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Ever aiming at new heights : Mountain Walker – Wong Shan
Ever aiming at new heights : Mountain Walker – Wong Shan
Wong Shan
Wong Shan
Participant of "Program STAR – Senior Talent Acquisition & Retention"

Wong Shan, 65 years young and in great spirits and physical shape, shares his name with one of the tallest mountain ranges in China. While Wong's stature is surely not as imposing, his incredible experiences around the world, as well as his determination and courage in the face of the unknown, have made him a worthy example for many.

In his youth, Wong Shan travelled the world taking one "work holiday" after another. His impressive list of achievements includes escorting a Chinese mountaineering team up Mount Everest and also pioneering mountain rescue in Hong Kong. "In those days, mountain rescue was a foreign concept even to the disciplinary forces. With two other friends, we undertook mountain rescue missions and taught others how to do it. We received no pay; but in return for our help, police station canteens provided us with free meals."

Great Heights in Twilight Years – Re-employment for the Elderly

Originally intending to brush up on his career and life skills, Wong joined "Program STAR – Senior Talent Acquisition & Retention", a training programme under "The Hong Kong Jockey Club Community Project Grant: Elder-Friendly Employment Practice", two years ago. The practice is organised by The Hong Kong Society for the Aged (SAGE) and funded by The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust. He then came to realise that his personal experience might benefit fellow participants, and so decided to become a volunteer at SAGE. Through taking retired elderly participants on hikes, Wong hopes to reshape their mind-set, thus helping them to regain confidence and re-join the workforce.

Having traversed all manner of rugged terrain, Wong Shan believes that even the retired can re-join the workforce – all they need is confidence.

In elderly re-employment, employers are actually the least of the obstacles. "Many of the retired elderly used to hold important jobs, and they usually have a difficult time letting go of the ‘good old days'," Wong observed. "Like the Hang Seng Index, life has its ups and downs. But nothing gets achieved if you just sit there and do nothing."

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." For Wong, a willingness to take the first step is halfway to success.
With Wong Shan's encouragement, many participants have come out of retirement and ventured into new fields of work; some have even founded their own businesses and aim to scale new heights.

Taking a leaf out of Wong's book, many retired elderly people have started new chapters in life. One elderly lady, though having received little formal education, offers classes to teach others to make salted eggs so that they never have to get bad eggs again. Other participants have founded organic farm and aromatherapy businesses where they have rediscovered new strengths and renewed confidence. "You can get a lot of satisfaction from running your own business," Wong said. "For example, it's quite inexpensive to rent a stall at Tin Sau Bazaar, and then you have the freedom to do whatever you'd like to do for a living: maybe run a delivery van service. Even if there's not a lot of profit to be made, at least it's a place where your friends can get together for tea."

"Only through actions can you prove your true worth." Such is Wong's motto – and the story of his life.

Taking risks is all about perspective. Wong Shan knows the secret to interacting with monkeys and does not find them threatening at all.

"Program STAR – Senior Talent Acquisition & Retention " is a training programme under "The Hong Kong Jockey Club Community Project Grant : Elder-Friendly Employment Practice" which offers people aged 50 or above various types of talks and activities to facilitate those ready-to-be employed people with relevant skills to re-join the work force or participate in voluntary work.

The Hong Kong Jockey Club Community Project Grant: Elder-Friendly Employment Practice
Tel: 2386 7066
E-mail: efep@sage.org.hk
Website: www.e72.hk

Through the heartwarming stories, we salute remarkable individuals and inspire the community with their positive values.

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