A journalism student’s path to transforming adversity into positivity

30 Apr 2024

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HKBU student Rex Cheuk suffers from paralysis due to a surfing accident, but his resilient spirit keeps him motivated to pursue his goal of becoming a journalist.


For Rex Cheuk, what started as a fun summer surfing trip in Thailand during his last year of secondary school turned tragic in an instant. An accident in the water left him paralysed from the waist down. Yet despite this life-changing setback, he refused to let it define him.

Following a year of treatment and rehabilitation, Rex focused on regaining his independence and changing his attitude towards his physical abilities. “By changing my attitude, I started to not look at what I am not able to do, but to look for new interests and to embrace a new life,” he says. With this new attitude, he started to pursue a new goal of becoming a journalist.

Rex was admitted to HKBU’s Bachelor of Communication (Hons) in Journalism and Digital Media programme, and he soon immersed himself in learning. Among his favourite classes were Journalism Practicum as well as Broadcast Reporting and Production. “During my studies, I had the opportunity to gain real-world reporting experience. This helped me better understand how important news reporting is in keeping the public informed, and how feature reporting offers an engaging opportunity to delve into the stories of individuals from different walks of life,” he says.

He finds developing news features particularly rewarding. One of the projects he worked on centred around Hong Kong’s independent music culture. “The project presented a great occasion for me to interview various people who were involved in the local music scene, including bands, fans and concert operators,” he recalls.

Other than striving for academic studies, Rex has a vibrant university life just like any other student. He has a wonderful time living on campus and enjoys the community aspects of dormitory life. “The dormitory has such a welcoming atmosphere, and people are nice and friendly. The students often offer words of encouragement, help others with difficult assignments and provide emotional support when needed,” he says.

He also thrives through an internship with a financial information company, which enabled him to apply what he learnt in the classroom and hone his skills in news reporting. Eager to broaden his horizons, he also sought out an exchange programme at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. “The international exchange experience has expanded my perspectives as I explored other academic subjects I was interested in. I also had the chance to exchange ideas with students from different cultures, and go on adventures across Europe,” Rex says.

When not studying, Rex maintains an active lifestyle. Besides being passionate about photography and movie-watching, he has taken up sailing. “I found that sailing can be a thrilling experience, especially during a race, but I also enjoy sailing leisurely, as that allows me to appreciate the beauty and serenity of nature,” he says.

Today, Rex looks forward to a career as a journalist. He also advocates for inclusion in the workplace. As an ambassador for the Hong Kong Federation of Handicapped Youth, he promotes inclusiveness through workshops in primary and secondary schools.

“I believe that misfortune does not necessarily change one’s life for the worse, as it depends on how we perceive the situation, and whether we take steps to change it,” Rex says. “The desire to move forward and explore further in life keeps me motivated to overcome the difficulties posed by my physical challenges.” For Rex, adversity is but an opportunity to realise potentials, build resilience and transform lives – starting first with his own.