How yum cha experience can make a great starter for those interested in Hong Kong’s cultural scene – and help the needy
- Yum Cha Together, set up by Alan To and his wife, aims to connect the community with under-resourced charities and their beneficiaries
- The work has earned To a nomination for a Spirit of Hong Kong Awards
誠邀你及家人朋友一起投得閒去飲茶的Alan To https://spiritofhk.scmp.com/vote/#candidate_56
2020香港精神獎系列 – 杜國倫
Yum cha, literally meaning “drink tea”, is a dining experience. The treat, which involves the enjoyment of dim sum dishes, can also make a good starter for many interested in studying Hong Kong’s rich cultural scene.
Alan To Kwok-lun, who has organised dozens of events relating to local yum cha culture since 2014, said he believed a dim sum restaurant was one of the go-to places for people who wanted to know more about the community.
“[A dim sum meal] could be part of an in-depth exploration tour,” he said.
As a co-founder of Yum Cha Together, a social enterprise, To said his team wanted to put more work into cultural tourism.
He said it could be an effective way to preserve Hong Kong’s yum cha culture and ensure its stories are passed on by engaging with tourists and people from other parts of the world.
Yum Cha Together, set up by To and his wife, aims to connect the community with under-resourced charitable organisations and their beneficiaries through yum cha events.
It has launched an array of activities based on yum cha, a distinctive feature of Hongkongers’ lifestyle.
Their venture began after To’s wife, Carmen Lee, published a book, Yum Cha Together, in 2014.
The author told stories of yum cha taken from those in the industry, including her mother – a dim sum chef.
Feeling that they should continue to promote the spirit of love and persistence displayed in the chronicle, the couple, both long-time volunteers, decided to turn the publication into a movement.
Yum Cha Together, having transformed itself into a platform for hosting events, introduces participants from the corporate world and various sectors of the community to charities and helps them learn more about their charitable work, while also boosting participants’ understanding of the dim sum culture.
Alan To says he hopes more people can volunteer. Photo: K. Y. Cheng
Through the social enterprise, law firm Hogan Lovells took part in cycling tours led by rehabilitated drug users, and in dim sum toy sewing with the elderly.
“It’s a give and take process,” To said, noting that volunteers could often get inspired in these events.
The work has earned To a nomination for a
The annual awards, co-organised by the South China Morning Post and property developer Sino Group, celebrate the achievements of remarkable people whose endeavours may not otherwise come to public’s attention.
To, recommended by community project partner Eugene Low, is one of the nominees for the Spirit of Culture Award, which recognises individuals who inspire those to preserve Hong Kong’s legacy or celebrate its heritage and traditions.
The social enterprise received support from various organisations, such as CUHK Alumni Charity Foundation.
To said he hoped more people could volunteer.
“It doesn’t require any specific skills,” he said. “It can be as simple as joining a yum cha gathering among underprivileged families.”