Upon entering the post-epidemic era, the "Asher" GRMG Society is thrilled to collaborate with The Salt and Light Preservation Centre (鹽光保育中心) to plan a one-day eco-cultural tour that combines volunteer service, cultural revitalization, conservation and restoration, and exploration of Hakka communities in Yim Tin Tsai, Sai Kung.

The natural scenery and masterpiece in wide range of artworks there always reminds people of the nostalgia of the island. We may sense the spirituality surrounding us with our heart. The fusion of Chinese and Western cultures is unusual in Yim Tin Tsai which is part of the Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark. Asher's members are impressed by the Hakka community’s openness to embracing the Gospel from ancient times to the present.

When we entered St. Joseph's Chapel, we were drawn in by the statue of St. Joseph carrying the baby Jesus on the church's altar wall, and the Chinese-inspired color scheme. (Photo credit: Joe Lee)

Inspired by Mr. Philip Tong, a senior tour guide of the Salt and Light Preservation Centre, said, “We aim to gain insight into the wisdom of the Hakka people and appreciate the beauty of God's creation by learning how to introduce seawater and crystallized salt extracted from the abandoned white gold mine, which has been neglected for a century”. As the salt pans are filled with water, which take nearly two weeks to evaporate, leaving behind the salt crystals. We can admire a small cross wrapped in crystallised salt grains, telling tourists again that the prosperity of Yim Tin Tsai today comes from the grace of God.

According to Philip Tong, by demonstrating the miracle of crystallization, we learn that hot weather and high temperatures can speed up the process of evaporation. Despite not involving mass production, this method yields high quality salt. (Photo credit: Joe Lee)

After enjoying a delicious lunch, our Asher members willingly participated in a volunteer service to weed under the sun. We are grateful to the local villagers for providing us with this golden opportunity to assist in the restoration and conservation efforts. “I am impressed by CIE students’ dedication in volunteer service and wish them all the best in their studies and hope they can continue exploring the mysteries of nature with a strong sense of environmental awareness,” says Philip Tong.

Participating in voluntary weeding duties was a valuable experience for Asher members. Through exchanging their sweat for knowledge, they not only gained valuable experience but also contributed to the local restoration plan, making it a meaningful and rewarding experience. (Photo credits: Philip Tong)
Asher’s members stood under the Twin Pavilions with Dr. Karen Woo, Academic Coordinator of GRMG (the sixth from the right side) to see the geological scenery of Sai Kung, and we expressed our appreciation for Yim Tin Tsai's philosophy of reconciling with nature. (Photo credit: Philip Tong)
We presented Mr. Philip Tong with a memo bottle as a souvenir, which was printed with the phrase "With Asher, Life is Better." The exchange filled us with lots of joy and happiness!

During the debriefing session, the reflections shared by our members served as a significant encouragement to support geopark conservation. As the President of the “Asher” GRMG Society, I can say that the story of Yim Tin Village's rise and fall, and its subsequent rebirth, not only aligns with the vision of our society but also inspires our members to consider how to use our limited resources wisely and promote a harmonious interaction between humanity and the environment.

Written by Mr. LEE Shing Joe, Year 2 GRMG Student
President of “Asher” GRMG Society (2022-2023)