A group of teens helping less privileged students to learn English have won the first youth prize at the annual Spirit of Hong Kong Awards, organised by the South China Morning Post to honour residents who make the city a better place to live.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor was a guest of honour at the ceremony where seven groups of winners were celebrated on Thursday.
“The spirit of youth award is presented to young people who have embraced their role as socially responsible citizens, or who have shown exceptional community commitment or courage,” Lam said.
Role models such as these and the “community spirit” they personify “have never been more needed”, Lam added, acknowledging the past few months had been particularly difficult for Hongkongers young and old.
“The reasons for this are complex and deeply rooted in our political, economic and social systems,” the chief executive said, reiterating her commitment to creating platforms for dialogue, the first of which she said would take place later in September.
(From left) Dr Cecilia Lam Shiu-ling, Alex Yu, Tang Kwong-po, Fung Heung-lan, Chief Executive Carrie Lam, Lo Shu-chun, Chan Kam-shing, Lee Ting-chung, Wong So-hing, Allen Yu Chi-shing at the SCMP Spirit of Hong Kong awards. Photo: May Tse
The city’s leader earlier met with some of the winners, including Allen Yu Chi-shing, part of a duo who founded a genetics company that used DNA sequencing technology to help patients with hereditary brain disease. His partner Aldrin Yim Kay-yuen was not present at the event. The pair took home the spirit of innovation award.Four individuals and three groups took home honours in seven different categories including the spirit of community, perseverance, culture, innovation and teamwork. A new award category, the spirit of youth award targeting young people, was added to this year’s list.
The recipients were chosen by a panel of 12 judges, while the Lion Rock People’s Choice Award was voted for by the public online.
“For the first time, the Spirit of Hong Kong Awards is honouring the youth of Hong Kong. We are with you through your hopes and anguish and the future is yours to make,” said Anna Wu Hung-yuk, who chaired the judging panel for a second time this year.
International school students Alex Yu, Cissy Lu, Dickson Yau, Francisca Lam and Sana Khullar, part of the Youth Leadership Team at Support! International Foundation were awarded with the spirit of youth award for designing an English course for their less privileged peers.
Their classes benefited more than 1,000 primary and secondary pupils last year. The group also organises community development events for pupils of all ages, where they meet and learn from inspiring business leaders.
Cecilia Lam Shiu-ling, the CEO of Rehabaid Society, took home the community award. Her group provides comprehensive community rehabilitation service for people with disabilities and special needs.
Lam joined the charity in 1984 and helped it develop from a technical aid resource centre into a specialised community service provider of rehabilitation and assistive technology.
Post CEO Gary Liu said more time should be spent celebrating those who had built the foundations of society upon which the city now stood and the Spirit of Hong Kong was one that “burns brightest in difficult times”.
“At tonight’s awards, we are celebrating individuals who do not live their lives for prestige or accolades, yet their actions are truly deserving of them,” Liu said.
The other winners were Stephen Chu Yiu-wai, a University of Hong Kong professor who wrote about the relationship between Cantonese songs and Hong Kong popular culture and Fung Heung Lan, who preserves local fish farming culture.
They bagged the spirit of culture and the Lion Rock people’s choice respectively.
The spirit of perseverance award went to Tang Kwong-po, who chaired the Hong Kong Federation of the Blind, while the spirit of teamwork award was given to the Super GoldenAge volunteer team, made up of 22 members aged over 70, who help feed seniors in Chai Wan.