NOBODY is trash | CURVO is not trash

by Mary Ann Mok (Mui & Cowboy Mum) 

When you label someone as trash, have you ever think of the consequence? Labels suck. So do labellers. I beg you all not to use derogatory terms to label people. Parents in particular, don’t ever use such labels to hurt your children any more. Such consequences can always be so destructive that is far beyond your imagination…..


NOBODY is trash. CURVO is not trash….. Every CURVO has a story behind.

Ching Ming Festival, a traditional Chinese festival also known as Tomb Sweeping Day has just passed. It was sad to remember a cousin who died young.  Every time when I thought I can heal and move on but the pain, anger and sadness just crept up on me. When he was young, he had been labelled by the society as “trash” and classified as an outcast. In those years, youngsters who were deemed to have no future are most likely to be sent to the Hong Kong Sea School in Stanley, Hong Kong. The School provided boarding and further education for these outcasts and trained them for employment in the sea-related industries. Probably because my cousin couldn't get rid of this "trash" label, he finally ended his own life.

How I wish my cousin was still alive today to see how alumni from Hong Kong Sea School has excelled in their career and displayed significant achievements and contributions to the community. Outstanding alumni includes Deputy Director of the Marine Department, MC Tsang, famous lyricist Cheng Kwok Kong, and notable athletes Tse Sui Lun and Chik Ho Yin who won the historic silver medal at the 16th Asian Sailing Championships 420 Men Class held at Incheon. Only if my cousin could have been more determined and persistence like these alumni, he could have slapped the face of those who once labelled him as “trash”.

Photo credit: Tse Sui Lun/ Chik Ho Yin   Tse Sui Lun (left) and Chik Ho Yin (right) are outstanding alumni from Hong Kong Sea School.

Photo credit: Tse Sui Lun/ Chik Ho Yin       Tse Sui Lun and Chik Ho Yin won the historic silver medal at the 16th Asian Sailing Championships 420 Men Class held at Incheon.

When your parents call you trash, when your friends treat you like trash, it doesn’t mean that you must be trash. The reason why we were ultimately eroded by a vicious label is that we don’t have the guts to say NO to these labels. We assume what has been always will be. As time goes by, we willingly adopt these labels that come with the struggles: angry, losers, trash, failure, addict.

In real life, we cannot stop people from how they perceive or label us but we can have complete control of our own.  Most important is to keep assuring ourselves that we don’t live by someone’s rules. Sometimes a vicious label might not be a bad thing. It might make us even stronger.  

For example, our “Windsurfing Queen”, Lee Lai San had struggled hard and finally won the first ever Olympic gold medal for Hong Kong to prove that “Hong Kong athletes are not rubbish”. Her determination and perseverance demonstrated that we can all break the curse of a vicious label by changing negative attitude to motivation. 

Mui and I recycled the wetsuit that was once worn by our “Windsurfing Queen” Lee Lai Shan. Her famous quote “ Hong Kong athletes are not rubbish” keep reminding us to change negative attitude to motivation.

In 1996, Lee Lai San was awarded the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award, a first for an Asian athlete being bestowed the honour. In the next year, she was awarded the Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in recognition of her outstanding achievements in international sports. 

When my daughter and I just set up this website, I met a young man who was an alumnus of Hong Kong Sea School at a party. He is full of vigour, optimistic, self-confident and modest. He was overjoyed to tell me that he accomplished his dream of becoming a firefighter which appears to be “mission impossible” in the eyes of the public. His academic results in the past were no good and he had to put strenuous effort to prove that his physical fitness can overcome his height disadvantage.

Photo credit: Ng Tsz Leung      Against all odds, Ng Tsz Leung, an alumnus of Hong Kong Sea School accomplished his dream of becoming a firefighter. He could not have made it without the unfailing support of the lady next to him.

He convinced me that we just don’t have to take others’ vicious labels too seriously. All we have to do is to maintain a positive attitude and be persistent with our goals. At times, we may still struggle with the same temptations but those temptations no longer define our identity. Our old self, with all its labels is dead and buried. 

Some twenty years ago, CURVO distinguished by its uniqueness were covered widely by the media. Among them, the Hong Kong Daily News had ceased publication.

Despite the close down of multi-national department stores and publications that CURVO was being first introduced, CURVO was still in business and keep moving forward.

Mui (3rd from right) gave away CURVO to sailors around the world as a token of love and friendship which lasts for life. CURVO hold the fond memories of these sailors and was inadvertently made an international brand.

NOBODY is trash. CURVO is not trash….. We only live once. Why should we live under the curse of a vicious label?

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