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Hong Kong's disaffected youth

Happy or sad? Hongkongers optimistic despite being dissatisfied, survey shows

Pollsters attribute contradictory results to people making ‘mental adjustments’ to long-term problems

PUBLISHED : Monday, 09 October, 2017, 1:39pm
UPDATED : Monday, 09 October, 2017, 10:28pm

Most Hongkongers are happy and optimistic despite many being highly dissatisfied over issues like housing and the political climate in the city, a recent survey shows.

About 65 per cent of the 1,302 respondents said they were happy with their current life, a steep increase from the 25 per cent recorded last year, according to the third annual survey conducted by non-profit group HK.WeCARE.

But the findings also revealed that Hongkongers were not content over issues such as the political climate, housing and the environment, with a dissatisfaction rate of 74 per cent, 71 per cent and 71 per cent respectively.

The pollsters attributed the contradictory findings to Hongkongers’ ability to make “mental adjustments”. As people became more aware of the time required to resolve deeply rooted social issues, they adopted a more positive attitude when facing those problems.

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“If people face the same situation over time, not seeing any changes, they’ll actually get used to the situation,” said Eugene Fong Yik-hin, an adviser to the group.

He added that more than 70 per cent of those surveyed expressed optimism about the coming six months, citing a new government administration that was more willing to listen to the people and acknowledge social problems.

The study was conducted in September, and the results were released on Monday. Respondents were given several questions about their general satisfaction with their present lives, Hong Kong society and the outlook for the future. Answers were used to calculate a “happiness index” score ranging from 1 to 10, with 10 being the happiest.

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Those below 18 years old were the least happy age group, with a happiness index of 6.12, compared to a mean of 6.40.

HK.WeCARE urged the government to step up its efforts to cater to the needs of young people and said it looked forward to the coverage of such policies in Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s maiden policy address on Wednesday.

Founded in 2015 by a group of entrepreneur philanthropists, the organisation aims to promote happiness and positivity in society through various community services and activities.