My Take

How one young jobseeker has shone the spotlight on an inter-generational war

Internet post complaining about the attitude a post-90s person applying for work shows animosity and resentment between the old and young

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 07 June, 2016, 11:29pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 07 June, 2016, 11:55pm

We don’t just have a generation gap. We may be having an inter-generational war. An internet post about a “post-90s” jobseeker has gone viral and become something of a symbol for this conflict.

Last week, an anonymous office worker posted a complaint about the young person in the popular Hong Kong Golden forum. It has since been read and debated by thousands of people and reported in newspapers.

The young person described – whose identity was never revealed – has become something of a hero for the younger generation; and a bit of a typical young lout for older people.

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What’s interesting is that it’s an extremely sparse account, with just a few lines. So it’s actually difficult to draw any conclusions. Here’s my rough translation:

[My] company is hiring. A job interview was set at 10am today, but the boss had another meeting, which was still not finished by 10.30am. So, the post-90s got up and left. But before he did…

Post-90s: Your company has ‘expectation’ [spoken in English] like not wanting your staff to show up late. I too have ‘expectation’ [in English] of your company. The interview was at 10am. I waited till 10.30am. If you were seeing a client, would you show up half an hour late?

Me: Do what you like. You are the one looking for a job. Isn’t it common to wait for bosses?

Post-90s: Your generation is so slavish. (Then he got up and left).

The post attracted thousands of comments, many of which were critical of the young person. But then it was re-posted in the popular kengopage in Facebook. The blogger has a following among younger people and many expressed approval of the walkout as taking a principled stance.

As an old geezer, I first thought the kid was typical of our self-entitled, self-important Occupy generation; you know, those fai tsing (useless youth). But that’s just my prejudice talking.

The short internet post is more like a Rorschach inkblot test on which we project our own values and biases. And in this case, it’s a hot topic about young people and their attitudes about jobs that has roughly divided into two camps.

The two sides don’t just suffer from a lack of mutual understanding and respect, but animosity and resentment.