Here’s to a less interesting time in 2018

More Hong Kong people felt good about themselves in 2017 than they did for many years, and more feel optimistic about the coming year than pessimistic

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 30 December, 2017, 1:28am
UPDATED : Saturday, 30 December, 2017, 1:28am

It’s an unwritten rule that columnists are required at this time of year to look into their crystal ball and make predictions about the coming year. I am not so clever.

Many of them have been none too cheery by forecasting more government crises and escalating conflicts in the city. Come on guys, it’s the festive season!

But hacks like us love bad news and many of our politicians feed off discontent and anger. I will have plenty of time to deal with such negative energies, and contribute some of my own. But there is room for cheer in the New Year.

More Hong Kong people felt good about themselves in 2017 than they did for many years, and more people feel optimistic about the coming year than pessimistic. That’s according to a new survey by the Hong Kong Research Association.

Some 61 per cent said they were either happy or very happy in 2017, compared with 26 per cent who said they were unhappy or very unhappy. Thirty-four per cent said their personal lives would improve in 2018, compared with 27 per cent who thought life would get worse. The association’s index for confidence in the future was at its highest in eight years.

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OK, you may think the association is tainted by funding from mainland sources. So let’s try the University of Hong Kong’s public opinion programme under Robert Chung Ting-yiu. “People’s net satisfaction with Hong Kong’s development in the year past has increased significantly by 32 percentage points to positive 3 percentage points,” he wrote.

“At an individual level, 56 per cent said they lived a happy life in the year past, 20 per cent said they were not happy … Figures show people are leading a happy life and optimistic about the future.”

It appears the government’s policy priorities are more reflective of public concerns than those of the pan-democrats.

Year on year, the number of people who consider housing as a priority for the government has jumped 10 percentage points to 40 per cent while those for health care and education have both increased by 3 percentage points to 8 per cent and 5 per cent. That for constitutional reform has remained unchanged at 15 per cent, while that for the economy has dropped by 4 percentage points to 11 per cent.

It’s unlikely to happen, but I wish everyone a less interesting time ahead.