YHK 12 1 Leaving home …or too attached?

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a quarterly journal from the hongkong federation of youth groups

March 2020

Volume 12 Number 1

Youth HONG KONG

Leaving home...

...or too attached?


Contents

March 2020 | Youth Hong Kong

Volume 12 Number 1

OVERVIEW 4 Looking after themselves INTERVIEW 6 Fortress besieged Prof Xian Shi Guangzhou University YOUTH SPEAK 10 Living independently? Forum discussion 15 No place like home Alan Yip and Darcy Fung PERSPECTIVES 18 Home again Lakshmi Jacotă YOUTH WATCH 22 Staying with parents World snapshots SPECIAL 26 Response to COVID-19 HKFYG community action RESEARCH 32 Housing: realistic hopes HKFYG survey of expectations CITY SPACE 34 Intermittent fasting Katherine Gudgin 36 Wellness toolkit tips Exercise, health and nutrition SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY 38 Guarding against online unknowns Simon John 40 Myopia: a different epidemic Elaine Morgan HKFYG 45 Youth IDEAS: Intergenerational understanding 46 PH2 hostel essentials

4-5 OVERVIEW

6-9 INTERVIEW

10-17 YOUTH SPEAK

18-21 PERSPECTIVES

26-31

22-25

SPECIAL

YOUTH WATCH

COVID-19

32-33 RESEARCH

34-37

38-43

CITY SPACE

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

45-47 HKFYG YOUTH HONG KONG published quarterly by The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups EDITORIAL BOARD Andy Ho (Chair) Elaine Morgan (Contributing Editor) Ada Chau (Managing Editor) Wilson Chan Angela Ngai Lakshmi Jacotă Hsu Siu-man Christa Cheung William Chung Miranda Ho Hon Adviser Veronica Pearson

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CIRCULATION (unaudited) 9,000 in Hong Kong, throughout the region and overseas

VIEWS EXPRESSED are the authors’ and interviewees’, may come from official sources, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial board or publisher

ARTWORK & DESIGN DG3 & HKFYG

REPRODUCTION OF CONTENTS without written permission from the publisher is prohibited

LAYOUT & PRINTING DG3

OVERVIEW & INTERVIEWS Elaine Morgan & Ada Chau

ISSN 2519-1098 (Online)

TRANSLATION Ada Chau & Angela Ngai

CORRESPONDENCE to The Editor, Youth Hong Kong, 21/F, The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups Building, 21 Pak Fuk Road, North Point, Hong Kong

PHOTOGRAPHS By editorial team, acknowledged as captioned, stock images or in public domain TRADEMARKS All brand names and product names are registered trademarks. Youth Hong Kong is not associated with any product or vendor mentioned in articles.

COVER DESIGN DG3 ISSN 2071-3193 (Print) WEB youthhongkong.hkfyg.org.hk

TEL 3755 7096, 3755 7108 FAX 3755 7155 EMAIL youthhongkong@hkfyg.org.hk ADVERTISING ENQUIRIES

Ada Chau 3755 7108 The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups was founded in 1960 and is the city’s largest youth service organization. More than 25,000 activities are organized by over 80 units annually with attendance of nearly 6 million. Services Camps, Leisure, Cultural and Sports Services, Counselling, Creativity education and STEM, Education and continuous learning, Employment and entrepreneurship, Exchange, Leadership training, M21 Multimedia, Parenting, Research and Publications, Volunteering, Youth at Risk, Youth SPOTs WEB hkfyg.org.hk m21.hk Online donations giving.hkfyg.org.hk


OGY

Editorial March 2020 | Youth Hong Kong

At present, Hong Kong is experiencing the same as many other cities around the world. It is facing restrictions on movement, self-isolation or imposed quarantine, and ‒ for some the most challenging of all ‒ working or studying from home. All this due to the COVID-19 pandemic caused by the coronavirus. These circumstances arose after the editorial team of Youth Hong Kong chose the theme for this issue. It concerns young people seeking autonomy, the process of leaving home, the hurdles they face and the options they have, especially given their very real challenges and opportunities. Therefore, please note that contributors’ use of terms such as “stuck at home” and “leaving home” relate to this theme and not to the current health crisis. We believe that the dilemmas that young people face when leaving their parents’ abode and becoming autonomous are not restricted to Hong Kong or today’s younger generation and we look forward to hearing from all readers about experiences of moving out and living independently from their families.

Andy Ho Wing-cheong Executive Director, HKFYG March 2020

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Overview

Looking after themselves The process of becoming an autonomous adult is not easy, especially for young people looking for a home of their own in a city where decent housing is unaffordable. Making the transition includes not only taking on financial responsibilities but also learning self-discipline and selfcontrol. Obviously, for the majority in Hong Kong, staying on with parents is easier. It saves money, relieves them of household chores and delays decision-making. But isn’t learning how to look after themselves a better idea? In Hong Kong, according to the latest by-census of 2016, 78% of all 18-35-year-olds who had never been married lived with their parents as did 95% of males and 94% of females aged 18-24.1 Compared with most places overseas, this figure is very high. Only Macedonia rivals it, with Europe’s highest at 75%.2 In fact, many young adults are becoming what’s known as “boomerang kids” if they return to their parents' homes after living independently while studying or working. They struggle to get by without the financial, physical, and emotional support of their parents.

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Taking on the responsibility for leaving home does not rest solely on the younger generation. In a poll3 of nearly 900 American parents last year, 25% said they considered themselves to be the main barrier to their young children's independence. However, 60% said their children were not mature enough, didn’t know enough or didn’t have enough time to learn how to take on more responsibility, especially for tasks related to health care. The question of cultural attitudes is often raised where a very high percentage of young adults at home is concerned. Intergenerational households are the norm in many Asian cultures and in some European countries. Most parents in Asia are happy to live with their children for periods much longer than those in western countries. Traditional societies consider it to be a sign of respect and good fortune for junior and senior adult members of a family to live together. This mentality still persists in Hong Kong augmented by the persistent rise of property prices which has made the stay-at-home trend more prevalent and accepted.

by Calvin Chu flic.kr/p/k5TWm

March 2020 | Youth Hong Kong


• Leaving home is many young people’s goal but it isn’t the norm for Hong Kong 18-35-year-olds.

• 離開父母自立是很多青年的目標,但對 18 至 35 歲的香港青年來說,實非易事。

• Autonomy is usually postponed, partly because of the cost involved in moving out.

• 生活費高昂乃青年難以自立的原因之 一。

• Self-reliance and life skills for independent living may suffer as a result and hanging out at home becomes hanging on at home indefinitely.

• 一直與家人同住使青年過於依賴,難以 建立生活技能。

Another factor is that young people are not getting married as early as they used to. Compared to the older generations, those who have partners often want to continue working rather than get married, have children and settle down in independent households. This raises the question of whether it is a coincidence that the fall in fertility rate in Hong Kong is mirrored by the rise in youth staying on in parents’ homes. However, millennials who are living at home in Hong Kong say they actually enjoy doing so for both fiscal and personal reasons. They can enjoy the benefits of a comfortable, if rather cossetted home life without any financial losses. It makes sense to them to rationalize and share expenses rather than insisting on autonomy. Nevertheless, staying on in close quarters with parents, especially if they are the cocooning, over-protective type, has its downsides. It can result in young adults who lack not only the independence of mind that helps them deal sensibly with emergencies and crises, but also the self-

esteem that comes with acquiring problem-solving skills. This is sometimes called “learned helplessness.” 4 Heightened short-term effects of such phenomena have become more evident as a result of the recent COVID-19 outbreak. Cooped up at home together for long periods, without the normal structure and social interaction of work or school that gives life variety and meaning for most people, family members have needed to cope with an exaggerated version of the learned helplessness scenario which in some cases has resulted in anxiety, depression, or both. Learning how to live together harmoniously in a multigenerational adult household is no easy task. It requires tolerance and patience. Whether as a result of economic benefits or externally-imposed restrictions, living in close proximity with one’s family may offer some easy answers but it also removes the rich experience of being a young, independent adult, with all its attendant risks, hurdles and satiusfactions.

1. info.gov.hk/gia/general/201802/12/P2018020800764.htm 2. ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Young_people_-_housing_conditions 3. University of Michigan. "Failure to launch: Parents are barriers to teen independence." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 July 2019. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/07/190722085830.htm> 4. verywellmind.com/what-is-learned-helplessness-2795326

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Interview March 2020 | Youth Hong Kong

Fortress besieged attitudes to housing

• Prof Xian Shi explains how sociocultural factors shape housing choices, particularly gender, marriage and education, plus social norms including filial piety.

• 綫實教授認為社會文化因素會影響住屋的選 擇,特別是性別、婚姻、教育程度,以及其他 社會規範,例如中國人重視孝道等。

• She focuses on the intergenerational context within which contradictions in attitudes are emerging.

