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Rebelling Against The Herd

Rebelling Against The Herd

Wong Yu Ching's Story
Faculty of Law

Faced with a well-trodden path and a wild yet irresistibly beckoning one, would you really forge into the unknown?  Natalie Wong (LLB) said yes. Going against convention, she put the legal field on hold and pursued her true desire.

Natalie made a unique decision after graduating from the LLB programme. Instead of taking the PCLL (i.e. the postgraduate legal qualification programme, which many law students have a love-hate relationship with), she wrote and published a collection of Chinese short stories. Her Chinese book publication entitled "蜉蝣浪事", inspired by her observations and personal experiences, was supported by the CEDARS’ F: A: C: E: Subsidy.

Photo of book publised by Natalie

Natalie knew in her heart that law wasn’t her true calling. A self-professed rock ‘n’ roll spirit, she particularly disliked the emphasis placed on consistency and authority during her legal internships. “Yes, the law firms where I did my internships were very glamourous,” she said, “but I couldn’t find the creativity I wanted.”

“Creativity comes from the freedom to express yourself,” Natalie continued. Long before her graduation, she’d already decided to pursue an artistic path. “I prefer the realm of art, where you don’t have to bow to hierarchy. Instead, you have the choice to be groundbreaking,”

Not surprisingly, some of her loved ones weren’t too happy with her choice. “My parents expected me to become a lawyer,” said Natalie. “They didn’t want me to become a struggling artist!”

There was also an invisible pressure from her course mates. “People can be judgmental about your personal choices, especially in a small sphere where everybody knows everybody,” said Natalie with nonchalance. “But you shouldn’t be swayed — if you believe in yourself, you should keep going.”

Photo of Natalie with friends
"Why be a copycat? Why should you let the desire of others override yours?”

But the safety of crowds often lures people away from their true desires. After all, it’s the easy choice (or non-choice) to make: no resistance, no snide remarks, and no insecurity. On herd mentality, Natalie mused: “It’s easy to succumb to the majority. But everyone has the freedom to have their individual preferences — why be a copycat? Why should you let the desire of others override yours?”

In the future, Natalie aims at writing plays and finding her creative space. “I don’t care too much for fame or money.” Her voice is firm. “I want to create in a music-filled studio where I have the freedom to express myself.”

Yeats wrote: “Hands, [...] Bring the balloon of the mind / That belies in the wind / Into its narrow shed”. It could be an allegory for writing, or an allegory for life – for our human capacity to force our dreams into reality, despite the forces that act against us. The freedom of self-expression allows one, above all, “to thine own self be true”.

Written by: 
Gabrielle Tse, 
Year 4, Faculty of Arts
October 2020

Rebelling Against The Herd