HOBY WLC ‘23
Uncertainty, insecurity, and fear. These are factors that hinder my willingness to embark on many unknown journeys. However, I have always felt that regret from missing out is much greater than the fear of enjoying new things. Thus, with great hesitation amidst a leap of faith, I embarked on HOBY World Leadership Congress 2023.
I still remember my very first Group Time – it was a fresh start to get to know one another and share our experiences with many new faces. Overwhelmed by the plethora of stories, movies, and jokes that felt independent and foreign to my life, I could only nod and smile, whilst sympathising with my Taiwanese groupmate who felt the same—a lonely traveller in a foreign place.
My fellow Hong Kong delegates and I felt slightly downhearted at the little gathering later that night. Nevertheless, despite the frustration, we promised to experience, embrace and enjoy to the best of our abilities what lay ahead of our journeys. It was encouraging to see all my Hong Kong friends taking a step forward to immerse themselves in an unfamiliar culture. In adversity, we are all trying our best.
I gradually experienced the ambience of the HOBY community. People here maintained a convivial mood most of the time, even the staff was dancing to the light-hearted music played with big smiley faces, which served as a positive source of motivation to me every day. I once discussed with our chaperone the reasons behind their highly sustained levels of enthusiasm. And I tend to think that it was not because of some inconceivable magic, but rather due to a habit of not concealing genuine feelings and living in the moment. To this day, I am still truly inspired by how the authenticity of this community to laugh and cry unreservedly, and to treat even the most miscellaneous of emotions seriously.
The people I met at HOBY were so lovely. My facilitator gave me a clip with the quote " You are amazing." I recall tearing up unconsciously when my group mates were talking about their own insecurities whilst holding my hand. Across 7 continents and many miles apart, those same insecurities felt extremely raw and relatable to me. Huddled in a group, we embraced our darkest fears with the promise of a better future. Whilst our group might not talk every day now, the sense of interconnectedness I felt back then is still vividly etched into my mind.
HOBY’s road under the shimmering moonlit sky felt magical. Not only because the night sky deeply captivated me, but also because it opened my path to a new friend. It was during the walk back to the dorms after Group Time when I first truly opened up to a new friend in HOBY. That night, lying on our beds, we talked about everything, from friendships, places we live, dreams to hobbies... She was not a typically bubbly person but she could always make me feel charged up. I still live in that moment.
There were talks given by keynote speakers about different topics every day, with sessions where we immersed ourselves in discourse within various communities. I particularly enjoyed the new insights gained from the Asian Community, LGBTQ+ Community and the Youth Advocates Community. After listening to everyone's sharings, I was wholeheartedly inspired. My Hong Kong delegates and I even went ahead to brainstorm several ideas and plans for bettering our communities. We also had lightning talks every night, when you had a few minutes to share your thoughts on the given keyword of that day. Additionally, there were workshops on communication and leadership skills, putting theory into practice and utilising the skills we learned over the few days. From the plethora of activities, I slowly grew a more profound understanding of my form of leadership and who I was. It felt surreal.
There was one extraordinary activity. With around 20 people sitting in a circle, the host would pick three of us to participate in an 8-minute discussion about the given topic and we would have a self-reflection time afterwards. Accompanied by soothing music, we wrote down our thoughts. Looking back at the notes I have taken, the most provoking one is the thought of how, when you are with a group of people whom you share numerous similarities with, it is much harder to fully understand yourself as it will be less obvious to distinguish yourself from others. I reminded myself to engage in insightful conversations with myself from time to time.
To summarise my HOBY WLC journey, even though I was not always the most proactive one, I have learnt to be observant and patient. Being a listener made me feel like I could shine too, instead of merely being illuminated. And I guess I started not to constantly constrain myself to the question of "What Am I?" because to define is to limit.
The HOBY WLC 23 memories are the ones that I wish I could bottle up forever and reminisce about these unforgettable moments after years, one picture as vivid as another.
Hey HOBY! Hey What! Thank you for giving me a marvellous summer and all of you who accompanied me on this magical journey. For that, I am beyond grateful!
HO, Ka Yee Yoyo
Hong Kong Ambassador
HOBY WLC ‘23
In July, I had yet another once-in-a-lifetime experience - HOBY.
Vividly, I can recall my initial hesitations before applying, as I mistakenly believed that HOBY was similar to other Model United Nations programs where I would be required to attend various world congresses and draft proposals. Consequently, fear gripped me. I was afraid of addressing large audiences of unfamiliar faces, and I worried about lacking innovative ideas compared to others when it came to different policies. However, as I look back, I am more than grateful and thankful to have made the decision to join HOBY, as it has undoubtedly surpassed all my expectations.
Whenever someone asks me about HOBY, the words "enthusiasm" and "inspiring" immediately come to mind. As I walked through the university, the HOBY staff danced to the music and warmly greeted us with enthusiastic applause. Whenever a speaker took the stage, the room erupted in waves of applause. There was one instance where ten of us from Hong Kong taught the other ambassadors a cheer called "Flee, Fly, Flow." Despite not being familiar with it, others showed their support by trying their best to follow along. During our second appearance on stage, the room echoed with chants of "Hong Kong," which filled me with immense pride for my home. We performed "See You Again," and it was during this time that the staff and delegates embraced and shed tears. This was a profoundly moving moment beyond anything I could have imagined.
The keynote speakers addressed various topics every day, including interaction and inspiration, making "inspiring" another word that comes to mind. I was genuinely surprised by the attentiveness of the other delegates to these talks, as they diligently took notes and contemplated each presentation. I was told by my group mates that this was primarily due to the absence of moral education in their upbringing, unlike us in Hong Kong. The content of these talks was completely new to them. Not only did I gain from remarkable speakers, but also from other open-minded delegates. I learned that being a good leader is not solely determined by what you can offer, but also by your willingness to make sacrifices. I learned that people challenging your ideas does not mean they are challenging you as a person. I learned that we should seek out differences in people who are similar to us, rather than only focusing on similarities with those who are different. HOBY hasn't transformed me as an individual, but it has inspired me to pursue change. During a session called "Community Space," ten of us suddenly felt compelled to establish an organization to aid the underprivileged in Hong Kong. Although this endeavour did not materialize due to our busy schedules back in Hong Kong, I believe that we have all developed a community-oriented mindset and undergone a change in our perspectives.
Listening to the stories of others has brought about the realization of my own insignificance, yet the people I encountered made me feel that there was a reason for me to be there. On the final day, an unfamiliar girl hugged me tightly and said, "You are stronger than anyone else. If I were you, I wouldn't have taken such a long flight here." This touched me deeply. Everyone here is incredibly supportive and sincere. There is no drama or arguments, only encouragement and compliments. It is saddening to think that I might never see them again, but I will never forget each person who walked into my life.
LAI, Cheuk Kiu Kiubi
Hong Kong Ambassador
HOBY WLC ‘23