Every November, we celebrate boys and men with Brovember. To kick it off this year, we asked the men on the YP team what they were most concerned about as 16-year-olds – and what they would tell those teenage selves now that they’re adults.
My biggest concern when I was 16 was that I wanted to be excellent at everything. I would now tell my 16-year-old self to try not to be a jack-of-all-trades. Focus on being really good at just a few things. Hard work is wasted when it’s scattered in too many directions.
Ken Cheng, Designer
My biggest concern when I was 16? Well, there were a lot of “biggies”, but my deepest concern was the fact that I didn’t have the skills to be a cricketer, rugby player, or tennis player. I really looked up to guys who could play ball. Unfortunately, I was a scrawny little teenager who had no sporting talent at all.
Looking back, I feel I shouldn’t have been so overly obsessed with sports stars. If I could talk to my 16-year-old self, I would tell myself to forget about what you can’t do and concentrate on what you CAN do. After all, Hong Kong is all about the “can do” spirit.
M. J. Premaratne, Sub-editor
My biggest concern when I was 16 was picking my IB subjects for my final years of secondary school. At first, I picked physics because I wanted to be an architect. I fell behind in physics and was failing my assignments and mock tests. This only added to my worries for the future and what I was going to study in university, so I decided to sit down with my dad to ask for his advice. He reminded me that I should do what I love as I will put in maximum effort into it.
Then, I remembered all the nights I would watch classic movies with my dad, and how much I enjoyed them. After this realisation, I dropped physics and decided to pursue a career in video production. I followed my passion and did a bachelor’s degree of media in video production at university. My advice to my younger self would be that it’s perfectly normal to worry sometimes, but to find what inspires you and do what you love.
Alejo Rodriquez Lo, Videographer
Around that time I wasn’t sure about which diploma course I wanted to take, whether to follow my friends, or go my own way.
Looking back, I realise the best thing would have been for me to focus on my main strengths and to not try to do everything at the same time, as it would only cause confusion. I would also tell myself to not be afraid to make mistakes: it’s a part of learning and it is okay to ask questions if you don’t understand.
Tom Tsang, Designer
One of my main concerns when I was 16 was whether my crush liked me back. I used to run into her “by coincidence” at the library every day at lunch, and then we would go for a walk. She liked guys that were good at studying, so I studied hard to impress her. Now that I think about it, every day was spent devising ways to make her notice me more.
I don’t think I would tell my past self to change anything. I don’t think we should tamper with our first loves, whether it went well or not. If it’s not meant to be, it’s not meant to be.
Jamie Lam, Special Projects Editor
When I was in secondary school my biggest concern was being stressed about the public exams just like any other of the tens of thousands of local students. And, of course, getting into a good university and other academic things.
I would tell my past self not to worry, you’re definitely going to do poorly (I did), but things will work out (more or less) and you’ll get a degree in the end.
And now I can act smug and say “university isn’t hard”.
Wong Tsui-kai, Web reporter