Hong Kong's blend of an unrepresentative political system with a society that cherishes its right to free speech inevitably means a culture of protest. The government's efforts to address societal concerns have been so ineffective that they are fanning, rather than dampening, the flames of discontent. Authorities are seen to be more responsive to big business and less for ordinary citizens; they do a poor job of proving otherwise. It seems the only solution, in the absence of much broader suffrage, is to give as many people as is feasibly possible more voice - and then listen to, and act on, what is being said. Such a way forward seems obvious, but the government is in a difficult position. The protests leading up to the vote in the Legislative Council on Saturday on the fast rail link to Guangzhou clearly show why. Our city needs linkages with the mainland to develop and prosper, yet authorities' lack of transparency, and their inability to communicate properly why, instead led to demonstrations. Approval was inevitable given support for the government in the legislature, but tongues remained tied even as lawmakers were blocked from leaving the chamber by young protesters - apparently on the recommendation of police. Secretary for Transport and Housing Eva Cheng has decided to address concerns through the internet. She should have done so face to face on Saturday night, just as her colleague Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor did two years ago during demonstrations over the demolition of Queen's Pier. Regardless of her message, the anti-government movement spearheaded by people in their teens and 20s belonging to the so-called post-1980s generation has been given a new head of steam. They have pledged to take on other planning and development issues to ensure that people who are affected have more say in their future. There are a dozen or more small protests every day in Hong Kong. People from all walks of life gather or take up placards to make their objections to government policies known. We are fortunate that such issues are generally raised and discussed rationally and in a restrained manner. Saturday's protest was considerably larger - the issue warranted it - but passions on all sides thankfully remained mostly under control. The government has been saying since 2003, when half a million people took to the streets against anti-subversion legislation, that it will listen to the people. Greater effort is being made to inform and consult, but clearly many people do not feel this is enough. Being even more inclusive will help meet that need. A good starting point is with young people. They lack representation in government panels, committees and advisory bodies. It is as if their views do not matter. Little wonder they resort to demonstrations to be heard. Hong Kong does not have a harmonious government. Few would describe the political structure we have as effective, ideal, or truly representative. True, there will always be protests, even in systems with universal suffrage. But we must do a better job of giving voice to the people who are concerned about Hong Kong and its future.