Late Night Blogging @IBWSC

August 14, 2013 / by / 0 Comment

It’s late at night after the second official day of IBWSC 2013 at the Hong Kong University now, and according to the official time, it’s past midnight, so I’m already technically on the third day, the third of five short days.

Yet despite the brevity of the event in relation to everything else I have gone through and will go through in my life, including my time as an IB student, my experience here so far is definitely one of the experiences which I will remember for the rest of my life. Although I am from Hong Kong, the time spent in my hometown as part of IBWSC so far is definitely very different from what I have otherwise experienced outside of the IB World Student Conference. Sure, on the geographical, culinary and cultural side of things, I may be exposed to much more of Hong Kong than most of the participants in this conference due to my status as a local participant. Yet despite this, every single minute would prove to be a new experience to me. For example, yesterday’s trip up the peak would have been something I would not normally do, as it was more of a tourist area with little real reason for a local to be there. Besides, it was not my first time up there in the first place. Yet precisely because there were other IB students like me together there, my experience on the peak was very different. Because they were there, it was not just sightseeing. It was a social event, another reason to get to know more about each other, a sort of lubricant for interaction between us IB students of different nationalities and backgrounds. Watching others appreciate one of the most famous night views of the world, and one of my hometown nonetheless was also a rather humbling moment, seeing as the peak was so cherished by them in something that I would have viewed as ordinary. There is so much that I take for granted, when there is so much that is special, that which is unique. It really made me rethink about myself as a Hong Konger, and what I really should cherish about my hometown.

And similarly, Cyberport was not exactly a place where a Hong Konger would typically go to. Yet it was included within the itinerary of IBWSC. Although I have indeed been there once or twice, it was completely new to me, getting to know the happenings that occur within Cyberport, and getting to know more about Hong Kong’s digital broadcasting industry, including that of a major radio broadcaster of Hong Kong. These are some of the things that are new to me. Indeed, thinking back, Hong Kong is a place familiar, yet still foreign and novel, even for a local. There is always so much to see, so much to do, so much to feel that one can never truly say when one has really “seen” Hong Kong.

And not only that. The people aspect was something which I definitely appreciated and was amazed. Without IBWSC, how could I be in touch with so many fellow IB students like myself from around the world? From China to Malaysia, from India to the United States, from Spain to Fiji and from Kazakhstan to Bosnia, where else could I ever be in touch with so may people from such a diverse range of nationalities and cultures? And yet, we are united, as students of IB. What really struck me was how easy it was to related to everyone else despite their background and culture, since somehow, everyone seemed to have so much in common inside! This I suppose is one of the main things that I would take away from this conference. That we are all different, but same at the same time. And it is this people aspect that makes my experience in IBWSC so memorable so far, because it is one of the few rare occasions in a lifetime that people from around the world could get to interact and know more about each other and their respective cultures and backgrounds under a common platform.

That is not to say that the speakers present, many specially hired for the conferences, were any less important. As the main highlight of IBWSC, their speeches and talks were definitely a major focal point of the event. And many I would admit certainly gave me a new outlook on the digital world and social media. We often see our lives on the Internet dominated by these select few sites, yet there are so many other startups out there. In terms of power pound for pound, these startups would certainly be utterly dominated by the larger sites and corporations, yet they are still around. How? Innovation. One thing in common with many of the speakers was that they could manage to tap into a niche market and capture the market before the larger companies do, staking out their own unique plot of cyberspace that was their own domain. And this certainly commands my respect and admiration. To not only be able to identify problems and limitations in the modern world, then then tap into the booming social media market and set up sites to address the need, and then perform well is certainly no small achievement. Indeed, given it were myself in the startup position, I would have flopped the company in less than a month! Yet these innovators have not only managed to keep their startup businesses afloat, but carved out their own market for themselves. It is this that makes their actions all that respectable and awe-inspiring.

And for the other speakers, they really taught me much, being able to make use of novel and interesting methods in order for me and others to learn more about smart use of the digital world, or as IBWSC puts it so nicely, i-responsibility. Through their information sessions, I have learnt more about different aspects of internet security, from validating truth to obtaining the truth in the first place amidst censorship and more. It would certainly help me better hone my information-gathering skills and abilities in the explosion of information, things which are extremely beneficial and helpful in the world of today, where the digital and physical worlds are so closely and intricately linked.

Overall, my experience at IBWSC so far has definitely been a captivating, awe-inspiring and memorable experience. Not only has it taught me much more about its core theme of iResponsibility, it has also enabled me to be connected with so many of my counterparts from around the world, and exposed me to another aspect of the familiar yet foreign city of Hong Kong that I call home. It is what makes IBWSC such a captivating and unforgettable experience, and one which I will cherish for the rest of my life.

Andy Chan Hiu Keung, Hong Kong