• 她的研究集中於跨世代相處,例如如何融合和 包容不同世代的態度和想法。

What are the strongest motives for young Hong Kong people to continue to live with parents? Among several factors, the lack of affordable housing is the most important according to our recent survey. Some 70% of the young respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they lived with parents because they could not afford to live anywhere else.

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Motivation may also relate to social norms concerning marital status and filial piety. There is general acceptance of co-residence with parents before getting married in Hong Kong. Comfort and intergenerational support are other major factors, together with recognition of the implications of living in an ageing society.


However, 87.6% of those living with parents said they did so because it meant they could take care of their parents in return. Such support is perceived as being mutually beneficial—a finding of particular relevance in an ageing society where traditional norms of reciprocity have been found to be under pressure with the rise of nuclear families in Hong Kong.

Do you think that recognizing Hong Kong as a traditional society is important for understanding the relationship between young people and their parents in Hong Kong today? Young people in our study did express traditional viewpoints. More than 80% agreed or strongly agreed that Chinese people should preserve close family ties and more than 60% considered living with parents to be an act of filial piety. The survey also found that over 80% of young people gave money to their parents as a contribution to family expenses. Are any other practical factors at play? More than two-thirds agreed that they lived with parents because their parents could take care of them. The survey revealed that the majority of those living with parents agreed or strongly agreed that “there are too many domestic chores to do if you live on your own.�

What contradictions about housing expectations and aspirations did you discover in your research? The influence of both Asian social norms and western lifestyles is evident. This is reflected in enjoyment of the benefits of parental care on the one hand and desire for freedom and autonomy on the other. Views on family life, marriage, and the housing choices associated with marital status may also reflect East/West cultural tensions. The majority agreed that living with parents involved filial piety even though such an attitude may be disappearing among young people in most parts of China today. Many of them also aspired to leaving the parental nest when they got married or had a partner. Another apparent contradiction lay in the finding that 50% were optimistic about their job prospects and 80% believed they would be better off than their parents but 80% agreed or strongly agreed that their income would not rise faster than house prices.

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Interview March 2020 | Youth Hong Kong

Do you think a change in social norms has already taken place in Hong Kong? As with marriage, living with parents is a “fortress besieged” *, meaning that those inside want to get out and those outside want to get in. While many young people enjoy living with their parents, some 20% agreed that it was inconvenient while among those who lived alone, some wanted to move back. Indeed, perhaps these are not so much East/West cultural tensions but would be more correctly viewed as contradictions experienced by young people anywhere who want to enjoy both the benefits of parental care and freedom and autonomy, especially after they get married or have a partner. Does parental opposition play a part in young people’s decisions on whether and when to leave home? Only 13.5% of the respondents said they lived at home because of their parents disapproved of them leaving. About three-quarters of those currently living with their parents expected to move out when they got married and marriage is still the strongest trigger. 40% said they would do so when they had enough money to live independently. How common is it for Hong Kong parents or other family members to offer help to children who want to buy flats? According to our findings, direct financial support such as help with paying rent or a down-payment on a flat is less likely than the kind of indirect financial support that enables children to save money. This was surprising and points to the need for intensive research of these issues. The support offered by parents who take care of the housework was also noted. *Note on the title “Fortress Besieged” (《圍城》) is the title of a Chinese satirical novel about family life written by Qian Zhongshu ( 錢鍾書 ). First published in 1947, it is considered a masterpiece of twentieth century Chinese literature. 8


In what ways is gender significant in the pattern in which Hong Kong youth leave home? Parental nests are comfortable for young people. They can avoid housework and living there helps them save money. In general terms, the young females surveyed enjoyed living with parents more, and had less motivation to leave than males. On the contrary, more males than females thought that young people should be able to leave home at an earlier age. The reason may be related to Chinese culture, where daughters usually maintain closer relationships with their parents than sons. It may also be related to a universal social norm where females are more likely to take on the burden of housework than sons when they get married and have their own home. How important are intergenerational dynamics and inequalities in Hong Kong young people’s decisions about leaving home? It is important to explore shifting social, economic and political conditions rather than emphasizing the privileges of one generation compared to another. We need to look beyond shared features and subgroup differences and consider instead how sociocultural factors ‒ particularly gender, marriage, education and social norms ‒ interact with economic factors to shape housing choices. Then the viewpoints, aspirations and apparent contradictions of young people regarding their personal development and their housing futures will become clearer.

Professor Xian Shi, co-researcher and colleague of Professor Forrest, offers her insight in this interview about a central study¹ of housing for Hong Kong youth. Professor Xian is an Assistant Professor at the School of Geographical Sciences, Guangzhou University.

Professor Ray Forrest, formerly of Lingnan University, the University of Bristol and City University of Hong Kong, gave encouragement and help to Youth Hong Kong. In early 2020, we were very sad to learn that he had suddenly passed away. We would like to pay most grateful tribute to him for his advice and expertise in this article.

Read more ¹ Xian, S & Forrest, R. The post-80s generation: exploring the attitudes toward family and housing. Journal of Youth Studies, 2019. Analysis of the study was published last year and can be found in the above article. It focuses on data from the second part of a two-round of a survey that explored the impact on attitudes to housing of sociocultural factors, including age, gender, educational level, and social norms. The survey was part of a larger research project undertaken in Hong Kong in January 2013 and July 2014.

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Youth speak March 2020 | Youth Hong Kong

Living independently? • Do young people like where they live or do they want to move?

• 青年喜歡他們的居所嗎?還是希望能搬離現有 居所自立成家?

• Among this group, five live independently and the other seven live with or near parents.

• 受訪青年有 5 位獨自居住,而有 7 位跟父母住 在一起或住在附近方便照應。

• All but two of them envision living elsewhere.

• 只有兩位預期會改變居住現況。

Hong Kong is a small, crowded city with good public transport. Most schools and jobs are in the urban area within easy commuting distance, so few young people need to leave home for full-time education or work. This partly explains why it is normal to live with parents until getting married, but high property prices mean many are encouraged to postpone finding homes of their own.

Four walls Simon , now in his early 20s, realized he couldn’t stay with his parents any longer when he was in his late teens. Like many others, he didn’t have much space to himself. Now he lives with four other young people in a sub-divided flat in Sham Shui Po. “I pay about HK$4,500 on rent. It’s better than living with my parents but there is still little privacy. That’s something I’ve never really had. I have visions of a flat in Kowloon with my own toilet and kitchen. About 200 sq ft would be OK. But one day, I want to own a real home, four walls of my own. That would be 400 sq ft and it would probably cost me HK$5 million, if I could pay the mortgage, but that would take up a lot of my income.”

Window on the world Cora , in her late 30s, has lived independently since she left home at 17 for an exchange year in Denmark. She went on to do a degree in Canada and then worked in mainland China. At the age of 27, she had second thoughts about living on her own and realized she wanted her parents to know she still cared about them after her years away. So she moved back into their 700 sq ft flat for a while. Meantime, her older sister and brother, single like Cora, had never left home. “It felt cramped there and once I had been back for a few years and realized my parents would be fine without me, I moved out again to a rented flat on Lantau Island. It’s not too far away, almost the same size as my parents’ place and I can afford it. Still, my parents can’t understand why I prefer to ‘waste’ my money rather than living cheaply with them. Another of my brothers got married, moved out and had two sons. One of them is more like me. He left home at 19 and lives in a converted old factory in Kwun Tong. The whole family is upset and worried about him, except me. He pays about HK$4,000 in rent and says the place fulfills all his needs: privacy, a private bathroom and wifi.” 10


Young people do not want to be tied down by mortgages. They prefer other options, like investing in a startup, moving to Taiwan or spending spare cash on travel.

Roof overhead Hailey “I’m in my mid-thirties and have a 500 sq ft flat in Tseung Kwan O to myself. I can afford to pay off the mortgage at a rate of about 20-25% of my income. When I bought the flat in 2012, my family helped me. Otherwise I would have had to buy somewhere much smaller in the New Territories. That would have been too far away for them. Even now, they live about an hour away but I have never wanted to move back in with them. Owning a home has become no more than a dream for many young people. There is a lot of resentment. Most young people have no choice but to live with their family to save money. They also think that people who buy flats purely as an investment has been going on for far too long. The concept is totally detached from the basic needs of Hong Kong people for a roof over their heads and inequality is growing. This should be the focus of the government. Also, preferences and priorities have changed a bit. Young people do not want to be tied down by mortgages. They prefer other options, like investing in a startup, moving to Taiwan or spending spare cash on travel. I dream too, of a home of 1,000 sq feet with a balcony and space to dry my laundry. Space is my main priority, in fact. I would consider living in Taiwan, UK, Australia or New Zealand to get what I really want.”

