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Hong Kong youth

Hong Kong pupil finds shadowing top official ‘quite fun’ but would have liked more time to talk

Form Four pupil Purl Cheung got her wish to spend a day with health secretary Sophia Chan

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 19 July, 2018, 7:32am
UPDATED : Thursday, 19 July, 2018, 7:32am

A “nice meal” and some “good chats”, but too little time to talk to the minister.

That was how a secondary school student described her day shadowing a top government official on Wednesday.

Form Four pupil Purl Cheung, 16, is one of 34 secondary students picked from 1,100 applicants to join a scheme called “Be a government official for a day”, in which they get a chance this summer to shadow a minister.

Cheung, whose interests include taekwondo and nutrition, got her wish to shadow Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan Siu-chee.

“It was quite fun. But there was only a little chance to chat with the minister, though I understand they are all busy,” the Jockey Club Ti-I College pupil said afterwards.

Cheung said she got more time to talk to Chan’s subordinates, who briefed her on the government’s structure and daily operations.

“I learned a lot, as in the past I could only go online and read about it,” she said.

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Her day began with attending a blood donation drive with Chan, followed by a tour of the Food and Health Bureau with another student.

They then sat down with Chan’s assistant in a cafe, as the minister had to attend a meeting which she was not allowed to join.

Lunch with Chan at a “high-class” Japanese restaurant in Admiralty impressed the student. Cheung also got to see the minister participate in a shoot for a video on Chinese medicine policy.

She then followed Chan to a cocktail reception at the book fair in the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, another impressive venue for Cheung, who said she rarely got a chance to go there.

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Her day ended with a brief chat with Chan, who discussed breast feeding in the city with her.

Another two pupils, meanwhile, shadowed Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, the city’s No 2 official, and joined him for a sharing session with youngsters at the book fair.

Cheung introduced the pair to the media, saying that one of them wanted to be a doctor. He said another two would shadow him next week.

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At the book fair session, Cheung told youngsters about his daily practice of waking up at 5.30am, reading 14 newspapers and doing exercises.

“I like kicking a football against a wall. Then I play as a goalkeeper [and catch it]. The workout volume is intense,” he said.