What about my dreams?
Walt Disney once said: “If you can dream it, you can do it.” This might have been true when Disney said it, but I’d say as a teenager living now, that’s not so true anymore.
Hong Kong is well known for its finance industry. Baby boomers (born from the 1940s to mid-60s) have worked hard for the city. But it isn’t necessary for us to follow in their footsteps. Older generations often urge us to do what they want us to do, not what we actually want to do. We get it – they just want our lives to be easier, and they think we’ll get that entering the medical or business industry. They don’t want to see us struggle like they did. However, every trade has its master. Our dreams ought to be respected and heard. Yes, they know how cruel the world is, but our need to achieve our dreams should be respected. There’s a chance we’ll fail, but we should at least be given a chance to try. I want to be an opera singer. How about you?
Activism is not a “Millennial Thing”
From #BlackLivesMatter to the Dakota Pipeline protests, the new millennium has brought about an era of social change. Three years after Occupy Central, the effects of Hong Kong’s largest organised act of protest in recent history are still being felt. It created a rift in our society, and galvanised “youths” – once an apolitical section of society – into political activism or at least increased awareness of civil rights.
Many older people abhor this, claiming that “young people have too much time on their hands” or “don’t know what’s best” – that it’s “a millennial problem”. This was not only voiced when violence erupted during Occupy, or online through social media, but also when family members felt like they were being pitted against one another from opposite sides of the political conflict. So why is activism, a method that for years has helped bring about change and implemented rights that we now take for granted, considered a “new thing” or a “waste of time”?
What most naysayers tend not to realise is that activism is the best way to implement social change. As technology continues to evolve, new concerns sprout every day, and increased social awareness and agitation is just a manifestation of this. Decades ago the focus may have been about keeping our basic needs met, but now our focus has turned to civil and social rights.
Don’t scold your child for wielding a yellow umbrella.
A little understanding might bring all of us, young or old, to a future we can all look forward to.
The summer we are 18
Each of us has, or will have, that one summer when we are 18. It comes with all kinds of fun, but it also comes with responsibilities. Having “fun” is something that transcends all generations, but what constitutes as “fun” changes day by day.
I don’t have a right to label a generation’s definition of “fun”. As individuals, we mould and create our own version of what that is. There’s a sense of freedom at 18 – we do what we want, but our elders will tend to believe what we’re do is evil or wrong. I suppose Allen Ginsberg’s poem Howl sums up how I feel about the pressure young people can feel when subject to comments by older generations.
The “I do what I want” attitude isn’t necessarily bad, or something worth tearing apart parent-child relationships for. Cool parents are cool – but even the most chill will worry for their suddenly-legally-an-adult-kid. No matter what type of parent you are, just know that we are all aware of our responsibilities. We understand the implications and consequences of what comes after. We are aware of the liabilities. We wouldn’t do what we do if we didn’t like it, or even enjoy it —after all, it is the summer we are 18.
Let me see the best minds of my generation, like you saw the best minds of your generation: with freedom.
Let us be heard
Rachel Jackson, the wife of the seventh US President said: “Our youth are not failing the system; the system is failing our youth. Ironically, the very youth who are being treated the worst are the young people who are going to lead us out of this nightmare.”
Young people are often said to be irrational and rebellious. One example people use of such behaviour is Occupy Central. The protest brought financial loss to the city, and worsened the relationship between Hong Kong and the mainland. Things like this led to young protesters being told off for being impulsive. However, we should look at the reasons behind things like Occupy.
Young people felt like they weren’t being heard. Their opinions were dismissed. So what happened was what would happen if any young person is being ignored – they turned to other ways of making themselves heard. They also deserve to be heard – everyone regardless of their age or race deserves that. When things turned violent, we were chastised for being rebellious; the way a child would be told off if they kicked their parent’s leg because they wanted attention.
To avoid this, young people ought to be given equal freedom when it comes to expressing their opinions. Older generations might think that as youngsters are less experienced and less worthy of a voice but eventually they’ll come to depend on those they’re currently ignoring. Why not give them a chance to experience things? Why not give them a chance to express their opinions?