It was a shivering night in late 1999 when the Hong Kong team arrived at a hospital in Nanjing. Several hundred parents and their children, all of whom suffered from cleft lips or palates, were waiting in the rain wrapped in cotton quilts. They looked to the doctors with eyes full of hope, full of anxiety.
“This scene is deeply pressed on my mind. I clearly remember it even today,” said Dr Peter Pang Chi-wang, a member of the Executive Committee and Board of Directors of Operation Smile China Medical Mission.
Dr Pang joined his mentor on a visit to a hospital in Nanjing while he was still a medical student. Since then, Dr Pang, a plastic surgeon, has become an active supporter for Operation Smile. He has volunteered to perform reconstructive surgery on patients with cleft lips or cleft palates in Cambodia, mainland China, Kenya and the Philippines, among others.
Children with cleft lips or cleft palates often find it hard to assimilate, Dr Pang said. They experience high levels of discrimination because of the way they look and the way they speak.
“I am happy I can use my professional skills to help people in need. Medical treatment, particularly plastic surgery, can produce an immediate effect,” he said.
However, he is aware that the impact of education can take much longer to reveal itself, maybe as long as 20 years.
“We need to sow the seeds today or there won’t be any harvest in 20 years’ time,” Dr Pang said.
This philosophy motivated Dr Pang to donate scholarships to CityU students after learning about CityU’s student development from Mr Or Sik-ling, a fellow member of the Rotary Club of Hong Kong, in 2013. Mr Or, Honorary Director of the CityU Foundation, has also donated to CityU.
Later on, Dr Pang became a principal member of the City University of Hong Kong Foundation and promoted the “Rotary • CityU Nurturing Future Generations” Donation Scheme co-organised by CityU and the Rotary Club.
He encourages Rotary Club members to support CityU’s development with offers of student scholarships and grants.
“The CityU students I have met are diligent in their studies. I hope our donations can help high-achieving students. A gift to youngsters is a gift to our future.”
Dr Pang encourages young people to work hard, acquire diverse knowledge, enhance their personal qualities and actively serve society.
Putting his beliefs into practice, Dr Pang not only works for Operation Smile and the Rotary Club, he is also helping to build a charity hospital and a medical centre on the mainland. Furthermore, the Happy Health Society, which he formed with Rotary Club members, holds seminars on physical and mental health for local citizens.
In recognition of his contributions to promoting the spirit of humanity, Dr Pang was given the Hong Kong Humanity Award from the Hong Kong Red Cross and RTHK in 2011.
Dr Peter Pang Chi-wang
- Director, Zonk Limited
- Director, Union Plastic and Aesthetic Centre
- Director, Union Hair Transplant Centre
- Director, Paragon Medical Centre (Plastic Surgery)
- District Governor 2015–16 of Rotary District 3450
- Vice-Chairman, New Territories General Chamber of Commerce
- Executive Committee Member, Operation Smile China Medical Mission
- Honorary President, Hong Kong Happy Charitable Foundation Ltd