine-member judging panel chaired by Sir David Akers-Jones.

There was also a Hong Kong People's Choice Award, chosen by members of the public through an online vote. This went to Jill Robinson for her efforts to stop the bear-bile industry.

Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, who officiated at the awards ceremony, said she personally knew one of the winners - Willy Law Wai-cheung, an inspiration to people with physical disabilities - and was glad to see his work gaining recognition.

The winners were selected from a total of 30 unsung heroes who strive to build a better Hong Kong through activities ranging from giving free haircuts to hospital patients, to fixing crumbling schools in rural China.

Video: Watch the awards here 

"Our judging criteria aimed at bringing recognition to those unsung heroes who have been working hard to make our city a better place to live," said one of the judges, Professor Nelson Chow of the department of Social Work and Social Administration at the University of Hong Kong.

One winner was Kan Yiu-kwong, founder of the Grace Charity Foundation. It has funded the building of 1,100 schools and 250 clinics in Yunnan and Guizhou . "Philanthropy has always been one of the defining qualities of Hong Kong people without which our work would never be possible."

Another award winner, Tsang Tsz-kwan, who achieved top grades in her exam despite having to read Braille with her lips after losing her eyesight and sensitivity in her fingers in early childhood, said the Hong Kong spirit to her meant facing difficulties with optimism.

"What makes Hong Kong a great place is that we never leave those who need help behind while pursuing our own dreams."

The winners each received a trophy and HK$10,000. A total of HK$750,000 raised during the campaign will go to the St James' Settlement, the Society for Community Organisation and the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals.

Video: Spirit of Hong Kong Awards compilation



Chan Kit-ying, director of services at Mother's Choice

Elana Ho, a founder of Starfish Charitable Foundation, which offers free operations for mainland children with various ailments

Kan Yiu-kwong, founder of the Grace Charity Foundation which has built schools in rural China

Jenny Law Chun-heung, who has provided free monthly haircuts for 27 years to patients of Grantham Hospital

Willy Law Wai-cheung, a wheelchair-bound advocate of policies for the disabled

Lee Ming-sun, a survivor of the Lamma ferry disaster who saved two strangers

Pastor Lee Mo-fan, who has spent 50 years taking care of homeless elderly people

Jill Robinson, an activist against the trade in bear bile

Tsang Tsz-kwan, a blind student with no sensitivity in her fingertips who scored top grades in exams by reading Braille with her lips

Elsa Tse Ngar-yee, former drug addict who now rescues girls

Carmen Yau, a spinal muscular atrophy sufferer who counsels fellow "frozen people"



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This article is now closed to comments

We lead busy lives, constant pressures whether it be personal, family or work. Yet, when one does a small gesture of kindness (good deed) towards another, no matter how trivial, the afterthought of having done that something, has an immense feeling of gratification. After all, we are just a grain of sand on a beach and yes, should the grain of sand next to me do the same, then, the whole beach would gleam under every good deed done.
The other night, I was sitting at a roadside cafe watching the streets. An old lady carrying a trolley suitcase walked pass and decided to cross the road. There was this construction site and a huge truck was about to move in reverse. She was right there about five feet behind the moving truck. I was feeling rather tense about that, to tell you the truth. And then, a scruffy looking construction guy appeared out of nowhere, took the old lady by the arm, walked with her towards the front of the truck and both of them crossed the road together. I remember thinking, I was tremendously privileged to have been one of the few witnesses to that simple human exchange.
Now, the question is:
IF, neither the scruffy looking construction guy (nor I) decided to do anything, and let's assume that old lady got injured, would it make that guy or me guilty of some form of crime? Legally, of course not. Morally, maybe.
The truth of the matter is, no one on this planet can ever be "left behind" unless s/he decides to be "left behind".


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