The other day I appeared in a music programme of a local radio station as host. I played some songs I love and talked about many things including I·CARE, people with different abilities, cross-generational integration, civic responsibility and engagement…...and the youth. The awkward voice of me beamed from my car transmitter and my friends’ headsets enunciated, “Being young is a delight, because young people do have a lot of advantages. At the same time, their journey ahead is long throughout which they are required to continue learning. Every step they move forward may meet with challenges or uncertainties. Under the current social circumstances, many of them are undergoing disappointment, sorrow and frustration. They are, therefore, in dire need of learning to embrace hope, overcome adversity and show gratitude so as to strengthen their self-reliance and introspection. The good and the bad of an era are just like the two sides of a pendulum. The difficult days will not last forever, and the pleasing whiles must come again. This contention of me is nothing distinctive. The Chinese idiom 否極泰來 (viz. out of the depth of misfortune comes bliss), albeit clichéd, is the wisdom of life and can stand the test of time. If you give up optimism, you will miss witnessing the weight to swing from one end to the extreme end of the pendulum…..The song Only Yesterday of The Carpenters disseminates, more or less, the same message. Whether the good or the bad will eventually pass and belong to ‘yesterday’. This instant is incorporated into ‘today’, and you are advised to bear in mind that ‘tomorrow’ may be brighter than ‘today’.”
What is more in the above music programme? I was asked to name someone I deeply respect in CUHK. Instead of repeating this topic here, I would rather remark on my role models outside this University. When I was in college, I very much admired Aung San Suu Kyi for her non-violent and selfless struggle for the well-being of her nation and people. My reverence for her had been retained for three decades and a little change emerged a few years ago. I have gradually found Angela Merkel an exemplary figure in many aspects such as leadership, inclusiveness, bravery and self-regulation. The German Chancellor just scrapped plans for a stricter national lockdown over Easter, saying the decision is a mistake and asking all citizens for their forgiveness. The more courageous the person, the more willingly he/ she admits faults and makes corrections in a humble way.
Regardless of the people’s age, “commitment” and “optimism” are indeed indispensable to help us forge and live a well-rounded life. May the gorgeous spectacle and flourishing scene in this spring be enough to catalyse our commitment and optimism to accept our past failure and start a new chapter respectively.
I·CARE Centre for Whole-person Development