According to a recent survey by InterNations, a leading online network for expatriates, the most liveable city in the world from an expat’s point of view is Taipei.
In the same survey, Hong Kong, often considered Asia’s most cosmopolitan city, saw its ranking plummet to 44th place from 26th last year.
The biggest negative factors in Hong Kong as far as liveability is concerned are long working hours, high cost of living and skyrocketing rent, the survey shows.
Some respondents to the survey also complained that it is difficult to make new friends in Hong Kong.
The survey findings strike a chord among local Hong Kong people because the woes plaguing expats in our city also apply to us.
Sadly, long working hours no longer guarantee a better life as our pay rise, if there is any at all, has been largely offset by inflation as well as the surge in property prices and rents over the past decade or so.
To make things worse, the starting monthly salary level of our university graduates is down 15 percent compared to 20 years ago, from over HK$16,000 in 1996 to less than HK$14,000 this year.
In other words, having a university diploma and working very hard for years won’t assure you of a decent life in today’s Hong Kong.
The grievances and frustrations of our young people, as demonstrated in the 79-day Occupy Movement, have their roots in the stalemate in our democratization process and the obstruction of upward mobility in our society.
But rather than reflect on the inadequacies of their policies, some of our top decision-makers in the government have dismissed the young people who took part in the movement as a bunch of troublemakers.
If our government continues to ignore the grievances of our young people and fails to address their concerns, more and more young people in our city will feel alienated, and this in turn will fuel separatist sentiments among them.
In recent years the number of Hong Kong people emigrating to Taiwan has been on the rise.
Their decision to leave Hong Kong virtually amounts to a vote of no confidence in the future of our city.
It is an alarming sign that our government should take very seriously.
This article appeared in Hong Kong Economic Journal on Sept. 1.
Translated by Alan Lee
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