Composer Peter Kam Pui-tat doesn't plan on attending the Beijing Olympics next month, yet he is already so closely associated with the Games that his part is recognised by millions of Hongongers: Kam is the creator of the Hong Kong version of the Olympic theme tune We are Ready. Kam, 46, has been in the limelight almost as much as his song over the past couple of months, having been awarded a Medal of Honour by the government on July 1 for his achievements as a composer. He was honoured for writing Just Because You Are Here, the official theme song to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the handover last year, as well as We Are Ready for the countdown to the Beijing Olympics. He also recently completed another theme song for the Hong Kong equestrian events, entitled Flying High & Dance Together. 'I didn't get paid much for writing songs for the government in comparison to what I would have got writing a song for a commercial,' he says. 'But it is an honour to be part of historic events such as the handover and the Olympics. Besides, if work is all about making money, it's not fun any more.' Kam says he knew nothing about equestrian sports when he was given the task of writing a song for the events, and that he had to watch hours of video from previous Games to familiarise himself with equestrian disciplines, which were first included in the Olympics in 1900. 'I watched a lot of footage of dressage, cross-country and freestyle - I can actually name all the categories now,' Kam says with a laugh. The equestrian theme song's lyrics were written by Kam's long-time friend Keith Chan Siu-kei and sung by Canto-pop singer Kelly Chen Wai-lam, and the song will be released in different versions from the opening day of the Olympic and Paralympic equestrian events next month. The song relates how the horse and its rider become one, accentuating the harmony of the sport and describing the jumps over obstacles. In the latter respect, it reflects Kam's early life as a composer. Kam describes himself a late starter kicking off his music career when he was 31. 'People here usually start at 19,' he says. 'I had never dreamed of winning any awards. What was more important to me then was to find a job that would put food on the table.' 'I was making just a few thousands dollars a month and I remember the days when I had to count every penny I spent and how to live on just HK$10 for each meal.' But Kam is a born optimist, and he says his Christian faith gave him additional strength. When a career in Christian pop music sputtered, he began to branch out into other areas, writing music for other singers and singing backing vocals until he finally found something that changed his life: writing scores for films. It was a winning move for Kam, and his trophies sit proudly on display in his office. Among them are four best original film score awards, presented at the Hong Kong Film Awards and one for best music from the Asia Pacific Film Awards. There's also a Silver Bear for best film music from the Berlin Film Festival for Edmond Pang Ho-cheung's Isabella in 2006. But for the composer, such acclaim is merely a perk of the job. 'If I can get up every morning knowing that I am still composing the music I love, I don't have to be rich - it's already my prize.'