May 15, 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 Saturday, 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’.
Organising Committee Chair of MEEC and Executive Vice President of the MPSA Sandy Leong (梁嘉怡) remarked that the competition was a way to encourage students to take note of the world around them, reflect on their own choices and actions, and brainstorm ways to build the just, equitable, open, respectful, and socially inclusive world that is envisioned in the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
In their essays, students reflected on the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and wrote about a variety of topics including quality education, inequalities, and their vision for the future.
“This week, we [the co-organisers] show quotes from winning essays about their vision of an inclusive world, including themes like no poverty, quality education, reduced inequalities, and the power of youth agency.
An Inclusive World is…
“…a bright and not dazzling brilliance, a mellow and not greasy sound” (Deng, Kleven, Macao Polytechnic University [MPU])
“… a world with all kinds of love is that people can love whom they love” (Lai, Jonathan Thomson, Macao Polytechnic University [MPU])
“… not about tolerating people all the time, but to have mutual respect, involve, co-exist, and to co-create” (Lin Yihua, Macao Institute for Tourism Studies [IFTM])
“…not only the mutual tolerance and understanding of people but also the mutual respect and protection of nature” (Yang Yanyu, City University of Macau)
“…a platform that enriches harmony, order and peace in fellow people, without limits by borders, race and religion” (Lao Ho Wai, Pui Ching Middle School)
“…where all people feel valued” (Chang Hio Cheng, Hou Kong Middle School Primary Section)
“…means that everyone needs to have equal opportunities” (Ha Ka Pou, Santa Rosa de Lima English Secondary School)
“…where we work together to make our Earth a better place” (Teng Wan Lam, Kao Yip Middle School)
SDG1 calls for an end to poverty in all its manifestations everywhere by 2030. People living in extreme poverty struggle to fulfil even the most basic needs like health, education, sanitation, and more.
“Poverty still hangs over innumerable families and takes myriad dreams of kids by the throat” (Rao Xin, Macau University of Science and Technology [MUST])
“The world is progressing, but the gap between rich and poor is also widening” (Lin Peng Hei, Premier School Affiliated to Hou Kong Middle School)
SDG4 aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. This includes universal literacy and numeracy for all youths and a substantial portion of adults.
“Knowledge shouldn’t be exclusive.” (Sio Ka Wun, Macau Anglican College)
Establish a welcoming learning atmosphere in which all students feel appreciated and respected” (Cai Kaka, Macau Baptist College)
“A truly inclusive education is not only about including the disabled, but also providing quality and appropriate education for the weak” (Lai Chi Ian, Premier School Affiliated to Hou Kong Middle School)
“Quality education being accessible to everyone weighs most for me as one dimension of inclusiveness” (Wang Hanyu, University of Macau)
SDG10 promotes the reduction of inequalities within and among countries. Inequalities can be based on income, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, race, class, ethnicity, religion, and more.
“We cannot choose the family conditions at birth, but shouldn’t opportunities in life be equal?” (Isaac Lau Nok Him, The Affiliated School of the University of Macau)
“To me, the construction of an inclusive world requires universal respect for human rights and the first step is to promote equality” (Jiang Heiun, Pui Ching Middle School)
“To the world, we are an invisible minority, “abnormal” to our “perfect” society” (Chan Shirin, Santa Rosa de Lima English Secondary School)
“The first and most important thing is to create a safe place where everyone can feel accepted” (Lo Iat Fong, Premier School Affiliated to Hou Kong Middle School)
“We should create a world for all people regardless of their income, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, race, class, ethnicity and religion” (Chiu Lok Man, Pui Ching Middle School)
“Equality is tremendously important for our future world and society” (Sam Chi Weng, Colégio Diocesano de São José 5)
“Deaf people’s lives would no longer be completely quiet” (Wong Ka Hei, Colégio Diocesano de São José 5)
“Everybody has an equal chance to enjoy the same rights, freedoms, and employment opportunities” (Chiu Iok Hei, Colégio Diocesano de São José 5)
“All humans are equal, nobody deserves to live in poverty due to his/her birthplace” (Leong Ka Ieng, Hou Kong Middle School Primary Section)
“The lack of understanding and absence of respect for particular cultures may lead to further misunderstanding or even conflicts.” (Chen Chi Weng, Premier School Affiliated to Hou Kong Middle School)
“We could not choose where we are born, but we are all human beings, living in the same global village” (Mao Kai Cheng, Premier School Affiliated to Hou Kong Middle School)
Harnessing the Power of Youth
Young people have the passion and ability to make decisions and drive change. Whether it’s in their own lives, in their communities, and beyond, youth agency is a right that allows young people to become architects of their own future.
“We, the young seeds planted in this significant, decisive era, are born to carry the fate of achieving our dreams of an inclusive world” (Wong Chi U, Santa Rosa de Lima English Secondary School)
“Through education and promotion, we can do more in our community” (Jovienne Lo Long Chi, Pui Ching Middle School)
“The growing contribution of sport promotes tolerance and respect, empowers women and youth, individuals and communities” (Chio Weng Ian, Colégio Diocesano de São José 5)
“We have found ourselves unique and special in various and diverse ways” (Chu Him Chon, Premier School Affiliated to Hou Kong Middle School)
“Heroes can reverse the harm with healing powers and kindness” (Bianca Lee, Macau Anglican College)
“We can create an inclusive community from our words to our actions” (Vitória Cristal Chin Pereira Norte, Pui Va Middle School)
“In my vision, our world is inclusive and peaceful” (Ng Weng Lam, Santa Rosa de Lima English Secondary School)
Conversations about inclusion are important for youths as they hold the key to our future. Read all 61 winning works in MEEC’s Essay Collection Volume 2: An Inclusive World, available online through their website: www.essaymacao.com.