On Sunday, at twelve thirty at noon in Central (Hong Kong) a little but scattered group of people from 6 different countries (Estonia, Croatia, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil and Chile) stand amongst an apparently busy and somewhat hurried crowd. They look fairly awkward holding up these big signs saying “FREE HUGS”, opening their arms and smiling at every person that decides to give them a glance. People around them laugh, some ignore them, others whisper amongst themselves and the rest simply but wonderfully decide to take the offer.
“Why?” Some of them asked us. And we said “just because”, “just to cheer up their days”, “to make them smile”, “to transmit some positive energy”, “to make them feel a bit happier” or “just to show some love”.
Many people all around the world might already know very well about this. Some guy in some country decided to go out to the streets to give hugs to whoever who would wanna receive them and then posted a video about it in YouTube. Some of the people who saw it thought it was a pretty good idea and thus decided to imitate it and so it spread.
Although this might not be explicitly nor even implicitly stated in the big list of the UWC values I think it’s something that is worth mentioning here and worth trying too, even if it takes a whole day that you might rather spend writing your EE. I think people are often too scared of people (meaning strangers) and even though it’s true that such phobia could be justified by actual facts I think that sometimes it sadly goes out of proportion. Many problems and conflicts are fed by a negative atmosphere created by the prejudicial thought of every stranger being a hazard and/or by the illusion of solitude that we people create by putting ourselves into little bubbles that attempt to protect us but that isolate us from the rest at the same time. While it’s true that people can (and do) do things that can harm other people, it’s also true that people can show love for and to others. But chances have to be created.
The FREE HUGS movement is, of course, not an exclusively UWC thing, but it’s something that we as UWCers (and human beings) can do to help the world, if that is what we want to do. One hug at at time, they say.
. milo (Chile), LPC 06-08
– United World College Student Magazine –