Hong Kong youth
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A young man listens to the radio in his flat in Shenzhen in 2010. Today, young Chinese fed up with gruelling work hours, conspicuous consumption and skyrocketing home prices are protesting by doing the bare minimum, a lifestyle called “lying flat”. Photo: Getty Images

Letters | As China’s ‘lying flat’ youth spark alarm, Hong Kong must help its own find their feet

  • From the failure of social movements to unaffordable housing and the lack of job prospects, Hong Kong youth have been demoralised for a while
I refer to Jacky T.K. Tam’s letter, “Mainland youth are ‘lying flat’ but the overriding fear is their futures might follow the trend” (June 12).

This phenomenon is sad indeed. I recall how in my 20s, I was fresh and energised, exploring life and pursuing dreams. I felt on top of the world.

Now a considerable number of youngsters in China have adopted a laissez-faire attitude in all they do. Does this apply in Hong Kong, too? Certainly it does.

Hong Kong must wake up to its own ‘lying-flat’ youth

The terms “stay-at-home male” (chak nam), “useless youth” (fai ching), “Buddhist-like” (fat hai) all point to the fact that some local youngsters lack the incentive to study and work hard, to earn well or to start a family. In short, they don’t want to live life with a passion.
This situation is not inexplicable. The failure of local social movements in the last decade, the lack of opportunities for upward mobility in the job market, young people’s growing distance from family and friends, the shortage of affordable housing: all of these add up to become a load seemingly impossible to overcome.

No wonder the youth choose to “lie down” in response. How else can they react to a society that doesn’t understand, leave alone sympathise, with their powerlessness and hopelessness?

The Chinese government is taking measures to cope with their situation. In Hong Kong, the rift between youngsters and administration is huge. Is it possible for Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor to look into the issue and devise some solutions?

Jacqueline Kwan, Sai Ying Pun