Telling The Untold Stories

By Eamon SUEN

It was late Spring when a couple sat down with Eugene and I in Starbucks to talk about the filming for How We Met that was coming up in two weeks. They sighed slightly as they recall what they call bittersweet memories in their transition from friendship to partnership, as we listen carefully to jot down parts we wanted to include in the short film.

“So,” I asked as I checked my notes, “can you tell me one thing he did that you think was really sweet?”

“Hmm,” She hummed as she tried to find an answer, then turned and looked at him. “Do you remember that time when you put a whole pack of Haribo’s Gummy Bears in my suitcase – that I love – before I went on exchange?”

I looked at Eugene, and we agreed silently – that we are going to like what we make.

Rewind back eight months – I was just starting off with a team of 7 in Humans of HKUST with hardly subdued excitement and trepidation. We had large shoes to fill, seeing as the team last year interviewed 40 students and staff combined, published a book and saw strong support from the school. While the project has started off as a UST version of Humans of New York (HONY) two years ago, the entirely different culture and community made this project truly unique. Similar to HONY, we hoped to provide genuine and humane portrayals of the multi-faceted university community through publishing interviews with students and staff alike online.

There has always been this stringent image of our students being entirely focused on academics to the exclusion of anything else. While I found this to be more or less hearsay, there is a certain degree of truth in saying we are often too busy to care about the people that we see around us every day. We may not have actively perpetuated stereotypes, but we definitely did not make an effort to change.

I believe, as do all other members of Humans of HKUST, that everyone has a story to tell. We also believe that if everyone takes a minute or two to read about these previously unknown anecdotes, it would make it easier for them to connect with both their friends and people they don’t know. We believe that we could give a voice, an image and a presence to the hidden ones in our community, and create a warmer, cheerier place to complete our education in.

With that, we set out to do two things: conduct weekly interviews, and at the same time, roll out our new, “How We Met” Initiative. Hoping to expand and include more than individual stories, we decided to produce short films featuring how couples and friends met and the growth of their relationship. That was how we came to work with Eugene from EuCan Productions, who was the cornerstone of our success. In the end, we made a total of six short films over the spring semester, and showed them in our launch event in May. With more than 80 attendees in the event laughing and crying along with us, at that moment, I felt deeply moved about how we are making a difference in the university.

This year surged past me in a blink of an eye. Being entrusted the role to tell the stories of others has been something I am proud of, and I am looking forward to meeting more new friends, showing the world their unique narratives and breaking more walls between people. 

Eamon SUEN

Hong Kong, Chinese

Class of 2019
BBA in Global Business and Information System