前立法會議員、香港眾志創黨主席羅冠聰本月22日由英國奔赴美國,參加美國W&J College(華盛頓傑斐遜學院 (Washington & Jefferson College)頒發的該學院今屆唯一的一個榮譽博士學位,25日,羅冠聰在社交平台上載他的演講稿中英文兩個版本全文,並發文寫道:「畢業典禮演講後獲起立致敬 『我們的前路,由我們決定』。在獲頒榮譽博士前所發表畢業演講歷時頗長,能讓我深入地發表對人生的感悟,事後不僅獲得罕見的全場Standing Ovation,更有很多家長、學生前來表示自己獲得啟發。」

羅冠聰表示,希望這段演講能讓大家對何謂「成功」與「人生」有更多的思考。他說,每一次演講也都希望能因應主題、觀眾、時代背景等因素,去設計為該場合度身訂造的講稿。

但今次的畢業典禮致辭與他過去出席的所有活動都截然不同,「以往我的發言多是聚焦在香港的民主抗爭,或是分享我個人經歷從而促使聽眾更支持香港的民主運動,但今次是聚焦在一批畢業生身上,我過去的經歷只是作為帶出這些人生課堂的素材。」

因此,他在在撰寫今次的講辭時,他說,過去很多的經驗都無法參考之餘,更需要從他過去的經歷抽取一些精華,讓畢業生能在短短十數分鐘的演講中受到啟發。

總結今次演講的背景,他對這篇講稿有幾個特別的設定:

1. 在演講開首時也蹭了Taylor Swift的熱度,她在紐約大學的畢業演講獲得了空前關注,先以此先吸引學生的注意力。
2. 大多畢業演講都由「成功人士」發表,內容圍繞如何令學生獲得「成功」;但這次我希望以「失敗」作為引子,相比起令他們知道「成功」的可能性,我更希望能令他們更準備面對失敗,然後繼續前進。
3. 為了言簡意骸以及令內容更清晰地表達,我以五個要點列出希望學生能掌握的心態,從而更好地面對人生日後的挑戰。
4. 演講既對畢業生澆了一盆冷水,讓他們更清楚在人生路上會遇到的殘酷考慮,但也加上了富同理心祝福,平衡講稿對他們相對負面的感受。

解釋第4點,他補充說:
第一、無論你是多麼完美、多麼優秀的人,總會有人討厭你。
第二、尋找人生中讓你有熱情的事情。
第三、反抗。
第四、學習分辨、接受有建設性的批評,即使是最嚴厲的批評。
第五、迎向未知。

以下是羅冠聰點演講稿中文譯文。

演講全文:

早晨 !我是羅冠聰。如果你們正在期待Taylor Swift大駕光臨,很抱歉,這裏畢竟不是紐約。撇開這些玩笑,我還是在思考為何我會發表這篇講辭──一篇記載你們在華盛頓傑斐遜學院完成學業的講辭。典型的畢業典禮致辭者是政府官員、文化巨星、實業家、知名學者等等…

而我則不像他們。我無甚魅力、沒有名氣,也沒有財富。事實上,我和你們大部份都一樣:一個在叩問甚麼是「人生」的年輕人。如果你想聽一個成功勵志的故事,你大概要失望了。我的生命充斥著掙扎與失敗,而這正正是一個社運家爭取難以成功目標的生活。我們追尋能徹底改變社會的思想,貢獻我們生命的一部分來實踐那些令社會和世界變得更好的共同目標。但即時成效是難以遇上的。

大多時間,我們都難以接受失敗。以我為例,我因為香港民主所作出的抗爭而多次被捕。回顧於2016年,我在香港當選成為最年輕的立法會議員,及後中國政府因此介入剝奪我議員之位。2017年,我有一部分時間都在獄中度過。在2020年生效、由北京頒佈的國安法落實之前,我離開了香港,目前是一個被通緝的「逃犯」。我無法再踏足我所愛的城市──至少香港可以擁有民主之前。我在逃亡後,基於北京打壓異議者親友的往績,我只能夠以發聲明與家人斷絕關係作為保護他們的方法。在香港,或是中國,爭取民主、自由和公義是一個遙遠的夢想──一個難以觸及的目的地。

正因如此,我很明白失敗為何物。我更明白如何面對失敗,以及從失敗之中成長。我明白要花費很長時間,長得難以想像的時間,來看到希望,但我依然繼續嘗試。而我比其他人更明白,一個人的價值,不必然與主流社會所定義的「成功」有關。我沒有錢;沒有權力。我有的因示威集會個案而跟隨一生的案底──我一直處於不安之中。但歸根究底,我認為最重要的是你打從心底裏知道自己所珍視的是甚麼,知道自己可以為甚麼而犧牲。