Space to breathe Vincy, in her 30s, lives in Siu Sai Wan. “I rent a flat there with my partner. It’s about 20 minutes away from where I work and 45 minutes by MTR from my family’s home. I lived with them for nine years after graduating and contributing HK$5,000 a month to their expenses, but in the end, I couldn’t take it. I felt stuck. Although our place is small, it’s convenient and affordable for us two. We both pay about HK$12,000 on rent and that’s less than 20% of my income. I don’t think it is wasted. I could probably afford up to HK$15,000 on mortgage repayments and that’s the future I see for myself within the next 10 years. For two of us, I think 500 sq ft would be OK but it needs to be within 15 minutes walking distance of an MTR station. To be ideal, it would be on HK Island, within 30 minutes from work and with a swimming pool, hiking trails and friends living nearby.”

I lived with my parents for nine years after graduation but in the end I couldn't take it. I felt stuck.

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Youth speak March 2020 | Youth Hong Kong

Private places Bin-hung has a family home is Guangzhou. He in in his early 20s and left home to go to university in Hong Kong. “I didn’t go back to Guangzhou to get a job and I think commuting would take too long. Instead, I live with my partner in a privately rented flat in an old Hung Hom building. All I need is my own private space. My bottom line is a room with a bed and a table. I wouldn’t really mind sharing other facilities in a communal area or living room. I currently expect to pay HK$4,500-HK$6,000 a month and think property prices in Hong Kong are unreasonable given salary levels and the cost of living. The maximum anyone should be paying for mortgage repayments as a proportion of their income is 40%. If I had a freelance job and could work at home, I would look at places like Tung Chung and Lamma Island. I prefer being near the sea, somewhere the pace of life is slower and the pressure is less.”

The maximum anyone should be paying for mortgage repayments as a proportion of their income is 40%.

Building ambitions Lee-yi I like living with my folks. I have my own room in a Sham Shui Po public housing flat. They do all the cooking and housework. If I lived by myself, I would have to buy food and cook, but I work shifts, from 1pm to 11pm, and usually get home well after midnight.

It’s absurd and unreasonable to expect anyone to save all their salary for 21 years to buy a flat.

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I’m in my early 20s and planning to get married in a few years’ time when we can afford to be independent. But rents are so high and I can only afford about HK$5,000 a month. There is no rent control. It is as if we are just helping landlords pay their mortgages. It makes it hard to develop a sense of belonging because you have to be ready to move house at any time. Ideally, I would buy somewhere convenient but quiet in Kowloon so that I could get to the New Territories easily at weekends and to Hong Kong Island, where I work. If we won the lucky draw for the government’s house ownership scheme, or if the price of flats dropped, maybe we could afford a 300 to 400 sq ft flat on the private market. In fact, without the help from parents, it would be nearly impossible for me and my partner to buy a flat when we get married. We would want somewhere about 500 sq ft. If flats are too small that doesn’t help anyone who wants to bring up a family. Also, it’s absurd and unreasonable to expect anyone to save all their salary for 21 years to buy a flat, and yet that is currently the cost. As it is, HK people need to use most of their salary for mortgage payments. The government should make more land available for housing. There is a problem of unfair misallocation of resources here, unlike Singapore. Still, I prefer nowhere in the world to Hong Kong.”


Real life realty Tsz-ching, in his early 30s. lives in Kwai Chung. “I’m single and I think it’s reasonable to give my parents up to HK$5,000 for expenses each month to have a room in their flat. Still, privacy is important to me and I hope to be living in my own place within three years from now. 150 sq ft would be enough for me as long as I could pay between HK$5,000-7,000. I dream of having my own flat one day, somewhere convenient, with the mortgage paid off. I wouldn’t mind if it meant having to pay 20-25% of my salary on repayments. But would that be enough? In real life, I travel from Kwai Chung to work on HK Island every day. It is about 24 km and it takes an hour to get there. That’s the maximum I want to do for commuting. For better options, I would consider Taiwan.”

Digging foundations David, in his late 20s, has a room in his family’s home in Tseung Kwan O. His brother also lives there and they each contribute about HK$5,000 to family expenses each month. “I like living with my family but I can see that one day it would be better to move out. I expect to have to pay 20-25% of my income for a decent flat and the government could help make it feasible by building both more public rental housing and more Home Ownership Scheme flats. That would reduce the pressure on the market instead of making more money for private developers. I like the Singapore model with a transition period means young people can rent a flat first but I also think Hong Kong could convert more industrial buildings. Perhaps container homes and pipe homes are solutions and we could all try something new.”

Nothing lasts for ever

Poor quality housing can affects relationship within families.

Jay “It was hard to get used to being back with my parents. I’m in my mid20s and have been living with them in Jordan for about four years. Before that I’d had a few years of independence in Canada, sharing with friends while I did a degree in finance. It’s OK and nothing is for ever. They take care of me and in return, like most young people in Hong Kong, I contribute to their expenses. But housing for young people in general is a big problem here. I think it has been one of the main reasons for the protests, not only because of unaffordability but because of the way poor quality housing can affect relationships within families. Flat prices in Hong Kong have risen to an absurd level and government must do something about it. I could only afford a very small place now, too small to live in, so I would treat it as an investment and rent it out. Monthly mortgage payments of HK$20,000 would be ok and that would be 20-25% of my expected income. My dream house? It would cost HK$20 million.” 13


Youth speak March 2020 | Youth Hong Kong

Unconventional solution

After the baby was born, I stayed with my parents in Happy Valley and Jonas moved out to a flat in South Horizons. For us, it's been the perfect answer.

Ally and Jonas got married when both of them were 28. They have jobs in the retail sector and neither is well paid. For a while, they lived with Ally’s parents. Nevertheless, they were determined to have children and, realizing that the flat was not big enough for a multigenerational household, they came up with a rational Hong Kong solution. “After the baby was born, I stayed with my parents in Happy Valley and Jonas moved out to a flat in South Horizons. The arrangement works really well. It is very convenient. Grandma looks after our little girl while we are working and she can go to a nearby kindergarten. At weekends, we spend our time on Ap Lei Chau, sleeping at Jonas flat and having fun as a family. For us, it's been the perfect answer.”

Concrete ideas Bella “I’m in my mid-30s, married with a little boy and we live in a big Lam Tin flat owned by my mother. She lives five minutes away. I wouldn’t choose to live with her. It would definitely be stressful. I’m sure we would not have much privacy and could never relax. Most importantly, we would argue a lot about the way to bring up children. I moved here when we got married. I was 26 then. Our home is around 1,500 sq ft, with four rooms, two bathrooms and a big balcony. I think everyone in Hong Kong who works hard should have the right to own their home. The model for public housing used in Singapore could apply to those from a deprived socioeconomic background, but any middle-class citizen of Hong Kong should be able to afford a flat on the private market in my view. Personally, however, I think that anyone who doesn’t work and relies on social assistance should not have that right. Instead, better mortgage plans for young people who want to buy a flat should be available. If I didn’t have my own place, I think public housing would be an option because of the low rent and the good environment of the new public housing estates. I wouldn’t mind moving to another country either, if it meant being able to get better housing. I think a remote area of Taiwan or Japan would work ‒ they are close to Hong Kong and there is less discrimination against Chinese people.”

Cementing the future Man-ling is in her early 20s. Single and living with a partner in Yuen Long, she says she is still just a minute away from her parents. “I moved out because we had no privacy there. I didn’t like having to ask their permission all the time. I want to be able to close the door when I go to bed. I could live in 200 sq ft as long as it has its own toilet and living room. But in about five years’ time, I hope we can afford somewhere bigger, big enough for three ‒ me, my partner and a baby ‒ and in the urban area too, not out here near my folks. It takes me an hour to get to work now. I’m prepared to pay HK$15,000 a month on a mortgage but young people like me shouldn’t spend all their money on housing. The government needs new policies to put an end to this crisis.” 14


No Place Like Home Alan Yip lives in Eastern District and Darcy Fung’s home is in Kwai Chung. Typical of their generation, they live with their parents but would prefer to live independently, either in rented flats or ones that they own. Nevertheless, they consider the likelihood of becoming property owners to be slight. What options do they consider?

Co-living Alan “There are lots of unoccupied industrial buildings and revitalization of districts should be encouraged. If the government allowed a change in land use, industrial buildings could be converted into housing. The government could also subsidize owners who develop co-living space and lease flats to youngsters for a relatively reasonable price.” Darcy I would definitely consider co-living either in a hostel or a shared flat, at least for the short term. “I enjoyed staying in a co-living space for two months in Taiwan. If I could have a room big enough for a double bed and a wardrobe, I would be willing to pay HK$6,000-8,000 per month, and I would choose somewhere in Kowloon.”

We had no privacy there. I want to be able to close the door when I go to bed.

Alan “In fact, I think it might be a cool and interesting experience in terms of expanding my social network and living a more independent life. I think a studio flat of 100-150 sq ft, located in the urban area at a cost of HK$3,000-5,000 per month would be reasonable and convenient for working youth. Increasing housing stock is the ultimate economist’s solution to the question of supply-and-demand. Identifying unoccupied land or non-residential property for conversion into temporary living solutions, in the form of hostel or co-living space, may be a quick win for the short-term.”

