Student of the Year Belinda Ng hopes to see more united society in Hong Kong

‘As a student, you should not just focus on your studies, you should also think about what you can do for the community and give back’

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 25 February, 2017, 8:51pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 25 February, 2017, 11:30pm

A more united society with a heart to serve and voices from different groups heard.

That was the picture of the city’s future, painted by the winners and guests at the 36th edition of the South China Morning Post Student of the Year Awards,

Grand prize winner Belinda Ng Tian-wing, 17, said at the ceremony yesterday that she envisioned a Hong Kong where a lot more people come together to tackle issues such as rising disparity between rich and poor – especially through social enterprise.

“As a student, you should not just focus on your studies, you should also think about what you can do for the community and give back,” Ng said.

Setting an example herself, ­Ng used money she won from a ­music scholarship to buy 300 ­recorders and took them to a ­primary school in rural Guangxi during a service trip.

Ng said seeing the students play the instrument for the first time was life changing.

She said she hoped that the next chief executive would be one who listens to all the voices of ­people in society.

The spirit of giving was also ­exemplified by the winner of the ­community contributor award, Cherish Shiu Cheuk-wing.

Coming from a less fortunate background Shiu, 18, did not have the chance to go to extracurricular activity groups or tuition classes.

That has motivated her to help people whenever possible.

She helps children from low-income or single-parent families with their schoolwork, as well as visiting the elderly who live alone or in subdivided flats.

During the ceremony, SCMP CEO Gary Liu shared an anecdote close to his heart.

At his alma mater, was a gate, which had ­an inscription on the outside that read, “Enter to grow in wisdom”.

While noting that motto was a “beautifully aspirational sentiment for education”, it was the words carved on the inside that made the gate more meaningful. Liu recalled walking out of the university after graduation and seeing “Depart to serve better thy country and ­mankind”.

He urged the students to think about how they can contribute to society and use their passion to make the world a better place.

Justice Secretary Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung agreed that a quality education is not just about knowledge and academic excellence, but also character building, integrity, intellectual honestly, a sense of justice and a positive attitude towards life and others.

Scarlette Leung of the Hong Kong Jockey Club and a judge for the awards, said she learned from students that serving the community was a “transformative” experience as small actions could make a positive difference.

The award was sponsored by the Jockey Club.