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Carrie Lam

‘Biggest challenge is to connect with young’ says Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam at forum launch

Passion and commitment of Hong Kong’s youth deserves proper recognition, chief executive said, announcing forum that will follow through on election pledge

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 06 September, 2017, 7:20pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 06 September, 2017, 10:58pm

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor has promised to establish a youth development forum, admitting the biggest challenge for her administration was to “connect with young people”.

Lam said she would follow through on her campaign promises to set up the forum, which would be chaired by Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung.

“There is no short of projects or programmes to support our young people,” Lam said at a conference co-organised by J.P. Morgan and the Asia ­Society on Wednesday. “My government’s biggest challenge lies in connecting with young people.”

The passion and commitment of the youth to Hong Kong deserved proper recognition, Lam said, and in the long term it would be incumbent upon the elder generation to nurture social leaders and politicians by encouraging young people to participate in public affairs.

The forum was a major promise of Lam’s election platform, which she proposed would absorb the Commission on Youth, currently under the Home Affairs Bureau and presided over by Lau Ming-wai, scion of real estate tycoon Joseph Lau Luen-hung.

Two hours earlier, Lam had announced that the government would provide lower priced housing for first-time local home buyers.

The chief executive stressed it would be an oversimplification to equate lack of home ownership with the unhappiness of young people who have been longing for greater opportunities in both economy and public affairs.

According to Chinese University’s latest life quality index for local youth, released in late August, young people’s satisfaction with their economic status had reached a five-year high, while evaluation on participation in social campaigns and impact on policies had dropped to record low.

At the forum, Lau Ming-wai said the local education system was one of the reasons behind youth unhappiness, saying it was “not conducive for innovation and creativity”.

He criticised Hong Kong for being too late in starting to think about nurturing an innovative mindset among the youth.

“Other economies I have come cross foster risk-taking and being comfortable with failure – they instil these attributes in their young people,” said Lau.