This piece is a speech from Liu Yuan Yuan 刘媛媛 from China, in a competition/show called 超级演说家 (Super Public Speaker). I liked this piece very much, and also in an effort to improve both my deteriorating English and Mandarin skills, I will translate it.
I am a law student, and every professor says this in the lectures: ‘This is how it is set in the law, but in reality, ….’ Reality is a mystery. In reality, the honest people who respect the law usually go through their whole lives being unknown; whereas the people who cheat and lie are the ones who get the fame and the fortune.
Which is why for young people like myself, the older generation who seemed to have seen more of the world than us will slap you on the shoulder and say, ‘ Young man/lady, there is still much you do not understand’. My question to you is this: what can we, as the youth of this generation do for the world?’
(90后 is a phrase that indicates those who are born after 1990).
There will come a day when 90后 will be the chief bankers of the world, the entrepreneurs, even the leader of a country. But when the world is dominated by the 90后, I would like to ask you who are one of the 90后, what kind of change would you like to bring to the world we will inherit? I know not every one of us will be standing on the front line of the changing times, taking the reins of fate by hand. We are, after all, just us; just tiny screws that make up the big machine.
When we were studying our parents nag us about the importance of studies and grades; after graduation we send our resumes to every company we know of – waiting uncertainly hoping at least one company will give us a job; every festive holidays we will be asked (and nagged) when are we getting married finally; and after marriage we have to spend the next 20 years of our lives to pay back the debts.
We don’t have time. Every one of the young people are too busy making a living with no time left for dreams, no time left to care for the politics, no time left to care about the fate of the country. Who in the world even has the time and energy to care about what can they do for the world?
After some time I realized, there is the one thing you and I can do, us of this generation, and that is – on our journey to old age, we must never never become bad. Never be like the grown ups that we hated and despise when we were young.
Every common person, in our everyday-normal-jobs, to be good means everything. Every one of us, when we are born, are meant to change the world. For example, I am a law student. If one day I will become a judge, a fair and just one, then I will be able to change the society for just a tiny bit.
I hope every one of you will remember this: Even if there are a million reasons for you to do an evil deed, you must hold true to yourself. Just for that one reason: You are not a monster, you are human.
I hope every one of you 90后 will be the youths who are rare to come by, who abhor evil, who will not be pushed and influenced by what others are doing around them, who will not bow down to the powerful just because times are hard, who will not forgo your principles, and never never lose hope in humanity.
So my dear 90后, when people say to you: ‘Young man/lady, this is the way things are, you must adapt yourself to the situation’, Then it will be your cue to stand tall like the warrior that you are, look them straight in the eyes and say: ‘I am not here to adapt and change myself to conform to what society, I am here to change it.’