Belinda Ng Tian-wing, South Island School
Belinda was nervous as she walked out of the interview room for the final judging. She thought she had “messed up” because she felt she did a poor job of answering one of the judges’ questions.
“I put a lot of pressure on myself,” the 17-year-old says. But the all-rounder won the Grand Prize at the Student of the Year awards – the “Oscars” for Hong Kong students.
“I’m really honoured, really happy, and really proud of what I’ve been able to do,” says the straight-A student, writer, community contributor, badminton player, dancer, scout and flute player.
Katie Yeung Sum-yee, Heep Yunn School
Katie is a skilled badminton player who captains her school team and has led them to victory in several inter-school competitions. She has represented Hong Kong at regional and international level.
The 17-year-old hopes everyone will know her for who she is. She says that well-known players Yip Pui-yin and Cheung Ngan-yi serve as good role models for her, but she wants to develop her own style.
“I’m keen not to stay in one place and be seen as another Pui-yin or Ngan-yi,” she says.
However, her ultimate dream is to win more resources for the sport.
“You need to show achievements in local and international tournaments if you ask for more support,” she says. “Angus Ng Ka-long is a good example. By winning many titles in world events, he has played a big role in maintaining badminton as an elite sport in the city.”
Katie says her parents’ support was important, too. She has a habit of using her phone too much, so she is “lucky” to have her parents to set some rules.
She has a tight schedule. Her next event is the Yonex Dutch Junior 2017 in Holland in March before this year’s HKDSE in April. Her goal is to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Shiu Cheuk-wing, Madam Lau Kam Lung Secondary School of M.F.B.M.
An enthusiastic and extremely active member of the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups (HKFYG) and the Girl Guides, Cheuk-wing is also very diligent in her school community service groups, and served as Deputy Head Prefect in Form Five.
The 18-year-old came from a poor family and her mother was diagnosed with a mental disorder, but her background deepened her understanding of the predicament of the needy. The HKFYG’s volunteering work provided a good platform for her to thrive.
“The award recognises what I’ve done for the community and boosts my confidence to help more people,” says Cheuk-wing. “My next plan is to go to Cambodia or China in the summer, to understand the situation of underprivileged people in these areas.”
Scientist and Mathematician
Jia Jimsyn, Diocesan Girls’ School
Jimsyn has taken part in international science, maths and technology challenges, and shares her experience and knowledge with her peers in her school’s maths, programming and computer clubs.
The 17-year-old loves maths as it’s closely related to everyday life. She has excellent calculation skills, which she displayed with a model insurance payment plan at the second annual International Mathematical Modelling Challenge last April.
“Competition is where you can apply your knowledge in real life,” says Jimsyn. “It shows that there is also no short cut to anything. Keep practising. To solve a mathematical problem, do it step by step.”
Best Devotion to School
Kate Chan Lok-san, 17, Diocesan Girls’ School
“You don’t ask for rewards for serving your school. Ask yourself what meaningful changes you have made and what more can be done.”
Noxx Lam Tsz-long, 16, Victoria Shanghai Academy
“I set up a campus TV station teaching junior students how to make films. As my school helped me develop my interest, nurturing younger students is a good way of showing my gratitude.”
Lau Suet-ying, 17, PLK Tang Yuk Tien College
“Being chairlady of my school’s student union enables me to make changes for the better at the school, especially when I can express the students’ voice.”
Buoy Hymn Ignacio Mario Hui, 16, The Harbour School
“My school is like my home, so I really want to give back to my school. This award will push me to move forward.”
Lotus Yu Ngar-yeuk, 17, Good Hope School
“You can start with something small. A gradual transformation can make a huge impact.”
Catherine Wang, Chinese International School
A junior reporter and frequent Young Post contributor, 17-year-old Catherine displays a special love for the written word. She has received awards for her poetry and features, and she heads the editorial board of her school’s bilingual magazine.
Catherine’s favourite aspect of the English language is that it helps her use her imagination.
“In the real world you’re constrained by physical limitations, but you can create anything with English,” she says. “You can make certain things with plastic, whereas with English you can create anything you want.”
At the school magazine, she started as a staff writer in Year 7. By Year 12, she became editor-in-chief. “Through writing, I have learned how to be more confident, especially in expressing myself,” she says.
