- Winners in 2018 -
Winners of Discovery-enriched Curriculum Award in 2018
Undergraduate Champion (Individual)
YEUNG Hiu-lam
Department of Applied Social Sciences
Mission Statement:
We believe and thus see. It is possible for us to overcome limitations.
The general public may misunderstand elderly people, and think they are just weak and need to be helped because of their limited physical functions. For example, the elderly in day care centres may be left to just play board games or watch TV. In fact, the elderly still have the ability to learn new things and to develop their potential. The process of playing a new sport allows the elderly to demonstrate their vitality and cultivates a positive attitude in them, which enables them to enjoy a more energetic and healthy life in their old age.

Project Details:
Elderly service users are often perceived as lacking the ability of self-care and as limited in many ways, and are regarded as an underprivileged group. However, a student social worker with a physical disability, who was placed in an elderly day care centre for her first fieldwork practicum, also perceived in herself a lack of ability. Her fieldwork inspired the student to try to turn her disability into an asset and to use her favourite sport – Boccia – to help her clients.

This project demonstrated that the elderly are not as weak as people think. They have the ability to learn new things and can develop their potential in sports despite physical limitations. This empowered them to see their strengths and the other side of themselves – the well side – that had been neglected or forgotten due to their preoccupation with their weaknesses. This project also transformed the student and gave her a new interpretation of her disability. In short, mutual recovery was achieved for the student worker and her clients.

In addition, the student’s project has inspired those in charge of the day care centre to apply for funding to hire her after she completes the practicum, to teach the elderly how to play Boccia and to enhance their quality of life.

Undergraduate Runner-up (Individual)
LEUNG Shuk Yan
Department of Public Policy
Difficulty of stay-at-home mum from low-income family
Mission Statement:
To realise women’s labour force and improve the weak position of women in the labour market
Stay-at-home mothers from low-income families experience difficulties that can last for many years, according to statistics and personal experiences. They face financial difficulties and the burden of many household chores. Insufficient child-care provision leads many women to take care of their families rather than earn money. Social enterprise can be of benefit here. MicroForests is an innovative solution in which micro-landscapes are designed to support mothers and create social impact.

Project Details:
This project focuses on the issue of stay-at-home mothers from low-income families. After conducting research and interviews, I found that these women suffer from stress in terms of their mental health and family relationships, because of insufficient money and poor living environments. Although they want to be breadwinners, they must prioritise their household chores. This causes them to give up their interests and to lose strength. I thus introduced different types of social enterprise to my interviewee. From these, she chose Microforests, which provides training in planting and designing micro-landscapes to low-income women. They can be designers or mentors in miniature gardening after the training. Through this project, I hope I can help ease the difficulties of stay-at-home mothers from low-income families, as their problems last for many years. Social enterprises in Hong Kong have provided job opportunities to these women, such as cooking, sewing and gardening. The women can choose based on their interests and strengths rather than their education levels. Through this decision process, they gain a sense of autonomy and achievement. They not only become breadwinners but also retain control of their destiny.

Undergraduate Champion (Group)
WONG Wing Pui Wilsy / CHAN Yin Po / SETHI Harshit / NG Wing Nam Jasmine / YUEN Ting Wei / CHAN Chin Nam Darian
Department of English
Petition for McDonald’s to stop distribution of plastic bags for single-drink purchases
Mission Statement:
A petition for McDonald’s to stop the distribution of plastic bags for single-drink purchases
The aim of this project was to change McDonald’s practice of plastic bag distribution and align it with current environmental policy. Plastic bags have been a huge challenge in terms of greener living, and the government has initiated a policy to reduce their use. We identified discrepancies between McDonald’s professed environmental commitment and its actual practices. We thus initiated an online petition lobbying for change, through which the company can save both financial costs and its environmental credentials.