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Youth speak March 2020 | Youth Hong Kong

Sharing with friends or partners

Costs and options

To conclude the discussion, Darcy and Alan weigh up the merits of sharing flats and the comparative costs of the various options. If given a completely free choice of home companions, Darcy would prefer to live with her friends. Alan says, “I would like to live with my girlfriend - or my future wife and children to allow myself personal space, but I would also like to stay in a neighbourhood close to my parents.”

Middle-class Hong Kong parents may plan to help their children put their first step on the home-owning ladder. As Alan says, “Some may offer without being asked. I think most are willing to contribute down-payments ranging from 20% to 40% of the purchase price, either with or without the expectation of the money ever being returned.” Darcy is equivocal. “It depends. Some of my friends’ parents have already bought homes for them, others only offer to settle the bill for a down payment, but others won’t pay anything.”

Given that independent living, well away from the family home, is considered fairly normal in some societies, especially for those wishing to have children, Hong Kong appears to be an exception. Alan explains this in terms of costs, the size of the territory and convenience. “First, owning your own place just costs too much for most young couples, not to mention the costs of raising children. Second, whereas in most western countries and even in mainland China, moving away from the family home is a natural process if you go to university or work in a different city, most youngsters in Hong Kong go to school or work within the city and staying at the family home becomes a very convenient option.” Darcy points out that “Paying for housing is a heavy burden for a young family with a kid to feed. On the other hand, I think most parents in Hong Kong are dual income earners. They might choose to stay on in the family home in order to provide better care for their children, as well as to alleviate their own burdens.”

When presented with two hypothetical situations, one of which meant having independent housing that was a significant drain on their income but where they were free to decide on how space was used, both prefer to have a comfortable home dependent on parents, although Alan notes reservations about continuing such an arrangement after marriage. They are happy to make a contribution to household expenses of an amount they decide on themselves. In general, they consider something between 20% and 25% to be a reasonable proportion of their income to spend on accommodation. At a time when increasing numbers of Hong Kong people of all ages are considering accommodation options outside Hong Kong, Darcy agrees. “It could be an alternative for me. I think Hong Kong is a good place for work and investment but not a good choice for living. So I might consider moving to another city to work and live. Singapore and Australia both are good choices for me.” While it is unlikely for Alan, given his strong local ties, he says that from a purely professional point of view, it could also be a viable alternative.

Alan Yip and Darcy Fung are members of the HKFYG Youth IDEAS think tank. They worked on the coliving study: Report No 44, 2019. See Youth Hong Kong, September 2019. 16


Affordability: alternative models Several contributors to this article say they would consider Singapore as a viable alternative for living or working or both. It certainly has more affordable housing. This year, the Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey ranked Hong Kong as the most unaffordable city in the world for the 10th year running, using a factor called the Median Multiple which divides median home prices by median annual household income to rank affordability. Hong Kong comes out at 20.8 compared to Singapore at an overall figure of 4.6. That means it takes a family 20.8 years of savings to afford a home in Hong Kong. After subsidies, a new home of an average 970 sq ft flat in Singapore costs just 3.3 times the median household income. It is not surprising that 90% of Singaporeans are owner-occupiers: a higher rate than in any other rich country. In Hong Kong the figure is 48.5%, according to the 2016 by-census. It is 44% in Germany and 40% in Switzerland, whereas in Romania, which has the highest figure in the world, it is 96%. Housing Affordability Ratings Australia

Median Market 6.9

Canada

4.4

Hong Kong

20.8

New Zealand

8.6

Singapore

4.6

United Kingdom

4.6

United States

3.9

Ireland

4.7

The median monthly income of Hong Kong's 20-29-year-olds in 2018 [latest available figures] was HK$15,250. At that time, the average monthly rent in Hong Kong was over HK$21,600. Sources censtatd.gov.hk/hkstat/sub/gender/employment_earnings/ ejinsight.com/20190412-hk-remains-worlds-mostexpensive-housing-market-by-wide-margin/

Read more • fcpp.org/2020/01/19/16th-annual-demographia-international-housing-affordability-survey/ • bycensus2016.gov.hk/en/Snapshot-05.html • economist.com/special-report/2020/01/16/housing-is-at-the-root-of-many-of-the-rich-worlds-problems

How much should housing cost? You may have heard of the 30% rule for expenditure on housing, but this is increasingly outdated because it doesn’t account for expenses that are prevalent today, such as student debt. It also doesn’t account for individual situations, such as how many dependents you have. Families who pay more than 30% of their income for housing are considered “cost burdened” and may have difficulty affording other necessities. The increase in cost-burdened households is driven in part by income inequality and a lack of affordable housing. What proportion of your income do you spend on your home? Read more

nytimes.com/ask/answers/monthly-budget-rent-income

17


Perspectives March 2020 | Youth Hong Kong

Home again • Living with parents as an adult is often difficult but in Hong Kong it is not at all unusual. • Both the mother and the daughter in this story feel the tension between them acutely and neither wants their predicament to continue. • Putting up with one another in the meantime tests their tolerance and patience.

• 成年後繼續跟家人共住通常出現相處 困難,但在香港跟家人共住還是比較 常見。 • 故事中的母女都感到共住的矛盾,並 希望能解決問題。 • 同一屋簷下確實需要互相容忍及體 諒。

I went back into my childhood bedroom and for some reason it seems as though I reverted to being a child again in my mother and father’s eyes.

Christine I am 23 years old and I live with my parents. For the past few years while I was studying, I was living in university accommodation, but after that, when I started working for a technology firm, I had to move back home.

The reason is obvious, I could not afford a place of my own, either by renting or by putting down a deposit to buy and then making mortgage repayments. Once, I did consider going in for shared accommodation with some university friends, but even my share of the rent would have taken out a large chunk of my salary that I would prefer to save. 18

Living at home is complicated. On the one hand it is nice to be “cared” for, having someone concerned about how you are and whether or not you’ve eaten. There are other practical advantages too: my parents’ helper ensures that my clothes are always clean and ironed and my room is tidy. On the other hand, when I came back to live here, I went back into my childhood bedroom and for some reason it seems as though I have reverted to being a child again in my mother’s and father’s eyes. It seems to have given both my parent’s “permission” to treat me like a child.


My parents always want to know where I am going and with whom and what time I will return.

This situation is a double-edged sword and I know is not good for my wellbeing. There are also real implications for privacy. Living at home means that everyone knows what you are up to, but worse, everyone knows exactly what you possess. I cannot buy a new pair of shoes or an outfit without someone commenting. Worse, I really cannot come and go as I please, even though I am an adult. My parents always want to know where I am going and with whom and what time I will return. More difficult are the physical problems of living at home. I feel that I do not have enough personal space. I have my bedroom, which is not large, and therefore if I want friends to come over, they have to sit in the shared spaces of the home. That can make life awkward, let alone irritating. I am also finding it increasingly difficult to share the bathroom with my two sisters, one of whom is at university and the other one at school. Given the current situation during the COVID-19 epidemic, both of them are always

at home. That makes our house seem even more crowded than usual. Even when they had to go to school or college, our schedules always seemed to overlap and invariably, I am either late or stressed before I even get to work. Frankly, living at home is far from optimal. In fact, if I could, I would move out in a minute. I have to confess that I have been thinking of applying to universities overseas for graduate studies. I would have to get a scholarship or ask my parents to help out, but the reason has less to do with pursuing another qualification than it has to do with not wanting to live at home anymore. I do contribute to general household expenses and I am happy enough to do so. But, to be honest, I would prefer to save as much of my salary as possible, either for a deposit on a home of my own, or to rent a place, or to go abroad. I know I am fortunate to have future options and parental support, but if the truth be told, every day I plan my escape ‒ escape from living in my parents’ home now that I am an adult.

19


Perspectives March 2020 | Youth Hong Kong

Sometimes I think I didn’t do my job as a mother well enough for my child not to be independent by now.

Wanda Christine is the oldest of my three

daughters. I was very happy when she managed to get a place in university accommodation because I thought it would teach her how to be independent and that she would get used to living with other people. Actually, I never expected her to come home to live again, but I can fully understand why she has. Nevertheless, it is difficult. After Christine went to university, I got used to having my two younger girls at home and since they are both still in full-time education, it was easier to manage. Schedules were fixed and I had my own time and freedom to do things, whether it was going out for meals or getting together with my friends. Now with Christine back – and with the current school suspensions – I feel overwhelmed, like I did when they were all younger.

20

In fact, with Christine at home again, I feel many of the old tensions come back. I appreciate that she is a young adult, but I do get annoyed when I see her taking advantage of living here. She expects her room to be tidied and her clothes cleaned and put away, but she will do nothing to contribute to the household chores, not even cooking on a Sunday. The money that she contributes to the household is helpful but I don’t ask her for anything. I know she wants to save for her future. As a parent, I feel responsible for her. I like to know where she is and what she is doing even though she feels that this is an intrusion. But under our roof, there are certain rules and everyone must follow them. That said, I do not know all her friends in the way I did when she was in school, so I do tend to ask more questions. It is not prying. I do it only out of curiosity.


