Campaign giving back to Hong Kong elderly shows you’re never too old for a wedding shoot
- Heart-warming effort by the Lions Club of Hong Kong Morrison Hill helps 25 low-income elderly couples celebrate their love
So Kan, 86, is looking dapper in a black suit and red bow tie, while his wife Li Hok-chun, 82, sports a white bridal gown with a lace jacket. They have been married for 60 years, but the way they look into each other’s eyes and their fresh enthusiasm for the photo shoot make them seem like newly weds.
The couple’s stiffness relaxes as they grow more comfortable in front of the lens, guided by the photographer, who is helping them take wedding shots of their 60th anniversary.
“Taking wedding photos in western outfits is a special way to celebrate. We were very nervous and excited about it,” So says, glancing fondly at his glowing bride.
The two met in Beijing in 1957 and got married in 1959, but have never taken such photos as western-style weddings were not popular in their part of the world at the time.
“The wedding customs then were very plain and simple. We followed the traditional way of wearing the Zhongshan suit, and bowed to Heaven and Earth at the nuptials,” So recalls. The Zhongshan suit is traditional Chinese wear named after Sun Yat-sen, the founding father of modern China, who was fond of the attire.
“I feel so happy and blessed being able to wear a wedding dress and have photos taken with my husband. It makes me feel young again,” Li says with a bright smile.
The couple are participants in a campaign organised by the Lions Club of Hong Kong Morrison Hill, which provides wedding photography for some 25 low-income elderly couples who cannot afford professional shots at a studio.
“We are so happy to know that society cares about the elderly and there are activities like this for us. We really appreciate the opportunity to fulfil a dream,” Li says.
Matthew Fong Kwun-wai, an organiser from the club, says the purpose behind the project is to give underprivileged elderly couples a chance to capture precious moments with their loved ones so they can pass on such memories to future generations.
“We received overwhelmingly positive feedback for the campaign and we hope to run similar events every year,” he adds.
Li Sai-lung, a district councillor at Shek Yam, is a co-organiser, and says he invited elderly couples in the area to join as he feels it is a meaningful activity that can bring smiles to their faces.
“Many of the elderly live in Shek Yam. Four out of 10 residents here are elderly people. By taking wedding photos, I hope they can have something valuable to remember and treasure,” Li says.
Denice Wong Wai-shan from The Aisle, a co-working space for wedding businesses and another co-organiser of the campaign, says: “We wanted to do something for society and this is a chance to provide a great experience for the elderly.
“We arranged everything in a professional manner, including fitting bridal gowns, photographers and a proper studio. We hope they know that they can feel the love at any age.”
As for So, he says he cannot wait to “frame the photos on our walls and share our happiness with family and friends”.
Li says: “We hope to see more activities for the elderly to join.”
When asked about the secrets of keeping their long marriage alive and strong, So says: “Respect and tolerance is vital. We are family-oriented and care deeply for each other.
“When we have quarrels, we always still stick together through thick and thin because the bonds in our love hold us intact.”