Hong Kong people worried about future

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 04 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 04 July, 2013, 3:44am

I refer to Peter Kammerer's column ("The extra smile", June 25).

I think when Hongkongers look back over the past two decades and the changes that we have been through, we do so with mixed feelings.

Yes, we have achieved a lot, in terms of gross domestic product, efficiency and competitiveness. Yet, quite a lot of us feel unhappy. In measureable terms, this is reflected in various types of "happy index" where the city's ranking is generally below average. It seems that the smiling faces of many Hong Kong people have simply disappeared.

For me, this brings out two questions - what makes us happy and, more importantly, what changes will make us happy again?

While certainty does not necessarily bring happiness, uncertainty definitely causes feelings of discontent.

Over the past two decades, there has been growing uncertainty. This applies to university graduates when it comes to finding a job. Working class people wonder if they will be able to afford to buy a flat. Parents are unsure about securing a kindergarten or primary school place for their children.

The government should make it a priority to reduce these feelings of uncertainty, through policy initiatives, such as diversifying the economy to create more employment opportunities, increasing land supply and speeding up its public housing building programme.

It is also high time to review the education system to see why the competitive culture among pupils has got worse, even with fewer public exams.

Acquiring knowledge is supposed to be a pleasant experience, but students and their parents get nervous about exams and the prospects of getting a place at a university.

In his column, Kammerer is optimistic about the future and looks forward to further changes for the city. I am also hopeful, that some of these changes may bring us back the many smiling faces we used to see.

When looking at the future developments, I have high hopes for West Kowloon Cultural District.

It will offer more space and cultural events for the public. Being given the opportunity to have a greater appreciation of the arts can enhance people's feeling of well-being.

Work on the culture hub has been stalled because of financial issues. I would urge the authorities and lawmakers to work together to make sure the project is completed.

Andy Cheng Pak-fai, Quarry Bay