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. 

Iconic hotel’s longest serving employee still on the job

Johnny Chung Kam-hung mixing drinks at the Peninsula Hotel back in 2004. Photo:  K Y Cheng

He’s the longest serving employee at the Peninsula Hotel, having worked at the former railway hotel for a mere 56 years. Johnny Chung Kam-hung began as a trainee bus boy at 14 and now at 70 he has no imminent plans for retirement.

Wednesday, 11 September, 2013, 2:27pm 6 comments

My mother, my friend and hero

Prakash Punjabi and his mother Indira who helps to feed him when he no longer has the energy to do so himself. Photo: Annemarie Evans

Prakash Punjabi clearly remembers being 10 years old. It's when he started vomiting and couldn't stop. He remembers the date he went to hospital, July 14, 1999, and the nightmare of the tests that followed with endless machinery and no doctor initially able to diagnose his mysterious symptoms.

9 Sep 2013 - 5:05am 4 comments

Fighting poverty and prejudice on behalf of migrants

Sze Lai-shan, who was born in Fujian, learned Cantonese from the television and felt isolated when she first arrived in Hong Kong in 1981 with her parents. Photo: May Tse

Sze Lai-shan came to Hong Kong as a child from the mainland, so she can empathise with the new immigrants with whom she works these days and the difficulties they face. Sadly, though, Sze reckons there is more prejudice nowadays than in her childhood.

6 Sep 2013 - 4:28am 3 comments

Yen steps into his next big starring role

Donnie Yen Ji-dan starring in the lead role in Ip Man, a biopic set in the 1930s about the eponymous Wing Chun master which helped popularise the traditional Chinese martial art. Photo: SCMP

For a man who hit the big five-0 in July, Donnie Yen Ji-dan is not about to put his feet up and take life any easier.

2 Sep 2013 - 9:29am 2 comments

Beating waste and putting food on plates for needy

Kevin Yeung, (second from right), executive director Gabrielle Kirstein (centre) and the Feeding Hong Kong team are happy helping the poor. Photo: Annemarie Evans

Hongkongers throw away a huge amount of food - while people go hungry - and it creates a huge amount of unnecessary waste. But investor Kevin Yeung Ka-wei saw this as an opportunity to make a dent in the poverty and hunger across the territory through philanthropy.

2 Sep 2013 - 4:39am 1 comment

Making time to help city’s unloved furry friends

Volunteer Lucy Wong does not understand how anyone can be cruel to an animal and started a foster scheme to help puppies like these two. Photo: Annemarie Evans

A large brown and black mongrel dog stands against the wall of his transparent enclosure and sniffs curiously through one of the holes as the volunteer wanders past.

7 Oct 2013 - 7:04pm 1 comment

Hero's instincts took over as world turned upside down

An invitation to watch the National Day fireworks saw Lee Ming-sun spring into action as the lives of his family and fellow passengers were put in jeopardy. Photo: Antony Dickson

It was National Day last year. And what was supposed to be a family outing with friends to see the fireworks display in Victoria Harbour became a nightmare for Lee Ming-sun as he tried to keep his family alive in one of Hong Kong's worst maritime disasters.

26 Aug 2013 - 5:50am 2 comments

Local trainer blitzes the field

Trainer Dennis Yip aims to top the field again this season, but this time he is a favoured bet for the championship. Photo: May Tse

Champion trainer Dennis Yip Chor-hong will have no shortage of support in the grandstands and around the paddocks for the coming horse racing season.

19 May 2015 - 5:25pm

Angel of Temple Street

Elsa Tse Ngar-yee says if she can make it, so can other addicts. Photo : Felix Wong

Elsa Tse Ngar-yee was a teenage heroin addict and dealer on Yau Ma Tei's Temple Street. Now, a couple of decades later, she is back. Only, this time it is to try to rescue the girls who have taken her place.

2 Dec 2013 - 12:19pm 5 comments

Octogenarian dancer brings cheer to elderly

Nora Ng has been visiting care homes to perform dances for their elderly residents for 21 years. Photo: Annemarie Evans

As 85-year-old Nora Ng Choy-che packs her suitcase, she is not preparing for an exotic vacation in the Bahamas or an island paradise. Instead, she is fetching all the costumes and props she needs for a day with her fans in the nursing home.

2 Dec 2013 - 12:19pm

Small miracles: How hundreds of babies left in a squalid orphanage found loving adoptive parents

Chan Kit-ying

They were notoriously called the "dying rooms" where mostly unwanted or orphaned baby girls were sent within state orphanages until the mid-1990s. These babies were a by-product of the mainland's one-child policy.

2 Dec 2013 - 12:19pm 2 comments

The Hong Kong boxing club working hand in glove with troubled teens

Operation Breakthrough's Liu Kwok-kuen meets former world heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson. Photo: SCMP

Everyone deserves a second chance, and no organisation in Hong Kong believes this more than Operation Breakthrough.

2 Dec 2013 - 12:19pm

Help us to celebrate this city's unsung heroes

Help us to celebrate this city's unsung heroes

As part of its Celebrating Hong Kong initiative, the South China Morning Post today launches The Spirit of Hong Kong Awards to celebrate such unsung heroes. Over the next two months we would like nominations from you, our readers. There will be 11 awards, the first 10 all judged on the same criteria by our panel of judges, chaired by former chief secretary Sir David Akers-Jones. The awards can be given to one individual or a deserving team of individuals. The 11th award recipient will be voted for by you and called the Sino Spirit Award.

2 Dec 2013 - 12:19pm

Sink or swim: donations save rising athlete

Aaron Zweig’s illness cost him his leg and nearly his life, but his determination not to be beaten by his loss has made him a first-rate swimmer and a medal winner. Photo: Dickson Lee

Showing courage in the face of adversity is an expression that's bandied about far too easily these days, but it's something Aaron Zweig knows all too well.

19 May 2015 - 5:28pm

How Lee family property play makes Causeway pay

Vivienne Poy, great-granddaughter of the man who started the Lee family's business, mainland émigré Lee Leung-yik. Photo: David Wong

Causeway Bay is better known for being home to some of the world's most expensive retail property than it is for being steeped in history. And it's a little known fact that the district was dominated by a single family for a good part of the past century: the Lees, widely regarded as one of the four most influential families of the colonial era.

19 May 2015 - 5:24pm 2 comments