Class of ’97: Simon Tam wishes there were fewer high-rises and more space for street vendors selling traditional items

Tam says when 2047 approaches, he will take to the streets at 50 with a cane, protesting against anything he deems bad happening to the city

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 29 June, 2017, 10:01am
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 June, 2017, 10:00am

Meet the class of ’97, born the year of the handover. Their childhoods tell the stories of Hong Kong’s first two decades after the return to China. Some remember Sars, others took part in Occupy. Now, they’re trying to work out what their future holds – and how Hong Kong’s own uncertain future fits into their plans.

Simon Tam Hei-man

“I had no special feeling about 1997 at first, but after studying our history I realised I had grown up with Hong Kong and witnessed its transformation.

“As a social work major, the issues I care about most are public welfare and vulnerable groups in society. This is why I participated in several student and social movements. I also wonder whether the rule of law and judicial independence will be upheld in 2047.

“I have quite different political views from my mother, who stole into Hong Kong several decades ago.

“She was extremely scared of the Chinese government, as friends of her father were badly abused during the Cultural Revolution.

“While my mum thinks it is OK to focus only on one’s own life, I believe we should always look out for others in the wider community.

“As much as I enjoy living here , I feel like this is a high-pressure environment. I wish there were fewer high-rises and more space for street vendors selling traditional items.

“When I get tired or upset, I like to go to the Long Ke Wan at Sai Kung. Feeling the sea breeze and walking on the beach always seem to be are good ways to release my stress.

“While Hong Kong remains one of the most international cities in Asia, it lags behind other cities in many social aspects comparing to other cities. For example, I think the government should pay more attention to gender issues, as well as improve gender equality

“When 2047 approaches, even though I’ll be 50 by then, I will still take to the streets with a cane, protesting against anything I deem bad happening to the city.”