Online Voting

The Spirit of Hong Kong Awards celebrates the achievements of truly remarkable people who might otherwise be off the radar. The People's Choice Award lets you decide with your vote which finalist best represent the soul and character of our fair city. Please vote the one you think deserves recognition today!

 

Voting Rules

  1. Online voting begins at Monday, 3 July 2017 00:00 and ends at Sunday, 30 July 2017 23:59.
  2. Each person is entitled to one vote only. Any additional votes will be deemed invalid.
  3. The People's Choice Award will be given to the finalist with the highest number of votes.
  4. Voters must provide their full name and e-mail address for authentication. All personal information, including name, e-mail address and computer IP address will be retained, used, and deleted.

Professor Robert S. Bauer
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Professor Robert S. Bauer

Professor Robert Bauer from the University of Hong Kong is writing a Cantonese-English dictionary. As someone who believes Cantonese will die out in a few generations, Prof Bauer is racing to record what he believes is a significant part of Hong Kong’s culture. He is keen on the dictionary being different from traditional ones, with daily lives as a reference point to include colloquial terms. Prof Bauer hopes his work will make Cantonese more accessible to English speakers, and will help stop the trend of a shift from Cantonese to Putonghua, especially in terms of educating the younger generation.

Read the full story on the South China Morning Post website here.

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Ivan Chan Hon-man
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Ivan Chan Hon-man

Every weekend, Ivan Chan Hon-man heads a team of volunteers to go into public housing estates to fix up homes for free. He founded Repair Fairy in 2015 with the mission to improve the homes of the less fortunate. The organisation now has a team of 1,000 volunteers who trains new recruits in basic refurbishment skills, assesses how much help people need with their homes, and to do the actual repairs. Chan hopes Repair Fairy can inspire more people to help those who need it the most, and calls to create a comfortable living environment for everyone who calls Hong Kong home.

Read his full story on the South China Morning Post website here.

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Rick Chan Kei-yip
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Rick Chan Kei-yip

Rick Chan Kei-yip spends all his free time diving to protect Hong Kong’s underwater past. He believes it is important to preserve the city’s heritage as a maritime trading hub by recording and collecting artefacts from the ocean bed. As the founder of the Hong Kong Underwater Heritage Group, Chan has discovered and lifted hundreds of historically important objects from the seas and turned them in to the government. The group is documenting its discoveries with scientific precision on its website, a first step towards building a complete marine map of Hong Kong. Chan hopes his work will encourage the government to put more effort and funding into underwater cultural preservation.

Read his full story on the South China Morning Post website here.

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David Cheung Wai-sun
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David Cheung Wai-sun

David Cheung Wai-sun battled severe depression as a child because of family violence and poverty. After five suicide attempts, he was put in the psychiatric ward in hospital. Doctors forced him to undergo an electroshock therapy to “cure” depression by inducing seizures that alter brain chemistry. However, it erased Cheung’s memory completely, making his brain a blank slate at age 15. No school would take him, so Cheung spent hours reading at bookstores everyday to educate himself. His persistence landed him a place at City University’s School of Creative Media, where he graduated with bachelor and master’s degrees. From there, he invented an electronic system preventing dementia patients from wandering away from home. Informed by his experience in the psychiatric ward, Cheung’s system is now being used in hundreds of elderly homes around Hong Kong.

Read his full story on the South China Morning Post website here.

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Chin Pui-chun
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Chin Pui-chun

Chin Pui-chun has been an emergency foster care mum for 14 years. She has given a loving home to 57 children, and she plans to keep taking them in as long as she is physically able. Her work is based on a simple philosophy: every child should have the opportunity to feel happy and relaxed. That is why Chin goes beyond what is required of her as a foster mum. Besides taking the children to school, feeding and bathing them, she also gives them experiences outside of her home. These include taking them to the park, museum or beach. Chin says this tiny bit of happiness is very important to children, and it gives them something to look forward to.

Read her full story on the South China Morning Post website here.

