Mind the Gap: What is your biggest accomplishment so far in life?

Each week, we present the same question to three people from three very different generations. This week...

Joshua Lee |

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Ally Chan, 17, Baptist Lui Ming Choi Secondary School

Defeating my inner, pessimistic self. If life was a television, I would say that my life would be from the 60s. This is because I used to view life in a very gloomy way. Whenever I failed at something, I would sulk for days, blaming myself for every mistake I made.

When I was in Form Four, I took part in a mock trial competition, but I did not win as expected. When people tried to comfort me, all I could think of was that those were words that losers like me should hear. I was easily blinded by the glory of winning and put loads of pressure on myself. I used to think that success and failure defined a person. Such beliefs dragged me down.

After long conversations with friends and family, and meeting some new people who see life in a much more lighthearted way, I have slowly come to realise that my gloomy vision of life is blocking me from reaching my full potential. Eventually, I started to enjoy life. Letting the positivity eradicate the despair I saw in life has to be my biggest achievement.

Mind the Gap: What superpower would you want for a day, and why?

Tiffany Tsoi, 25, tutor

I would definitely see organising an event which brings children happiness as my greatest achievement. I set up a campaign with an NGO, asking children to write letters to Santa Claus, which I would answer. I collected their letters, then studied the children’s psychological needs or wishes, wrote answers addressing them, and finally sent out the handwritten messages.

Children write secrets and innocent thoughts in their letters and I was touched by them. Some wished for a “housework machine” as their parents were too sick to do household chores, and some ask that a family member be brought back to life. Although I may not have been able to grant them their wishes like the “real” Santa, hopefully my letters brought them a Christmas filled with warmth and happiness. I am so proud of this accomplishment, especially when I saw the children’s smiles after reading my replies.

Mind the Gap: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live and why?

Larry Chow, 54, university professor

Making an important scientific discovery as to how to treat drug-resistant cancer. Some cancer cells are able to pump the drugs out, making them resistant to most forms of chemotherapy, which means they can’t be treated. 

Apigenin is a natural product from plants that may help to suppress some cancers. My team’s concept was to change the chemical structure of apigenin to improve its strength.

Our discovery has since been passed onto international pharmaceutical companies, who have used it to create the technology in clinical trials for cancer patients. All of this would not have been possible without my hardworking, committed and extremely talented team.

Edited by M. J. Premaratne