I do look forward to the day when all three of my children are out of the house for good.

I would say one of the hardest things about having a young adult home, still effectively under one’s care, is how ambivalent it makes me feel. Sometimes I think, “Didn’t I do my job as a mother well enough for my child not to be independent by now?” I don’t always feel like that and my husband, usually the more rational among us, tells me that the housing market is unaffordable for Christine and so we are doing the right thing for her. In some ways I agree. In fact, I think that sometimes he is quite happy to have her here, happier than I am, anyway. However, honestly speaking, I think I have reached the point where I will begin counting down the days to having an “empty nest”. I know this is probably just a dream, but I do look forward to the day when all three of my

children are out of the house for good. The trouble is, now that Christine has come home, it makes me think that this may never happen, either quickly or ever. Living in a small space in Hong Kong as the children get older and as I age is not comfortable. I do not know how long this will last, but without sounding mean, I hope that when Christine or her sisters marry, they will be able to live on their own. I would not know how to cope if they brought their husbands or partners to live here too. That would be just too much! Right now, there is not much point in feeling upset. I keep it all bottled up inside and try to just take one day at a time.

21


Youth watch March 2020 | Youth Hong Kong

Staying with parents world snapshots Depending on what you read, figures for young people living with parents around the world vary a lot, but they have been on the rise everywhere.

Europe On average, over half of young people aged 18-34 in the European Union [EU] live at home with parents. Among 25-34-year-olds, the figure is 35.3% men but only 21.7% for women. The trend is most common in southern and central-eastern European countries where the average age for leaving home is late 20s or early 30s. Relationships, academic studies, levels of financial independence, labour market conditions, the cost of housing and general living costs are all determining factors. At the same time, as in Hong Kong, a generational gap is starting to emerge with an increasing share of young people facing huge challenges in finding affordable homes of their own. There is also a growing imbalance between those who can turn to parents for financial help, and those who cannot. In 2018, 23.6 % of the young population (aged 15-29 years) in the EU lived in overcrowded dwellings* and 12.2 % of the same age group lived in households that spent 40 % or more of their equivalized disposable income** on housing. However, in Nordic countries, very few young people live in the parental home compared to the rest of EU although the share of young people living at home with parents has increased significantly in relative terms since 2008. The smallest percentage of young people living with their parents is found in Denmark (3.2%), Finland (4.7%), and Sweden (6%). Montenegro, Croatia, Slovakia and Italy are the European countries where youngsters stay with parents the longest and with the highest number of young people living at home. It is nearly 60% in Croatia, 57% in Slovakia and over 56% in Greece. Macedonia has the most 18-34-yearolds living with parents: 75%. Europe-wide the figure is 48%.

22

Per Capita Living Area US: 800 sq ft Taiwan: 370 sq ft Shanghai: 194 sq ft

HONG KONG Overall average: 161 sq ft Public rental housing: 130 sq ft Subvivided flats: 48 sq ft


How many 18-34-year-olds live with parents? EU overall

Macedonia

UK

48%

75%

About 26%

Denmark

HK

US

3.2%

78%

27% of men and 17% of women

Hong Kong

India In India, where traditionally it has been quite normal for young people to live at home at least until marriage and returning home after full-time education is not only encouraged, but expected, the nuclear family, where a husband-wife couple lives with their married or unmarried children has been on the rise. However, at the last census 16% were still what is called multigenerational, “joint” households.

in 1991, 80% of 20–24-yearolds, 56% of 25–29-yearolds and 33% of 30–34-yearolds lived with their parents. By 2006, the comparable figures were 91%, 70% and 42% respectively. In 2016, when the median floor area of households with young people was just 42 sq m [450 sq ft], among 18-24-year-olds who had never been married, the figure was as high as 94% for females and 95% for males. 78% of 18-35-year-olds overall lived with their parents.

Australia In 1981, 36% of 20–24-yearolds were living with their parents. By 2016, the figures were 43% for 20–24-year olds, 17% for 25–29-year-olds and 7% for 30–35-year-olds. Up to the age of 34, more men than women continued to live with their parents with, 21% of among 25–29-year-old men compared to 14% of women of the same age. Young people living in big cities were more likely to continue living in the parental home than those living elsewhere.

23


Youth watch March 2020 | Youth Hong Kong

US

UK Nearly a million more young adults are living with their parents than was the case two decades ago, according to a 2017 report from Civitas, a think tank. The report also says that among those who do move out of their parental home, most of them are more likely to be living with partners or friends than alone. The proportion of all people aged 20-34 who live with their parents rose from 19.5% in 1997, equating to 2.4 million people to almost 26% in 2017, equating to 3.4 million. 63% of all single adults aged 20-29 live with their parents, as do just over half of 25-29-yearolds. The growth has been strongest in London. According to another study, fair payment for living with parents, allowing for the financial situations of all parties concerned and general agreement that a family relationship is not a commercial relationship, could be related to the additional cost to parents of having a son or daughter at home – such as buying more communal groceries or spending more on heating. This was found to be fairly modest, compared with the savings made, costing a minimum of about £100 (about HK$1,000) a month.

24

Living with a spouse was the most common arrangement for young people in 1975, with 57% of 18-34-year-olds setting up their own homes compared to just 26% living with their parents. Living with parents had surpassed all other living arrangements by 2016, the first time in more than 130 years for those aged 18-34. 33% of 25-29-year-olds were residents of multigenerational households. In 2016, 27% of American men and 17% of women in the same age group lived with parents compared to about 18% and 11%, respectively, in 2000. Analysts say that growing racial and ethnic diversity in the US population helps explain some of the rise in multigenerational living. As in the EU, the rising trend is higher among sons than daughters. The US data also correlate with a drop in marriage and birthrates. The percentage of women who had given birth fell for all age groups, with the steepest drop occurring in younger women. This continues a trend whereby the US birthrate fell by 8% from 2007 to 2010. By 2013 it had dropped a full 9% from the 2007 high, with an average of just 1.87 children per woman, below the rate of replacement and the lowest point ever recorded in the US.


Family nesting: cluttered, crowded or empty?

Read more

Many parents enjoy having their adult children living at home.

w aifs.gov.au/facts-and-figures/young-people-living-theirparents

w 67% in a US survey say they feel emotionally closer to their children w 66% say they provide companionship w 62% appreciated the help they give in the household On the other hand, adult children who go home to their parents after a spell away from home, the so-called “boomerang” or “yo-yo” generation, cause a significant decline in their parents’ quality of life and well-being, according to recent research in Britain. However, there were no ill effects when other children still lived at home. Researchers looked only at adults aged up to 75 to reduce the chance that returning home was driven by parents' needs for care.

Calling names in Japan, Italy and Korea In Japan, a single person who lives with their parents beyond their late 20s or early 30s may be called a “parasite single” [parasaito shinguru] or a “freeter”. In Italy, the term is “bamboccioni”, roughly, “big babies”. In English-speaking nations, the terms “cellar dweller” and “basement dweller” have a similar negative connotation. In South Korea, the “opo sedae” or “n-po” generation refers to youth who give up employment and home ownership, courtship, marriage and having children because of problems such as lack of affordable housing scarcity and the increasing cost-of-living and tuition fees. Those who stay on long-term with parents are sometimes called the “Kangaroo Tribe.” Sources en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parasite_single en.wiktionary.org/wiki/basement-dweller en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sampo_generation

Australia

w domain.com.au/news/more-australian-adult-children-areliving-at-home-census-data-shows-20170711-gx8urj/

EU

w ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Young_ people_-_housing_conditions w weforum.org/agenda/2018/05/chart-of-the-day-when-doyoung-europeans-leave-home/

Hong Kong

w Yip, N M. Homeownership, cohort trajectories and Hong Kong’s post-eighties generation. In Forrest, R. and Yip, N.M. (Eds) (2013). Young People and Housing: Transitions, trajectories and generational fractures, London: Routledge, p122-140. w bycensus2016.gov.hk/data/16BC_Youth_report_2018.02.12. pdf w doi.org/10.1080/13676261.2019.1636949

India

w timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/supplemented-nuclearfamilies-make-16-of-indian-households/ articleshow/59449874.cms w ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3705700/

OECD

w oecd.org/publications/society-at-a-glance-19991290.htm

UK

w theguardian.com/society/2019/feb/08/million-more-youngadults-live-parents-uk-housing w phys.org/news/2019-01-thirds-people-20s-parents-affects. html

US

w pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/05/24/in-the-u-s-andabroad-more-young-adults-are-living-with-their-parents/ w pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/04/05/a-record-64-millionamericans-live-in-multigenerational-households/ w ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Young_ people_-_housing_conditions

Notes * Equivalized disposable income according to the OECD is the total income of a household, after tax and other deductions, that is available for spending or saving, divided by the number of household members converted into an equalized adults equivalence scale. ** An overcrowded household is defined as less than one room for each couple; single person aged 18 or over; pair of single people of the same gender aged 12-17; single person aged 12-17 not in the previous category; two children under 12.

