Three Hong Kong girls have won a trip to Yunnan province thanks to a unique idea: exchanging happiness with the locals.
The competition asked participants to plan a journey to any region in China, and explain why it would be a worthwhile trip. The individual or group with the best idea would win a trip to the mainland.
The girls, Lau Shan-shan, Chan Po-yi and Lai Yuet-chi, blew the judges away with their grand idea - a tour to "exchange happiness."
To put their plan into action, they interviewed strangers in Hong Kong, asking them to write down their reasons for happiness on a big piece of paper and be photographed with it. "The most memorable reason to be happy, 'I am still alive', came from a philosophy student who feels blessed because he is able to study and do what he really likes," says Yuet-chi. "One girl wrote that love contributes to joy and happiness and drew an arrow to her boyfriend," says Po-yi.
For Shan-shan, the most touching reply was a mother's statement that swimming with her baby for the first time made her happy.
The judges, who were amazed by the girls' positive attitude, announced the winners last month. They were awarded HK$15,000 for their upcoming trip.
The trio will spend 10 days in Yunnan, starting from today. They plan to repeat the exercise there, and give them photos of smiling Hongkongers in return. By doing so, they hope to continually spread and share happiness, not just with friends and family, but with everyone.
The girls have always valued the idea of passing on happiness.
A few years ago, they joined "200 Smiles", a volunteer group, teaching children and vulnerable groups how to twist balloons.
"Happiness is simple and pure. It is not about technology, or related to anything materialistic. It is something that genuinely comes from your heart," said Shan-shan.
The competition was organised by the Asia Tourism Exchange Centre.
The girls' journey starts today, follow their blog!