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Daughter of Filcom leaders wins merit in writing contest

03 July 2018

The youngest daughter of two Filipino community leaders was among those who received recognition in the “Love is All Around” writing contest, the first ever to be organized by the Hong Kong Federation of Journalists.

Hailey Keaira Mercado, a third year secondary student at St Clare’s Girl’s School, received a merit award for her English story titled “Love For All”.

She was among the youngest winners in her category, which was open to all secondary school students in Hong Kong.
Keaira with dad Ricardo and mom Merlinda.

Keaira, who turned 15 recently, is the youngest of three daughters of engineer Ricardo Mercado, former president of the Association of Filipino Builders in Hong Kong, and Metrobank marketing staff Merlinda Alcoba-Mercado, who acts as adviser to several Filipino community organizations.

The proud parents accompanied Keaira to the awarding ceremony held at Cordis hotel in Mong Kok on Jun 16, during which she received a cash prize of $2,000 and a certificate.

Curiously, Keaira’s winning entry on the contest that focused on filial piety, was about a young man who had long dreamt of running away from home. He ended up grieving after learning of his mother’s death far from where he had succeeded in running away to.

Asked about this, the witty and often playful Keaira asked for a few minutes to put together “a really sophisticated answer” then messaged:

“I thought it would be fitting if the character was a boy to showcase the stereotypical personality traits of a male They are usually reluctant to truly show their emotions because they are afraid to sacrifice their masculinity Also, it’d be a lot more touching for the ending, because he finally gives up that barrier separating him and his mother.”

On the question of how she reacted on learning that she had won, she said: “I was not at all expecting to win. I didn’t give the story its true potential because of the time constraint. I was reminded to submit the story the night before the deadline, and that was the only time I started the essay I feel honoured to be part of winners because everyone in the ceremony was extremely talented.”

Keaira’s own attachment to her parents was reflected in the way she ended her story.
“Filial Piety is the one thing we could do to repay our debt to our parents,” she wrote.

“So give them love.” - DCLM

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