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Operation Santa Claus

Little Santas deliver Christmas cheer early to elderly Hong Kong residents

Young and old exchange chit-chat and share balloon fun in charity event

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 30 November, 2017, 4:02pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 30 November, 2017, 7:34pm

Christmas arrived early for the elderly residents of Ho Chui District Community Centre for Senior Citizens in Tsz Wan Shan, as more than a dozen young Santas affiliated with the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals brightened up the day with fun and laughter.

The children brought holiday cheer to the event staged by developer Sino Group’s volunteer team, Sino Caring Friends, which also gave out Operation Santa Claus hats to boost the festive atmosphere.

Sino Group is a staunch supporter of Operation Santa Claus, the annual charity campaign jointly organised by the South China Morning Post and RTHK.

After a quick chit-chat for young and old to get more familiar with one another, the highlight of the day was a balloon twisting and decoration competition, with participants split into three teams.

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They had to twist a flower out of a balloon, then decorate a blown-up snowman.

Not everyone was getting the hang of it, and the sound of balloons popping picked up pace.

Balloon twisting was a first for most of the children and senior citizens taking part, including Chu Ng, 87, who failed several times but would not give up.

“I don’t know how to do it, but it’s fun,” she said, laughing. “We elderly people don’t ask for much. When we have a chance to have some fun, we go all out to enjoy it. We eat while we can still eat, and and we don’t think about anything more than that.”

Also joining the fun was Peter Chin Kai-tak, 75, who proved most enthusiastic in cheering on others.

“I’m very happy today,” he said. “It’s so nice to spend time with the young children. It makes me feel young too. I’ve turned into a kid myself.”

The elderly reveller said he had learned a lot from the children because many youngsters nowadays were “professionals” when it came to playing with gadgets and surfing the internet, compared with the old days.

One of Chin’s team partners, 10-year-old Leung Hing-wan, said she had learned a new skill in balloon twisting and was able to share a fun moment with the grandparent generation.

“I feel very lucky and happy to see so many elderly people having so much fun,” the girl said. “I hope they enjoyed the games as much as I did.”

A spokeswoman for Sino Caring Friends said the group hoped the fun and games would leave the elderly participants with happy memories.

“Our philosophy is that we can walk alongside the remaining journey of an elderly person’s life with care and companionship so they can remember having so much fun and joy.”

Alexander Ng Win-yew, executive assistant to Sino’s group chairman, was delighted to see the smiles all around him as he tried his hand at balloon twisting and helping the little ones.

“It’s always very nice to see people, especially the elderly, who may not get the chance to spend time with young children, having so much fun,” he said. “Even if it’s just a couple of hours, I think spending time together is worth it.”

Ng noted this was the 13th year that Sino Group had collaborated with Operation Santa Claus, adding that the charity campaign was meaningful.

“This is just a reminder that a lot of good things happen in the city and I’m very happy to have this collaboration with the Post to bring just a little bit of happiness to the city,” he said.

The day ended with more laughter and applause as all participants were declared winners and awarded Christmas prizes, followed by a free flow of drinks and food.