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Wednesday 11 March 2009

Dr. Robert Fung, Chair of UNICEF Hong Kong


One of the easiest people to meet if you ever attended an annual UNICEF conference of the fund raising National Committees somewhere on the planet, was Dr. Robert Fung. This wonderful gentle unassuming man, with his positive and tireless warmth after a lengthy day of endless presentations and discussions, was everyone's friend. If this was your very first annual conference, Robert would be sure to approach you, introduce himself and crack a wry joke with a gentle smile, all the time making you feel as if you - like he - had been part of the UNICEF family for years. Robert loved his work with children, he loved people, he loved his work as an accomplished paediatrician (having degrees from both Harvard and McGill), he loved his work as a successful businessman, he loved Hong Kong, and he loved his work with UNICEF. He reached out to everyone, and quietly understood the functioning of the UNICEF machine. If you felt lost in the scale of UNICEF's operations around the planet, UNICEF's awful acronyms, UNICEF's extensive programmes, UNICEF's subtle machinations, and UNICEF's global organisation, Robert, with his wonderful mop of silver hair and warm face stood out, and he'ld give you a great big hello. You now belonged to the UNICEF international family.

Robert sadly passed away peacefully in Hong Kong last friday. He founded UNICEF's fund raising operations in Hong Kong in the mid 1980's, and was its Chairman until his untimely death. He devoted so much of his time and energy to raising the profile of UNICEF amongst the people of Hong Kong, including the business community and of course the regional government. His was the public face of UNICEF in Hong Kong, a well known fatherly figure working endlessly for children.

Farewell, Robert: I didn't know you well, but I knew you enough to know that you improved the lives of so many children, and their mothers, and meant so much to so many people. Your passing will be mourned not just in Hong Kong but across the world.

3 comments:

SINABADA said...

To Roberts Family,

He is remembered fondly as a devoted and driven crusader for children.

My condolences.

Teresa Jenna,
Former Hong Kong Committee for UNICEF DIRECTOR, 1980's

Dan Y. said...

Dr. Robert Fung was my paeditrician since I was practically born. He was always a gentle and caring man as far back as i can remember, so I hope that he is resting in a better place. His humor and kindness will be sorely missed by all. Rest in peace Dr. Fung...

Anonymous said...

I was deeply shocked and saddened to hear of Roberts passing. I as a jockey riding in Hong Kong for almost 11 years grew very close to Robert through riding his horses. I also enjoyed many games of golf with Robert and his close friend and horse trainer Peter Supple. Racing is a very fickle business and loyalty is in short supply but not with Robert he was the most loyal owner a jockey could ride for.
He also had a wicked sense of humour enjoyed by all who came in contact with him. I know the world is a poorer place for his passing.I would like to extend my sincere sympathy to all his family.
Bill Burnett