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  • Dec 20, 2014
  • Updated: 7:01am
CommentInsight & Opinion

Studying on the mainland will enrich the lives of Hong Kong's youth

Susan Chan says studying or working on the mainland can only enrich the lives of Hong Kong's youth, contrary to what some critics might think

PUBLISHED : Friday, 28 February, 2014, 6:23pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 01 March, 2014, 1:37am

Young Hong Kong singer Gloria Tang Zhi-kei, better known as G.E.M., recently made her mark in a popular mainland singing contest. Though a rising star in Hong Kong, she was unknown to most on the mainland, yet after the first two rounds of the contest, the number of her weibo fans shot up by 170,000 in a day and has now reached six million.

Tang has not changed her style, nor did she pick a particular song to please mainland audiences, but people have been impressed by her talent as a singer-songwriter. As such, she now enjoys a bigger stage to showcase her talent and promote the music she likes.

For decades, Hong Kong has seen its youngsters going after their dreams overseas. In 2011, it was estimated that there were 75,000 Hong Kong students aged 25 and below studying outside the city. Studying or working abroad gives people more than a degree or a job, it gives them the opportunity to experience different cultures and enrich their lives.

Hong Kong cannot, of course, make everyone's dream come true. None of our colleges offers a vet programme, for example, and one surely cannot run a ranch or join an army here.

It is only normal that, within a country, people move around to find the best place for their talent, future lifestyle plans and the like. It would be hard to think that all people born in London would stay there all their lives. Hong Kong is no different. Our youngsters go abroad - and, of course, to the mainland since the opening up of the China market. If talented youth from overseas are benefiting from the opportunities the mainland offers, why shouldn't our young people?

China is a vast country with different cultures and different people. You cannot get a full picture of it by just watching the news, surfing the internet or going on short trips. Studying or working on the mainland will provide young Hongkongers with the chance to come into contact with people from different areas of China, to understand their thinking and learn other ways of doing things. This will benefit their development; after all, companies, including multinationals, are increasingly seeking out those with knowledge of both China and the West.

Of course, we want to retain our talent but we should also support our young people who want to broaden their horizons and realise their potential. Through interactions with locals, these young people can become our ambassadors and enable those overseas to learn more about our city and its people.

I went to high school in a small city in Canada and the students there came to know about this city through Hong Kong students studying there. This can happen on the mainland, allowing youngsters to truly understand one another rather than viewing each other through the often narrow prism of the news and the internet.

Talent flows freely through any international city. Yet, some in Hong Kong seem to have negative feelings about anything related to the mainland. They claim that encouraging our youngsters to explore career opportunities across the border is equivalent to forcing them to leave their home city, and once there, believe they will be brainwashed. Such an island mentality can only do harm, limiting opportunities for the next generation.

Susan Chan is secretary general of the Business and Professionals Federation of Hong Kong


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I'll say this: I'm never going to stay in China to work. I stayed in in Beijing for three months, the Tibetan-region in Sichuan for a week, and a bit of Shanghai, Hainan and Shenzhen. While it's not the completely unlivable hellhole that most people perceive it to be, to me it's still not the most pleasant place to live in for an extended period of time.
There's plenty of good people there, and being a huge country, there ARE a lot of diverse cultures to interact with. I get that it's also a huge country for manufacturing, so anyone who wants to get into business might benefit from studying how things work in the country.
But at the same time, there's the censorship, the pollution, the very restrictive media, the oppressive government in charge of the country, the corruption, the occasional fistfights that could happen on the street, and a LOT of flawed and selfish people.
Depending on the place, traveling to other countries can help expand people's horizons, and it's a great way to start seeing the world as something more complex, and less black-and-white. I do encourage people to explore outside of HK if they can, and I do think there's many parts of China really are worth visiting. But personally, China and I are not compatible.
With that said, I don't think I'll ever regret visiting the Tibet-Sichuan area. Aside from the incredible scenery, the people and culture, that place really showed me there's multiple ways to live a good life in this world.
Ant Lee
This is a pathetically narrow minded article. Not everyone from HK is an established singer or actor in the entertainment industry. Would the author send her own children to explore their careers in mainland??? The author has almost no understanding of the horrible work culture and environment for the average working level employees in mainland China.
Aiya your chinglish is superbly incomprehensible!
Sure, like most of the HK youngsters have a mind to start with... let alone to 'pollute' others. Do us a favour and go to read your Apple Daily please. :)
I certainly wouldnt recommend our youngsters to go mainland to 'pollute' their minds..
This article has got it backwards. The China audiences for the show are now looking at HK and going, wow, so this is what happens when kids develop in HK.
GEM is truly talented and totally awesome. Don't twist her popularity to fit China propaganda. There's a reason she turned you down to be interviewed for this article.
Steven Lee
Please remember that it is not China that unfits you,instead only you unfit China.I never contempt Cantonese-speaking arrogant HK's people who never really know what is changing their motherland,just believe in what is the humor like.You can't represent majority of HK people,HK is nothing if there is no large hinterland of mainland of China.
@Ant Lee:
Speaking of working environment, average menial workers are treated better on the mainland than the foreign domestic helpers are treated in Hong Kong (read today's SCMP if you don't know what I am talking about). Your pathetic sense of superiority is exactly what has gone wrong with Hong Kong and its people.
As long as they don't act like those bigoted morons in the street, I am sure they will be safe. After all, who can tell you're from HK anyway?
If my kid has the opportunity to pursue a career in China, I definitely will let him go but my worry is whether he will have that opportunity ten years from now. Studying in China for a certain period is a great opportunity to understand this country both good and bad and only through in-depth exposure you know the true picture before making your own assessment..



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