Class of ’97: May Cen thinks Hongkongers have better manners and speak quieter than mainland Chinese people

Cen says she wants to settle in the city as salaries are higher, though she may retire to her hometown

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.

May Cen Yinyi

“I moved to Hong Kong with my mother after finishing high school in Jiangmen, Guangdong province. My mum is from Jiangmen, my dad from Hong Kong, and he used to run a car repair shop there.

“Now I live in a rented flat in Sham Shui Po with my parents and two younger brothers. I have been working part-time since I came here, first in a sushi place and now a cookie store. I am really satisfied with my life but would like to get a full-time job.

When I first came to Hong Kong, I was not used to the small flat, and I missed my friends back home. Later I became friends with many locals. They are all very nice people. I don’t feel any discrimination.

Life in Hong Kong is fast-paced. People walk faster. They also have better manners. Hongkongers don’t speak as loudly as Guangdong people do.

I will settle down in the city as the salary here is higher. My hometown is more suitable for older people. Maybe I will go back to spend my retired life.

I don’t have any long-term plan. Right now I want to get a full-time job.My mum hopes I can find a stable one that allows me to work from 9am to 6pm.

“Of course I’m a Hongkonger. I have a Hong Kong identity card. But I dare not tell my friends back in Jiangmen this, because they will think I’m just trying to show off. I guess it was a good thing that Hong Kong returned to China. After all, it belongs to China anyway.

“I hope the city and its economy will get better, so all of us can have a better life. I don’t have anything to complain about except that our flat is too small. I am satisfied very easily.

“I don’t know why there are so many protests. I know a few people dislike mainland immigrants, but it does not affect me. I don’t think they will hate me for no reason.”