Spirit of Hong Kong

Spirit of Hong Kong

Spirit of Hong Kong is a series that looks behind the scenes of one of Asia's largest and most vibrant cities by focusing on those whose contributions often go unnoticed yet are vital to the everyday success of Hong Kong. 

Principal with a vision to level pupils' playing field

No child left behind: former principal Chan Hung helps one of his pupils with his schoolwork in a McDonald's restaurant. Photo: Annemarie Evans

After years in the school system, one former principal is on a mission: to give every child in Hong Kong a shot at quality education.

Friday, 20 September, 2013, 4:17am 1 comment

Tireless champion of Tai O exudes passion for unique community

Wong Wai-king, founder of Tai O Culture Workshop. Photo: Edward Wong

Wong Wai-king’s face lights up; she leans back in her chair and looks into the distance. She’s talking about her childhood in Tai O in the 1960s.

19 Sep 2013 - 4:48pm

Feisty activist devoted to protecting Lantau’s wild buffalo

Ho Loy. Photo: Edward Wong

Ho Loy greets me, weighed down with a bag of pamphlets in one hand and two folded banners in the other. “Can you walk with me?” she asks, “we might get to see Billy”.

Not yet 10 metres down the path to Pui O beach, Ho Loy is already deeply involved in explaining why buffalo are such an important part of Lantau’s ecosystem.

3 Oct 2013 - 1:56pm 1 comment

Disability drove sportsman to encourage others to excel

Derek Ko Chi-kin canoeing. Photo: SCMP Pictures

Derek Ko Chi-kin is a busy man. His training academy runs a variety of team-building activities to enhance self-confidence, improve communication and encourage leadership skills. An avid sportsman, he practices cycling, canoeing, climbing, caving and mountaineering. He has an impressive list of sporting achievements to his name, and has won medals in several international competitions.

4 Oct 2013 - 2:32pm 1 comment

Street performer says Hong Kong becoming more appreciative of his craft

Street performer Andrew So Chun-chau, known as "Mr Funny". Photo: Nora Tam.

Mong Kok’s Sai Yeung Choi Street - in Andrew So Chun-chau’s ideal Hong Kong - would be transformed into an outdoor theatre. A destination for tourists and locals, who would come to enjoy a diverse range of street performances, and learn about a variety of art forms.

30 Sep 2013 - 12:33pm 1 comment

Young Hongkonger earns world-wide reputation campaigning for elephants

Celia Ho Yen-kei. Photo: Felix Wong

Celia Ho Yen-kei shakes my hand and immediately passes me her business card. At the age of 14, she is professional and savvy. It’s Saturday morning and she is already doing her second media interview for the day.

17 Sep 2013 - 1:17pm 3 comments

Hong Kong's chief imam celebrates city’s openness to multi-ethnic worshippers

Muhammad Arshad, Chief Imam of Hong Kong. Photo: Sam Tsang

Kowloon Mosque is quite a majestic structure at the end of Kowloon Park in Tsim Sha Tsui. The current mosque building has been there since 1984, but Hong Kong’s Muslim heritage stretches back more than 160 years. At the mosque, three sermons on a Friday cater to multi-ethnic worshippers.

17 Sep 2013 - 12:33pm

City is canvas for artist with a giant heart

Liang-kan has collaborated with victims of Alzheimer's, Vietnamese refugees and the children of migrant workers. Photo: Annemarie Evans

In her studio in Wong Chuk Hang, artist Evelyna Liang-kan has an interesting chair "cover" - it is of an elderly woman with big arms, so you can sit on her lap and wrap her arms around you.

2 Dec 2013 - 12:19pm

Disabled artist overcomes challenges to enjoy success with artwork

Artist Chan Tung-mui. Photo: Annemarie Evans

The brush is held deftly between her big toe and the next toe, as artist Chan Tung-mui dips it in water and chooses her next colour. She swings the brush across the palette, settles on the brown and then brings it back to her painting, to deftly create tree trunks and brunches. Soon green leaves are added to create foliage in the forest scene against a night sky.

2 Dec 2013 - 12:19pm

Street hawker makes it his mission to help homeless with mental illness

Danny, a homeless man, and Chau Shu-tak, right. Photo: Annemarie Evans

“Danny”, as he calls himself, lives on the streets of Jordan. He did have a room for a while, but now he has to take his pile of cases with all his belongings wherever he goes. They’re covered in tape and plastic to protect them from rainy weather. He’s happy to see hawker Chau Shu-tak and after our chat wants to have lunch with him.

23 Sep 2013 - 4:24pm

Septuagenarian runner proves he can go the distance

Portrait of 77 year old long distance runner John Lane. Photo: Jonathan Wong/ SCMP Pictures

At 77, he’s thinking about hanging up his training shoes – but considering he’s completed 115 marathons and 116 ultra-marathons it’s safe to say Briton John Lane has earned his spurs.

Retired quantity surveyor Lane has run many of the winding trails and paths of Hong Kong’s country parks, as well as running in the Himalayas and in a marathon in Shanghai.

15 Sep 2013 - 3:00pm

Family tragedy turned journalist into social entrepreneur

Doris Leung and a Diamond Cab. Photo: Thomas Yau

As a reporter and producer in a previous life, Doris Leung Shuk-yi enjoyed producing community television about issues affecting Hongkongers.

With a confident and vivacious personality, Leung enthusiastically recalls the community news she used to do for “Eye on Community” - an evening news programme which she presented for Cable TV.

14 Sep 2013 - 8:48pm

Veteran human rights campaigner - a champion of Hong Kong's ethnic minorities

Fermi Wong Wai-fun. Photo: SCMP Pictures

Like other newcomers to Hong Kong, Fermi Wong Wai-fun struggled when she first came to the city in 1981. Originally from Fujian province in the mainland, her family lived in a wooden shack at a Diamond Hill squatter settlement. Back then, there were no services for new arrivals. But there was plenty of discrimination towards mainlanders.

14 Sep 2013 - 3:06pm

Talented young ballerina dreams of teaching her craft in Hong Kong

Josephine Cheung Ching-nga. Photo: SCMP Pictures

She saw a picture of a ballerina, and wanted to be just like her. Josephine Cheung Ching-nga, 19, graduated from the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow this summer after three years training and is currently with a ballet company in Toronto.

15 Sep 2013 - 3:22pm 2 comments

Action hero not riding into the sunset

One hero in the show (above), where Ma Wing-shing is starring. Photo: Hong Kong Arts Centre

At the crowded opening of The Birth of a Hero exhibition, Ma Wing-shing, the local comic artist featured in the show, was mobbed by hundreds of guests - from government officials to industry veterans and press.

13 Sep 2013 - 6:00am