Magnificent seven: Hong Kong’s unsung heroes are an inspiration to us all

Former minister Frederick Ma leads tributes to the winners of Post’s annual awards that recognise people who make the city a better place

PUBLISHED : Friday, 30 September, 2016, 10:31pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 01 October, 2016, 12:19am

Five outstanding people and two corporations who have inspired others with their contributions to society won this year’s Spirit of Hong Kong Awards, organised by the South China Morning Post to honour the unsung heroes who make the city a better place.

“They made Hong Kong a community to be cherished, and a city to be proud of,” said Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, a guest at last night’s awards ceremony. “All of them deserve our recognition, gratitude and honourable thanks.”

Our community, in my humble opinion, is suffering from a ‘positivity deficit’
Frederick Ma Si-hang, chairman of the judges

The seven winners were nominated by 30 organisations. The judging panel was chaired by Professor Frederick Ma Si-hang, non-executive chairman of the MTR Corporation and former minister for commerce and economic development.

“Our community, in my humble opinion, is suffering from a ‘positivity deficit’,” Ma said. “This Spirit of Hong Kong Awards identifies and celebrates individuals who embody the spirit we wish to see in Hong Kong – one of optimism, tenacity, dedication and positivity.”

Among the winners was 92-year-old So Kam, a devoted volunteer worker for decades. She has difficulty walking but goes out into parks every day to engage lonely senior citizens in conversation. “I want to cheer people up as long as I can. It is not the end of the world if things go slightly wrong in your life. Everyone should look on the bright side,” she said.

Mui Thomas, a 23-year-old cyberbullying survivor and fighter, won two awards for her tenacity. She suffers from a rare skin condition that affects her ­appearance and almost led to her suicide because of cyberbullying.

She netted the Overcoming Personal Challenge Award and People’s Choice Award – picked as the winner by Post readers voting online.

Post CEO Robin Hu said the awards, now in their fourth year, shared the stories of the unsung heroes as a source of inspiration and celebrated the unyielding spirit that made it all possible.

“Each is a triumphant story and a labour of love. Collectively, they make for Hong Kong’s unique blend of chicken soup for the soul,” Hu said.

The other winners were: Jacky Ko Chung-kit, who hires people with disabilities and has formed a volunteer music team to entertain the underprivileged; Ike Park, 18, a project founder who campaigns for the use of recycled paper instead of virgin printing paper; and product designer Alan Lee Siu-lun, who has invented special wheelchairs for the disabled to navigate steps.

The group award went to accounting firm Navigator Consultancy, which gives ex-convicts a chance to join the workforce, and social enterprise Chu Kong Plan, which collects unwanted furniture and appliances to redistribute to the poor.

Hu thanked Sino Group for its unfaltering support for the awards over the past four years.