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Corrupt the Youth: why a Hong Kong philosophy group believes questioning everything can give your life new meaning – YP

In advance of Yeung Chun-yin had even stepped foot in a philosophy course in college, he was previously recognized for getting an inquisitive pupil who loved to question why.

In his secondary college a long time, he recalled posing questions during biology classes: “Of course, we must defend each individual animal, but we have been discussing that, beneath confined resources, we really should prioritise safeguarding those people that are endangered – but why?”

“I just felt these inquiries have been unsettled,” stated the 38-calendar year-outdated, who is a single of 13 co-founders of a beloved philosophy team in Hong Kong, referred to as Corrupt the Youth 好青年荼毒室.

Considering that starting off up six years in the past, the group has labored to boost philosophy in an obtainable and relatable way by means of tv shows, instructional talks, podcasts and YouTube video clips – their channel now features a lot more than 123,000 subscribers.

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But just before the group’s achievement in popularising philosophy in Hong Kong, it had taken Yeung two bachelor’s levels to come across his way to this path.

It was not until finally his third 12 months finding out social sciences at the College of Hong Kong (HKU) that Yeung considered philosophy.

“I arrived to realise that I did not want to only live for ‘instrumental values’ like cash or a certain way of dwelling,” he explained, referring to a term in ethical philosophy that describes something that allows you accomplish a purpose even if it is not satisfying at the moment. “If achievable, I hope to make a compact contribution to humanity’s awareness.”

Following three a long time of finding out social sciences at HKU, Yeung Chun-yin realised he in fact desired to review philosophy. Photograph: Jonathan Wong

After graduating from HKU, he pursued a 2nd bachelor’s diploma in philosophy at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK).

“It was not frequent to see people today examine for two undergraduate degrees, but philosophy gave me courage since it led me to think about what is significant,” Yeung reported. “I will not be ashamed to stick to my coronary heart.”

At CUHK, Yeung bonded with like-minded peers, this kind of as Lau Ho-hin, a different founder of the group.

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Like Yeung, Lau dived into the subject matter in research of answers. For his affiliate degree at HKU Place, he took an introductory system on philosophy.

“I was hooked on the subject as I observed those people [fundamental] thoughts so attractive,” he reported.

When most other subjects demanded students to memorise product responses and theories, philosophy was distinct. Lecturers would introduce diverse philosophers’ sayings and thoughts on an difficulty, but there was not a singular answer to ascertain what was ideal or mistaken.

“I was not glad and went on to examine books to obtain solutions. The working experience reworked me by triggering my curiosity,” claimed Lau, who later on graduated with a master’s diploma in philosophy from CUHK.

Finding out philosophy has unlocked a spark of curiosity for Lau Ho-hin. Picture: Jonathan Wong

To share their thirst for knowledge with other Hongkongers, Lau, Yeung and 11 of their friends launched Corrupt the Youth in 2016.

“It is a sarcastic title,” explained Yeung, who is a part-time lecturer at CUHK.

He spelled out that it was motivated by the death of historical Greek thinker Socrates who was condemned for corrupting the youth of Athens by encouraging them to dilemma the standing quo.

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Yeung included: “We … [target] the ‘good youth’. What is outlined as getting a ‘good youth’ in our culture is to toe the line and dwell a existence that other folks deem as very good, without the need of reflecting on these norms.”

But the duo sees this as a fallacious intention: “We want persons to think about whether the social norms … are right and relevant to them.”

The two consider that right after “good youth” are “corrupted” by philosophical wondering, they will no more time mindlessly comply with society’s anticipations.

To illustrate philosophy’s relevance to folks from all walks of everyday living, the group not only discusses main troubles this sort of as the which means of daily life or joy, but they also collaborate with attendees to extend the discussion to subject areas ranging from pop culture to literature.

Very last July, well known songstress Serrini Leung invited the philosophers to communicate at her concert and market their books.

“We marketed hundreds of publications – much more than a bookstore could make in a working day,” stated Yeung.

The response to their endeavours to market philosophical dialogue has been unexpectedly too much to handle.

Previous November, the group introduced a crowdfunding marketing campaign to raise HK$600,000 to generate their very own philosophy programme on YouTube, changing their axed discuss display on general public broadcaster RTHK. Within just 50 % a working day, they had currently exceeded their focus on.

“We ended up above the moon,” claimed Yeung, stressing that this showed Hongkongers ended up intrigued in philosophy but just essential an obtainable way to learn.

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Despite the fact that their down-to-earth philosophy education has popularised the subject, they have been accused of oversimplifying suggestions and theories.

But the two disagreed with these critics: “Some say we really do not use technical terms … but the finest component of philosophy is the considering itself. The jargon is just the device.”

In the world wide web period, Lau mentioned that youth necessary the capability to recognize trustworthy info. But this coaching is lacking in the city’s education technique.

“Most of the subjects are just about memorising textbook expertise,” he said. “[Critical thinking] can not be obtained by memorising expertise.”

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Yeung added that even if philosophy was not its own subject in the curriculum, it could be a framework for coaching pupils to consider critically and build the routine of asking why.

“Don’t be content with the product reply. Every little thing has a philosophy driving it, and even anything compact in life has home for discussion and wondering,” he explained.

“This will make your life diverse.”

Inquisitive 好奇

Getting or showing an curiosity in mastering matters curious

Corrupt 荼毒

Lead to to come to be morally wicked

Sarcastic 諷刺的

Marked by or provided to making use of irony in get to mock or express contempt

Condemned 被判死刑

Sentenced to a individual punishment, specially demise

Position quo 現狀

The existing condition of affairs, especially concerning social or political challenges

Fallacious 錯誤的

Primarily based on a mistaken belief

Toe the line 循規蹈矩

Settle for the authority, procedures, or concepts of a individual team, primarily unwillingly