Hong Kong’s Battle for Democracy: Thoughts From the Middle Ground

My thoughts on the situation in Hong Kong comes late like many others. People that don’t particularly want to meddle around in the grey area or get into political debates. Like many others, I stand by democracy but cannot deem myself informed enough to form a solid stance on whether the current movement is right or wrong. The theme is important and raising awareness for the cause has be more than valuable. So let us take a step back from the political debates and understand the challenges of the bigger picture.

Change management does not come overnight. For large groups of people in teams, organizations and communities to transition to desired states is not something that can be confined to the downfalls of one particular leader or government. With all great accomplishments takes enormous efforts from all parties. There are many reasons that the people of Hong Kong are asking for change. The voting system, the education system, the housing policies and many more non-locals may not be aware of. Choosing what strategy to implement and methods of evaluation should never have to come down to anyone getting physically harmed in any way, shape or form.

Billions of peoples’ lives are on the line. I say this in light of China having ruled out amending their initial decision from August 31st stating that Hong Kong’s leader will be elected in 2017 after candidates have been selected by a nominating committee made up of a proposed 1,200 people. It is difficult to imagine what consequences a shift in the voting system could potentially have on the lives of over 1.3 billion people in China. What if they too would like to seek out more democratic governing? How will a nation that large be able to focus on its economic development in the likely event that its people take to the streets to protest for democracy?

There is little middle ground available for Hong Kong’s governing system, China’s 2017 decision and the current beliefs represented by the people of Hong Kong. No one can say one party is right but what we as a global community can do is seek ways to prevent the suffering of more people. The pressure is on to resolve this problem but as we are all quite aware, the challenges will be continuing long after the current movement is over. As people that truly care, it isn’t necessarily about wearing the yellow ribbon, it’s about the fight after the media no longer sees value in reporting the matter.

A lot of us can’t help but notice that Western styles of democracy is often referenced in the current Hong Kong debates. Yes, Hong Kong is seeking out similar forms in their voting systems but it isn’t always relevant to compare them side-by-side. It has long been established that the people of Hong Kong are looking for a “one person, one vote”system where everyone has direct influence on who their next leader will be. Here in North America for the most part, we are only able to elect representatives for our communities. We are in no way directly voting for a specific leader to represent us to one overarching national governing body with a completely different political beliefs. That is why, I am hesitant to say that what Hong Kong is thriving for right now is the system that I am personally living under.

Ultimately one of the most important things to understand is we shouldn’t lose sight of why this movement began in the first place. The student leaders originally put out very ambitious proposals to the government including demands for Hong Kong’s top three officials to resign for political reasons so they can re-elect a leader they believe in under a new voting system. However, as we move away from this, we will notice that the movement is no longer solely run by and represented by people that believe in democracy, but people that are suffering under current localized issues like the increase of housing prices, unemployment and heightening poverty. The problems have always been far greater than one single voting system.

Embrace the challenges of the future and stay safe.

Advertisements

Awaken Your Empathy

The first and only step to developing empathy is to connect with people.

And it doesn’t matter if I just gave away the whole purpose of this article in one sentence because knowing and not exercising the knowledge still leaves us in the same place with people that are not aware.

Too many times we confuse having empathy with sympathy. Allow me to clarify how they are quite the opposite.

We’re all capable of expressing empathy and it’s applicable to all aspects of our lives–whether this be personal relationships or work.

Awakening individual empathy requires us to take the perspective of another. Or as we say in the most cliche way possible, “be in someone else’s shoes”.

It also requires us to refrain from judgement. When has that ever been easy for any of us? Especially since so many of us enjoy it more than we’d like to admit.

But beyond the judgmental filters, being able to sense the emotions of another regardless of how we’re personally feeling isn’t enough. Being able to not only sense, but acknowledging it through communication is what’s important.

As much as we’re capable of spreading happiness, we are also capable of feeling pain with others.

We can think of the whole process beginning from when someone falls into a deep dark well of emotions. Someone that is overwhelmed with a certain negative emotion and can’t seem to make their way back up the well. And you know what we can do for them? We can let them know that we’ve been in the same dark well and that they’re really not alone.

