One of the most exclusive clubs in the city kept its golf course out of bounds to its own members last Friday.
Only participants of the Bank of America Merrill Lynch's fund-raising effort, the Operation Santa Claus Charity Golf Day, were allowed to set foot on the fairways of the Clearwater Bay Golf and Country Club.
The unusual move had to do with the club's policy on contributing to society.
'The club really takes it on board as our duty to give back to the community,' Huen Wong, chairman of the club's finance committee, said. 'So every year this club sets a goal on donating a certain amount of money to charity. Supporting Operation Santa Claus through our co-operation with Bank of America Merrill Lynch is part of what we should do to fulfil our pledge.
'Though members are not allowed to use the golf course when we are hosting charitable activities, no one complains. Everyone agrees we have to serve the community. They are very supportive.'
The corporate sponsor of the event echoed the sentiment.
'The company has the responsibility to give something back to the community where we are operating,' said Joseph Lee, the bank's head of Asia-Pacific corporate access and tactical sales. 'Supporting charities such as Operation Santa Claus makes it easier for us to donate money.'
It was the third time the finance group had hosted the charity golf day for the OSC cause.
Operation Santa Claus is an annual fund-raising appeal organised by the South China Morning Post and RTHK. Since setting up in 1988, it has helped more than 100 charities. Money raised this year will go to 16 Hong Kong-based charities that provide timely assistance to the needy in Hong Kong and on the mainland.
Lee sits on the boards of several charities. The senior banker's heavy involvement with charities is related to the premature birth of his twins.
Living in Hong Kong, they had access to top-quality medical care from day one.
'We are very lucky because without the first-class medical care, they would not have survived,' he said.
The experience drew his attention to charities that focused on children's health and education and spurred him to help them.
Taking part in philanthropic activities was a good way to balance a stressful working life, Lee said.
'Charitable giving is a personal choice. People do it very differently. Some just want to write a cheque, while others want to get more involved,' he said. 'I find writing a cheque appealing, but it is even more satisfying if I am more involved with the charities, such as helping them to raise more money.
'Raising money is not easy. So a good way to channel energy is to find some good charities to support. It's a great way to mix social responsibility, life and work.'
How you can give
Donate online by credit card at osc.scmp.com
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.
Contact us via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org , telephone 2680 8159 or visit us online at osc.scmp.com