Formulating a Comprehensive Youth Policy

Speech of the Hon K P Chan, JP at the Legislative Council on 4 February 2010, Motion Debate on Formulating Comprehensive Youth Policy

MR PRESIDENT: Youth problem has become a cause of grave concern lately. Further to emerging issues in recent years like inherited poverty, double no, compensated dating and drug abuse, young people nowadays are marching on streets to protest against different causes. These are not coincidence but outcome of prolonged grievances. Today, I would like to focus on analyzing what make young people so aggrieved.

Youth problems such as drug addiction, compensated-dating and hide-away etc used to stem from bewilderment and relapse. They used to be associated with poverty and troubled families. However, a new wave of youth problem is getting shape recently. It is different in nature from classical problems in that the source of trouble is lack of opportunity to progress. It is developing into new class conflicts.

Unlike classical young rascals, they do not belong to a lost generation. On the contrary, they are hardworking and striving to accomplish. It is the lack of opportunities of advancement that is frustrating their efforts. In the lapse of time, the sense of non-achievement is turning into sentiment of dissatisfaction.

As a business executive, I am well aware of the development. Earlier, I have moved to debate at this Council on campaigning for new occupational culture of work-life balance. One of the purposes of the campaign is to help the younger generation subscribe to this new culture and relieve stress from the frustration of low social mobility. In turn, it may help redress their grievances.

I support and encourage young people to take active part in community affairs. Through participation, they will get to know the issue in question and come to realize that problems are often more complex than they may appear. It is a learning process. Many of our community leaders today were social activists too when they were young. What worries me is the fanatic. In every generation, there are young people whose passion often override common sense and tend to be uncompromising in behaviours.

As I have just mentioned, young people are often motivated by passion. All walks of life including the media should endeavour to convey proper messages, project positives values and show them the truth. All of us should always ask ourselves the question: Have we done so? I am convinced that the situation would only deteriorate to become another “underlying conflict” with far-reaching implications. I urge the Government to take prompt and proper actions to contain and redress these conflicts.

Today, my fellow colleagues have put forward a lot of suggestions and solutions. The original Motion asks the Government to recommend a comprehensive youth policy. I agree to all of them. When this new wave of youth problem first emerged, it was notattended to seriously and allowed to get really worse. Apparently, our society is spending too much time on arguing politics and too little time on improving people’s livelihood.

Lastly, I fully support the Government taking the lead to explore and encourage career development for young people on the Mainland. Better language training in Putonghua and civic education in state affairs are essential. So are more trainee and exchange programmes on the Mainland. Our economy is maturing and undergoing restructure. It is a reality that social mobility is becoming less dynamic. With its expansive horizon, there is no better choice than the Mainland for our younger generation to explore opportunities and realize their talents.

With these remarks, I support the Motion.

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