Inspiring Young People 激發後生的靈感
Updated: Jan 19, 2020
(Please scroll down for Chinese translation 繁体中文请往下滑).
Despite any accolades Hong Kong (HK) may win, it is far from a perfect place. There is always somewhere else on our planet that is either better in some regard, or worse than this city we call our home. These days most people don't just think about enjoying what we have, they consider what life will be like for future generations and they unselfishly try to make the planet, our cities and our nations better places to live. 2019 was a year for youth activism and leading the way are a few activists who deserve every bit of recognition they are given.
In 2019 there was a close battle for TIME magazine's "Person of the year". An independent online public poll put HK protesters way out in front, well ahead of environmental activist Greta Thunberg and other contenders. However, the final decision made by the magazine itself opted to put the 16 year old Thunberg on the magazine cover. There followed some bitter, and quite unnecessary debate in social media about the pros and cons of the decision to give weight to environment issues over the matter of human rights. In reality both issues deserve our attention since A) people need to exercise the right to speak openly about environment issues in their countries and globally, and B) without care for our planet, humanity on earth will be doomed.
Those fiery words uttered by Greta at the United Nations should inspire other young people and older ones alike to act on climate issues. She has famously harangued governments for their inaction, and leaders who she says have "stolen" her dreams. She has taken on a very big challenge, one that has had dire consequences for some: according to a British environmental watchdog activists are murdered as enemies of the state ever year, with the Philippines rated the worst place for activism in 2018.
Like Greta Thunberg has done, young people in HK have been confronting a government here known for its inaction on a range of issues including but by no means limited to poverty, care of the elderly, democratic reform, policing, housing affordability, minority concerns, and so on. The protesters' 5 demands remain the firm driver of this activism. Joshua Wong could be HK's own young star for his part in the 2014 Umbrella Movement and his roll in the Demosisto political party. He has been active in 2019 recruiting international support for the pro-democracy movement in HK, but was disqualified from standing in HK District Council elections.
Meanwhile in Russia, there's another environmental activist making the headlines. Arshak Makichyan is a 24-year old violinist who read about climate change and chose to follow in the footsteps of Greta Thunberg. He was particularly inspired by the teenager's "Friday for Future" global call to protest that saw many young people ditch their Friday school lessons each week in favour of climate change demonstrations. For 30 weeks in a row Arshak's protest in central Moscow were a one-person protest. In that city, concerns about greenhouses gases are yet to rate highly on the citizens' political agenda. News just in reports that Arshak has been arrested a second time for his weekly demonstrations.
Oddly when HK's Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, looks around for inspiring young people who could be future leaders of the SAR to join working committees or to act as youth advisors she seems to have a myopic view. Some young people do get to sit on various government panels and committees under the "Member Self-recommendation Scheme for Youth" which acts a bit like an intern training opportunity for future pro-government leaders. It seems chosen candidates are usually stuffy university types, or junior civil servants who often lack grit, or the fire and passion that could make them the inspiring darlings of those they represent.
Among the young ones I would nominate for dialogues with the government are those who have been chronicled in our blogs here and elsewhere: The volunteer first aider "Yan", the 18 year old who was the first protester shot by HK police, the 13 year old boy "Joe" who told his personal story of joining protests to the South China Morning Post, or the 12 year old convicted for spray painting pro-HK graffiti. Sadly there are others worthy of consideration, but who are no longer with us except in our pledge to never forget.
Whatever happens, HK is in need of hard-working leaders dedicated to the city, who aren't cowed by our communist neighbours. We want honest and conscientious people in government who have ideas, who pledge to listen to the will of the people and act on their behalf to honour and uphold its laws and customs. We need to give our support to these young people who can recognise what is right and just, who favour what is sustainable and will keep HK a place in which we can all enjoy freedom.
2019年，《時代》雜誌的“年度人物”展開了激烈的角逐。一項獨立的在線公共民意調查顯示，香港抗議者遙遙領先 於環保主義者Greta Thunberg和其他競爭者。但是，雜誌本身的最終決定選擇將16歲的Thunberg放在雜誌封面上。隨後在社交媒體上進行了一些激烈而毫無必要的辯論，討論了在人權問題上重視環境問題的決定的利弊。實際上，這兩個問題都應引起我們的注意，因為A）人們需要行使其權利在本國和全球範圍內公開談論環境問題，並且B）不在乎我們的星球，地球上的人類將注定要失敗。
像Greta Thunberg所做的那樣，香港的年輕人一直在與政府對峙，尤其是該政府在一系列問題上無所作為，這些問題包括但絕不僅限於貧困，照顧老人，民主改革，政策制訂，住房負擔力，對少數民族的關注，等等。抗議者的五大訴求仍然是這種行動的中堅。黃之鋒(Joshua Wong)在2014年雨傘運動中以及在香港衆志政黨中的地位可能是香港自己的年輕明星。他與2019年一直積極投身為香港的民主運動招募國際支持，但被取消了在香港區議會選舉中的資格。
與此同時，在俄羅斯，還有另一位環保主義者成為頭條新聞。 Arshak Makichyan是一位24歲的小提琴家，他了解氣候變化，並選擇跟隨Greta Thunberg的腳步。這名少年特別受到青少年在“未來星期五”全球抗議活動的鼓舞，該呼籲呼籲許多年輕人每周放棄星期五在學校上的課，以支持氣候變化遊行。連續30個星期，Arshak在莫斯科市中心的抗議活動都是一次個人抗議。在那個城市，對溫室氣體的擔憂尚未在公民的政治議程上受到高度評價。有報導稱，Arshak因其每週一次的示威活動而第二次被捕。
在我提名與政府對話的年輕人中，有一些人已在我們博客中這里和其他地方已被記述了。這些人：18歲的志願者急救員“ Yan”，是香港警察槍擊的第一個示威者；十三歲的男孩“Joe”對南華早報（South China Morning Post）講述了自己參加抗議活動的個人故事；或是是因涉嫌繪塗鴉支持香港而被定罪的12歲男孩。可悲的是，還有其他一些值得考慮的人，但除了我們保證永不忘記的承諾之外，他們已不再與我們同在。