Realising one's own "space" dream
An essay contest "My Space Dream", which was organised by Ta Kung Pao, a Chinese newspaper in Hong Kong, drew 1,874 contributions from students from 160 primary and secondary schools all over Hong Kong. I was invited to a prize awarding ceremony held on 25 February.
Human beings are full of imagination. While Zhuangzi is known for his imaginative creation of the legendary bird Kunpeng that was able to fly unimaginable distances in a single day, the legendary Monkey King was endowed with the power to go way up into the sky, dive deep into the ocean and travel tens of thousands kilometres with just a single somersault. Today, with advances in space technology, humans can turn our ancient ancestors' dreams into reality, sending people into space, landing on the moon, exploring the mystic cosmos, and taking in the astronomical wonders.
Young people are full of vigour and creativity, dreaming of a beautiful future. They are encouraged to dream that "one's future is as big as one's imagination". I told the audience at the ceremony that "my space dream" in Chinese could have different interpretations: either interpreted as "a dream that one has while in the space" or "a dream to travel into space". Besides, people may have different concerns when they think about dreaming in space. A lawyer might be concerned with the legal consequences, while an economist might be pre-occupied with financial implications. For an engineer, a safe return might be his major consideration!
The Chinese term for "space" can be split into two characters: tai and kong. While tai may mean "big to an unimaginable extent", kong may mean "containing nothing" or "futilely or having no result". Therefore, while students are encouraged to harbour ambitious space dreams, they should not indulge in wild fantasies, or worse, be possessed by a newly coined depressive disorder, kong xin bing, This condition, which has been discussed widely online, refers to a kind of "learning weariness" that sufferers experience because they don't see a purpose to the learning activities they feel pressured to complete.
"My space dream" is not limited to dreams to travel in space only. It also represents a person's aspirations, ambitions or goals in all kinds of spheres: art, politics, sports, economics and science. One's aspirations can be big or small, but no matter how big they are, one must start from small beginnings. If we say the distance between mountains is the clouds, or that between the trees blows the wind, then the distance between a dream and reality lies in the difference in whether or not one makes an effort to fulfill one's dreams. Rome was not built in a day. After all, dreaming without taking measures to properly fulfil the dream is a waste.
I believe Hong Kongers have good genes because of their recent immigrant history. Young people not only have the courage to dream big; they also have the strength to turn dreams into reality, startign with what they have a passion for.
13 March, 2017