Operation Santa Claus 2016

Have yourself a Merry Lamma Christmas

  • 2016-12-13

Treasure hunt, hiking and biking on the island for local charities by Angela Cheung, Emily Cheung and Richelia Yeung This is the 18th year for the community of Lamma Island and Operation Santa Claus collaboration to raise money for the local charities in Hong Kong. On December 4th, a bike race, a 10km marathon, a family scavenger hunt and a treasure hunt were held on the island. Robert Lockyer, the organiser of the events, said they hope to bring the community together for a good cause. He said there are around 300 to 400 participants this year. Most of them are from the island. "We have to spread out the events on the island," he said. "People even suggest additional events, so next year instead of a one-day event we will do two-days as we are hoping to do ten to twelve events next year." Mr Lockyer said it has been really busy to organise all the events, but fortunately, the members from the Lamma community are so supportive. "It's been a tradition that OSC is something Island Bar supported, so we took over that job as well," said Brad Tarr, owner of the bar, who took over it about six months ago. He said they tried to make as much money as they could by putting on bigger events this year. Mr Tarr hoped he could continue to support the campaign next year even if he could not make any profit. He also thanked those who had come to participate in the OSC events in Lamma Island this year as the events would not be here without them. "We do the event for OSC, not for us," Mr Tarr said, "If we can help a little bit these charities we will do it." Family Fun Island Scavenger Hunt The …

Unconditional love from Furry Doctors

  • 2016-12-08

by Isabella Lo and Choco Tang On November 8, three animal therapy dogs - Donna, Oscar and Sunday - made a visit to the Hong Chi Winifred Mary Cheung Morninghope School again to meet with their long-awaited friends. Dr Dog, an animal-assisted therapy programme by Animals Asia, aims to provide a friend for those with special needs, such as the elderly, the sick and the children with emotional weakness or disability. Ben Tsui Hiu-fung, a primary six student from the special needs school, could not hide his excitement when he hugged Donna again after a week in the room filled with laughter. Another student from the same year, Sunny Lo Siu-sun, patted the head of another furry friend, Sunday, when he was reading his storybook to the other patient dogs. The school's registered social worker, Esther Chan Choi-wan, said the dogs will not judge children by their appearance or illness. "They spread an unconditional love for our children regardless of their personalities, their disabilities and their age," said Ms Chan. The therapy programme, which has started to offer companion animals across Asia 25 years ago, has cooperated with this school to serve children with mild and moderate intellectual disability since 2005. Before meeting their loyal friends, the children have to complete a few goals at school.  "They are encouraged to attain some achievements, such as attending school on time, and be obedient during lessons," said Esther. Spending 15 to 20 minutes weekly with registered therapy dogs, children are encouraged to take care and interact with their ‘friends', and to build an intimate relationship with them. Marnie Yau Ma-yue, the programme manager of Dr Dog, said particular children are sorted out to spend more time with doctor dogs.  "Like any other interests, if the children show substantial love and caring for …

Nature Works nurtures future

  • 2016-11-26

Teenage nature enthusiasts put their innovative proposals into practice by Celia Lai & Cecilia Wong Held by The Nature Conservancy, Nature Works Hong Kong has come to the third year providing platforms for secondary students to plan "eco-friendly". This year eight student teams participated the program and came up with ideas, from food waste to shark rescue, in an attempt to protect the environment. The 11-month program, from March to December, put students into exposure of different environmental topics. The five-day training camp equipped students with knowledge and new skills through speakers and hands-on experiences. For instance, "minimum viable product", a concept about the smallest valuable thing one can contribute, was introduced to students to get hold a small control of the environment. Packed with fundamental knowledge, participants had to come up with ideas regarding four conservation themes: freshwater conservation, food sustainability, waste reduction and biodiversity and wildlife conservation, and later on realised them. "We chose the topic of eating sustainably because we eat every single day. It has an impact on the environment," said Rachelle Lui Ka-ching (16), one of the team members of Eco-roots. Eco-roots aimed to encourage sustainable eating habits among Hong Kong students. The five teammates had three goals: to improve access, increase awareness and inspire action. Building container gardens was one of their proposals. Eco-roots wanted to make sustainable food accessible to pupils by growing herbs and different types of veggies in the gardens in schools. "I hope I can educate the peers around me. They may change the way they eat and start thinking about the impact (of their eating habits) to the environment," said Rachelle. Participants had over nine weeks to refine their proposals under the guidance from volunteer professionals. These advisors fine-tuned students' presentations and gave them feedback on their planning process …

Silent Talk: The Voice to be Heard

  • 2016-11-24

A deaf pupil speaks about his struggles and needs in life by Henry Wong & Winnie Ngai His hands move to make signs. He talks silently. This calm and ambitious man had lost his hearing after a serious illness in infancy. Martin Wan, a deaf student recalled his growth journey as an unsound person in the society. "I daydreamt in class," Wan said. Life did not go smoothly in the beginning since sign language is not common in Hong Kong. Martin felt embarrassed and uncomfortable when his classmates forced him to talk by lips in secondary school. "I feel like being discriminated," he said. Loneliness and sadness came together as no one was willing to talk to him in class.   There are more than 155 thousand of hearing impaired people in Hong Kong, according to the figure of the Census and Statistics Department in 2015. However, the public often misread the deaf minority. "People thought they need to shout when they communicate with us, "Wan shook his head. He explained that hearing impaired people can understand the meaning by using hand-signs and reading lips. "It is no need to shout," he said. Apart from this, labelling of deaf people in the society saddens Wan. "They think hearing impairment is infectious," he said. Wan mentioned a teen who used a tissue to clean a pen after he led it to him. Deaf people are sensitive and they often get hurt by this kind of act. Willy Kwong, the head of Silence said that hearing impairment is a kind of invisible disability that cannot be noticed by appearances. "If you speak behind a deaf people, they don't know what you are talking about." He mentioned the misunderstanding and workplace discrimination are often caused since the public is not aware of it. …