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Hong Kong child who lost his mother at a young age and moved into a children's home becomes a star-crossed candidate.(On.cc)


Hong Kong child who lost his mother at a young age and moved into a children's home becomes a star-crossed candidate.

Cheung Kam To (left) is a self-starved candidate, and on the right is Miss Lam, who takes care of him. (Photo by Chan Kam Yin)

Circumstances can change life, but they can't control it. Zhang Jintao, 18, comes from a single-parent family. His mother, who had been his constant companion, passed away when he was nine years old, so he moved into a children's home and embarked on a journey of learning to be independent. When he lost his mother's protection, he chose to face life with strength and positivity; when his home was noisy, he woke up at 6 a.m. and travelled across districts to study; and when his English was not good enough, he kept on practising to improve his skills. His efforts were not in vain, and he went from being a Hong Kong boy who didn't even know how to put on his socks to a "star" candidate in this year's Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) examination. His message to young people is "Don't let the environment control your life, winning over the environment is the same as winning over yourself!


Kam Tao came from a single-parent family and was doted on by his mother. He described himself as a "Hong Kong boy" when he was small, even putting on his socks backwards, but when he was 9 years old, his mother suddenly died of an acute illness, leaving him without support, and he was devastated for a moment as if the sky had fallen. Fortunately, he was accompanied by a social worker and supported by his faith, which helped him regain his strength. Later, he was admitted to the International Social Service Children's Home in Hong Kong, where he has been living ever since.


Even in the face of drastic changes in circumstances, Kam To remained very motivated and disciplined, studying hard in the hope of changing his fate with knowledge. Unfortunately, fate did not let him go easily. This year's Diploma Examination coincided with the epidemic, making it even more difficult for him to prepare for the examination as a fresh candidate. Due to the school closure, all the children gathered at his home, making it difficult for him to study because of the noise and bustle at his home, so he woke up at 6am early and went to other less crowded and quieter homes to study for more than 10 hours a day. English was his weaker subject, so he continued to "work on his papers" to make up for his weakness.


As a result, he was awarded 5** in History and 5* in Chinese Language and Liberal Studies. As he is passionate about sports and was a member of the handball team, he was sponsored to participate in the 2017 Gold Coast Marathon 10km race in Australia in 2017, so he has decided to enrol in the Department of Physical Education of the Hong Kong Baptist University in the hope that he will become a coach in the future.


As a young adult, Kam To has reached the end of his residency at the Small Group Home and will soon need to move out of the home and into a short-term rental flat. As a big brother in the Small Group Home, he says to his juniors, "Don't let the environment control you, you should control your own life and win.


Kam To (left), a single parent, moved into a small group home after his mother passed away at the age of nine due to illness. (Courtesy of the interviewee)


After the school year ended, the home was crowded and noisy, making it difficult for him to study. Jin Tao woke up at 6 a.m. and went to other homes across the district to study. (Courtesy of the interviewee)