SOTY 2019/20: Community Contributer winners hope to have a positive impact on Hong Kong

  • Winner Amy Tsai aims to become a social worker and bridge the generational gap and allow people of all ages to bond
  • First runner up Brian Ng believes in making a difference through entrepreneurship, while second runner up Tam Cho-yi wants to serve the underprivileged
Wong Tsui-kai |
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The Community Contributor Student of the Year awards winner, Amy Tsai Hiu-ching, is now 18. She recently graduated from Shau Kei Wan Government Secondary School. Photo: SCMP

More so than other categories, the Community Contributor of the Student of the Year awards asks what the winners have done compared to their peers and what kind of impact they have had, rather than what competitions they won.

The Student of the Year Awards competition is organised by South China Morning Post and Young Post and sponsored by The Hong Kong Jockey Club.

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This year’s judges were Cheung Leong, Executive Director, Charities and Community, from The Hong Kong Jockey Club, South China Morning Post’s Special Projects Editor, Cliff Buddle, and Chua Hoi-wai, who is the Chief Executive of The Hong Kong Council of Social Services. Like all sections in this year’s competition, interviews were done online because of the pandemic.

The judges quizzed candidates on their leadership skills, achievements and the challenges facing Hong Kong.

This year’s winner, Amy Tsai Hiu-ching, is now 18. She has graduated from Shau Kei Wan Government Secondary School and is reading social studies with the aim of becoming a professional social worker.

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“I hope I can help those around me,” she says. “As a community, Hong Kong is too cold and distant. I hope to play a role in making society a bit warmer.”

Amy believes this rift is caused by the fast pace of life in Hong Kong. “There’s also a bit of a generation gap which means people ignore what is happening to others around them,” she adds. “There needs to be a cross-generational platform for people of all ages to bond and share their opinions so we can understand the community and each other better.”

A regular volunteer, Amy has served with the Girl Guides and the Red Cross, as well as helped at her school, and volunteered at the Social Welfare Department.

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“I feel very honoured to be the winner in this category, as I can see my fellow candidates are all excellent,” Amy observed.

First runner-up Brian Ng Chun-yin, also 18, has graduated from Diocesan Boys’ School. He is currently studying philosophy and computer science at Dartmouth College in the United States, albeit online for now. He believes the best way he can keep on helping society is through entrepreneurship.

“I will be studying a double major and with those degrees I really hope to continue my work in terms of entrepreneurship and through entrepreneurship I hope to contribute to society, make an impact, and change the world in a positive way,” Brian said.

First runner-up Brian Ng Chun-yin believes Hong Kong needs to stick together to get through the pandemic. Photo: SCMP

But even Brian, who founded his own non-profit organisation “DiverCITY”, is at a loss for words when asked about what Hong Kong should be doing to support the community in the face of current challenges. “I don’t think there is a definitive answer,” he says. “But while this is a bit clichéd, I think we just need to stick together and play our own part and get through it together.”

All the winners of the SOTY 2019/20 awards

Meanwhile, second runner-up Tam Cho-yi is currently reading social work at Shue Yan College. He graduated from St Joseph’s Anglo-Chinese School, and is also 18. “The world is full of social problems, for example here in Hong Kong, we have the housing problem and a problem with low-income families on top of the series of political problems,” he says. “I hope to help, or rather to serve these underprivileged people and give them hope.

Community Contributor second runner-up Tam Cho-yi hopes to serve underprivileged people in Hong Kong. Photo: SCMP

“With all the problems we are facing, we might not have a fix right now for these complex issues, but I believe if we can find empathy and reason from other people’s perspectives, we can find a solution after peace is restored.”

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