Mind the Gap: If you could learn one new skill, what skill would you learn and why?

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

Joshua Lee |

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Hayden Young, 17, Australian International School Hong Kong

If I could learn one new skill, it would be filmmaking. I’ve always enjoyed being creative, but I tend to stick to more traditional forms of media. Now, thanks to editing software like After Effects, motion graphics is becoming a more accessible art form.

I believe learning about motion graphics would improve my jobs prospects in the creative industry, no matter what field I eventually decide to enter. When I was younger, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to take part in extracurricular activities. I was particularly into gymnastics, ice skating, and hockey. I eventually gave up on these passions when I fell in love with art.

The truth is, we constantly change as human beings. That means sometimes we change our beliefs, interests, and friendship groups. Yes, sometimes you might feel a twinge of regret when you see others excelling in your once-favourite sport and you might think, “That could’ve been me, if I hadn’t given up.” However, life is all about making sacrifices to find your ultimate passion.

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Kit Cheung, 29, Social Worker

I think that achieving a sustainable work/life balance is the most important skill anyone could learn. This is particularly true for social work professionals who often deal with high-stress situations. Maintaining a balance between reaching your career potential without losing sight of family, friends, and health is a challenge.

When this goal becomes overwhelming, I turn to The Invitation, a poem written by Oriah Mountain Dreamer. The first line reads, “It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.” These words immediately centre me and I am reminded that my passion to bridge social gaps is so much more than just a job title. In a sense, to continue loving what I do, I must feel fulfilled in all aspects of my life.

Learning how to find that perfect life balance may take another year, or another decade, or a lifetime, but have patience and do not give up the search. My hope is for everyone to live a fulfilling existence without having to give up any aspect of themselves.

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Wang Hua-min, 63, Retired

It would be photography for me – and I'm working on it already. Now that I’m retired, I have the time to travel and take photos.

I’ve spent most of my life devoted to my work and my family, so I’ve barely had any time to spend on myself, let alone to travel the world and see nature’s wonders. Sure, it only takes a pair of eyes to “see”, but sometimes the amazing things you’ve seen become a blur in your memory after a while. With photography, you get to see things as vividly as the day you saw them in real life. Taking photos also allows you to share your take on the world with your loved ones.

In addition, photography is something you can do and enjoy alone, with minimum effort. I like spending time by myself, so that’s perfect for me. I’ve already got my hands on some decent equipment, too. My daughter is quite a shutterbug and, now that she’s upgraded to a fancier model, I’ve just been given her old DSLR and two beautiful lenses. What’s a win for her is a win for me!

Edited by Charlotte Ames-Ettridge