After a stellar performance in the British and international secondary exams, Justin Cheng Yan-yiu, 16, should be looking forward to a good career and life in his home city.
But the English Schools Foundation pupil, who scored eight straight A*s in the General Certificate of Secondary Education and its international equivalent, says he is so disillusioned with Hong Kong's divided society that he might consider emigrating.
The Year 11 pupil at Sha Tin College was speaking as the foundation announced this year's results in the two examinations in which five pupils achieved A* in every subject they sat. Foundation pupils generally take a mixture of GCSE and International General Certificate of Secondary Education courses.
Justin said he saw the city's political situation as hopeless, but was against the civil-disobedience movement Occupy Central as it would cause only unrest and chaos. "It just won't work," said Justin, who supports universal suffrage. "It won't force the central government to back down as long as it has an iron grip on Hong Kong."
He said he saw "no civil solution" to Hong Kong's problems such as its divided society and wide wealth gap. "I won't suggest revolution either, because Hong Kong has no military forces," he said. "I think one possible way is through foreign diplomatic talks. Emigration is something I would consider when this place has no freedom of speech any more."
About 28 per cent of some 1,000 ESF pupils who took the exams scored A* grades, four times Britain's average of 7 per cent, while 94 per cent got A* to C grades, compared with Britain's 68 per cent.
Chris Durbin, the foundation's secondary school development adviser, said most pupils took nine to 10 subjects and he suggested taking at least eight. He added that if pupils did exceptionally well, universities may consider admitting them earlier.
The five top performers will all go on to take the International Baccalaureate diploma programme, which may lead them into their desired universities.
Justin said he wanted to study international relations in the United States and become a human rights worker at the UN.
Another star pupil, Narumi Wong, 16, said she wanted to be involved in science and help change the world. Top scorer Daniel Monteiro, 16, said he enjoyed learning but had had to sacrifice time with his friends.