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Davis Dai Kim-ping
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Davis Dai Kim-ping

Davis Dai Kim-ping was 11 when he was hit by a lorry. The accident left his right leg severely injured, and he woke up in hospital to find his leg amputated. Doctors had overprescribed Dai antibiotics because of the amputation, which caused him to lose his sense of hearing entirely. When Dai left the hospital, he battled depression before deciding to learn to do sports despite being disabled. He trained in swimming and cycling, and made new friends along the way. Dai’s persistence paid back when he swam for Hong Kong in the Asian Paralympic Games. He has also won silver awards at the Asian Rowing Championships. The athlete has since represented Hong Kong three times in the World Rowing Championships as well.

Read his full story on the South China Morning Post website here.

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Elli Fu Nga-nei
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Elli Fu Nga-nei

Elli Fu Nga-nei is the founder of J Life Foundation, which provides redistribution of leftover food from hotels, bakeries and supermarkets to poor Hongkongers. She began the foundation in hopes of giving them a leg-up because she is adamant that even the poor can have a great life, despite starting out at disadvantaged position. The three centres Fu runs under the foundation also provide a place for children to do their homework under the guidance of university students. Fu’s work is inspired by her own background – she was brought up in an orphanage after being found rummaging in a rubbish bin for food as a young child.

Read her full story on the South China Morning Post website here.

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Lai Chi-wai
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Lai Chi-wai

Rock climber Lai Chi-wai thought he had lost everything when the world number eight was paralysed from the waist down in a traffic accident. The paraplegic vowed to climb again, so he trained for two years to scale Lion Rock with his wheelchair. Lai invented a rope and pulley system to get his wheelchair up the mountain with him. Last year, with a team of nearly 40 people backing him, Lai climbed Lion Rock in three hours. He now visits schools around Hong Kong to talk to students about bouncing back from adversity. The climber has also written a book about his life-changing experience.

Read his full story on the South China Morning Post website here.

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Lam Kam-shing
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Lam Kam-shing

Lam Kam-sing has been a welfare worker for more than four decades. He quit his successful job as a high-level executive in a Japanese forestry and wood supplies company to devote himself to doing what he loves most. In his 44 years at Caritas Community Centre Kowloon, Lam has helped drug addicts through rehabilitation and taught Vietnamese refugees English. He has also organised events like camping in the wild and theatre projects for underprivileged youth. Lam believes Hong Kong’s most challenging community problem is the integration of South Asians into local society, and works to help them become better understood and accepted by the majority of Hongkongers.

Read his full story on the South China Morning Post website here.

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Tim Lui Hin-wai
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Tim Lui Hin-wai

Entrepreneur Tim Lui Hin-wai is the co-founder of Heartisans, a tech startup that has built a smartwatch predicting heart attacks up to 10 minutes in advance. With his training in biomedical engineering, Lui invented the device specifically for heart disease and hypertension patients who are most likely to suffer from heart attacks. Users can check their blood pressure with the tap of a finger anytime, anywhere. Their data are monitored by a machine learning algorithm that tells them if they are developing coronary artery disease, one of the most common causes of heart attacks. Lui’s next goal is to work with doctors to analyse users’ data collected through the watch, and to provide them with timely medical advice.

Read his full story on the South China Morning Post website here.

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Small Ela Luk
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Small Ela Luk

Small Ela Luk was born with both male and female genitalia, but early on doctors classified her as male. Being unable to urinate like other boys, Luk underwent more than 20 failed operations in five years. As a teenager, she developed breasts and started to bleed when using the bathroom several days of every month. It was only in her 30s that doctors recommended she to undergo a surgery to remove her male genitalia because she suffered from a male hormonal condition that may cause cancer. Since then, Luk has founded Beyond Boundaries – Knowing and Concerns Intersex. The group is dedicated to campaigning for the medical industry to stop seeing intersex issues as diseases that can be “cured”. It advocates the right for intersex people to choose not to undergo invasive genital normalising surgery.

Read her full story on the South China Morning Post website here.

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Mak Kam-sang
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Mak Kam-sang

Calligrapher Mak Kam-sang is Hong Kong’s last writer of minibus signs. He has been in the business since 1978, when he first opened up his shop in Yau Ma Tei. In the age of computers today, Mak has embraced technology instead of fighting it. He uses Facebook to tell people about calligraphy workshops, and visits universities to teach students about the cultural importance of handwriting. Mak has no plans to retire even though he is now 60 years old. The calligrapher has expanded his business into souvenirs, in hopes of spreading the word about Hong Kong’s handwriting heritage.

