Farewell, 2016!

I started this blog in January 2016. Lucky that I’m still writing posts on this blog although it’s not updated as frequently as originally planned.

Many things seemed very gloomy to many of us this year. I would say many people have said something like: “What? No way. Gosh! That’s enough. Any more sad thing like this?”

Luckily, it’s already 2017 in places like Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific while we still have less than three hours to say goodbye to 2016 and welcome 2017 here in Hong Kong.

While there are so many worrying trends like the rise of racial hatred among many other stupid and outrageous things we human beings do to one another and the environment, I have also gone through many challenges in my life this year.

Due to the lack of supervision (in fact no supervision at all other than repeating my ideas and presenting my draft to my thesis supervisor again and again without getting any concrete and helpful advice), I stopped my part-time PhD studies at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. While I was struggling to find out how to continue my studies, I was lucky enough to meet a professor who taught me cultural studies and cultural theories at University of Hong Kong 20 years ago again and interestingly we met each other again on Twitter (thanks to the internet and social media). He gave me some advice and I’m now in the last stage of my application to continue my studies at his university in France (will share details when everything is confirmed). Many people would say doing a PhD is a waste of time but I don’t think so. The training is part of my life. Nobody can ever understand how I treasure to have learned all the things in the process. Not everything can be and should be calculated in terms of monetary reward or social status.

While I continue my full-time NGO job, I will definitely continue my studies. You may ask my why. But my answer will be: “That’s my life. None of your business.”

Happy moments with my partner continues into the 16th years. For me, love and relationship are between two persons. Nobody else can and should interfere with the two persons’ relationship. My attitude is always the same: let it be. That’s my life. Also, it’s none of other people’s business.

Then, what I think should be everybody’s business? Respect others and respect human rights. These are the things we should all care.

Now, I shut up and enjoy the last two hours of the pretty gloomy 2016.

Happy New Year!🎊🎉


Writing and Freedom

It’s a great experience to attend PEN International’s 82nd PEN Congress in Ourense, Galicia. It’s also the first time for me to attend it as a Hongkonger and as one of the three delegates of the newly reestablished PEN Hong Kong. The other two delegates are Nicholas Wong, a poet and a Vice-President of PEN Hong Kong, and Kris Cheng, a journalist and a founding member of PEN Hong Kong.

Although most of the meetings were about various aspects of the business of PEN International’s work, the core values were still very much related to writing and freedom. That makes me to think about writing this blog post.

No matter we write literary works like novels, poetry, plays and films, or non-fiction writings like news articles and features, commentaries, travel writing, academic papers, human rights reports or blogs, we can’t always take it for granted that we always have the freedom to write.

No society is always entirely free. Not only people living in authoritarian countries need to face the challenges about what they can write. Needless to say, people living in these countries need to be brave enough to write articles or simply express their views to criticise the government and risk losing their personal freedom or even their lives. People living in some democratic countries might also need to rethink how they would want to write about issues like race, gender, sexuality and sexual orientation, or write in their own languages or dialects if there are oppressive policies or discouraging  mainstream public sentiments in their communities. They might face intimidation, harassment or harsh ridicule.

The relationship between writing and freedom is so interesting and important that, being a member of PEN Hong Kong, I’m ready to embark on this journey again to learn from writers (in the broadest sense) around the world about how we should continue to perceive these two significant elements in human lives. It’s also about how we human beings perceive and treat one another.