25


SPECIAL March 2020 | Youth Hong Kong

COVID-19

non-stop care and support D

etermined efforts at HKFYG during the COVID-19 epidemic include sharing and distribution of scarce resources by young volunteers and projects that respond to learning, health and social needs. The lives of Hong Kong people of all ages and backgrounds have changed dramatically during the spread of COVID-19. To help them cope, in mid-February the Federation began a special effort, launching many new platforms, projects and services to support young people, their parents and the needy. Youth are more than recipients of these services, they are also the deliverers, a strong and determined force that is working for others.

Care for the needy Young volunteers of the NEIGHBOURHOOD First Project are reaching out to elderly single people, DSE students and others in need in the community, calling them to show care and visiting to offer practical support. The network created by this project provides vital contact details and enables volunteers to focus on about 40,000 families – the people who need help most. Disadvantaged people in temporary housing, the needy in sub-divided flats, deprived and disadvantaged families in Hong Kong’s remoter housing estates: all of them are among the main targets.

26

Thanks to generous donors, the volunteers also distribute much-needed resources in DIY anti-epidemic care packs: • 110,000 surgical masks • Over 800 fabric face masks made by volunteers • 3,500 bottles of hand sanitizer • Hundreds of bottles of household cleaning and disinfecting products


There has been a flurry of activity at HKFYG’s Youth SPOTs in a programme called “To Neighbours with Love”. As this collection of photos shows, young members have set up a creative and efficient production line for fabric face masks. They have also been collecting resources to make up kits for DIY epidemic fighting. All of these are then distributed to needy members of the community.

27


SPECIAL March 2020 | Youth Hong Kong

Learning online

Independent, self-directed learning has been vital this spring and it has always been actively promoted at the HKFYG Lee Shau Kee College (HLC). Online lessons, now the norm in Hong Kong, have evolved to match the trend and class suspensions have meant that teachers not only recorded and uploaded learning videos but also conducted live lessons on Zoom and Google Hangouts. Teachers also put tasks based on the videos and other online learning resources online for students to do before classes. Some of these pre-learning assignments are then submitted online through Google Classroom or its equivalents so that teachers are able to mark, feedback and return assignments online before lessons are held. With the widespread use of oth er tools such as Zoom, Google Hangouts, Castify, Weeblies, Active Learn, Tapestry, Wordsmith and Moodle, these household names for educators have been exported from the classroom and into the world of Hong Kong homes. During HLC’s online lessons, teachers also make use of apps such as Plickers and Kahoot to collect students’ instant responses while Padlet and Google apps to enhance students’ collaboration. In the coming school year, the College will adopt BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) to enhance the effectiveness of online learning.

28

Free online access When the facilitation of online learning is more urgent than ever, the Bandwidth Support for E-learning at Home Scheme is providing free access to mobile internet data for 100,000 underprivileged students at primary and secondary schools. Providing SIM cards and data plans to registered participants, the project’s prime targets are those living in sub-divided flats, other sub-standard housing or remote areas where high speed internet broadband access is not available. Funded by The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust In collaboration with HKFYG and The Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs Association of Hong Kong With support from: • China Mobile Hong Kong • CSL • SmarTone Details of eligibility, registration and FAQs elearningsupport.hk


DSE27771112.hk, the HKFYG counselling service tailor-made for DSE exam students, has a newlylaunched collaborative project that provides online tutorials for DSE students via Telegram. Students can ask questions on 10 subjects including Chinese Language, English Language, Mathematics Compulsory and Liberal Studies.

At easyvolunteer.hk ‒ the Federation’s volunteering platform ‒ youth volunteers give primary and junior high school students online help with homework. The service for DSE level students includes practice speaking both Chinese and English. Volunteer tutors engage participants in online group discussions as well as offering one-to-one responses.

Offered with School-University Partnerships Office, Faculty of Education, the University of Hong Kong

No registration is required and students can post questions on a variety of subjects. Answers are provided by more than 160 volunteer tutors on duty. More details

yvn.hkfyg.org.hk/study

M21.hk – HKFYG’s M21 TV channel media centre is broadcasting a range of interactive learning and leisure programmes. For example, “Never Stop Learning” invites youth to express their views on topics like studying, popular culture and the arts. “STEM Friday” covers innovation and science and “BADtimes Stories” hosts guests who talk about their lives and promote the value of staying positive.

The HKFYG Leadership Institute has produced an online video series “Learn to LEAD” with alumni and guests from different sectors. They recently included people with expertise in industrial supply chains, crucial in a time of closed factories and panic buying.

29


SPECIAL March 2020 | Youth Hong Kong

Emotional support The Wellness Mind Centre has prepared the online “Social Wellness Pack” to encourage youth to stay healthy, both physically and emotionally. Meanwhile, the Mobile Wellness truck is travelling around the city, reinforcing the message and Youthline phone, Whatsapp and SMS counselling are on standby to give help when needed. See pages 36-37 for more on this. The HKFYG Wellness Mind Centre has prepared a series of whatsapp stickers, that covers a range of emotions to send to friends and family. Download and share!

Stay healthy

“Want to relax? Then MOVE!” These video clips from M21 are especially for folks at home. Tailor-made for stretching and strengthening, they are perfect when you can’t go out.

The HKFYG Parent Support Network has provided a wide range of information and tips to help parents discuss the coronavirus with their kids. When many mums, dads and helpers are at their wits’ end trying to keep their children focused during days where structure has disappeared, these will be a boon to many.

Enquiries about all initiatives Miranda Ho 3755 7044

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For your core, your legs, your arms and joints, they are all about staying on the move when you have to stay home. Create your own gym no special equipment needed! More details m21.hk/production/program. php?progId=235


Extra Special

FOR THE YOUNGER GENERATION Youth Hong Kong and Youth SPOT magazines GET COPIES HERE

Limited free quota

A

s a special service to dear readers having to stay at home during this period of school closures and restricted movement, we are offering free mailing of both the Federation’s magazines.

a quarterly journal from the hongkong federation of youth groups

March 2020

February 2020: Healing with Words

Volume 12 Number 1

Youth HONG KONG

Leaving home...

March 2020: Leaving home... ... or too attached?

Comfort can be found through the healing power of writing about your thoughts

Living Independently: Fleeting Dream or Rare Reality

DSE Online Examination Tips Study Tips of ex-DSEer

April 2020: Health and Sport

Hotline Details http://

.hk

...or too attached?

Stay strong, keep fit, no matter what To sign up for Youth Hong Kong magazine delivery Go to and fill in the form Read online youthhongkong.hkfyg.org.hk/v12n1.php Enquiries Ada Chau 3755 7108

To sign up for Youth SPOT magazine delivery Go to https://bit.ly/3akyPsv

Read online cps.hkfyg.org.hk/ysm/magazineissues

Enquiries Tiffany Lam 3755 7091

TV time with Telekids!

Television is still a magic box for many young people. It’s both fun and informative so wouldn’t it be even better to enter that magic box and be part of the show? How is it different?

Who is it for?

What does it do?

Where can we watch?

This special new TV programme called TeleKids, brings TV alive. Created both for and with children, its target is primary school students as both creators and audience. The programme blends learning with entertainment and provides training for the young participants in both acting and hosting. Focused on interesting STEM topics, it also includes Chinese and English language, arts and sports, greening, cooking and free play.

When is it on?

Primary school pupils are audience but parents also take part in cooking classes. All children will benefit, whether they are in front of or behind the cameras or even at home watching! Channel Hong Kong Open TV’s Channel 77 Partners Hong Kong Open TV and Plentyme Limited Organizer HKFYG’s Jockey Club Media 21 (M21) More details opentv.vizztech.com/#/videopage/BC00402 Enquiries Gladys Chu 3979 0021

On air now every afternoon until 31 December 2020 Monday to Friday, 6-6.30pm and Saturday to Sunday 4.30-5pm

31


Research March 2020 | Youth Hong Kong

Realistic hopes for homes H

KFYG worked with partners on a study of youth’s aspirations for housing in 2016. Some of the findings are presented here for the first time. They reveal realistic and healthy priorities, as well as a very frugal attitude to income and savings and an understandable wish for more privacy. Living conditions and expense 89.5% live in an average of 200 sq ft or less [18.5 sq m]

Current average living space per person: 126 sq ft [11.7 sq m]

43.8% had 100 sq ft [9.2 sq m] or less of living space to themselves Cost for 26.4% of respondents was 0-10%

Cost for 3.4% of respondents was 41% to 50% Cost for 19% of respondents was 11%-20%

1.1% considered their present accommodation totally unacceptable 6.4% are totally satisfied

$

Considering renting?

Intending to buy?

