Letters from leaders of Hong Kong's political parties and government departments.

    Letter To Hong Kong



    Politicians and public figures from a range of backgrounds take turns to have their say on important matters of the day in this personal view programme.

    Catch it live: Sunday 8:15am - 8:25am

    Podcast: Updated weekly and available after broadcast. 




    網上直播完畢稍後提供節目重溫。 Archive will be available after live webcast

    September commemorates Gynaecological Cancer Awareness Month – I am grateful to be here today to talk about an issue that is the driving force behind the Karen Leung Foundation, and the work I and the team does day in and day out since 2013. 
    The Karen Leung Foundation is the first and only registered Hong Kong charity that is solely dedicated to reducing the impact of gynaecological cancers. I’ve been at the helm of it for almost six years, and have witnessing the direct impact we were and are able to make within the local community, which is nothing short of life-changing. It is no secret that these last 20 month have been unprecedentedly difficult, yet even in a COVID world, we should always look for a silver linings. 
    As a collective, we learn to adapt, support and evolve. In relation to the Foundation, with health at the forefront of every ones’ minds right now, there is no better time to reflect and reshuffle ones health priorities. 
    An important question to ponder for all of us is: What is the most important thing in your life? This can be anything from your parents, siblings, children, job or even your pet. Whatever it is; imagine life without it, and vice versa. It may be a cliché, but for good reason; your health is the most important thing in this entire world for both your loved ones and yourself. 
    For women, gynaecological cancers are prevalent and if not detected early, deadly. There are five main types: cervical, ovarian, uterine, vaginal and vulvar. Globally, ovarian cancer ranks 5th in cancer deaths among women, accounting for more deaths than any other cancer in the female reproductive system with uterine ranking 6th in cancer deaths and cervical cancer ranking 7th. 
    In Hong Kong, a woman dies every other day of gynaecological cancer. In 2019, cervical cancer deaths accounted for over 2.6% of the local population. And the alarming thing about this is that up to 93% of cervical cancers are preventable through early detection and education. 
    So it really all starts with awareness, one of the Foundation’s core pillars alongside Prevention and Care & Support. Awareness is also key in reducing the social stigma associated with cancer and the “The ExtraOrdinary Exhibition”, one of our flagship programmes is aimed in doing just that. 
    The Exhibition really is a health awareness campaign, that’s aims to educate and impact peoples’ attitudes, perspectives and behaviors towards gynaecological cancers, yet through the transformative nature of the arts. 
    Due to both conservative culture and social stigma, many women in Hong Kong feel uncomfortable or ashamed to even talk about gynaecological health, let alone seek the resources they deserve. The overarching theme of the show is the celebration of the female body and last year’s Exhibition included 18 contributing artists, 40 artworks, and was shown across three physical locations in Hong Kong. 
    This year’s show’s sub theme is “the B.O.D.Y.s Language; well-being starts with understanding” and we are supported by over 20 artists working across various art genres. The Exhibit will travel across 4 locations this year and all art is for sale. Every piece sold will yield 50% percent of the proceeds in funding for KLF’s programmes to address the needs of Hong Kong women as well as to create more impactful programmes that last. 
    The ExtraOrdinary Exhibition kicked off this Week at the Eaton Hotel with a capsule collection, followed by the Hari Hotel with another capsule collection showing for three month, followed by Soho House and over at WomanBoss in SSP to wrap it all up. 
    Head to our website for details and to register. Don’t forget to follow us on the various social media channels for timely updates. 
     #ThePowerofPrevention #TheExtraOrdinaryExhibition #TheExtraOrdinaryMe   
    The song I'd like to deidcate to our listeners is "Let's talk about Sex" by Salt 'N ' Pepper. 


    04 - 09


    Katharina Reimer, Executive Director, Karen Leung Foundation
    網上直播完畢稍後提供節目重溫。 Archive will be available after live webcast


    Allan Zeman, chairman of the Lan Kwai Fong Group


    Mrs. Ayesha Macpherson Lau, Chairman of the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority


    Ricky CHU Man-kin, Chairperson of the Equal Opportunities Commission


     Dr Gabriel Choi, president of the Hong Kong Medical Association


    Executive Councillor Ronny Tong


    Professor Ho Lok-sang, Senior Research Fellow, Pan Sutong Shanghai-HK Economic Policy Research Institute, Lingnan University


    Albert Wong, Chief Executive Officer, Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation


    Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung


     Dr Eugene Chan, President of the Society of Hong Kong Professionals

    Professor Ho Lok-sang, Senior Research Fellow, Pan Sutong Shanghai-HK Economic Policy Research Institute, Lingnan University

    Dear Fellow Hongkongers:

    Former University of Hong Kong President Professor Wang Gungwu and his wife recently published a memoir, whose Chinese title literally means: “Home is when you find peace in your mind: Memoirs of Wang Gungwu.”   Indeed, if your mind is in peace, you feel at home anywhere.  If your mind is not in peace, anywhere you go, you will still not feel at home.


