STEEPED IN HISTORY
boy. He came to us at a very young age due to family circumstances. It breaks my heart, but at least he has joined our big family and can grow up with the Po Leung Kuk, which gives me some consolation. We have around 300 children in the same situation. They’re happy here and they tell me they don’t want to go home. It’s a testament to all the effort and care our staff and volunteers have put in. For me, watching them grow up healthy and happy is the best reward.”
Her own children are now integral cogs in this well-oiled philanthropic machine. “Their father has taught them since they were young that although they have grown up in prosperity, there are a lot of other people in society who need help. If you have the ability to help, you should pull your weight,” she says. Each year their children set aside time during their summer and winter breaks to raise money for the Po Leung Kuk.
In a 2008 interview with The Standard, Leong referred to Ho as a brilliant teacher. “He can shape an ordinary person into something extraordinary,” she told the newspaper. Perhaps the remark was selfreferential. Leong’s career trajectory changed dramatically after her serendipitous meeting. “He taught me the importance of a good heart and to be hard-working. You must devote your full efforts to what you do. Put your heart into your job. If you talk the talk but don’t walk the talk, it’s impossible,” she says. What has she taught Ho in return? “I think he values my positive energy. Our spirits match up together. Perhaps I relax him.”
In the end, success comes down to time—particularly the way in which one carves it up and compartmentalises it. “Time management is really important,” she stresses. “I have various duties as a chairman, as a mother. But I concentrate, always, on the present. I won’t think of this interview after I walk out—i will focus on the next thing.”
Within minutes, a car pulls up outside the entrance and, like a great gust of wind, Leong and her brigade whirl out of our midst and, indeed, on to the next thing.
LEONG IN THE OLD HALL OF THE PO LEUNG KUK, ESTABLISHED IN 1880 AS THE SOCIETY FOR THE PROTECTION OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN