Date
25 September 2017
Chan Koonchung (inset) says the government should start to focus on the big picture regarding youth issues. Photos: HKEJ, AFP
Chan Koonchung (inset) says the government should start to focus on the big picture regarding youth issues. Photos: HKEJ, AFP

Top novelist urges HK to jettison old-fashioned approach

Hong Kong’s old-fashioned approach to youth issues no longer works as the new generation becomes increasingly concerned with social values and the economy, according to a Chinese novelist and critic.

The government should abandon “top-down thinking” and superficial social solutions and begin to focus on the big picture, Chan Koonchung told a seminar Sunday at the University of Hong Kong.

Chan, who was raised in Hong Kong and lives in Beijing, has published several books on Hong Kong.

He is best known for his political novel The Fat Years which has been compared with the cult classic 1984. It remains banned in the mainland.

Young people’s social values are being shaped by economic issues, competition and individualism, Chan was quoted as saying by Ming Pao Daily.

These factors are shaking up the status quo, from politics to economic development, forcing a rethink of social priorities, he said.

Meanwhile, Leo Lee, a professor of Chinese culture in the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said young people are entitled to their views and should express them through multiple channels, not simply through street protests.

Hong Kong people cannot change their circumstances overnight but they can create room for incremental changes.

“No one should feel pessimistic about young people,” he said

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