THE MISS HONG KONG pageant has existed since 1973, but it wasn’t until 1980 that a group of former winners and finalists began to discuss using the title to do a little bit more. And so, in 1982, Loletta Chu founded the Wai Yin Club to help those less fortunate in various areas of life. A little over a decade later, the government certified the club as a charity, and the Wai Yin Association was formed. No specific goal was chosen – the thread that linked all the participants was an impulse to do good using the fame and access that had been given them with the Miss Hong Kong name. And in the ensuing decades, projects across Hong Kong and Asia have been touched by the Wai Yin helping hand.
Explains Mandy Cho, executive committee president for the 2012-2013 term, of the choice of its ambiguous mission statement: “Wai Yin’s charitable theme recommences each year with the direction of the executive committee. The advantage of this mechanism allows Wai Yin to reach out to different levels and areas of the community.” This year, as part of the 30th anniversary of the organisation, the slogan “Healthy life, beautiful mind” was chosen as a directive, which led to the support of health-related projects, and funding of teenage training facilities and chronic-illness patient rehabilitation centres.
“We would like to pay additional attention to teenagers as we believe that is the critical development stage for individuals…We hope the charitable projects and donations will create an impact on teenagers and encourage them to be more involved in building a positive lifestyle to care for themselves, their families and surroundings,” says Cho, whose role is varied but includes identifying donors, sponsors and beneficiaries as well as managing budgets and fostering teamwork.
Prior to Cho’s appointment, long-time Wai Yin advocate Angie Chiu held the presidential post. She joined the association in its founding year, and through Wai Yin forged many friendships.
“In 2010, I felt I was ready to devote more time and energy to the association, so I put myself forward as candidate for the office of president, to which I was elected,” says Chiu. Under her guidance, the organisation reached a sweeping number of goals, including the setting up scholarships and the support of anti-drug campaigns. She was in office when the tsunami hit Japan just over two years ago. “[We hold] various fund-raising campaigns depending on the year’s plans and initiatives, which usually includes our mid-autumn mooncake charity sales, charity walks, movie premieres, etc. Wai Yin also attentively responds to natural disasters by initiating special fund-raising campaigns,” she shares. And that is exactly what the association did in 2011.
On a more long-term front, Ellen Wong, who joined Wai Yin in 1986, acts as chairman of the board of trustees. “My role focuses more on planning and strategic development, which includes managing its endowment fund in the long run, and to ensure the compliance of rules and government policies.” It’s not a front-line role, but it’s an essential job. “[We have to] service the community by extending the duty of Miss Hong Kong,” she says. “To work together for the greater good of society” – even its less glamorous aspects.
That said, the association’s most glamorous event happens this month – the annual charity ball, themed Love the world, and will see many of Hong Kong’s most beautiful people dressed up and ready to celebrate in a good cause. “While it’s fun to see everyone beautifully dressed in various national costumes, it also reminds us at Wai Yin Association to better serve our community in today’s interconnected world,” says Cho.
PHOTOGRAPHY / PAUL TSANG AT UN WORKSHOP
STYLING / TASHA LING
MAKE-UP / ARTEMIS FUNG (ANGIE), KATHY CHOW (ELLEN), YVONNE TANG (MANDY)
HAIR / PATRICK SO (ELLEN, MANDY), RENEE IP FOR EVERAFTER CO LTD (ANGIE)
PHOTOGRAPHY ASSISTANTS / DANTE LUI, JACKY LUI
STYLING ASSISTANTS / KATHY LAM, JOSEPH ANSELL, LEONA CHEUNG
LOCATION / THE RITZ-CARLTON, HONG KONG