Twenty-four nominees have been shortlisted for this year's Spirit of Hong Kong Awards organised by the South China Morning Post. The awards celebrate remarkable achievements in seven categories.
During the next three weeks, the Post will run stories about the nominees' endeavours - be they scientific inventions that benefit the community, triumphs over adversity, heritage conservation or decades working as community caregivers.
"Hong Kong has so many contributors to society from a variety of backgrounds," said Post editor-in-chief Wang Xiangwei. "In this year's Spirit of Hong Kong Awards we've asked eight non-governmental organisations to put forward their candidates to show that variety. We have, for example, young scientists who have Hong Kong's entrepreneurial spirit, for sure, but have created devices such as solar cookers and wildfire detection robots that serve the community and save lives.
"There are the doctors who tirelessly serve to improve the health of those in disaster areas or war zones; those who have triumphed over adversity despite combating debilitating diseases; and firms [that] have shown they are community givers. I look forward to reading their stories as we launch this year's awards."
An award will be presented in each of the seven categories, plus a people's choice award, in which readers can vote for their favourite nominee starting on September 15. Results will be announced in mid-October.
"The SCMP adds value to last year's Spirit of Hong Kong Awards by recognising seven categories of generous and selfless individuals who make a real difference in the lives of the needy," says Shelley Lee Lai-kuen, the former permanent secretary for home affairs, who is on the judges' panel. "I am delighted to be able to take part again in this positive project which promotes the core values of our community in an effective way."
The eight judges from last year's awards will serve again. Along with Wang and Lee, the judges are Daryl Ng Win-kong, executive director of Sino Group; author and explorer Rebecca Lee; Dr David Pang Ding-jung , chairman of the SCMP Group; Ronald Arculli, chairman of Hong Kong Arts Festival and former chairman of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing; Nelson Chow Wing-sun, professor in the Department of Social Work and Social Administration at the University of Hong Kong; and Ronald James Blake, former secretary for Works. Sir David Akers-Jones, former chief secretary, has agreed to be the patron of the awards, while Frederick Ma Si-hang , former secretary for commerce and economic development, will chair the panel of judges.
"Hong Kong is a place where we really don't have any resources per se," says Ma.
"We don't have oil and other minerals. All we have in Hong Kong is the spirit of work and giving to others. This combined with the spirit of harmony makes this a great place."
The seven categories are: personal contribution to community, overcoming personal challenges, self-sacrifice to achieve greater good, corporate citizenship, Lion Rock entrepreneur, heritage preservation and innovation for good.