Read his full story on the South China Morning Post website here.

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Professor Catherine So Wing-chee
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Professor Catherine So Wing-chee

Chinese University of Hong Kong Professor Catherine So Wing-chee has created a robot programme to help autistic children integrate into society. She hopes that by teaching them social skills, discrimination against those with autism can be overcome. With a background in cognitive and language development, Prof So programmed four robots to teach gestures, spontaneous hand or head movements produced with speech. Her programme has been proven to help autistic children with their delayed development of such non-verbal cues. This is because children with autism prefer toys which do not impose expectations on them, and are very predictable. Prof So has also partnered with numerous schools around Hong Kong to bring her programme to those who need it the most.

Read her full story on the South China Morning Post website here.

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Tam Kuen-fai
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Tam Kuen-fai

Elderly Hong Kong hairdresser Tam Kuen-fai believes in bringing happiness to those in need, one free haircut at a time. In 1993, when visiting his wife in hospital after she had a stroke, Tam noticed that patients had knots in their hair, so he decided to do what he did best. At one point in time, he cut 60 people’s hair a day. Tam says it is not easy work because unlike being a regular hairdresser, he had to wait for nurses to lift patients’ heads off the pillows and cut quickly. Now 81, Tam has stopped visiting hospitals, but still offers free haircuts to those around his housing estate and sometimes even to strangers on the street.

Read his full story on the South China Morning Post website here.

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Emily Tang
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Emily Tang

Industrial and product designer Emily Tang invented a toilet which helps Parkinson’s disease sufferers regain part of their independence. She created Libue, a toilet which eliminates the need for patients to turn around and bend down, so they do not have to ask family and friends to help. Tang designed Libue because using conventional toilets often cause injuries to Parkinson’s sufferers. Libue is adaptive, so family members without Parksinson’s can also use it by switching to a regular seat easily. Tang hopes her work can encourage other designers to create products that improve the health care industry, despite it being challenging for people like her without an engineering background.

Read her full story on the South China Morning Post website here.

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Edward Tse Kam-man
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Edward Tse Kam-man

As an art teacher at a local secondary school, Edward Tse Kam-man turned his back on conventional culture by pioneering a new way of running classes. Despite opposition from his peers, Tse got rid of homework because he says when students take work home, the parents do it instead. He also does not believe in grading artwork, as he believes art is not about right or wrong, but freedom of expression. Tse calls Hong Kong’s current art education system anti-education as it favours students who are good at repetition. He is a strong believer in giving students a safe environment in which to break boundaries and build confidence.

Read his full story on the South China Morning Post website here.

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Professor Woo Kam-tim
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Professor Woo Kam-tim

HKUST engineering education professor Woo Kam-tim is a strong believer of community contribution through unconventional means. He founded the Centre for Global & Community Engagement to encourage students across Hong Kong to use their skills to contribute to society outside the classroom. Among the centre’s projects is the annual Underwater Robot Competition, which brings together students from mainstream and special needs schools in an engineering workshop and contest. Prof Woo has also worked with student volunteers to build an app that allows people with language learning disabilities to do speech therapy at home. He says the point of the projects are to encourage a diverse group of students to work together, so they can better understand and help each other.

Read his full story on the South China Morning Post website here.

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Father John Wotherspoon
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Father John Wotherspoon

Father John Wotherspoon has been running an anti-drugs campaign since 2013. As a prison chaplain, he has been posting online letters written by convicted drug mules, asking their friends and family back home not to follow their footsteps. The letters have stopped about 150 drug traffickers from reaching Hong Kong, but Father Wotherspoon believes more can be done. That is why he has travelled around the world to lobby for authorities to take more action in the fight against drugs. Wotherspoon’s work has put him in danger, particularly with drug lords, but he continues to post their threats online because he wants to see people to stop from suffering. 

Read his full story on the South China Morning Post website here.

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