That’s empathy. A choice. Quite a risky choice as well because connecting with someone in a dark well of emotions means digging back to a time we ourselves experienced the same thing.

Sympathy is when someone doesn’t make the connection. When we say, “Hey, I know your relationship really isn’t working out but AT LEAST you have someone to be with”. This is what we do all the time when someone shares something with us that’s hurting them. We throw out the ‘AT LEAST’ . We try to put a silver lining around something that is incredibly painful because we want to try and make things better when it evidently won’t.

Truth be told, we can’t always expect to be able to make things better for anyone that’s in a painful whirl of emotions. Rarely does responding to someone that shared something painful with us make things better. What makes things better in the dark well of emotions is connecting with other people and that’s why support groups work so effectively.

— itsfruitcakeweather.

 

Make Your Own Life

You’ve been over this before. Frankly, your brain is sick of hearing it. There is something you want to do that you just haven’t yet. You want to go back to school, you want to start your own business, you want to learn to cook…

The non-existent book you have yet to write.

Perhaps HALF of a book draft that you just haven’t been able to bring yourself back to touching since work got in the way.

And I could go on with this list, but what’s the point? You’re such a smart cookie you’ve already got where I’m going with all this talk.

We’ve got to take the “you only live once” and direct it in the most positive way possible. It shouldn’t be an excuse for acts of recklessness. What it should help us realize, is that we ought to stop preventing ourselves from doing the things we want to.

Funny thing is, we like to assume we’re being realistic and logical for not pursuing the things we are deeply passionate about. Common logic: No money, no time, not young enough to fail again, don’t want to start over, don’t want to do something you’re not the best at etc. They say we’re afraid of failure, but it seems we also have a fear of great success. To know so much is to have more potential fear.

At some point someone might have told you you’re not capable of the thing you wanted. You didn’t want to believe it. You thought you were capable of not listening and not caring about what they said. Why is it that you went ahead and followed through on someone else’s words instead of your own?

Your single belief should be the only thing that matters.

Some of us are just naturally the ‘glass half empty’-types. We pride ourselves on being able to avoid all disappointment because of the lack of risk in our lives. And as our ancestors might have advised us from the dinosaur era, stay in a place where there is the lowest possibility of your predators ever hurting you.

There is no short-cut out of the pessimistic mindset. For every 10 lovely compliments you receive, you may only find yourself pondering the one time someone doubted you. Not only doubted your dream but also doubted you as a person. It’s important we make an effort to facilitate encouraging interaction between those that we care about and care about us in return.

We will forever notice more reasons to not do something we want than to go for it. At the end of the day, we don’t ACTUALLY need a perfect track record clear of failures in the long-run –so stop being so OCD about it. Take the first step. And if it doesn’t work? Well, now you know what the better step is to take the next time around. To give yourself a chance at succeeding is to gift yourself with a new habit; the habit of accepting better solutions to old problems.

You’re doing it for yourself. To remind yourself that you’re amazing and deserve to follow through with your own words and not others’.

Make your own life.

— itsfruitcakeweather.

How We Find Purpose

Must everything in life have a purpose?

Somewhere between the great expectations set out for our lives and accomplishing self-actualization we’ve met all someone that says they want to make big changes in the world. The change in sight is extraordinary but it’s their possession of individual purpose that engages us. Out of the blue, we set out on missions to find purpose, meaning and to answer the question ‘why?’ without truly knowing what purpose we’re referring to.

There are countless names trying to nail the specifics. Businesses may call them visions; people may have quotes to live by. It comes down to finding a place in the vast population doesn’t it?

Living in the generation of differentiation, it is presented to us that we should be embracing originality and aspects that make us gifted as individual people. As if having purpose has shifted from a modest desk job that provides free hot chocolate on a rainy day to raising millions of dollars in capital on Kickstarter and starting the next big thing.

That’s a lot of pressure we’re placing on ourselves for something supposedly known to embrace individuality.

Don’t let dreaming big be paralyzing.