如果實現香港民主以及自己的夢得到實踐,我的生命會變得完滿。但即使尚未達到這個目標,我的生命決不是毫無意義的──我為我跨過的所有難關,以及一路上的成就而驕傲。「結果」並不會定義你的成就,而「過程」會。所謂有意義的人生,我想,就是為你所相信的而抵抗到底,以及當你滿頭白髮(甚至頭髮掉光)時,望向鏡中的自己時,你不會討厭那個人。

我不再需要重申堅毅與決心的重要性,你們在過去數年以勤奮學習到達今天的境況。今天,你們比任何人都更值得這個學位。
恭喜你們!你們身邊的家人、朋友、老師們,都紛紛告訴你未來是光明的,以及未來將有刺激的歷程等待著你。我希望認同他們的說法──這是你們生命中重要的一天。

我不想在你們的畢業慶典中掃興,但我也不想偏離現實。在生命中,很多時候,事情並非如我們所期望那樣發生。生命總猝不及防地充滿挫敗,而它們甚至成為你人生的人大部分。即便如此,我還是想告訴你一切都會安好。

正因為生命總會為你帶來無法預知的事情,包括孰好孰壞的,所以你要好好準備。我希望視自己為你們的同儕,與你們類近的年輕人。在過去28年人生裡面,我經歷過一些很重要的學習,讓我成為今天的自己,以及如何誠實的對待自己。今天,我希望你能讓我向它們與分享這些課堂。
第一、無論你是多麼完美、多麼優秀的人,總會有人討厭你。
你所做的事永不可能取悅所有人。實現偉大變革的途中將挑戰到現存的想法,或是激怒不欲改變發生的人。如果有人心懷惡意地阻擋你,那不一定代表你犯錯;這或正因為你是正確的。如果你知道自己要做甚麼,就儘管去做。

毫無挑戰的生命是沒有意義的。你要對此好好預備,以及承擔當中所帶來的攻擊。你會沮喪、灰心,甚至哀痛莫名──但請不要絕望以及停止前進。建立一個機制,將你隔絕於企圖擊潰你的批評。請你勿忘初心,就向著你的目標奔跑。

第二、尋找人生中讓你有熱情的事情。
你的熱情總會在低落時拯救你。
找一些可以讓你傾力投入的事情:可能是打機、園藝、寫詩,甚麼都好。任何對你的工作或人生目標沒有幫助,但意義重大的。
它們能在你傷痛、失落,或是茫然無助的時候成為你逃離或療癒的地帶。你永遠都需要一個安全地帶,讓你不用與人比較或競爭時將你的精力抒發。

第三、反抗。
你需要反抗因為你是獨特的。你有你的想法、信念,或是那些對你重要的事。有時候你會覺得自己因此而格格不入,需要大聲吶喊。
反抗是表達、溝通,以及讓世界變得更好的方法。但也請你不要因為覺得有型,又或是因為要與人唱反調而反抗。
你要為意念、社群未來,為一些比自身宏大的事情而反抗。你會因此而成為更好的人,而且活出有意義的人生。
請你為愛而反叛。為對於人生、對於社群、或是對於朋友的愛。愛能支撐我們走過混沌、動蕩,並讓我們可以更加強大。

第四、學習分辨、接受有建設性的批評,即使是最嚴厲的批評。
有些批評企圖摧毀你,有些會協助你成長。
在逆境與挫折之中,找機會學習及煉成一個更強大的人,學習如何迎接下一個難關。把那些挫折視為對你意志的測試,每個挑戰作為品性的測試。盡可能保持冷靜;如果你覺得自己會失控,就找些時間及空間來容納更多觀點。
你必須堅定。不要因為害怕失敗而放棄;但也需要學習放棄,當你有勇氣承認錯誤以及修正錯誤時。

第五、迎向未知。
要探索、冒險,翻開那些未見之事。
世界是無從預知的──我們現在正經歷著空前絕後的全球疫症、獨裁者所發動的戰爭、甚至嬰兒配方奶粉短缺都因黨派政治而惡化……難以想像的事情層出不窮。
但它們實實在在發生了。你在課室所學習的知識不一定足夠讓你理解、安於這個世界。我們沒有必然正確的答案,亦沒有預設的路程。
人生的方向不定,有時候也不一定是壞事。我出生於藍領家庭,爸爸是建築工人,而媽媽是清潔工人。我從小被訓示要循規蹈矩,及不惹麻煩。但後來一連串的轉捩點讓我成為了自己意想不到的人,活出了一個從沒想過如此有意義的人生。
只有接受失敗的可能性、勇於冒險、明白自身的脆弱,預備好隨時適應,我們才能走上屬於自己的路。它可能會帶領你到不熟悉或是不曾知曉的地方,但它必然是一個有趣的、最能回應這個難以預料的世界的路。

