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Hannah and Jasmine 640km of fortitude and endurance
Saturday, 18 February 2017 11:47

 

(Hong Kong, 19 February, 2017) Shantou University’s first rowing expedition team comprises of 20 students, 10 young men on board Hannah and 10 young women on boar Jasmine.  The rowers embarked on their amazing eight-day challenge on 11 February.  Starting off from Shantou, they rowed through strong currents and choppy wapassed the coastal cities of Puning, Lufeng, Shanwei, Huizhou and Shenzhen before enteVictoria Harbour on 18 February where Mr Li Ka-shing and fellow board members of Shantou University were waiting to welcome both teams to Hong Kong.
 

 

The rowing challenge sponsored by the Li Ka Shing Foundation was predominantly a training of physical and mental fortitude, learning ocean skills and the meaning of espritcorps.
 
The students made several breakthroughs:
1.  The challenge marked the first ocean rowing event in Asia.
2.  The two R45 ocean rowboats used by the team are customised for race and the first todebut in Asia.
3.  The challenge set a precedent for ocean rowing amongst universities in the world.
4.  A competition-based education programme.  The 20 members of the team were rigorously chosen from a pool of 260 candidates and trained for a year and their willpower, stamina, teamwork and determination were put to the test.
5.  It is also a fundraiser for environmental protection and onservation of sea turtles and mangroves.

hy choose the monikers “Hannah” and “Jasmine” for the rowboats?

he Hebrew language, the meaning of the name Hannah is favor and grace, while Jasmine signature flora in China connoting purity, abundance, dignity and persistence.  Hannahd Jasmine were chosen to symbolise Sino-Israeli ties blossoming through Shantou University and Guangdong Technion Institute of Technology.
What are Mr Li Ka-shing’s views on this project?
 

70 years ago, Mr Li and his family fled to Hong Kong from China after Japan invaded the country.  From Chaozhou the Li family travelled 1000 km on wood gas trucks before boarding a boat to Hong Kong.  At 11 years old then, he had never seen the ocean and its crashing waves before.   Time flies like the wind, today Mr Li is determined to inspire societal improvement through long-term education initiatives.  He sees education as the basis for the advancement of human civilisation and technology, as well as the welfare and prosperity of society.
 

He believes that education is the cornerstone of building a future for younger generations to become mission-driven thrivers, creative, caring, intellectual engaged industrious leaders of the society. 
 

Besides his favourite sport golf, it is little known that Mr Li also loves the ocean and enjoy rowing.

 

Planning the journey
 

This challenge event was planned and the ocean rowing team trained by Guinness world record for fastest solo transatlantic rowing, Charlie Pitcher, and his professional coaching team.  The team went through a rigorous selection process and training.  The shear amount of physical labour that is required to row requires a strong physique and stamina, the students also needed to master swimming, rowing, navigation, seafaring and first aid to complete the challenge. Ocean rowing can also benefit personal growth in that it fosters rowers’ organisation, communications and leadership skills.

 

Mr Li Ka-shing’s speech at the STU Ocean Rowing Team Welcoming Ceremony:
 

Good morning to all our distinguished guests and friends ,and my warmest welcome to Team Hannah and Team Jasmine, faculties and students on board Yan Ping. 
 

For the past week, I have followed with  intense interest your 640 Km relay via the satellite tracker, the stories you shared on the message chat was awesome and inspiring. 
 

During the war, my family and I took a more meandering escape route. We travelled 1000Km on wood gas trucks before boarding a boat to Hong Kong.  At 11 years old then, I had never seen the ocean and its crashing waves before, and had absolutely no idea whether we could reach our destination. 

 

Times have changed for the better now, openness and reform policies  encouraged deep  re-imaginations;  today, fortitude and endurance to embrace the momentum of disruptive innovation is a “must” to navigate the future. 
 

In this changing world, I am committed to inspire societal  improvement through long-term education initiatives and it is my hope that Shantou University and Guangdong Technion Institute of Technology,  through their pursuit of education and excellence will foster our younger generations to become mission-driven thrivers, creative, caring, intellectual engaged industrious leaders of the society.  
 

I noticed we have a lot of friends from the media joining us this morning, it’s my turn to interview Yoyo from team Jasmine today.  “Yoyo, when your colleagues succumbed to harsh conditions and seasickness and cannot continue at their stations, you soldiered on for 8 hours alone, rowing against rough waters of 3 meters waves, please share with us your story.”