A Talent Well Used:

Jackie Leung swims Hong Kong Harbour to benefit ICC

Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour hosts the New World Harbour Race. Photo: Jackie Leung
On a brilliant October morning, In-Tech Electronics employee Jackie Leung donned swimming trunks, goggles and a bright orange safety balloon, slathered his body in Vaseline to protect it from stinging jellyfish, and jumped into the ocean with 2000 other racers to swim across Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour. 

Leung, who had already been feeling nervous before the race, felt panic when he was unable to clean the Vaseline from his swimming goggles, affecting their performance. 

However, he persisted, dodging kicks to the face from fellow swimmers on the crowded racecourse and following the orange balloon on the swimmer in front of him to arrive safely at the finish line 1,500 metres later.
Jackie Leung dedicated his race across Hong Kong Harbour to raise funds for the children of ICC.
Photo: Jackie Leung
Why make the swim across Hong Kong Harbour? For Leung, the event was about giving a talent back to God: he dedicated his race to help the children in International China Concern’s care. 

First held in 1906, the famous New World Harbour Race across Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour sees swimmers dive into the water at the Sam Ka Tsuen pier in Kowloon and race 1.5 kilometres to the Quarry Bay Park pier on Hong Kong Island. 

Although the race had been cancelled in 1978 due to pollution in the harbour, it re-opened again in 2011 when the water was deemed clean enough for swimming. For Leung, this opened up the perfect opportunity to participate in this historic event. 

Leung has been swimming for the past three years to improve his health. Training three times a week in a 30-metre pool, he has gradually increased his ability from covering 200 metres to 4000 metres in the hour before leaving for work. 

However, Leung says he wanted to use his newly-discovered swimming gift for a larger purpose than his own sense of accomplishment.
Photos: Jackie Leung
“If I did this race for myself, the glory will belong to me,” Leung says. “What if I did it for a charity organization, so that I can help others?” 

As he was applying for the race, Leung says he read the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25. “I learned it is not how much talent or how much wealth you have, but how you use it for God,” he explains. 

He also read the book Return From Tomorrow, which tells the near-death experience of medical student George G. Ritchie during the Second World War. While legally dead for nine minutes, Ritchie felt God asked him how he had used his life and what had he done for God. 

“It gave me a good reminder that one day we shall stand before God,” says Leung. “How would I spend the rest of my life?” 

Leung remembered hearing ICC founder David Gotts speak at Leung’s place of employment, In-Tech Electronics Limited in Hong Kong. Although he didn’t remember all that Gotts shared, he was moved by Gotts’ determination to help children, regardless of their race.
Photo courtesy New World Harbour Race
“I was touched because even our own people don’t have such sharing love for the abandoned Chinese children with disabilities, so this love must be from God,” Leung says. 

After deciding to dedicate his New World Harbour race to God by raising funds for ICC, Leung faced a difficulty: the “Occupy Central” movement in Hong Kong delayed qualifying trials, leaving him with only one week to raise funds after learning he had qualified. 

However, despite this, Leung was able to raise three times his expected fundraising goal, for a total of HKD $18,000 (or about USD $2,300). 

“I praise God that it is not my ability, but all glory goes to the Mighty One,” says Leung.