    I began to study happiness seriously since 2006, when I organized a conference on happiness at Lingnan University and reported results of my first happiness survey on Hong Kong people.  I had continued to conduct a yearly happiness survey on Hong Kong people since then.   I was curious to find Hong Kong people’s happiness so resilient after the 2008 Global Financial Tsunami.  Then I realized that one’s mindset matters to happiness at least as much as circumstances.   There is now considerable evidence supporting the thesis that mindset matters to happiness, and that mindset can be trained.   Thus, one can choose to be happy if one is given the chance.  


    Alas, not everyone has the chance.  Consider the case of the unfortunate five-year old girl who was brutally abused and died a premature death.   The father and the stepmother were convicted of murder.   The mother of the stepmother could have intervened, but she did not.  The kindergarten that had observed wounds on the child could have intervened, but it did not.   The poor girl was defenseless, and had to accept the fate that had befallen her.   She could not choose to be happy.   The father and the stepmother could have chosen to be happy, but instead, they chose to brutalize the girl and her brother, and earned a life sentence.    

    The puzzle is why some people choose to live an unhappy life.   One may say that they know no better.  One may also blame it on genes.  A recent study published in Nature, involving over 190 researchers in 140 research centers in 17 countries, has identified genetic variants associated with happiness and other traits.    

    However, we also know that genes do not have the final word on our happiness.  I have seen people succeed in transforming themselves.  Sometimes some transformative events take place.  People change the way they look at life.  They then live a totally different life.   They become happy.

    One study published in the Journal of Happiness Studies found strong evidence suggesting that volunteering enhances people’s happiness.   Even after controlling for the initial levels of well-being before the subjects began volunteering, those who volunteer more turned out to become happier than those who volunteer less.

    My own research shows that much unhappiness has to do with excessive preoccupation with oneself.   Choosing happiness must therefore involve learning to give up such preoccupation with oneself.   Aggrandizement, arrogance, jealousy, hate, prejudice, all will end up making one unhappy, and they all start from a strong ego.   As one sheds the sense of ego, one will gradually find peace.   A strong sense of the ego makes one feel insecure.  Peace will then evade them.   One reason why volunteering makes one happy is that volunteers gradually learn to shed the sense of ego and to connect to others.  


    In 2008 the UK Government Office for Science published a report called Mental Capital and Wellbeing.   It came up with ‘Five Ways to Wellbeing’, namely: 1. Connect; 2. Be active; 3. Take notice; 4. Keep learning; and 5. Give.   These are good suggestions, and they all involve making less distinction between oneself and others.   This is not easy, because for many of us, we have acquired a habit of being self-preoccupied, to the extent that we would defend our beliefs and attack other people’s beliefs, respond vehemently to criticisms, feel good when getting a lot of “likes” and upset when people pour insults on us.   A strong ego makes us excessively sensitive to real or imagined criticisms, and could turn us into a bully.   Sadly, these days more and more young people are addicted to social media.   Prof. Johan Bollen of Indiana University says there is a “growing body of evidence that social media may be harmful to users who 'overindulge' in these services since it's nearly impossible to escape negative comparisons to their friends' popularity and happiness."  

    Even among Scandinavian countries, which are generally rated among the happiest in the world, a 2018 report from the Nordic Council of Ministers and the Happiness Research Institute pointed out that among young people mental health is falling short.  “In Denmark, 18.3% of people aged 16 to 24 said they suffered from poor mental health - with the number rising to 23.8% for women in that age bracket”; “Norway saw a 40% increase of young people seeking help for mental health difficulties” over the five-year-period between 2012-2016.    

    A recent study by the Boys and Girls Clubs Association found Hong Kong children’s happiness having fallen to the lowest level in five years.   The 2020 Good Childhood Report from the UK also noted that average happiness with life among 10 to 15 year olds in the UK continues to decline and that 15 year olds in the UK are among the saddest and least satisfied with their lives in Europe.   This suggests that migrating to the UK is unlikely to make our children happier.   What we need to do is nurture a mind that can be at ease with ourselves.   Nurturing our own mental capital, more than anything else, should be a priority, for ourselves and for our children.


    Ho Lok Sang
    Prof. Lok Sang Ho
    Senior Research Fellow
    Pan Sutong Shanghai-HK Economic Policy Research Institute, Lingnan University
    Author of: Public Policy and the Public Interest; Psychology and Economics of Happiness;
    Health Policy and the Public Interest; Human Spirituality and Happiness


    25/04/2021 - 足本 Full (HKT 08:15 - 08:25)

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