Yet in an area full of violence and instability, one girl chose to speak out against oppression and injustice. Malala Yousafzai, now 15, was only 11 when she chose to stand up against this repression, and fight for the freedoms of children, especially the right to education for girls.
By writing a blog, published on the BBC's Urdu website, she united a nation with her actions long before the attempt on her life on October 9 brought her to the world's attention.
Nominated for the International Children's Peace Prize last year and awarded Pakistan's first National Youth Peace Prize, Malala has dedicated her life to defending the rights of children. Her vow to carry on fighting for freedom, equality and justice angered Taliban militants, who shot her while she was on her way home from school. She is now recovering in a British hospital.
Here in Hong Kong, we live a life far away from such oppression; most of us take our freedoms for granted. We get up in the morning without fear, ready to go to school after a hearty breakfast. On our way home, we don't expect to hide ourselves from gunfire. When we go to bed at night, we sleep comfortably, without fear of random shooting.
Malala's indomitable spirit is something truly admirable, especially when placed in the political and social context of Pakistan. Although we might not face challenges as extreme as hers, her passion, motivation and drive should persuade us to strive for change in our communities, too.
From participating in flag days, to dedicating a few hours each week to charity - all of these actions can create change for the better.