37.6% 32.5%

55.6% 54.1% 52.1%

would consider renting for privacy

say renting is too expensive

28.1% 12.4% would consider renting for the sake of marriage

32

would consider renting within 3 years

thought they would need financial support from family to buy

35.6%

had no plans to buy either because of high asking prices or high deposits

planned to buy within a price range of HK$3-3.99 million

expected to have to spend 6-10 years’ worth of their income in order to buy a flat

26.6%

wanted to buy but only if property cost less than it did 10 years ago


Hoping for better 60.9% agreed that independent living was a goal in life Modest ambition: 271 sq ft [25 sq m] per single person Most important private features:

Most important nearby public facilities:

70.5%: household toilet

l 46.8% community lounge

70.0%: windows

l 41.5% fitness centre

64.3%: wifi

l 41.0% jogging trail

54.5% rooms separated by partition

l 36.2% multimedia entertainment room

48% fixed [not folding] bed

Is this enough?

89.5%

1.1%

6.4%

live in 200 sq ft or less

considered this totally unacceptable

are totally satisfied

How much of your income do you spend on housing?*

26.4%

19%

3.4%

spent 0-10%

spent 11%-20%

spent 41%-50%

* Note: This does not include contributions to parents for household expenses.

Read more This survey was conducted by HKFYG in July and August 2016 with a sample of 800 18-34-year-olds interviewed by telephone. Full details with more statistics are available at Organized by ďż˝ Hong Kong Institute of Architects ďż˝ Hong Kong Housing Society ďż˝ Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups See also the findings of a more recent study on co-living reported in Youth Hong Kong, September 2019. These explain in part the popularity of the hostel scheme described on page 30-31 and echo the wish for privacy at home.

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City space March 2020 | Youth Hong Kong

Intermittent fasting fad or fact? by Katherine Gudgin

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any studies show that leaving sixteen hours between meals is good for you. Eating well before bedtime is also recommended. For those who want to change their habits, it’s best to do so gradually, ensuring good nutrition and exercise.

One of the eating plans that has gained a lot of traction in the past few years is intermittent fasting. Fundamentally , it restricts the period of time when you can eat rather than what you can eat. Usually this requires either a 16-hour gap with no food or two 24-hour periods each week when you eat either nothing or extremely limited calories. How does this work? A variety of animal and some human studies have shown that alternating between times of fasting and eating is good for the health of your cells. It may trigger the kind of ancient processes designed to help us when food was scarce. The process is called metabolic switching. Essentially, when there is no food in your digestive tract, your body flicks a virtual switch, uses up rapidly accessible, sugar-based fuel in your cells and thereby converts fat to energy. This switch changes cells and hormones that regulate your blood sugar levels and increases growth hormone levels that maintain tissues and organs. It may also increase your resistance to stress and suppress inflammation. 34

Does it work? Studies on intermittent fasting have been short-term with a small number of participants. Most studies have found that those who follow any kind of intermittent fasting diet lose weight compared to those on a normal diet. However, intermittent fasts don’t tend to result in more weight loss than conventional calorie-restricted diets. One research programme noted a high dropout rate of 38% probably because controlling what you eat is hard, regardless of the regime you follow, and with intermittent fasting people have a tendency to be “good” on fasting days and then indulge on non-fasting days. Your body doesn’t like to be deprived of food.

Are there benefits other than losing weight? Some studies with animals indicate that intermittent fasting could help lower the risk of cancer, decrease blood pressure and blood lipid levels, reduce resting heart rates and perhaps


slow ageing. The reason for all of these may be that fasting activates cellular mechanisms that boost immune functions and reduce inflammation, thought to be a key indicator for a wide variety of illnesses. However, most doctors conclude that reducing body fat in any healthy way will help you improve your cardiovascular function and metabolic profile, thus reducing risks. There are also studies which indicate that intermittent fasting can change risk factors associated with obesity and diabetes. Two studies in the UK of 100 overweight women show that although the women who fasted intermittently lost the same amount of weight as those on a caloriecontrolled diet, they out-performed the control group in terms of insulin sensitivity and stomach fat reduction. Doctors running a trial at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital commented on the psychological benefits for patients who didn’t want to track calorie intake or record food consumption. With intermittent fasting this is not necessary. However, they also noted that as long-term weight-loss success requires changes in food and eating patterns, intermittent fasting may not be a sustainable solution. More research is needed for definitive findings.

What should I know? This diet is not for everyone. It can involve skipping meals and limiting your calories to “starvation” levels so it is not

advisable for women who are pregnant, are trying to get pregnant or are breastfeeding. Anyone with a condition like diabetes, heart disease or high blood pressure should consult their doctor before considering intermittent fasting because it can make electrolyte levels abnormal. You are also likely to be irritable for the first few weeks as your body and brain get used to the new routine. But apparently there are benefits even for those who don’t need to lose weight. At the University of Toronto, a study involving 220 healthy, non-obese adults showed improved memory skills. Worth having!

Alternate Day Fasting l On fast days, no food or beverages with calories l Rotate days of eating and fasting l On non-fast days, eat what you like as long as it’s healthy

Time-restricted* Fasting l Consume no calories for between 8 to 16 hours every day l Time between meals can vary * Easier for those who don’t snack after dinner and are able to eat immediately after getting up

35


City space March 2020 | Youth Hong Kong

Wellness tool kit tips relax, exercise and eat W

hile COVID-19 is creating uncertainty, paying attention to personal hygiene, sleeping well, finding reliable information and staying tuned to our health is a priority.

Everyone enjoys good company but most of us also need peace and quiet. If we get stuck at home, we can make time for ourselves, keep in touch on smartphones and make sure we stay fit and well-balanced, eat well and sleep soundly.

Social wellness: interaction and discretion Simple stress relief ● Think clearly and critically. ● Learn to recognize fake news and rumours. ● Pay attention to personal hygiene. ● Wear a mask if you are sick. ● Be discrete and courteous when with others. ● Share resources with others. ● Use electronic devices to stay connected with friends and family. ● If you feel anxious, breathe in deeply then breathe out while counting to five. Repeat. ● Discover the value of private time. ● Listen to your internal voice. ● If you feel lonely, chat with someone you trust: friends, or professional social workers on HKFYG’s Youthline, uTouch, Open up*. ● If you feel scared stay sceptical and factcheck news from unfamiliar sources. ● Concentrate on staying healthy with exercise and a balanced diet. Read more

• World Health Organization who.int/emergencies/diseases/ novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public • Centre for Disease Control cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html • Centre for Health Protection chp.gov.hk/files/pdf/statistics_of_the_ cases_novel_coronavirus_infection_en.pdf

Fitness and exercise: five types, five principles

Keep on exercising whatever else changes in your life. It’s good for all-round health and for mental stress relief. The various types of exercise suit people of different ages and each sport has its own unique training requirements for. For example, badminton requires muscle strength, flexibility and explosive power. For long distance running, endurance is vital. Depending on your preferred sport, various training principles apply.

5 types

● Aerobic

● Endurance

● Muscle and bone strengthening ● Flexibility

● Balance improvement

5 principles

● Equilibrium: Your muscles need to develop in a balanced way. ● Individualization: Everyone is different and

training needs vary accordingly.

● Overload: Increase pace, duration or weights to

continue gaining strength and endurance. ● Reversibility: Use your strength and fitness or lose it, but remember to rest too. ● Specificity: Workouts vary according to sport: dragon boaters train differently to marathon runners.

Support from HKFYG during disease outbreak Monday to Saturday 2pm to 2am *Hotline 27778899 *Whatsapp 62778899 Tuesday to Thursday 4pm to 10pm; Friday to Saturday 4pm to 2am *Facebook/Portal utouch.hk *Open Up openup.hk *SMS 91021012 Plus Useful tools for learning and working from home 36


Food Wellness: eat right to boost immunity A healthy diet can boost both your immune system and your mood. For example, tryptophan is necessary for making proteins and other important molecules, including some that are essential for optimal sleep. It also affects the synthesis of serotonin which is believed to influence our moods. Good sources of tryptophan include poultry, tuna, soybeans, bananas, prunes, oats, bread, eggs, peanuts, milk, cheese, yoghurt and even chocolate. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids are important for metabolic functioning. They include salmon, shrimps, clams, catfish, cod, walnuts, flaxseed oil, spinach, sardines and canola oil. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats found in olives, fish, nuts, and avocado are also good for you. A good guide is to try and eat upwards of 30 different fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds every week to help ensure a good range of vitamins, minerals, and to aid our microbiome - the useful microbes and bacteria that live on and in our bodies.

