May 22, 2023 | Published in the Macau Post Daily
Organised by the Macao Professional Speaking Association (MPSA) and co-organised by Language Exchange & Cultural Promotion Association, Society of Food & Environmental Health (Macao), and Sustainable Development Association, the Macao-wide English Essay Competition (MEEC) wrapped up its 2022-2023 competition with an award ceremony on May 13 at the Macao Science Centre.
Individual and group awards were presented, and student representatives were invited to share their winning essays in the form of speeches. A lively panel discussion led by the emcees with the student representatives explored what they had written and their thoughts on the theme: ‘An Inclusive World’. In their essays, students reflected on the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and wrote about a variety of topics including quality education, inequalities, and their vision for the future.
“This week, we share quotes for winning essays about peace, justice, and strong institutions, gender equality, climate change, life below water, life on land, and visions for the future.
Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions
SDG16 is about promoting peaceful and inclusive societies, providing access to justice for all and building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.
“The world we envision is a world of inclusion, where 7 billion people vow to join their forces to promise and work on a safe and sustainable future” (Chan Leong Seng, University of Macau [UM])
“It is a trap to think that our own needs have nothing to do with the needs of others” (Wong On U, School of the Nations)
“Although they are seemingly far away from us, there are still ways to take action, for instance, supporting migrants and refugees in your community,” (Chan Hoi Tong, Premier School Affiliated to Hou Kong Middle School)
“Acknowledging the need for inclusivity is a vital step to improving global equity” (Wong In Seong, The International School of Macao [TIS])
SDG5 aims to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. Inequalities faced by girls can begin right at birth and follow them all their lives.
“Our chances are limited because of our gender. Why?” (Cintia Leong Ian Ut, Pui Ching Middle School)
“The discrimination of gender is not just an issue to human rights, but a tremendous damage to the social structure and a waste of human potential” (Vong Chi Cheng, Colégio Diocesano de São José 6)
“Who said a girl cannot be a prefect, a class captain, a chairperson, or a president?” (Leung Yan Yuet, Premier School Affiliated to Hou Kong Middle School)
“Girls’ circumstances at school should be brought to the forefront” (Lam In Tan, Hou Kong Middle School Primary Section)
“How different will it be if we can live in an inclusive world where men and women, boys and girls, have equal resources, have equal chances, and have equal rights?” (Ng Wai Kei, Premier School Affiliated to Hou Kong Middle School)
“What we need is equitable opportunities for everyone, no matter their gender or ethnicity” (Ana Guo, Pui Ching Middle School)
“Gender equality is essential to achieve peaceful societies, with full human potential and sustainable development” (Wu Kuan Kit, Escola Choi Nong Chi Tai)
“I understand that not everyone conforms to the division of boys or girls” (Tang Sin Chi, Premier School Affiliated to Hou Kong Middle School)
“My vision is that children should grow up and be taught that the world is fair for all genders” (Chan Wai Lam, The International School of Macao [TIS])
“It is hoped that one day, all women could be free from the shackles of prejudice; they would be free to be themselves.” (Ho Seng Ian, Yuet Wah College)
Climate Action, Life Below Water, and Life On Land
SDG13 advocates for taking urgent action to tackle climate change and its impacts. SDG14 looks for ways to conserve and sustainably use the world’s oceans, seas, and marine resources. SDG15 is about sustainably managing forests, combat[ting] desertification, and halting biodiversity loss.
“We had lost years of progress from escalating conflicts to climate breakdowns” (Leonie Holly Quinn, Santa Rosa de Lima English Secondary School)
“Let’s start today to conserve our beautiful marine lives and make our world a suitable habitat” (Sze Weng Teng, Pui Ching Middle School)
“it is crucial for people to live in a sustainable world where animals are protected and the environment is preserved”(Chan Chi Cheng, Santa Rosa de Lima English Secondary School)
On Barriers to Inclusion
Many barriers exist that inhibit people from participating with dignity and respect in the world. These include unconscious bias, lack of representation, insensitivity, and even physical barriers.
“There are still many voices that have not been heard, and there are still many plights that have not been seen” (Zhang Lin Xin, University of Macau [UM])
“Artificial intelligence is making life easier for many people, also bringing barriers to some” (Ao Ieong Cheok Ian, Hou Kong Middle School Primary Section)
“For me, an inclusive world means that there’s no digital divide around the world” (Wang Jia Hui, Macao Polytechnic University [MPU])
“SDGs are a great framework for thinking about how to make the world more inclusive” (U Si Cheng, Pui Ching Middle School)
“Will our future: Be safer to live? Be less polluting? Be equitable? Be more sustainable? Be freed of mental health stigma?” (Judy Chiang Guo, City University of Macau)
“We are standing at the crossroads to the future, facing a choice” (Jayden Chen, Premier School Affiliated to Hou Kong Middle School)
“I look back ten years past and all I see is hate and prejudice but as I look ten years onwards, I envision a girl like me” (Fong Po Lam, Macau Anglican College)
“The world we are destined to create in 2030 should be a haven for everyone, no matter how ‘different’ others paint them to be” (Jonathan Robert Feather Ruggles, The International School of Macao [TIS])
“I wish for a harmonious future in which people from all nations respect one another, cooperate, and build amicable relationships” (Li Nga Ching, Escola Choi Nong Chi Tai)
“It is time to plan a future for everyone instead of a select few” (Fong Iao Nam, Pui Ching Middle School)
“Every person on the planet is a common entity, interlocked, and each is an important part of the community” (Weng Yu Xiang, Lou Hau High School)
“We all have the responsibility to create an embracive world, a world the living ones, and the coming generations can enjoy” (Nathan San Chong Hong, Yuet Wah College)
Conversations about inclusion are important for youths as they hold the key to our future. Read all the 61-winning works in MEEC’s Essay Collection Volume 2: An Inclusive World, available online through their website: www.essaymacao.com.”