25 April 2019
Volunteers in action: Ask not what Hong Kong can do for you, ask what you can do for Hong Kong. Photo: Reuters
Volunteers in action: Ask not what Hong Kong can do for you, ask what you can do for Hong Kong. Photo: Reuters

A heartwarming display of neighborly love in Tseung Kwan O

It took me awhile to figure out why I have been receiving so many messages in the aftermath of super typhoon Mangkhut.

Like many other Hongkongers, I diligently followed Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s advice to stay home for over 30 hours and managed to clear many of my pending tasks.

As I monitored the news on television, I learned that Tseung Kwan O, where I have been living over the past five years, was among the worst hit areas on Sunday.

Residents of three of the housing estates in the district – all from the same property developer but in different locations – had seen their windows shattered by the strong winds and rain; power in two of the estates had been cut off; and the promenade, where I enjoy taking a walk after dinner, had turned into something like a tsunami-devastated area.

I would not say that Tseung Kwan O was as badly hit as Heng Fa Chuen, whose proximity to the eastern side of Victoria Harbour made it quite vulnerable to storm surges. I have a special affinity for that area because I lived in a nearby district for nine years.

But Sunday’s experience was something I had never experienced before.

On Monday, a group of over 100 residents volunteered to clean up and pick up garbage along the Tseung Kwan O promenade. They did not know each other, but they were propelled by the same objective of wanting to restore our beloved promenade to its original state as soon as they could.

It’s unlikely that they were among those who had been caught up in Monday’s East Rail chaos, which was the subject of angry write-ups in most newspapers today, but they managed to tell us that while it may be good to point out what’s wrong around us, they would rather set things aright, they would rather act instead of complain.

According to a local newspaper, the volunteer action was initiated by a Chilean lady named Carola who arrived in Hong Kong just four months ago.

She told a reporter: “If you wait for the government, of course, they can do many things, but we can help too.”

She was delighted to see a hundred other residents joining her in her humble campaign.

“I am so proud of Hong Kong people,” she said.

Thank you, Carola.

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EJ Insight writer

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