Following is the speech delivered by the Chief Executive, Mr C Y Leung, at the 2012 Honours and Awards Presentation Ceremony at Government House this morning (December 8):
Recipients of honours and awards, distinguished guests and colleagues,
Welcome to this years Honours and Awards Presentation Ceremony.
There is a view that Hong Kong people are utilitarian, with this I do not agree. There is also a view that Hong Kong people are short of human factors, with this I do not agree either.
Every day we come across people in Hong Kong who make selfless social contributions and people who assiduously discharge their public duties. We may not have the chance to say thank you to them every day, but the gratitude is always in our heart.
Our community needs criticism, which is a drive for advancement. Our community also needs commendation as it is an even greater drive. The purpose of this annual presentation of honours and awards is to commend distinguished personnel from all walks of life for their contributions in various fields. Our recipients come from different social backgrounds, sectors and strata, and they are an epitome of our society. They deserve our commendation, because they spared no effort in public and social services, served the community with enthusiasm for a long period of time, or dedicated themselves to their respective professions with remarkable accomplishments and outstanding contributions.
This is the first time that I officiate at such a ceremony. As a small departure from the tradition, I want to open the ceremony by saying thank you on behalf of the HKSAR Government and the community at large for your devotion and contribution. Because of you, Hong Kong has become more beautiful. I hope that, on top of our developed culture of dedication, we can also start a culture of gratitude. Moreover, I hope that other members of the Hong Kong community will be inspired and impressed by the examples that you have set. Thank you.
(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the speech.)