Chinese New Year is not the same this year!
In Hong Kong, it is customary to buy or home-make some festive cakes such as carrot cake, taro cake, sweet glutinous rice cake and various fried dumplings. During Chinese New Year, it is ubiquitous for family members, relatives and friends gathering together and eating these Chinese traditional food. However, to many children from the underprivileged families, these food considers luxury. This year, the Flying Young Committee of Order of Malta Hong Kong in collaboration with Caritas Community Center, organized a Chinese New Year Party for the underprivileged families who are receiving social services.
Before the Party kick-started, Mrs. Desiree Jebsen, Hospitaller of Order of Malta Hong Kong gave a brief presentation to introduce the background of the Order and its work in Hong Kong and the region. Followed by the presentation, the social workers of Caritas gave our volunteer some guidelines to help then to serve the underprivileged families and the children in an effective way.
The Chinese New Year Party begun with an ice-breaker game, musical chair. This might be a simple and everyone childhood game. However, it magically broke the barriers and mingled such a dynamic group – a combination of overseas and local volunteers; children and adults. The highlight of the day was cooking the traditional Chinese New Year delicacies. To all the volunteers, local or overseas, it was their first time to make “Tangyuan”, sticky rice balls in sweet soup. It was such a beautiful picture to see everyone worked seamlessly together to make those dessert. After the cooking, all members gathered around the table and enjoyed the festive Chinese food including fried carrot cakes, sweet cakes, fish balls, “Shaomai”-local dumplings and the sweet ball dessert.
While everyone was chatting in a harmonious and happy atmosphere, one of the volunteers, Elvis, disguised as the Chinese New Year figure – “Cai Shen” appeared in surprise and distributed the golden coins and chocolate candies to participants, representing good wishes to everyone.
One of the families says, “Since coming to Hong Kong from my hometown in China, I have not made or bought the Chinese New Year cakes because it is very expensive to buy the ingredients in Hong Kong. We felt very touched by the avid foreign volunteers who gave so much care and support to us.”
One of the volunteers also expressed after the event, “It seemed that we came here to serve and bless these families. In fact, after today, I was the one who received and being blessed. It was such a fun day for us.”
Everyone was having such a great time and enjoyed this unusual Chinese New Year.