Embracing oneself is to know that ‘different’ isn’t always something new –just a little change. And finding a personal purpose, mission or gift isn’t always a one-person journey of isolated self-discovery, but one that may require the encouragement of others during the ‘what-if’ stages of fear, tears and exhaustion.

Purpose isn’t some great meaning behind life waiting to be found by each and every one of us. It’s more along the lines of something we mold complementary to our personal missions. Because change is good and making a small one doesn’t mean you’ve failed to find purpose.

Perhaps we try to pinpoint the abstract idea of purpose out of habit. We’re always trying to nail the best option, figure out the perfect method to attain things we want to accomplish –in the mean time having made no change.

And just as you thought you’ve finally got a hold of the best option out there, something that better suits your mission comes up. So what do you do? Do you keep looking? Wouldn’t it be better to pursue the next-best option while looking for something that fits better and make more progress in the long-run?

Maybe the feeling of purpose and personal mission isn’t as neat and tidy as hoped.

Trying to find purpose is like telling you that the New Year will bring upon change –like saying you’ll stop looking and start doing when the hand of the clock hits 12 o’clock exactly. Does it really matter? The concept of purpose is just as abstract as the concept of time.

When we talk about finding purpose it doesn’t always have to be about a great big philosophical quest, but a process that we already know. To try and shift gears when things don’t work out.

— itsfruitcakeweather.

Are You Stuck?

Photo Source

Because I’ve been stuck for a real long time now.

Not sure what to write. Not sure where I’ll be in 2 years. Not sure where this life is taking me.

It never quite occurred to me until recently that maybe I already have the answer. All this time I’ve been focused on the answer instead of the important part: trying to form questions to an already known answer.

More often than not, we’re all chasing after happiness in life. So you see, happiness is the answer to all our questions. We’ve just been misguided to think that we can only ask ONE QUESTION to get the single answer.

We’re better than the “10 + 10 = ?” question that was asked of us in first grade. We should be seeing ” __ + __ = 20″ instead. Happiness as our answer to life is like ’20’ to ” __ + __ = 20″. There can be infinite combinations to form your question for the single result of happiness.  But there is no one way road to happiness, just many twists and turns.

So stop searching for the right answer. Maybe we’re just asking the wrong question right now.

Let us reevaluate the questions we’ve been asking ourselves and look ahead to infinite possibilities we have to shape happiness.

— itsfruitcakeweather.

5 Reasons To Love The Job You Love To Hate

job-resume

Being young and soon to be unemployed I’m already feeling the pressures of swimming in financial debt. Today was my third to last full day of work and I couldn’t help but wonder where I could possibly go from here on out in this job market.

Looking back, as much as many of us fail to appreciate sitting in an isolated cubicle sifting through papers or flipping some hamburgers on a Saturday morning shift (often times complaining about work)… there are certainly things we got out of these jobs early in our careers as “young adults”, right?

  1. You learned to fake being mature. Depending or where you’ve worked early on in your career, most often than not you had some significantly older co-workers. Perhaps they saw you as a child. Perhaps you felt the need to find relevant topics of conversation to gain their respect. Tough going being young and an adult at the same time. Faked it until you made it.
  2. The bills were paid on time. You paid the damn bills. Need I say more?
  3. One more experience to slap on that resume. Because more jobs mean more diverse experiences, meaning you’ll more likely be hired the next time around right? Because somehow flipping hamburgers or operating the dish washing machine behind some fast food franchise can magically be come transferable skills on your resume.
  4. Your boss/the customer is always right. Provided you kept the job or wanted to keep the job, I’m guessing you learned this point quite well.
  5. Even the worse job has something to teach you. Learn these lessons well. Maybe you realized what you didn’t want to do for the rest of your life. Perhaps you discovered how to deal with the toughest of people. I for one, discovered that given the choice, I wouldn’t want to be holding a 9 to 5 office job sitting in a cubicle (some people may call this ideal or dead-end depending on your perspective). So, while we do mourn over the early shifts and harsh managers there is a load to gain after all.

– itsfruitcakeweather.