Operation Santa Claus

Law firm injects fun into fundraising through lively annual staff quiz

Clifford Chance’s event this year to raise funds for Operation Santa Claus had a 1920s Jazz Age theme, with 60 staff taking part

PUBLISHED : Monday, 11 December, 2017, 12:07pm
UPDATED : Monday, 11 December, 2017, 10:40pm

At the sound of a whistle, the annual staff charity quiz at law firm Clifford Chance was under way. Alongside the fun and games, organisers had a creative method to add to the money already raised from entrance fees – participants also had to get more cash ready for “inspectors” Rocky Mui Ka-ho and Mark Chan.

Mui and Chan prowled the room, fining attendees for the slightest “offence” – drinking beer from a can, turning up late, having two mobile phones, even being too well behaved or denying any wrongdoing – with the amount to be paid based on staff seniority and decided by regional managing partner Geraint Hughes.

The firm has been running the event since 2010 to raise funds for Operation Santa Claus, the charity drive organised by the South China Morning Post and RTHK. Quiz participants pay HK$100 to compete.

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This year, 60 staff members split up into 10 teams to participate in the quiz, with Hughes, the quizmaster, also being fined for reading questions too slowly. Both inspectors were also fined – for “dereliction of duty” and for having “lame” whistles.

Chan quipped that being an inspector was “a very tough job because you’re fining colleagues and people you work with”.

“But it’s for a good cause and people are generally willing to fork out the cash,” he said.

“Both Rocky and I have to fork out cash ourselves but it’s all for charity and it’s fun because it’s not often we get together with colleagues from different departments, so I look forward to it every year.”

The quiz was held in a conference room decorated in 1920s Jazz Age style, and the theme was chosen to mark a century since the birth of Jazz greats Ella Fitzgerald and Dizzy Gillespie.

The two-hour event featured about 60 questions, with topics ranging from life in Hong Kong in the 1920s and music to alcohol prohibition and strange laws around the world.

An example of one question was this: In Samoa, is it illegal to: a) forget your husband’s birthday; b) forget your wife’s birthday; or c) forget your children’s birthday. The answer is “b”.

After a long battle, team Fab Five ended up with the highest score and won the quiz.

One of the winning team members, Bharna Lalchandani, said: “I think this is so much fun. It brings the whole office together … and for a good cause.”

Quizmaster Hughes noted that some of the questions were quite tricky this year.

“I think some of the questions this evening were very challenging indeed, so much that we had to hide the identities of the people setting the questions,” he said.

“The noise in the room this evening was tremendous and I just think it shows the enthusiasm that our colleagues right across our firm here have got for this fantastic cause.”

Hughes added that he enjoyed taking on the role of quizmaster.

“It’s a great opportunity to raise funds for some great causes within our local community,” he said. “It also reflects the culture we have within our firm that people don’t necessarily take themselves too seriously on evenings like this, and above all it was really about raising money.”

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Event organiser and business development manager Rebecca Roth-Biester said the quiz would definitely be held again next year.

“We first did it seven years ago and it went so well that everyone wanted it again and again and looks forward to it.

“So every year we have a different theme but we’ve always supported Operation Santa Claus,” she said.