Youth find identity, sense of belonging through 'tribes'

PUBLISHED : Friday, 18 October, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 18 October, 2002, 12:00am

Who am I and where do I belong? If these questions ring a bell, it is because all of us have, at one stage or another, wondered about our identity and sense of belonging.

Have you ever wanted to be different but at the same time be able to identify with someone? Who did you want to be?

For the whole of next week, Young Post will venture into the concrete jungle and talk to five youth 'tribes' who have unique and distinctive identities.

The way they talk, the way they walk - each 'tribe' has its own culture.

You will meet skate-boarders who cruise the city on a set of wheels, public housing estate teenagers who stay out till the wee hours, and South Asian youth who are torn between two cultures, as well as student leaders and young artists who search for ideas and aspirations.

'During adolescence, young people are searching for their own identity,' said Dr Cheung Chau-kiu of City University's Applied Social Studies department. 'But it's hard for them to build up their self-image alone, therefore they do it by forming groups.'

Another expert from the department, Dr Dennis Wong Sing-wing, said that by forming 'tribes', young people could get help, support and a sense of security from their peers.

The rebellious nature of adolescents also plays a role.

'There are many things that young people do not dare do on their own. However, with a group of people, they have more power and confidence,' he said.

'They may behave in extreme ways and challenge the beliefs and authority of adults, including their parents, and of society in general.'

How do you see yourself? Do you see yourself belonging to a tribe? Find out in next week's Young Post.