Tsang also appreciates going back to basics when it comes to human communication. Without the trappings of modern civilization such as televisions and Wi-Fi, the only way to get information or interact is to walk from one campsite to another and talk directly to others.
This is how Tsang forged his strong connection and friendships with the local Sherpa people, members of an ethnic group in eastern Nepal who live in the foothills, and make a living by guiding climbers up the mountains. “They do not pursue quality of life, but survival itself,” he says. Several years ago, Tsang raised money for a Sherpa family so their child could undergo eye surgery. The child has now recovered and this further affirmed his close bonds with Sherpa people.
In an attempt to further help underprivileged children, Tsang was inspired to set up a charity for the education of children in developing countries. In 2006, Tsang led an expedition to climb Africa’s highest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro, to raise funds to build a school at the foot of the mountain. The success of this project motivated him to set up a charity called Project Care Action 8000 Association (PCA 8000) with Dr Fan Ning, the president of Medecins Sans Frontieres Hong Kong. The idea was to raise money and awareness through undertaking and leading mountain climbing expeditions.
Soon after their group was founded, Tsang and Fan headed for Mount Cho Oyu in Tibet. However, the expedition quickly turned into a disaster. Fan broke his index and middle fingers from frostbite and Tsang broke his right leg while trying to descend too quickly. Luckily, another mountaineering team passed by and soon spotted them. Tsang and Fan were rescued and taken to hospital.
Back in Hong Kong, Tsang spent two miserable months in hospital. He would stare at the television and break into tears, blaming himself for his carelessness and arrogance. “I thought the place [where the accident took place] was not dangerous at all, so I took off the safety rope,” he says. It took him a whole year of medical treatment, counselling and physiotherapy to fully recover.
After the accident, Tsang put the charity on hold. He realised mountain climbing was too dangerous for most people to do without professional training. However, he still hopes to raise funds in the future by conducting hiking activities instead, which more people would be able to take part in.