• Fri
  • Apr 18, 2014
  • Updated: 3:30am

Raising the voting age to 21 would be a retrograde step for our society

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 05 January, 2014, 5:10am
UPDATED : Sunday, 05 January, 2014, 5:10am

I do not support those who are calling for the raising of the voting age to 21.

In Hong Kong, 18 is the threshold of adulthood as it is conceptualised in law. An individual is then bestowed with the right to vote. Why society sets the legal age as 18 is that residents are recognised to be mature enough to think and act independently once they have passed this milestone. In most developed countries, such as the UK and the US, the voting age is 18 and there seems to be a wide consensus on this.

Now comes the question: are students who have just completed their secondary school education not mature enough to vote? A spoon-feeding style of education in Hong Kong can stifle the independent thinking of these students. But does this imply that most of them are unable to take a clear stance on their political view, or even distinguish between right and wrong?

At least liberal studies teachers may agree with me. Having sat in liberal studies classes since Secondary Four, I have been exposed to countless social issues, which altered me from being politically apathetic to reading a newspaper daily. Thus, I truly believe that those youngsters who have registered as voters do not lack the wit to select their ideal political representatives after graduating from secondary schools.

Are young people nowadays politically apathetic? I think not. As they realise that politics is in fact related to their daily life, they tend to express their political views via the internet, or even put them into practice. This is not an occasional phenomenon but is in fact a general political awakening of Hong Kong students.

A civilised society should appreciate the social participation of youngsters. Why should some young adults in Hong Kong be deprived of their voting rights? Isn't that a retrograde step for society?

Samuel Lo Chun-yin, Sai Ying Pun



This article is now closed to comments

You are clearly ignoring the evidence. Surely the 5th form antics of the so-called 'Scholarism' prove that HK youngster's are not ready to participate in measured debate - in fact 25 might be a better age for voting.
Agree. Maybe 18 was set when young people moved out of the family home, got married and worked for a living. What are HK people at 18 doing as mature, independent thinkers? Have they even established their careers at that age, found their own homes and partners? The evidence all over the world is that maturity has been delayed, and that they are still lounging in the family home. The fact that they are not 'politically apathetic' is no justification. We need maturity, not just fervour (Look at the Red Guards. Do they seem mature?) Opening the vote to these people might have Lau Tak Wah as Chief Executive. Why is SCMP giving so much credence to this article by making it its editorial?


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