讓我以個人的故事作結。在考上大學之前,我因為公開試成績比預期中差而錯失了一個學年。那時候我感到很挫敗,覺得我浪費了整整一年的時間。但也因為我遲了一年入大學,輾轉之下我在2014年,雨傘運動爆發那年,成為了學生代表。那場運動成為了香港人對抗以謊言橫行的中國政府的轉捩點。我站進了聚光燈之下,成為了社運人士──就從那起點開始,其餘都是歷史。

有時候我們發現自己置於困頓之中,總是在回顧的時候才發現那些事其實是一種祝福。對我來說,可以站在這台上也是很不容易的事。邀請一個香港社運家來校園致辭,為他頒上榮譽博士的名銜,絕對不是無須代價。我想就此再次衷心感謝華盛頓傑斐遜學院的款待以及友誼。

我們的前路,由我們決定。我會繼續前行,而我希望你也一樣。感謝你們的邀請!恭喜2022年畢業的同學﹗

英文版:
Commencement Speech
May 21, 2022

President Knapp, honorable guests, graduates, ladies and gentlemen, and anyone in between or not bound by it:

Good morning, my name is Nathan Law. For those of you expecting Taylor Swift on stage, please know that this is, unfortunately, not the New York vibe. All kidding aside, I am still making sense of why I am delivering this speech — the one speech that marks the end of your studies here at Washington and Jefferson College. The typical commencement speaker is a government official, a cultural icon, an inspirational entrepreneur, a sophisticated intellectual — and the list goes on.

Yet, I am nothing like them. I don't have the charm, nor the fame, nor the wealth. In fact, I am just like most of you: a young person finding his way through this journey called “life.” If you were expecting a success story, then I would have to let you down. My life is full of struggles and failures. And that is essentially the life of an activist fighting against almost impossible odds. We pursue ideas that fundamentally challenge our society. We devote parts of our lives to collective goals that make our communities and the world a better place. But we rarely see immediate results.

Most of the time, we find failures difficult to swallow. For me, because of my fight for democracy in Hong Kong, I was arrested a few times. Back in 2016, I was elected as the youngest legislator in Hong Kong's history, yet the Chinese government soon intervened to unseat me. I spent parts of 2017 locked up in a prison cell, And since I left the city just before the sweeping National Security Law, imposed by Beijing, went into effect in 2020, I am now a wanted fugitive. I can never go back to Hong Kong: the city I love and call home — at least not until it’s democratized. After I went into exile, given the Chinese government's long record of persecuting families of dissidents, I had to issue a statement severing ties with my family members to protect their safety, The goal of achieving democracy, freedom, and justice in Hong Kong, or even in China, is an ambitious dream, a destination that seems so far, far away, if it is ever reachable.

As such, I know a lot about failure. I know even more about dealing with failure and growing stronger after defeats. I know about the feeling that it may take a long time, longer than we can ever imagine, to see hope, but I nevertheless continue to try. And I understand perhaps more than anyone else that a person's value and self-worth are not always based on how the world commonly defines "success." I don't have money; I don't have power. What I do have is a criminal record that follows me around because of protest-related cases. I feel insecure all the time. But what I think ultimately matters is that in your heart, you know what you treasure and you know what you are willing to sacrifice for.

My life will be full if I realize the dream of democracy and freedom in Hong Kong. But my life is not empty without it, and I am always proud of the hurdles I have overcome, and what I have achieved along the way. The result does not define you as a person; the process does. To live a meaningful life, I think, is to fight for what you believe in, and when you grow old with gray hair or probably all of them are gone, you look in the mirror, and don't hate the person you see.

There is no need for me to remind you here of the importance of perseverance and determination. You have all been through years of hard work to get to this point. Today, you have earned your degree that you most definitely deserve.

Congratulations! I am sure many people in your life — family, friends, professors — have told you that the future is bright, that the adventures that lie ahead of you will be exciting. I want to echo them. This is a big day for you.

Now, while I do not want to rob this moment of celebration from you, neither do I want unrealistic. Every once in a while, things will not turn out the way you hope or expect. Most of our lives will inevitably comprise setbacks, and they may occupy a large part of your life. Please know that you will be fine.

