Appreciation as the Key to Happiness— Lunch with Dr Fan Ning, Chairman of Health In Action & Forget Thee Not

Time Auction
4 min readAug 30, 2019
Lunch with Dr. Fan raised 111 volunteer hours!😆

Sometimes the most meaningful and inspiring conversations happen over casual meals. The Time Auction Blog is a snippet of our meetings with people who have found passion in their lives and career.

Attitude towards life generally defines the way life is lived. Dr. Fan Ning believes that one’s life is interconnected with the lives of others. Over the years, he has dedicated himself to helping disadvantaged people. By extending the support to vulnerable populations, a doctor without borders embarked on an overseas voluntary journey and marked a big step out of one’s comfort zone.

Who is Dr. Fan Ning?

Having served in Hospital Authority for more than 20 years, Fan Ning is now an Associate Consultant of Surgical Department at Yan Chai Hospital.

Since 2005, he has been deployed to various countries affected by war or natural disaster as a humanitarian worker. Between 2008 and 2013, Fan Ning was the President of Medecins Sans Frontieres (Hong Kong Office) and received the Hong Kong Humanity Award in 2009.

In 2011, Fan Ning set up Health In Action to serve local working poor families and ethnic minorities intending to relieving health inequity in Hong Kong. He drives the community health model forward by adopting the strategy of a service-research-advocacy cycle.

Noticing the vast gap in end-of-life service in the community in recent years, he set up another NGO, Forget Thee Not, to promote advance directive and home death using the model of life management and empowerment.

His Life Philosophy

When it comes to life philosophy, Dr. Fan shared with us the quote from his secondary school’s principal.

“Freedom is a choice which stems from responsibility.”

Before making decisions, Dr. Fan suggested that we ought to analyze and choose the best option. After that, we should accept the consequences. Finally, ask ourselves: Am I satisfied with the result that I wish to achieve? If the outcome is not ideal enough, he advised us to refine our decision-making system frequently to accomplish our goals.

The quote from his principal has reminded Dr. Fan in his everyday life. From what he faces in hospital and NGO, he understands that things are uncertain and uncontrollable. Therefore, decisions should not be abruptly made. To make an efficient and wise decision, Dr. Fan encouraged us to keep deepening our knowledge and improve ourselves. Furthermore, it could be a valuable learning process when we ask others for advice in case we are not sure about our decisions.

The “Hardest” Lesson to Learn

Dr. Fan shared with us the lesson which takes him the most time to learn — Love. He explained that love has various forms.

“People may have different expectations towards love, that’s why they have different ways to express love.”

Owing to dissimilar views about love, he figured out that sometimes, people may not accept the way we express love and care. Indeed, it is not about the rule of “Give and Take”, but how we learn to be understanding, which is easier said than done. Once we put ourselves in others’ shoes, conflicts between different parties would be reduced. Dr. Fan added that: In pursuance of social harmony, love and care are especially vital.

A good daily habit — Reflection

When asked about the actions to takeaway, Dr. Fan highlighted the importance of self-reflection on a daily basis to attain our mission.

“Think about your goal. Think about whether your actions today motivate you to achieve that.”

As long as we are certain of what to achieve, we will not get lost along our path to success. To further imbue our life with purpose, Dr. Fan recommended us to contemplate what we can do today to help other people in need.

Thank you so much to Dr. Fan for raising 111 volunteer hours and all the volunteers who dedicated their hours for charities such as Food Angel, Volunteer Space and more! We would also like to thank photographer William from Kachick!

To see our upcoming experiences, head over to the Time Auction website!



Time Auction

Time Auction is a charity that advocates volunteerism. We encourage volunteering with inspiring experiences, while connecting skilled-volunteers with NGOs.