Per Augustsson, Sweden’s new consul general to Hong Kong is carrying the work of ‘Operation Santa Claus’ forward this year by donating 500 gift boxes to Operation Santa Claus beneficiaries, along with financial assistance.
Last winter, the Swedish Consulate made donations to Operation Santa Claus (OSC) for the first time and hosted activities as part of it as well. OSC is an annual Christmas-themed fundraising drive co-organized by the South China Morning Post and public broadcaster RTHK since 1988. Nineteen local charities have been named as beneficiaries this year.
Per Augustsson arrived in Hong Kong in September excited to be able to promote Sweden there and said that this is a way to reach out to Hongkongers. Per Augustsson continues, “As a foreigner here, we are not isolated. We want to interact, meet and speak to people, and learn from each other in many different ways. This is one way.”
The original plan this year was to make crafts with children from various OSC beneficiaries, among other events. But aimd the fourth wave of Covid-19 infections in Hong Kong, most arrangements have had to be cancelled and many events have had to be moved online. Per Augustsson said the Consulate had found technology to be a useful way to reach more people, and that himself and his staff would adopt these new forms of communication for the long term. He added that it was particularly important to reach out to communities this year.
Per Augustsson said, “The pandemic started early in Hong Kong, and people have been suffering for a long time. We really need to take care of each other. And Christmas is a time to take care of each other.”
The gift boxes donated by the Swedish Consulate include items such as colored pencils and kits for making Christmas craft. Per Augustsson said, “We are looking to at least send these out, so the children can work on these with their families and have some fun at home.”
The newly appointed Consul General said he was looking forward to spending the next several years in Hong Kong, saying there were lots of possibilities for cooperation, especially in innovation and technology, which are strong areas for both Sweden and Hong Kong.
Per Augustsson explains that they are following developments in the city in a broader sense as well and that Sweden and the European Union have a great deal of interest in the city’s political developments, so they are watching to see where things are going.
Source: South China Morning Post