Precisely because life can offer you so much you can never expect — both for the better and worse — that's why you need to be prepared. I like to think of myself as a peer, a young person like all of you. But in my 28 years of life so far, I have learned a few lessons that are crucial to becoming the person I am today and to reflecting honestly about myself. I hope you will allow me to share some of these with you.

1. No matter how good a person you are, or how excellent your performance is, there are always people who hate you.
a. Your work is not going to please everyone. The path toward greatness always comes with challenging existing ideas and upsetting people who do not want change. If there are hostile people standing in front of you, it does not necessarily mean that you are wrong; it could be precisely because you are right. If you know what you are doing, keep doing it.
b. A life without challenges is meaningless. You must be prepared for this, and get ready to take the hit. You can be frustrated, disheartened, or distressed by it – but never feel hopeless and stop fighting. Develop a mechanism that shields you from criticism that aims at destroying you. You have to stick to your beliefs and keep going.

2. Find your passion in life.
a. Your passion is what saves you when you feel low.
b. Find something you can dig into when you are down: Playing computer games, gardening, writing poems… anything that does not help with your life goals or work, but means a lot to you.
c. This is the escape and healing zone that you need when you are hurt, sad, or lost. You always need a safe space where you can pour your energy into, while you don’t have to compare or compete with anyone else.

3. You need to rebel.
a. You need defiance because you are unique. You have your own ideas, faith, and things that matter to you. Sometimes you feel like you are a triangle trapped into a square box, and you need to yell.
b. Rebellion is a way to express, to communicate, and to make the world a better place. But you should not rebel because you find it cool or just do not want to listen to others.
c. You always rebel for ideas, a collective future, something that is much bigger than yourself. It will push you to become a better person, to live a life with purpose.
d. Rebel for love. The love for life, for your community, for your friends…. Love is what supports us to go through turmoil, and grow stronger in and out.

4. Learn to identify and to welcome constructive criticism, including from your most ferocious critics.
a. Some criticisms are there to destroy you, some can help you grow.
b. In adversity and defeat, find opportunities to learn and to grow stronger as a person. Learn lessons to be better prepared the next time. See each setback as a test of your commitment, each challenge as a test of character. Remain calm if you can, and if you feel you’re losing control, try to seek out the time and space that will allow for perspective.
c. You also have to be committed. Don't give up because you are scared of failing. But learn to give up when you are brave enough to admit mistakes and amend errors.

5. Go into the unknown.
a. To explore, to risk, to unfold the unseen.
b. The world is completely unpredictable – we are still going through an unprecedented global pandemic, a war in Europe initiated by a dictator, even the shortage of baby formula is driven by polarized politics…. Many of these are unimaginable.
c. But they happen. What you have learned in the classroom does not necessarily equip you to predict and to be comfortable about the future. There are no model answers, no predestined paths ahead of you.
d. Life always takes unexpected turns, and sometimes they are not necessarily bad. I grew up in a blue-collar family. My father was a builder and my mother was a cleaner. I learned to keep my head down and not to rock the boat. It was only after many, many unexpected turns in my life that shaped who I am, and having a life that is much more meaningful than I have ever expected.
d. Only by accepting the possibility of failures, breathing in the bravery to adventure, understanding the vulnerability of our status, and being ready to adapt can we create our own paths.
e. It may lead you somewhere you do not know or you are not familiar with, but it is a place that interests you and best responds to this ever-changing and unpredictable world.

Let me end on a personal note. Before entering college, I actually missed a year because my public exam results were not up to my expectations. I was upset at the time and felt like I failed and wasted a year of time. But it was actually because I postponed my enrollment to college that I happened to be in a position of student leadership in 2014, when the Umbrella Movement broke out. The massive protests marked a turning point when Hongkongers stood up and resisted in the face of blatant lies from the Chinese government. I stepped into the limelight and became a student activist from that point on. As they say, the rest was history.

Sometimes we feel like we are stuck in a bad spot. It is only in retrospect that we may realize it has been a gift all along. For me to be able to even stand here on this stage today is extremely unlikely. Inviting a Hong Kong activist to campus is not easy and certainly not without cost, let alone awarding me an honorary doctorate degree. So I want to acknowledge, once again, the entire Washington and Jefferson College community for your hospitality and friendship.

Where we go from here is up to us. I know I will keep carrying on, and I hope you will, too. Thank you for having me. Congratulations to the Class of 2022! @

羅冠聰在美國華盛頓傑斐遜學院畢業典禮上發表演講。(羅冠聰Facebook)
羅冠聰在美國華盛頓傑斐遜學院畢業典禮上發表演講。(羅冠聰Facebook)

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