Fear is Live Now
Facebook Live’s popularity has been one of the most definitive phenomena in the past year. It has further blurred and hybridised the boundaries between real life and virtual life through social media. While some might embrace it as a part of their daily lives, others may use it to solve public relations crises. While some laugh over online jokes, others might abuse the medium to exert cyberbullying. It seems that the world will never be the same again now that we have this paradoxical tool of empowerment/disempowerment. In face of the many unexpected news stories, fears permeate our lives in new forms and contexts and they escalate exponentially, as we are surrounded by the omnipresent social media.
From Brexit to Trump, the world seems to be hurtling towards the tipping point of a new order of the unforeseeable, populist, and extreme kind. Hong Kong has also gone through a series of chaotic and damaging events, from the violent disturbances in Mong Kok during the 2016 Chinese New Year Holiday, the Legislative Council oath-taking row, to interpretation of the Basic Law. Although some pundits may claim that universities are the hotbeds of rebellion, we still believe that they offer an indispensable platform for civilised exchanges of ideas, debate, and knowledge.
While fear is live now, let’s all learn how to deal with our worries, anxiety, and fears, transforming them into positive energy. To begin with, we have to understand them. While anxiety emanates from our internal world, fear is about external danger. And there are different levels of fear: apprehension, dread, panic, and terror. They are ubiquitous. They co-exist and affect us all.
So, what does the amygdala have to do with this? What are the ways out? How can we find fearlessness, counter-phobia, and courage?
We are all experiencing these challenges. And, with the new catalysts from the changes in the contemporary world, we have to unlearn and re-learn. Some relevant programmes have been curated to probe into the thematic issues from different perspectives and various spectrums. Prof. Gabriel Leung, Edward Lam, HOCC and Budming, Dr. Lau Po Hei, Dr. Allan Au and Kengo will be amongst those invited to share their views and experiences.
In addition to this theme, our flagship programme F:A:C:E: (Fascinating Arts and Cultural Experiences) will highlight the Oscar-nominee Indian musician, Ms. Bombay JR; Tribute to Yasi – our third joint-effort to commemorate our beloved poet, teacher, and friend – and many other creative choices, such as the Hong Kong Arts Festival Poetry Salon by poet Liu Wai-tong, and documentary screening of Oscar-winning filmmaker Ruby Yang.
Another GE signature series is our Rooftop Farm and its related sustainability activities, including urban farming training, Earth Day, our community farming day, and monthly harvest lunch.
If you are looking for opportunities to meet and learn with students from our internationalised community, Happy 2gether and GEST (Student Team) have a list of activities and events for you to enjoy.
Remember to check out our app, website, and Facebook page; mark your calendar for our Early Bird Lunch Party (18/1) and Enrolment (19/1), and the interdisciplinary programmes that have taken your interest. Although ‘fear is live now’, fear not, as there are many ways to view it and to deal with it. Have a cheerful and fruitful semester!
 Akhtar, S. (ed.) Fear: a dark shadow across our life span, Karnac (London), 2014.