Hong Kong to rural Taichung, Hong Kong to rural Cambodia and Hong Kong to rural Indonesia.
These are the adventurous routes taken by three Hong Kong youngsters from the post-1990s generation. They are Ah Dou, Nelson and Stephanie.
Linus Cheung Shing (Ah Dou) left home when he was only 19. Instead of taking the conventional route of studying hard to get into university, he decided several years ago that it was more important to live a happy life and be honest to his heart than getting a university degree. He spent three years in a village near Taichung where he was an apprentice to an internationally famous weaver. This young person man graduated from the apprenticeship last November and is now back in Hong Kong.
For the past four years, Nelson Huen Ming-yeung, has been spending his Christmas and a large part of his summer holidays in rural Cambodia. The 23-year-old is in the second year of a master’s degree in Architecture at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. With his training as an architect, Nelson works with local builders in rural Cambodia to build traditional Khmer houses to function as schools for village children.
I know Ah Dou and Nelson will be reading their stories here in Hong Kong. Stephanie Man Shu-wing, however, will be reading hers in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
By the time Stephanie reads her story, she’ll have mailed all 25 pairs of couple rings that were specially crafted by silversmiths in the village, where she has been staying, to customers in Hong Kong. It is a project this University of Hong Kong student came up with after she got to know about the economic hardships the silversmiths fell into after the 2002 Bali bombings wrecked their tourism-dependent livelihoods.
An International Business and Global Management major, Stephanie should be rounding up her first degree and busy looking for a job in an investment bank. However, the fact is that she is on a gap year, and she’s been travelling across Asia since last September. She is now trying to set up a social enterprise that can improve the long-term livelihood of the community where she is staying in rural Yogyakarta.
I asked Koey Lee, who is also on a gap year, travelling across Asia, to write the piece on Stephanie. Koey majors in Cultural Studies at Lingunan University. The two girls crossed paths last year in Malaysia. Koey wrote this piece for us from Taiwan.
The adventures taken by these four completely unrelated young people gave me a glimpse into the values and desires that are driving Hong Kong’s younger generation. Our younger generation are global citizens who are ready to embrace the world and carve out their own unconventional routes in pursuit of their dreams.