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Hong Kong's young people shaping the city's future in face of COVID-19

China Daily | Updated: 2022-07-04 08:20
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July 1 this year marked the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the motherland. The momentous changes and megaprojects in and around the city have been well documented, but what of young people who were born in 1997, the year of its return?

Young people like hotel worker Loraine Chan. "I can enjoy the breathtaking view of Victoria Harbor every night from the hotel. It never fails to amaze me," Chan says.

Meeting guests from around the world is part of Chan's daily job. "Usually they will happily share with me their adventures, like places they visited or food they tried in Hong Kong," she explains.

To Chan, Hong Kong is a city that embraces different cultures. "Here you will see a fusion of traditions and modernity. I think Hong Kong is a vibrant and dynamic place," she says.

The city has time-honored stores, foreign cuisines and local delicacies, skyscrapers, beautiful mountains and myriad islands. Chan is always enthusiastic when introducing these local wonders to guests staying at her hotel, hoping to make their journey more pleasant and memorable.

"I feel proud every time guests praise Hong Kong or say they want to visit again," she adds with a smile.

In March this year, her hotel welcomed a team of medical staff from the mainland, who came to support Hong Kong's fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chan did not have a chance to meet them in person, but she was responsible for arranging their meals. Witnessing their selfless hard work, she felt the bond between her compatriots from Hong Kong and those from the mainland.

"I realized that I might have actually contributed to fighting the battle against the pandemic in my own way, when the mainland medical staff thanked me for my service," Chan says.

Eva Yu, who is also celebrating her 25th birthday this year, joined the Immigration Department of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government as an immigration officer in 2019. So far, her work has been mostly related to the fight against COVID-19.

Her initial experience in the first six months included serving the Assistance to Hong Kong Residents Unit and then time in the Contact Tracking Office. She was sent to work at the mobile cabin hospital for COVID-19 patients located in Tsing Yi in the early stage of the city's most recent, fifth wave, of the pandemic.

"It was almost midnight when I first arrived at the mobile cabin hospital, but a lot of my colleagues were still running around moving supplies and discussing how to make the hospital operation smoother," she recalls.

Yu said that she has never stopped learning from her colleagues and the everyday tasks she performs. The most valuable lesson she has learned, however, was to be compassionate.

"I tried to stand in the shoes of those staying at the mobile cabin hospital," Yu recalls. "I wish them warmth during their difficult time."

Apart from the daily routine of swiftly preparing rooms for occupants and updating case records, Yu and her colleagues did a little more, they paid visits to the patients in need, provided homework assistance to children, and arranged for sign language interpreters to assist those with hearing difficulties.

When the outbreak was at its peak, Yu was deeply moved watching people from all walks of life, including frontline medical staff, emergency services, volunteers and taxi drivers, all working together.

"I felt that Hong Kong people were like a family," Yu says, adding that this makes her even more proud of Hong Kong.

Yu believes that there are numerous opportunities awaiting the young people in Hong Kong. "I hope that people have the courage to chase their dreams, to not give up in the face of difficulties, to persevere and make the most of their potential."

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