People are always asking why young people are the way they are in Hong Kong. You can ask them, but I doubt many know either. People who claim they know are most likely projecting their own feelings and preferences, their own politics and beliefs. If you admire our young rebels, you are likely yourself a critic of the Hong Kong government, our pro-establishment society and the central government, perhaps China in general. If you are critical of our youth, you are probably part of the local establishment, those who are for law and order, stability and prosperity. In talking about our youth, we are really talking about ourselves. But here’s my two cents anyway because this is what I get paid for. The best description of our young generation that I have come across wasn’t even written about us, or about this part of the world or this point in time. Hermann Hesse was probably thinking about the generation of the Weimar Republic when he wrote in Steppenwolf : “There are times when a whole generation is caught … between two ages, two modes of life, with the consequence that it loses all power to understand itself and has no standards, no security, no simple acquiescence.” Hesse might as well be thinking about our young people today, those born in or after the 1990s, the so-called post-90s generation, caught between two eras, thrown into a historical circumstance they can hardly understand. Tougher anti-doxxing law is urgently needed in Hong Kong They have no experience of British colonialism or Chinese communism. They understand neither country nor the great transitions both nations are going through. One is in terminal decline yet still has enormous cultural capital to sell, while the other is on an inexorable rise but with a bad reputation. Unlike many long-repressed peoples who have their own profound culture, religion or tradition to draw on spiritually, Hong Kong youth has nothing to rely on but shallow Canto-pop/K-pop culture, mixed with some Western notions whose tradition and history they barely understand. There are no tangible political, intellectual or ethical standards, traditions or references to draw on when they protest in public, confront police, argue with politicians or treat ordinary people who disagree with them – hence the frequent grotesque violence of 2019. Neither of the East nor of the West, sadly, our youth are like a clean slate on which people and governments with an agenda are only too happy to write their own messages and overwrite those of others.