On the front page of this issue, we ran an inspiring story about Olympic athlete Alexa Loo. At age 37, Alexa Loo realized her dreams of snowboarding for Canada in her home city of Vancouver. Loo wasn’t able to do it alone though.
After experiencing disappointments at the Salt Lake City games in 2002 and at Turin in 2006, Loo also suffered an injury that resulted in her losing her government-sponsored stipend of $18,000. Devastated, Loo went on the radio and told her story.
Her words eventually fell on the ears of Kin Wah Leung and Kin Hun Leung, brothers who emigrated from China in 1981, who worked their way up from a table selling produce to owning a chain of 27 stores. They were also Asians who had a dream. They saw themselves in Loo, and they knew they wanted to help her.
The brothers raised $20,000 for Loo through their grocery stores by selling $1 bags. Unlike big, multi-national sponsors, the brothers didn’t get VIP tickets to the Olympic Games or any other perks. Though they were at the opening ceremonies, they reportedly watched the games in their homes, just like other people.
The Kins gave from the heart, not expecting anything in return. When they first approached Loo, they had no idea that their story would be picked up by local papers and The New York Times.
It is commendable that the Kins took the initiative in helping Loo. It’s often hard for Asians to take initiative, preferring to passively wait until someone directly asks for help. Asians also typically don’t sponsor athletes. The Kins broke out of their usual way of doing business, which is especially laudable because they knew they weren’t getting glory — Loo, though a remarkable athlete, wasn’t destined for a medal.
Nevertheless, they supported her because they were inspired by her. It was as simple as that.
Asian businesses should not ask, ‘What’s in it for me?’ when they consider helping someone.
A lot of times, Asian businesses like to be related to the person or team they are sponsoring, it’s time that we follow in their example and just make good things happen to good people. The Kins had no ties to Loo at all.
They don’t even share the same last name.
Many Asian businesses, no matter how inspired they are, don’t do a thing. Their actions are a good lesson to a lot of Asian businesses. If you have the money, if you read something in the news about someone in need and you can support them — even a little — then why not help? ♦