Class of ’97: Derek Kwong says the growing number of mainland students has raised competition for jobs

Derek Kwong fears that incidents such as the Causeway Bay booksellers saga shows a growing mainland Chinese influence in Hong Kong and fears it will soon have an effect on ordinary people’s livelihoods

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 29 June, 2017, 10:01am
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 June, 2017, 10:00am

Meet the class of ’97, born the year of the handover. Their childhoods tell the stories of Hong Kong’s first two decades after the return to China. Some remember Sars, others took part in Occupy. Now, they’re trying to work out what their future holds – and how Hong Kong’s own uncertain future fits into their plans.

Derek Kwong Siu-fai

“I have lived in Wan Chai since I was born and feel strongly attached to the community. My hobby is collecting model cars and I bought most of them in nearby Tai Yuen Street. I would like to live here even after I get married, but I do not think I can afford a flat with the way prices are right now.

“During Occupy, I was a volunteer for student group Scholarism and helped transport water for the protesters.

“In recent years, apart from the conflicts between the government and the people, incidents such as the missing Causeway Bay booksellers also came to my attention.

“Despite the “one country, two systems” principle, this incident shows that Chinese officials are perhaps starting to execute power in the city. I am worried that “mainlandisation” will have a growing impact on ordinary people’s livelihoods.

“As a student, I have noticed how the growing number of mainland students has created keener competition in higher education and, later, the jobs market.

“Every year many one-way permit holders come to live here. I wonder if this is a Beijing plan to dilute the local population through time with those from the mainland.”