Charity Closet with Jo Soo Tang
Meet Jo Soo Tang, mother to three gorgeous tykes Mischa (13), Myles (10) and Mia (7) and passionate advocate for the Hong Kong Adventist Hospital Foundation (HKAHF) where Jo is the Chairman of the Board of Governors, Stubbs Road and founder of the Women of Hope Awards and Fundraiser Luncheon that support the Adventist Cancer Fund. Jo is also Founder of Wellness 360, is on the board of Splash Foundation and an active supporter HKRecycles.
Your commitment to volunteering in Hong Kong is exemplary! Can you tell us about your charity of choice, HKAHF and how you got involved?
I am a third generation volunteer and started volunteering for the hospital from a young age. It’s been a long time..over 30 years!
You have been volunteering since you were 9 years old. Tell us how your upbringing instilled a passion for charity work in you.
I started volunteering at a young age so it came naturally to me. It was part of my coming of age and many of my relatives were involved from day one. Working for many NGOs has given me the opportunity to demonstrate commitment to the disadvantaged in my community and the chance to give something back, share my skills, learn new skills, share my knowledge and gain new experiences different from the ones I was familiar with. I am not saying there were no obstacles. In fact, there were lots of them, but what makes it fulfilling is having a chance to overcome new kinds of obstacles.
How do you encourage your children to get involved?
I want my children to pick their own cause. They have been brought up in a different world than us and have access to everything and more, so it’s important to give back and to learn values that can help them lead a grounded life. My eldest sees herself volunteering for Splash Foundation in the long-term. My younger two children will have to be involved in one NGO or another very soon!
You are also a supporter of HKRecycles. Can you tell us how you have implemented sustainable habits at home? Do your tykes get involved?
My husband was one of the very first investors of HKRecycles, he believes it’s a necessary movement in Hong Kong. It requires a lot of education, but Hong Kong will get there and we have to stay patient. HKRecycles is a commercial and residential recyclable collection service that helps you recycle plastic, paper, metal and glass. Everyone should be using their service.
At home, we do not use ziplock bags or plastic bags, have converted to hand towels during meals, do not buy plastic bottled water/drinks and replaced gladwrap with beeswax wraps. My son often reminds all of us the things he has learnt at school. Being involved with HKRecycles has helped us be ahead of the curve slightly.
What are your tips for living a healthy life in Hong Kong?
My life is quite routine because my schedule is based around my children’s lives, so I can say I am a relatively healthy individual. I find it important to eat regularly at home, sleep at a decent hour and meet up with close friends on a regular basis. There are no tips per say, because things that work on me may not work on others. It is relatively easy to carry an active social life in Hong Kong, but that often comes at a cost of your health. I just recently cut red and white meat out of my diet and the benefits are slowly showing.
What are your favourite things to do as a family?
My children play a lot of badminton and squash, so I am often with them as a spectator. We travel extensively every summer. Last summer we visited Cyprus and this summer we spent time around Lake Como. Besides traveling we also enjoy simple, home cooked meals together and my favourite time of the day is when we are together and catching up over our day around the dining table. My husband travels a lot so “It’s the simple things in life that are often the best...”
At Retykle we promote the value of buying high quality items that last so that they can be reused when they are outgrown. Does this resonate with you? What are your favourite brands to buy for Mischa, Myles and Mia?
Why do you Retykle?
#weretykle because… when we think of waste, we often envision things like crushed up plastic water bottles, soiled food wrappers and dirty diapers – not a perfectly wearable pair of jeans that got thrown away just because they don’t fit my children anymore. Landfills aren’t just bad for the environment; they are also bad for government budgets. Every year, tons of clothing ends up in landfills where they take up a massive amount of very expensive space. It takes a lot of energy to produce clothing; every item goes through a complex manufacturing process that uses an extraordinary amount of electricity and water. By retykling clothes when they are no longer wanted, you ensure that all that energy doesn’t simply go to waste.Jo Soo Tang