Project Details:
McDonald’s environmental policy states that plastic bags will only be distributed on request, while its frontline practices suggest otherwise. We designed an approach to highlight this discrepancy. We conducted a series of research tasks in the beginning phase, including onsite observation, interviews with customers, a calculation of the scale of plastic bag use and online campaign establishment. After the publicity work, we set up an online petition. With the help of online campaign tools, such as infographics, posts and videos, which highlighted the problem and its underlying consequences, the message was widely spread among netizens. The project provoked media attention and became a force that drove the company to respond to the petition. In addition, the petition project sparked a heated debate among the public, and online discussion on McDonald’s policy and on plastic usage ensued. Subsequently, the project drew the attention of green advocacy groups and we were invited to share the project findings in a discussion forum with NGOs including Friends of the Earth, WWF, Nature Conservancy and others. McDonald’s changed its policy retrospectively earlier this year, only distributing plastic bags for takeaway drinks on request. The move certainly bolstered the company’s environmental image.

Undergraduate Runner-up (Group)
FUNG Pui / LI Hiu Yee / CHAN Suet Ying
Department of Chinese and History
Tung Wah Coffin House
Mission Statement:
To facilitate students’ reflection on the use and development of cultural heritage
As a grade one historic building, the Tung Wah Coffin Home is not open to the public and is not a commercial venture. Access is only granted by special appointment. The project team organised a guided tour and an expert was invited to discuss the history of the Home. The team also created a website to share the Coffin Home’s history and significance, and the dilemmas that have been faced. We hope to use the Coffin Home as a case study to encourage a deeper understanding of heritage development in Hong Kong.

Project Details:
The project “Tung Wah Coffin Home” made use of on-line and off-line platforms to introduce the history and significance of the Tung Wah Coffin Home, enabling students to rethink the relationship between heritage preservation and heritage development.

Tung Wah Coffin Home primarily served as storage of the remains and coffins of overseas Chinese, and to facilitate their return to their hometowns. Established over 100 years ago, the heritage site not only reflects Chinese funeral traditions but also provides valuable information on the history of immigration, as it helps to chart the development of Chinese migration networks.

Unlike other grade one historic buildings the Coffin Home has kept a very low profile. The heritage site is not open to the public for tourism, and visits are only granted by appointment or by joining the regularly organised guided tours.

The project team invited the Head of the Record and Heritage Office, Ms Stella See from the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals to give a brief talk and a guided tour of the Coffin Home to students. During the talk, she mentioned the contradiction between heritage development and preservation. To respect death and to ensure the dead have a peaceful place to rest, a low profile has been maintained and attracting tourists for economic gain has not been encouraged. As owner of the Coffin Home, the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals has not intended to upgrade the heritage status, thus avoiding government intervention and too much public attention.

By using the case as a sample, the project team hopes to reveal the complexity of heritage conservation. After the tour, we also established a webpage to feature the case. By examining the historical details, the significance and the controversy of Tung Wah Coffin Home on the website, we hope to further the understanding of the issues of debate concerning heritage conservation and development.

Postgraduate Champion (Group)
YIN Chuang / DUAN Zening / SHEN Anqi
Department of Media and Communication
Opinion mining of Sino-India Dokham Standoff Event
Mission Statement:
To analyse and visualise the evolving of international opinion in conflicts
The increasing contact between China and the rest of the world has led to international friction and conflicts. Third-party opinion plays a crucial role in the escalation or resolution of conflicts, but the current international opinion detection systems focus on the two sides in a conflict while neglecting the third parties involved. We developed an International Conflicted Opinion Mining and Detection System (ICOS), based on our rich experience in computational communication research. This can robustly support the task of data mining, analysing, forecasting and visualising the evolution of opinion.

Project Details:
The increasing political, economic and cultural contact between China and other countries has led to the emergence of international friction and frequent conflicts. Third-party opinion has proven to be crucial in the escalation or resolution of conflicts. However, the current international opinion detection systems focus on the two sides in a conflict but neglect the third parties involved. In our study we developed an International Conflicted Opinion Mining and Detection System (ICOS) based on our lab’s abundant international datasets and core technologies resulting from our rich experience in computational communication research. This can robustly support the task of data mining, analysing, forecasting and visualising the evolution of opinion. The ICOS system was applied to the context of the Sino-India Border Stand-off Event in 2017, and successfully detected the opinion changes in different stages of the event, thus assisting in the production of a comprehensive opinion report. The system and report won the First place Award and the Best Creation and Discovery Award of the China Computer Federation (CCF) on 24 December, 2017.