Speech by PSLW at Launching Ceremony of "I Can Fly" Programme

Following is the speech (English only) by the Permanent Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Paul Tang Kwok-wai, at the Launching Ceremony of the "I Can Fly" Programme of the Cathay Pacific today (December 1):

Dear Mr Tony Tyler, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my pleasure to be with you at the launching ceremony of the "I Can Fly" Programme.

All the young faces here beaming with smiles remind me that youth is the prime time of one's life, not only because young people have less wrinkles and gray hair, but also because they are relatively free of worries and less constrained by the realities of life. Youth is a time when you can think big and dare to fly high - both metaphorically and literally.

When I was very young, riding on a plane to overseas was a bit of a luxury for many, not to mention getting training. What a shame that we did not have great initiatives like Cathay Pacific's 'I Can Fly' Programme then. How exciting it would have been if I were given the opportunity to be trained on aircraft and related communication systems, like the young participants of the Programme today. How interesting it would have been if I could step foot in the aircraft engineering and cargo handling facilities as well as the Air Traffic Control Tower at the Airport. What makes me most envious of our young participants is that those with outstanding performance will be rewarded with overseas trips! And this is in addition to the invaluable mentorship provided by Cathay Pacific's pilots and staff leaders. What an eye-opening experience for our next generation!

Besides benefiting from the Programme, participants can also contribute to it. They will take part in Cathay Pacific's various community-support initiatives and will have the opportunity to help the needy, such as children with disabilities, underprivileged children and the elderly. The inclusion of this social element has made the Programme all the more remarkable and meaningful.

Cathay Pacific itself has of course set a standard in serving the community. Just last year, it won two awards from the Social Welfare Department for its contributions to volunteer service. One of them recognizes Cathay Pacific's outstanding achievements in mobilizing its customers to participate in volunteer work. And this is already the third consecutive year that Cathay Pacific has been given this "Highest Service Hour Award". By the way, I know that the Department is presenting the awards to Cathay Pacific today!

For many people who have dreamt of flying high, Cathay Pacific has made their dreams come true. In the business world, success is often measured by profits, but a company's impeccable image requires more than that, i.e. contribution to the community. The story of Cathay Pacific speaks clearly for itself. On behalf of the SAR Government, I would like to thank Cathay Pacific for its distinguished community work throughout the years.

And for all the young hearts who aspire to fly high, as I congratulate you on your admission to this Programme, may I also appeal to you to remember the needs of others who are less privileged. I hope you will find this Programme enriching and enjoyable, and through it, learn also to serve others and be a responsible member of the community.

Thank you.