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Courage through connections


 

By Davin Kenneth Wong
President of The Hong Kong University Students' Union

President of the Hong Kong University Students' Union Mr Davin Kenneth Wong speaks at the Inauguration Ceremony for New Students. Photo: HKU

Professor Lung, Honourable guests, my fellow schoolmates, ladies and gentlemen. Good morning.

First and foremost, on behalf of the Hong Kong University Students' Union, I welcome you all for joining the University of Hong Kong. Enduring for over a century, it is the fresh blood like you which keeps our university young and alive.

It is the duty of every President in the Union to deliver, not only a speech, a message to our new students. Two years ago, Miss Althea Suen pinned her hope on us to become the "bastions of freedom". Last year, Mr Ed Wong reminded us to "seek truth in such a time of deception." And today I only have three simple words: courage through connections.
I think there is a need to get you all mentally prepared: it is not easy to be a university student, especially being an HKU student. Becoming an HKU student means you are constantly in conflict between societal expectations and your advocacies. You need to be utterly courageous to sail through all those winds and waves.

Talking about societal expectations, some people have said as a university student we should be preparing ourselves to contribute to the community. They are not entirely wrong, but they would be dead wrong if they expect us to obey entirely the social rules and their expectations. We are no gizmo or contrivance in the system. Bear in mind that we should be the ones who mould the society instead of the other way around. Our city's future is at stake, yet I believe it is still in our hands.

Some of you may ask "Davin, why are you making a university student's life so difficult? The game is simple: you follow the rules, you win the game." You know, playing Shakespeare is always easier than writing Shakespeare. And one day we will be the one writing our city's future into a Shakespeare piece with our imaginations and advocacies. We, HKU students, should never settle with rules and norms, but to question them, rewrite them. It takes such rebellious courage today to challenge all the gauges, for many in this society have buckled themselves under the ruling absurdity. And I guess every university student in history has a rebel in his soul, including you and me.

You may have known some names of young leaders from HKU: Mr Alex Chow, Miss Yvonne Leung, Mr Edward Leung, Mr Billy Fung, and even more. They have accomplished astonishing achievements in their young age, and of course, I am looking forward to more heroes rising in your generation, our generations. Nonetheless, the more important truth is, behind all the names you remember, there are more names you may not know. Because of the support from all those unsung heroes, one can have the courage to take such a big leap in making progress. Connections bring us greater courage. The honour of HKU has never been business of one or a few but of everyone, and it takes everyone's effort to live up the pride.

I would like to end with a quote by Professor Cora Chan, who has enlightened me both in my legal studies and my path to be a university student. On the Grand Book Launch at Loke Yew Hall on 21 October 2002, as the then-student representative, Professor Chan said "we will face daunting challenges. The past does not necessarily guarantee the future. This thought is especially disturbing when people keep telling us students that we are not as good as our previous generations. But here I assure you, we share the same commitment." Let no people underestimate us because of our young age. We are just as good and can even be better than the previous generations.

I want all of you to look at the people around. They will be your backbones someday, and we shall find confidence and faith in each other for we together have the fate to live up the virtue of HKU.

Thank you and see you around.

The article is the speech delivered by Mr Davin Kenneth Wong at the Inauguration Ceremony for HKU New Students 2018-19 on 29 August.


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