In a divided Hong Kong, let’s restore harmony by putting young people first

Leung Chun-ying had precious little to say on the matter in his final policy address, so how about starting with a youth bureau?

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 02 February, 2017, 4:32pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 02 February, 2017, 11:13pm

In this lunar year of the rooster, let us think outside the proverbial box, or the rooster pen.

Let’s start with the swansong policy address of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying. He tried his best to shun the lame duck – if not craven chicken – image.

He succeeded. But only just.

It was a good policy address as policy addresses go, but at the heart of the address something was missing.

The disunity in our society was hardly mentioned. Precious little was said about our young people or their hopes and fears. Young people are our future. We ignore them at our peril.

Take the “One Belt, One Road” initiatives for example, Leung put great store by them in his address.

Yet in the margin of historical development, these initiatives are obviously for the long term, to be implemented some 10 or 20 years down the road.

Short-term measures such as scholarships and student exchanges are all very well, but not lasting enough. We need to beef them up with long-term measures.

Our priority must be to consider ways and means of engaging each other to build up trust

The idea of establishing a foreign language school to bring experts here to teach Arabic, Greek, Turkish, Russian, etc. comes to mind. This was once suggested by Professor Brian Hook, who saw the city as best placed for such a language school in view of our advantageous geographical position and cultural diversity. It is worth our while to resuscitate the idea.

The lack of harmony and trust in our society is of concern to everyone.

Our priority must be to consider ways and means of engaging each other to build up trust, in the quest for hope and harmony for all here.

Our new chief executive, whoever he or she may be, should consider establishing a youth bureau. For want of a better word, let’s call it the Millennial Ministry.

The word millennial refers to young people of the X generation or the “me, me generation”. In this age of entitlement, young people are at once self-confident and selfish, outrageous and innovative.

This ministry of the young, by the young for the young should in time build up hope and trust through consultation.

The apotheosis of consultation is power sharing. It’s the best way of listening to the voice of the people, many of whom have good ideas worth listening to.

Today is the seventh day of the Lunar New Year. This is traditionally regarded as everyone’s birthday. Happy birthday, everyone! Cock-a-doodle-doo!

Elizabeth Wong Chien Chi-lien was secretary for health and welfare from 1990 to 1994 and a lawmaker from 1995 to 1997