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Hong Kong culture

Why should Hong Kong’s old Lion Rock spirit hold back young people?

  • Older generations who thrived on the value of spirited hard work should not use it now to scold the young into accepting a life of robotic slavery
PUBLISHED : Saturday, 22 December, 2018, 6:03pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 22 December, 2018, 6:03pm

During the ’70s and ’80s, the Hong Kong economy perked up. The spirit of Lion Rock has always been many Hongkongers’ core value: it is believed that by working hard in unity, our quality of life can be improved.

Such a mindset took hold back then and still lingers today. During those decades, inspirational songs and movies were produced, showing the pride people took in this attitude. This value has remained strong, through Hong Kong’s ups and downs, and from the reform and opening-up of China to its modernisation.

Yes, time has done a marvellous job of transforming what used to be a trivial fishing port. However, with the economic transition from a focus on the secondary sector to the tertiary, hard work no longer guarantees success in this society. Capitalism does not always reward the diligent. The value of unity is slowly being replaced by individualism, and the Lion Rock spirit has become a symbol of the old Hong Kong, long gone.

Writer Lolita Hu on how Hong Kong can get its Lion Rock spirit back

Also, despite the transition, people’s way of thinking remained unchanged. The Lion Rock spirit was turned from an encouragement to explore and innovate into a mind prison for youngsters. The older generations disagreed with the way young people were striking out on new paths, and the Lion Rock spirit became an obstacle to improvement.

The definition of success and how we reward effort has changed. Nevertheless, the stigma of the new generation being lazy and weak has deepened in the minds of the middle-aged, who are mostly ignorant of the sad fact that this community is unfair.

Hongkongers will keep leaving if money always comes first for city

Facing the reality of horrible inflation and unreachable property prices, young people can hardly afford a home despite working day and night. They foresee a life of robotic slavery in Hong Kong, and are thus less inclined to being “obedient” and work in a traditional way. Such behaviour is normal, yet is labelled as unpragmatic and unsustainable. This proves that the Lion Rock spirit is no longer a push for improvement, but sadly, a pull against innovation.

Any different form of hard work done by young people is not recognised. Dear “adults”, when will we be good enough?

Alaska Chan, Pok Fu Lam