Surveys tracking changes in public sentiment over the government’s performance are nothing new. But when people’s confidence in Hong Kong’s future is said to be the worst in 25 years, there is cause for concern. It would do well for those in positions of power to reflect and try to rekindle hope in residents, without which the city cannot stay united and move forward. It is hardly coincidental when the levels of trust in the local and central governments, and the confidence in the city’s governing policy of “one country, two systems” and its future have all dropped significantly. Of particular concern is the latter, with the percentage plunging from 55 in September 2017 to only 39 in February. The confidence level in the city’s future is not only the lowest since Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor assumed office, but is also the worst since the survey by the University of Hong Kong Public Opinion Programme began in 1994. The underlying reasons are, of course, open to debate. Despite the efforts by the Lam administration to tackle an array of long-standing problems, many people have yet to feel any impact. Recently, the quality of governance has also been called into question following a series of policy setbacks. Meanwhile, affordable housing, career advancement and social mobility are concerns that particularly affect our youth. Also weighing heavily are fears of dwindling freedoms and autonomy. Bill to cap shop rents at public housing estates clears first hurdle That may explain why young respondents had less trust in the local and central governments, as well as lower confidence in the city’s future and the one country, two systems principle. Much has been said about the need to better engage the young, many of whom have become disillusioned following the 2014 Occupy protests, a futile campaign to push Beijing for greater democracy. But the measures adopted by Lam and her predecessor, such as appointing more young people to the government’s advisory bodies, were seen by many as token gestures. The well-being of a city hinges on whether the public can look to the future with confidence. Beijing and the Hong Kong government cannot afford to lose the support of the people, especially youngsters. There needs to be more trust and unity to foster better development.