Celebrating the Common People
'I want to help people and I love digging into problems'
Whether we cause visible ripples in our world, like a Malala Yousefzhai or a Nelson Mandela, or we just float on the current of our lives, we all have a story. We all make ripples in someone else’s life and we all have the message of our existence to transmit. Our new series of interviews -entitled ‘Celebrating the Common People’ - is dedicated to those that may be anonymous for the world at large, but cause the ripples in our lives. We want to tell their story and give them a voice.
Dominic is an 18-year-old Hong Kong university student.
How would you describe yourself?
I would describe myself as a humble, helpful, nerdy but kind-hearted person. Some people commented me as a sociable and humorous person which is the opposite of how I see myself. Nevertheless, I am the most active and exhilarated when helping others. Yet beside these positive personalities I have my dark side. Basically rules do not constrain me. I also take revenge. So never infuriate a nice guy or you will regret it.
What shaped you to be such a person?
Lots of my qualities are shaped inborn. However, my inquisitive passion towards knowledge is due to parenting of my family. My parents worked until very late every day when I was little so I was raised by my grandmother in daytime. She is a modest old lady who wears benevolent smiles all the time. However she was not capable to keep herself interesting enough for a child to play with her all day long. Drowning myself into the ocean of books seemed to be more exciting. I kept reading encyclopedias and novels, especially the classical Chinese martial art novels. They taught me rare feats only heroes would perform, yet how vulnerable they are under their extravagant armour. Besides, however nerdy it sounds, the encyclopedia nurtured my profound interest in science, culture and history. Therefore I am becoming a doctor: I want to help people and I love digging into problems.
Are you far from the person you want to become?
No, actually I am quite close to my expectation. But I still dream of having attractive figure and being more sociable and humorous. On the serious side I want to have the humor to handle whatever life offers me.
What do you hate most about yourself?
I never work efficiently or on time. I always lack the motivation to start working. It can be a fatal weakness as a doctor. I will be stressed by the unimaginable workload and there will be barely enough time to finish them, let alone the time for me to search for motivation.
What are your beliefs?
I have a very strong belief that everyone should have the freedom to choose.
From minor things like choosing the TV channels to macro choices such as electing the politicians representing us. The lack of choice reveals a much more serious issue than itself – the hierarchy of social classes. If someone has more freedom to choose than the others, it means they are superior. Yet it should never happen as humans or even creatures are all born to be equal. Oh, I think it would be more appropriate to say that I belief in equality, the equality in opportunity. The world will be much, much more beautiful if everyone can be what they want to be.
Do you learn about equality and choices in books or from your own experience?
It is not from the books. It is neither a particular experience which drives me to think this way, but more of an accumulation of personal feelings to my life encounters. When I was small, me as a child did not have the capacity to be my agency. I did not have choice, from the food I eat to the interest class I go to, even my everyday routine was planned by my parents. All I could say was whether I like the activity or not, not to mention that they never took my preferences into account. More precisely, I did not think of the possibility of having choices. A person have only one route to go feels devastated. I felt hollow. As I grew up, I start to see options. My friends enrolled into different clubs. My classmates chose different subjects. These choices gradually matters, unlike the tiny freedom I enjoyed when I was small – KFC or McDonalds. Different options could have led to different achievements, different universities, different careers or even different lives. I started to realize the mega effect of choice. Therefore I treasure it so much and I wish everyone will have a choice that their lives will be in their hands.
What was your worst fear?
I fear that someday I could only be as good as I was in the past. The fact that I
could never become better in my life haunts me. And I am not expecting peaks or ups only. If there is no twisting plot, or the other side of the story, it would be a boring movie. Life is the same. It is always about changes, about improvements, about doing something new, about possibilities. Other than this, I am afraid of flying cockroaches and insincere friends.
Can you imagine the worst way to die?
Imagine this. Your family members are close to each other. You have a bright career future. Everyone knows you loves you. You have not been to every places you want to go but you have just saved enough for a trip to Costa Rica. Suddenly you are diagnosed of a fatal chronic disease and will die in a few months. Oh and this one: unexpected stroke which made me a vegetable. Still conscious but people do not seem to realize, I see my beloved suffer and my friends betray. I can only hold the grudge and pain until the moment I die without saying a word about what I see. Other than these I am alright with my death but SAW.
Would your life-planning be so much different from the one you had in reality if you were given 200 years to live (your stamina and brain can support the 200 years too)?
The first 80 years would be more or less the same. Yet however active I have been in social movement, it would be difficult to keep the passion for 200 years, especially when I have heard so many stories about different people in the world and I have seen so many possibilities in lives. It is more likely that I will go around the world to see more as I always have wanderlust. In the mean time I hope I can improve the world then at least every human on this planet have food, clean water, shelters and education.
If you can make a change to the world, what would it be?
I would make a universal language for all creatures so that we human can understand how animals feel about being mistreated. It is impossible to discuss animal rights without listening to their voices. Also, imagine if animals can say swear words to human when we hunt them, kill them for furs, lock them up in zoo, will we still do what we used to do without sympathy? Yes it would be sarcastic while fun. Well animals do not just complain. So we can talk to birds and make friend with trees. Basically everyone becomes Tarzan.
If you were given a wish after you die, what would it be?
I might want to keep my memory after I reincarnate. Otherwise floating around as a ghost for a year would be great too. Or maybe, to fall in love with the same person I loved next time.