The Awardee of 2021 Hong Kong Humanity Award - Ms Winsome Lee Hin-shin
Letting the bones speak to restore the dignity of the deceased
Ms Winsome Lee Hin-shin is a forensic anthropologist. She is one of the few and the only female in Hong Kong working in this profession. “There are only a few forensic anthropologists around the world and there are no similar positions in Hong Kong."
To put it simply, "forensic anthropology" means "letting the bones speak". By identifying the clues in human remains, such as bones and teeth, the age, height, sex and ancestry of the deceased can be identified. The experience of the victims at the moment right before their death can also be restored. "Some of the victims' deaths are left unexplained. I hope to make
use of my professional knowledge to help them find their identity and unveil unknown experiences that happened right before their death, so that the deceased can rest in peace and the family can know the whole truth.”
Since 2014, Winsome has worked as a forensic anthropologist to handle unclaimed or buried bones in places that experienced wars or natural disasters, including East Timor, Poland, Cyprus and Somaliland. However, there are a lot of difficulties and pressure dealing with human skeleton identification in these areas. "When I was handling skeletons in East Timor, I found no clue despite I was tried very hard. I once blamed myself for my inexperience or carelessness. Fortunately, some progress was made with the discovery of a small object."
It is important to identify the deceased, but it is even more commendable if we can retrieve the lost dignity for the forgotten deceased under the grave. “Although my job is not pleasant, as long as there's one successful case, it will give me the strength I need to continue forensic anthropology work for the deceased being buried with proper identity and the comfort of their families."
Humanity is to protect human value and dignity regardless of identity.