Not knowing China’s history has led to lack of patriotic feelings among young Hong Kong citizens

PUBLISHED : Monday, 19 December, 2016, 5:37pm
UPDATED : Monday, 19 December, 2016, 11:03pm

A speech made by a Harvard University graduate, Y. K. Sue, from China, was posted on the internet.

She related her experience as a foreign student in the US, and during a trip to Israel with its security problems, and said people in many countries lacked a sense of security.

She believed that the best gift a country can give to its people is freedom and security.

Her message has special meaning for Hong Kong’s young people today. Here, the social turmoil, beginning with the Occupy Central movement, reflects a distorted frame of mind among the younger generation. Youngsters blame the government, elites and tycoons for their discontent and they become self-centered, aggressive and rebellious.

The recent oath-taking saga at the Legislative Council is a case in point. While claiming to pursue their high-sounding ideal of democracy, young people forget the blessing given to us by the central government in the form of “one country, two systems”. Without knowing China’s history, they lack patriotic feelings for their country, and go so far as to clamour for Hong Kong’s independence, which is a non-starter.

However, the onus should not be placed on our young people alone. People’s sense of belonging has to be nurtured early in life, for which parents are responsible.

Right after reunification in 1997, the central and SAR governments should have instilled in Hong Kong people their national identity through formal and public education. Without these efforts, our youngsters have developed a frustrated, disgruntled and irrational social atmosphere.

I suggest that to break out of the stalemate, we should rally the support of the silent majority , comprising different sectors of the community. These sectors should work to promote the core values of our society – security, freedom, and the democracy which young people covet.

It may be useful to re-examine what leeway could be found in the uncompromising stance of the government and the pan- democrats over the 2014 constitutional reforms white paper.

The rule of law must also be upheld. All unlawful attempts to upset Hong Kong’s stability, including calls for independence and localisation, should be dealt with. This should be done through punishments being handed down by the courts, which can act as a deterrent.

This carrot and stick approach can hopefully prevent our young people from committing political suicide. It would allow Hong Kong to continue its unique role as a secure, prosperous city under the auspices of its sovereign state.

Patsy Leung, Mid-Levels