Yue Hang-chi, Holy Family Canossian College
Hang-chi, 15, has found success in many Chinese language competitions. She spends a great deal of time helping others, and she loves Cantonese because it’s fun.
“A word can mean many things,” she says. “It depends on the context. When you combine one word with another, the meaning can be totally different. I’m captivated by how playful Cantonese is.”
However, it’s not easy to learn as it has nine tones. That makes it hard for immigrants or foreigners to integrate into Hong Kong society.
“To bridge the cultural and communication gaps, I’m volunteering as a Unicef Young Envoy,” she says. “This enables me to teach Cantonese to mainland immigrants and minorities in Tuen Mun.”
Hang-chi also places great emphasis on safeguarding Cantonese. She didn’t hesitate in discussing the controversial film Ten Years in her interview.
“One of its stories, called Dialect, talks about the falling status of Cantonese in the city. Alarm bells are ringing. It’s my responsibility to protect Cantonese.”
Angel Man Ka-yee, Heep Yunn School
Angel, 15, is an accomplished debater and keen creative writer. She has represented her school and city at a broad range of competitions.
Angel says she loves learning Putonghua even though she is not a native speaker. “My observations have helped me understand that Putonghua can be spoken differently in various areas. People in northern China pronounce some words with the tongue raised, whereas people in the south speak in plainer tones. The small but intriguing differences are so alluring,” she says.
Angel insists there shouldn’t be any rivalry between Cantonese and Putonghua. She says people in other countries mainly use Putonghua as a common language.
“If we look down on Putonghua, it will be harder to attract highly qualified overseas Chinese to come to Hong Kong. My hope is that Cantonese and Putonghua can exist in harmony.”
Sam Ng Chung-hei, Jockey Club Ti-I College
Sam’s work is often deeply personal, reflecting his own journey of self-exploration in a range of media, including video and painting. He has also done a lot to share his love of art with other young people in two roles: as art ambassador for the Arts Development Council and exhibition curator for his school.
The 18-year-old specialises in surrealism. He uses his art to explore social issues. One of his artworks, Utopia, shows two contrasting lifestyles. The black-and-white side suggests a gloomy life, but the other side uses different colours to depict joy.
“The ‘utopian’ side only exists in our dreams,” he explains. “The painting’s message is that we shouldn’t obsess too much over failure or sadness.”
Sam is now working hard to fulfil his aspiration to exhibit his work at Art Basel, one of the largest art fairs.
Chen Ming-pui, 19, Society of Boys’ Centres Hui Chung Sing Memorial School
“I fall, but I always manage to stand up again. Falling can push us to move forward.”
Mohamed Afser Sultan Basha, 19, PAOC Ka Chi Secondary School
“Even when we feel like we’ve done a good job, we still have a long way to go.”
Luk Chun, 19, Buddhist Wong Wan Tin College
“It’s never easy to change our lives for the better. We need to go through some difficult times before achieving what we want.”
Lau Lai-hin, 20, Buddhist Fat Ho Memorial College
“I hope the award can inspire my junior students to work harder, as my dream is to help them explore their talents and strengths.”
Kwok Hiu-ming, 16, Hong Kong Red Cross Princess Alexandra School
“I come from a special school, but that doesn’t define me. The award proves what I’ve worked hard at, in and outside school.”
Rachel Lam Chi-tung, St Paul’s Convent School, Secondary Section
Rachel is a skilled pianist and cellist who has found success in local and international competitions. She hopes to combine her talent with science as a music psychologist, and help teenagers beat stress with music.
Playing the cello lets Rachel see that everyone plays a role in society. “The conductor leads every person, including me as a cellist, to create a picture,” she says. “Every Hongkonger plays a role, and the city doesn’t work without us all.”
The 15-year-old says the piano vastly differs from other musical instruments as it can reflect society as a whole.
“To play the piano, you need to stress the balance between melody and harmony. But it’s always hard to make a good balance. This applies to life and society,” she says.
Rachel says musical instruments have empowered her, giving her the confidence to express herself and communicate with others. “Music is a common language and a superb communication tool. It’s also a powerful way for me to heal myself whenever I encounter setbacks.”
Her next plan is to teach piano in community centres.