Operation Santa Claus

Dah Sing Bank staff help get kids hooked on books

Dah Sing Bank staff gather round for some storytelling to help primary schoolchildren understand the joy and importance of reading

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 15 January, 2014, 3:57am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 15 January, 2014, 3:57am

"I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!"

Miss Bingley's declaration in Jane Austen's classic Pride and Prejudice seems unlikely to resonate with today's children, who are immersed in all kinds of digital gadgets, but Harold Wong Tsu-hing believes all is not lost for literature.

And that is why Wong, chief executive of the Dah Sing Banking Group, one of the Operation Santa Claus donors, partnered this year with past beneficiary Kids4Kids to promote the habit of reading to pupils in a Tin Shui Wai school.

Giving money, he says, is not all that charity is about.

"Sometimes, social responsibility is fulfilled by donation," he said. "But more often, it is about the time and effort of employees, and community service, as supported by the corporation."

His staff travelled to Lok Sin Tong Leung Kau Kui Primary School on Saturday morning to learn from the partner group how to conduct "buddy reading", which had them mingling with the children as they read.

And while Miss Bingley's assertion - uttered to attract the attention of a man who was more interested in his book than in her - was less than sincere, there seemed no doubt the children enjoyed their session.

Some appeared shy, but others were motivated to read aloud from the colourful books.

"Normally, we are told to read the stories at home on our own," Primary Five pupil Emily Tang Wing-yiu, 10, said. "But this time, it's different. We can gather in a small circle to share the story with our classmates."

Her classmate, Daniel Fife Tsz-hin, said: "I can take the initiative to read the story. Usually, I just follow the teacher."

Volunteer Karen Tam Ka-yan, from the bank's wealth management department, said the children found the session more fun than their regular classes.

Wong believes the reading programme has served the children well, too.

"Our youngsters should understand that knowledge is mainly gained through reading, experience and learning," Wong said. "Forming the good habit of reading at an early age is important for Hong Kong's future."

Operation Santa Claus is an annual charity drive organised jointly by the South China Morning Post and RTHK.