The video is more grist for the mill of the growing number of people in the city of 7 million who look askance at the younger generation. As the proportion of the population who are elderly steadily rises, recent surveys reveal that they feel Hong Kong is going downhill because of youngsters lacking all virtues except entertainmentelectronics expertise.
“Our studies clearly show that Hong Kongers have a generally negative impression of young people here,” said Angela Ngai, supervisor of the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups (HKFYG), which asked hundreds of adults about their opinion of the city’s youth.
“Nevertheless,” she added, “the generations must mutually accept one other despite differences in experiences and values between older and younger people.”
Nine in ten respondents in the HKFYG survey agreed with the description of Hong Kong’s youth as “spoiled rotten.” Three-quarters said that someone who had grown up in luxury had no right to question the authority of his or her elders.
If there is anything admirable about the younger generation, the consensus was, then that is only the ability to perfectly master computers, iPhones and iPods.
One in ten respondents saw absolutely nothing admirable at all in Hong Kong’s youth. Sixty-six per cent said their character was so bad that the city would be a worse place in the future. The conclusions of the survey were scathing: Young people failed miserably in the areas of integrity, morality, punctuality, industry, helpfulness and politeness.
According to government figures, 6.2 per cent of Hong Kong’s inhabitants are older than 75 at present, a number expected to increase to 16 per cent by 2039. Then young people under 15 years of age are predicted to make up just 10.5 per cent of the population.
This demographic development, city politicians and experts say, makes it vital that the generations get along well. Otherwise the prospects for the city’s social fabric look bleak.
Not surprisingly, many members of the younger generation are not willing to take their elders’ broadsides lying down. An increasing number of young celebrities are voicing support for “misunderstood” youth.
Victoria Wang, a prominent stock exchange speculator with middle age still ahead of her, does not share the view that Hong Kong’s youth are morally debased. As she sees it, the majority of young people have good manners and the real problem lies in parents’ excessive demands on their children. Wang is optimistic.
“Young people are gradually maturing and becoming better people. Then they’ll be a plus in Hong Kong’s future,” she said.