Creativity, high value system essential for young in community work, judges of Hong Kong Student Of The Year Awards say
- Former constitutional chief Raymond Tam and vice-chairman of youth policy advisory body expect much from this year’s crop of finalists
Young people in community services need creativity and a high value system beyond just passion for such work, according to a former Hong Kong minister and the vice-chairman of a youth policy advisory body.
Raymond Tam Chi-yuen, the city’s former constitutional and mainland affairs secretary, was commenting on a coming student awards event, of which he and Lau Ming-wai, vice-chairman of the Youth Development Commission, are judges.
Tam will pick winners for the Community Contributor category of the annual Student Of The Year Awards. According to him, a true winner is not determined by the number of service hours or variety of volunteer work done, but instead on the quality of services.
The awards event, into its 38th year, is organised by the South China Morning Post and sponsored by the Hong Kong Jockey Club, with support from the Education Bureau.
“By taking part in voluntary work, such as activities for the elderly, one can experience the difficulties senior citizens face, and how they overcome challenges,” Tam, who was appointed four months ago as corporate affairs executive director at the Jockey Club, said.
“One also gets to learn respect for others and the importance of an inclusive society. Most of all, the awards remind everyone ... we should give as well as receive.”
The event honours student excellence in nine categories, including academic subjects such as science and languages, as well as sports, visual and performing arts, and community service.
Tam said he was looking beyond just a commitment to volunteer work in this year’s finalists for the community service category.
“It is a given that students should be very passionate about volunteering and building a better community. They also need to have compelling reasons on their choice of community sector to serve and what they hope to gain from it.”
Tam added he expected a high level of service ability but also relevant personality traits, such as whether a candidate was emotionally and mentally suited for the work, and how well they coped with adversity.
“I will also be looking for students with a high spiritual quotient, who are able to demonstrate a good value system consistent with the future needs of Hong Kong and how this applies to serving the community,” he said.
Meanwhile, Lau, 38, offered some suggestions: “Try to be open to new ideas, learn proactively and participate more.”
He added that schools should not only be places for knowledge acquisition but also to empower students and help discover their interests and broaden their horizons.
“Do not only focus on results. Dare to make mistakes and enjoy the process of trial and error. Everything can be a source of creativity,” he added.
In a city where students are encouraged to excel in passing tests, Lau argued that true winners were those brave enough to chase their dreams amid the traditional learning environment.
“Hong Kong has emphasised model answers and students have been discouraged to ask questions to avoid appearing weak.
“While this may have made them lose interest in learning and exploring new ideas, I have seen some successful cases where youngsters pursue their own start-up ideas, execute smartly and persist,” he said.
The screening and interview process for candidates will take place from January till February. The awards ceremony is expected to be held on April 9 at the Kowloon Shangri-la Hotel.