Don't tell the 3,900 students who took part in a recent contest they're lazy and lacking in ambition, writes Mabel Sieh
Students from the post-90s generation have seized the opportunity provided by the 2010 ThinkSeries Competitions to tell the world who they are and what they think.
Now in its fourth year, the competitions are organised by Wiseman Education and supported by the Hong Kong Parents Association and Thomson Reuters, among others.
This year, more than 3,900 students have competed across three categories - snapshots, videos and lyrics - all with the theme of 'Faith'.
'We want to hear their voices and see the world through their eyes,' said Clement Chung, the chief executive of Wiseman. 'This year, the event was led entirely by our student leaders and we've been inspired by them.'
The 19 student leaders were nominated by their schools.
Stephanie Smith, 15, and the other student leaders launched a campaign called 'Post 90's Revolution' to try to rid their generation of a reputation for being ignorant and lacking in life goals.
'We made a video based on interviews on the street with people from different age groups, asking them what they thought of the post-90s,' says Stephanie from HKUGA College.
'Most of the comments by people older than us were negative, like: 'You are lazy' or 'You just take things for granted'. Honestly, I was insulted. But some people, especially teenagers, think we're awesome.'
Joyce Yip, 19, also thinks her generation is sometimes judged unfairly. 'I always wanted a normal and happy family life with both parents,' says the St Paul's Convent School student. But despite growing up in a single-parent family, she still believes she should focus on what she has.
'I am a positive person and I want to influence others with my warmth and positive attitude,' she says. Joyce and her classmate Aeris Chan won the Best Lyrics of the Year Award. 'Our song Living the Dream is about being yourself and making the most of the opportunities given to you.'
Zita Chan Hei-tung, also from St Paul's Convent School, and Whitney Too, from Hang Seng School of Commerce, won the Best Title Award in the Snapshot category. Their photograph was of a young child holding a heart-shaped pink balloon in Stanley on a sunny day.
'We think the child in our photograph is happy and pure. He represents he simple kind of faith people need today, in purity and kindness,' says 19-year-old Zita.
'Adults are much too materialistic. I don't think money can give us everything. We need to strike a balance between materialism and other important things like family and relationships.'
As a follow-up to the event, the ThinkSeries leaders plan to set up a blog on which post-90s students can post articles, news reviews, and their own thoughts. 'We want to change people's views of us. We want to prove to others that we have our own thoughts and [ideas],' Stephanie says.
Watch the video by Stephanie and other leaders