The Student of the Year Awards may be entering their 38th year, but first-time judge Raymond Tam says he is on the hunt for fresh talent.
The executive director for corporate affairs at the Hong Kong Jockey Club will be overseeing the contest’s Community Contribution category, and is excited to be part of something that recognises students’ efforts to improve their city.
“The community contribution category shows us that engaging with the community can be a very positive experience,” Tam told Young Post. “By taking part in voluntary work, such as activities with the elderly, you can experience the difficulties they face and see how they overcome challenges. You also gain respect for others and learn the importance of an inclusive society.”
And, while Hong Kong may be known for its focus on exams, Tam believes young people should be encouraged to be creative, adding that innovation is key to making sure Hong Kong’s communities continue to thrive.
As a father, Tam has always taken a keen interest in the younger generation, from their values to how they express themselves.
“At home, I talk to my children,” he said. “I want to understand how they receive messages and express their feelings, as well as their thoughts, values, and approaches as global citizens.”
He explained that he doesn’t simply value academic performance, but tries to take into account how his children interact with others, deal with adversity, and distinguish right from wrong. As a Student of the Year judge, Tam said he would be looking for someone whose values are consistent with the future needs of Hong Kong and, and who can apply those values when serving the community.
His advice to anyone planning to get involved in community work is to first take some time to figure out what they really care about. In his view, voluntary work must be “personally meaningful”. While each person’s journey may be different, Tam encourages young people to share their journeys with others in the community.
“I believe everyone has the potential to become a community leader, if given the right opportunities and guidance to discover his or her talents,” Tam said. “Equally important, though, you can’t always wait for those opportunities to come to you – you have to be proactive in seeking them out.”
While agreeing that young people must choose their own paths, Tam also stressed the need for backing and sound advice to help them perform to the best of their abilities. He pointed to a number of programmes funded by the Hong Kong Jockey Club which provide opportunities for young people and offer practical support.
“Young people are the future of Hong Kong,” he said. “Therefore, the club’s Charities Trust, together with its partners, have launched a number of initiatives aimed at supporting and nurturing their development, helping them prepare for the future and contribute to the betterment of our society.”
The Student of the Year Awards competition is organised by South China Morning Post and Young Post and sponsored by the Hong Kong Jockey Club.
Edited by Charlotte Ames-Ettridge