Class of ’97: Carmen Cheung thinks Hong Kong’s problems are not connected to its return to China

Carmen Cheung has managed to make her online gift shop turn a profit and feels that a little creativity can make for a better life in Hong Kong

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.

Carmen Cheung Ka-man

“I have always liked drawing and doing handicrafts. After I took the college entrance exam two years ago, I had some free time and decided to open an online gift shop, which has proved profitable.

“Usually I spend about three days a week in my Tsuen Wan workshop. When I first entered university, I thought about giving up because I felt tired studying and working at the same time, but I managed to keep going.

“I understand the frustration young people feel, as salaries are not keeping up with flat prices. But if you have creativity, you will be able to have a better life here.

“Sometimes I get disappointed. We still don’t have universal suffrage after fighting for so long, and the Legislative Council is a mess. But I have not lost hope. The younger generation has political ambitions and, although I’m not good at politics, I believe those people will make things better.

“The connection with the mainland has brought us a big market.

“When we were born, we already had a lot of things and opportunities. Even if Hong Kong had not returned to China, it would still have had many social problems. These problems are not unique to Hong Kong.”