Ko Notes: From Hong Kong to California

A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.

千里之行,始于足下
— 老子 (Lao Tzu)

My name is Ko, and I recently arrived in the United States from Hong Kong. While I am with the Oakland Peace Center family, I will mainly be supporting communications, branding, and partnerships. this blog will be a space where I will explore inner peace, racial justice, and social equity through my weekly readings, which you can also follow through our #pagestowardpeace social media campaign on facebook, instagram, and twitter.

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My initial passion for joining the Oakland Peace Center was the organization’s vision alignment around peace, nonviolence, dignity, and equity. Without peace as a constantly negotiated baseline in our communities, there is little that we can achieve. The space of this blog is not just my space, but I am opening it up to you all to express your feelings and thoughts around the topics discussed. Leave your comments below! 

My awareness of the importance of peace emerged when I took my first flight alone at the age of 13. I flew to the United Kingdom without speaking English very well. Upon arrival, I tried to contact my host family by asking people around me to lend me their phones. The first guy I approached immediately insulted me because of my accent and continually offended me by accusing me of attempted robbery.   

I had never traveled abroad solo. Without an internet connection and having encountered a few troubling incidents on that trip, I felt extremely isolated and at times, threatened.  

My concept of peace began to emerge through my survival adaptations to an unpeaceful environment, and I was able to acknowledge the power of peace through the absence of it. 

I am born and raised in Hong Kong, and up until recently, peace was taken for granted. People from Hong Kong would often not speak about peace until they planned to travel abroad. There was an often-stated misconception that, “everywhere else is tremendously dangerous outside of Hong Kong.” 

It is ironic that Hong Kong, renowned as one of the world’s most peaceful cities in the world, is now a chaotic battlefield. Political unrest in Hong Kong is caused by complex institutional and systemic problems emerging from the preparations made by both the British and Chinese governments regarding handover issues. Unlike the rest of the former colonies, Hong Kong has a unique political and economic status. The problems now are simply manifestations of the roots of the past. 

Without peace, we cannot move forward. To build and maintain peace in our surroundings, we must first begin with inner peace. And through my writings here, I will be sharing ways in which the process of building inner peace intersects with building it within our communities, both here in the US and in Hong Kong.