Mix your colours

Red fruit and vegetables contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that can help reduce the risk of cancer and keep hearts healthy. Blue/ purple fruits and vegetables contain anthocyanin which also has antioxidant properties. Carotenoids are in orange/yellow vegetables and one of them, betacarotene, is found in sweet potatoes, pumpkins and carrots. It is converted to vitamin A, which helps maintain healthy mucous membranes and healthy eyes. Green vegetables contain a range of phytochemicals all of which have anti-cancer properties. Leafy greens such as spinach and bak choi are excellent sources of folate. Brown/white fruits and vegetables contain phytochemicals such as allicin which is known for its antiviral and antibacterial properties. Bananas and potatoes are a good source of potassium.

Removing masks

Vitamins and supplements – not always a magic pill

Treat supplements like medicine, check the packaging and know what you are taking. Some dietary supplements can improve overall health and help manage some health conditions. Calcium and vitamin D help keep bones strong and reduce bone loss. Folic acid decreases the risk of certain birth defects. Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oils might help some people with heart disease. A combination of vitamins C and E, zinc, copper, lutein, and zeaxanthin (known as AREDS) may slow down further vision loss in people with age-related macular degeneration (AMD). However, many supplements contain active ingredients that can have strong effects in the body. Always be alert to the possibility of unexpected side effects, especially when taking a new product. Interactions Some supplements and vitamins react with each other and with other medication. Some interactions are serious. Always check dosage and ask a specialist if in doubt. Vitamin A can also cause problems. Too much vitamin A can cause headaches and liver damage, reduce bone strength, and cause birth defects. Vitamin C For adults, the recommended daily amount [RDA] is 65 to 90 mg and the upper limit is 2,000 mg. For most people, an orange provides enough for a day. Overdoses of vitamin C might cause diarrhea, nausea, indigestion, headache and insomnia. Glucosamine Specialists in Australia have recently cautioned against taking glucosamine which may be harmful to those with food allergies because it can be made from seashells. Read more ods.od.nih.gov/HealthInformation/DS_WhatYouNeedToKnow.aspx

Some kinds of surgical mask can lower the risk of getting an infection if you're in close contact with somebody with a respiratory illness and are careful not to touch the front of the mask when removing it. Most masks don’t offer any guaranteed protection against viruses and small airborne particles can get through. When you wear one, make sure it fits well. ● Wash your hands. ● Use the ear loops to remove the mask. ● Do not touch the rest of the mask unless you are wearing disposable gloves. ● Take off the mask, fold it, place in a bag or envelope then put it in a rubbish bin with a lid. ● Wash your hands again.

Find more tips from HKFYG Emotional wellness and precautionary measures More details wmc.hkfyg.org.hk/call4care

37


Science & technology March 2020 | Youth Hong Kong

Guarding against online unknowns By Simon John

L

ess than a year ago, who would have thought that Hong Kong’s parents, teachers and students would become veritable virtuosos of online learning? In the process, what traps have they been trying to avoid?

With schools closed and students kept at home, demands for online learning have spiked across the territory. Everyone has been hastily familiarizing themselves with various e-learning tools and it has been quite a challenge. Issues that we weren’t properly prepared for have arisen in the rush to create the illusion of life as normal, so it seems sensible to remember a few things we can do to ensure we are navigating educational cyberspace as responsibly as possible.

Logging off and signing out

as you would when logging out of your personal online bank accounts: close down after use.

Webcam-woes A class conducted via webcam invites a whole host of problems into the learning equation. Laggy connections and problems with audio-visual synchronicity can foster an incredibly frustrating experience for both teacher and student alike. Invasive screen grabs of less than flattering images of oneself can also do the rounds.

Google classroom. Zoom. Skype: e-learning requires online platforms and that means being signed in to a multitude of different sites at any one time. This is something many of us are used to as far as google accounts are concerned, but leaving a litany of accounts open when they aren’t being used is unwise.*

While these issues are irritating, they don’t tend to do much damage other than to one’s patience (or ego!). However, it is important to remember that webcams aren’t responsive to actions within the browser and so do not turn off automatically when a lesson is over. This wouldn’t be such a problem were webcams not notoriously easy to hack.

This is largely because of the transmission of files through different mechanisms. With personal computers being used in many cases, we can’t be entirely sure malware isn’t being inadvertently circulated. Logging out of applications can also prevent the snooping of active cookie data open in browsers or windows by bad online actors.

Controlling the hardware is the only way to keep yourself safe from prying eyes so shut down the computer or physically close your laptop lid after the session. If you are using a tablet device, place a piece of tape over the lens. If the next friend you chat with on facetime is greeted by a barely visible frosty blur, they’ll be quick to point it out.

We would therefore be wise to take a few seconds to log out of e-learning accounts before we close all devices at the end of each session. This goes for browsers too. Many people think that having different browsers open means information is restricted to the active browser in use. Actually, they all link to the same “family” of browser, so if you are on less secure sites in one browser this may compromise the security of the browser being used for study. The best approach is to proceed

Firewalls and passwords For many students and teachers, learning online is more distracting than learning in the classroom. An innocent enough comment in a lesson can spawn an Alice-inWonderland-like departure from concentration on the topic you are trying to teach as everyone searches out definitions, examples or clarifications online.

*Read more lifehacker.com/do-i-really-need-to-log-out-of-webapps-1482782887 38


The real concern is that the attention of students will wane and their desire to explore other things will take hold. A simple way to prevent this is to add particular sites to your browser’s firewall, avoiding overkill if possible. Sensible restrictions can prevent distracting sites from being active on the desktop and help students to stay focused. All the online learning websites, portals and programmes require passwords and profiles. If you have a young child and are creating logins on their behalf, be sure to use passwords that are different to other accounts you have online. Services like LastPass will autogenerate passwords that satisfy the various security requirements when creating new profiles or accounts and Google Keep is a great place to store the passwords as a back-up.

Without the teacher’s real presence, the behaviour of students can be difficult to monitor but while learning may have moved online, the same personality clashes and peer dynamics continue to pervade the learning environment. It’s important, therefore, that parents check how students are doing. Though they may not have left the house, they have been involved in interactions with teachers and classmates over the course of the day. Not all of them may have been positive. An innocent “how was it online today?” will keep the online experiences feeling more relevant to real life and give children the chance to discuss any personal worries. The first term of 2020 has certainly been one for the books! As we grapple with the new online learning reality, let’s all do what we can to make the experience as smooth as possible.

Class conduct Maintaining interest and focus amongst 20 or more youngsters in real-life classrooms is an ambitious task. It doesn’t become any easier online. In fact, teachers in traditional classrooms act as mediators or guides as well as educators, keeping students on track and easing tensions. Online, this role is massively diluted.

Simon John, a regular contributor to Youth Hong Kong is the founder of CICERO Study Solutions, an edugaming* enterprise that brings together videogaming with traditional areas of study. * Edugaming is learning through videogames.

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Science & technology March 2020 | Youth Hong Kong

Short horizons

eyesight: a cause for concern

N

ot long ago, Shanghai’s city government made 80 minutes of outdoor exercise for school children mandatory. Why? A conviction that it will reduce the speed at which they become progressively more short-sighted. The measure is not popular with parents because it reduces studying time, but for the sake of their eyesight, is it enough?

Myopia, also called nearsightedness or short-sightedness, is the most common cause of impaired vision in people under 40. In recent years, its prevalence has been growing at an alarming rate. In 2000, roughly 25% of the world's population was nearsighted. By 2050, roughly half of the people on the planet will be myopic, according to recent research.

What is myopia? Myopia – or short-sightedness – occurs when the eyeball is too long in its axis relative to the focusing power of the cornea and lens of the eye. Light does not focus on the retina as it should, making distant objects appear blurry. Nearsightedness can also be caused by the cornea and/or lens being too curved for the length of the eyeball. In some cases, myopia occurs due to a combination of these factors.

How bad is it? Myopia’s severity is measured in dioptres, the same unit that is used to measure the optical power of glasses and contact lenses. Kindergarten children are defined as myopic when their prescription is -0.6D. Adults officially become myopic at -1D. Specialists in Shanghai say that 20% of the 20-30-year-olds they have studied develop severe myopia at over -8D. This is five times the global average. 40

What’s to blame? l Gene involvement This is controversial since the phenomenon is recent. In the 1960s, only 20% of China’s population was myopic according to clinicians in Shanghai. What else? l Lack of sunlight and outdoor activity Bright sunlight stimulates the release of a retinal transmitter dopamine which blocks axial growth of the eye and inhibits the development of myopia. l Extreme academic pressure Myopic progression slows down in summer when children spend more time out of doors. Australian researchers also found that 29% of the Singapore-based Chinese children became myopic compared to 3% in Sydney. l Too much screen time Staring at a screen for too long when you are young is not good for your eyes. The message is clear. If you have a genetic disposition for myopia, whether you come from this part of the world or whether it runs in your family, get outdoors in the sun more often and leave your books and phone at home.


Facts and figures for myopia Most 18-19-year-olds in East Asia are myopic compared to their age cohort in western countries.

For example ... l Mainland China u 72% of 12-14-year-olds u 80% of 15-17-year-olds l South Korea 96% l Hong Kong 87% l Taiwan 85% l Singapore 82%

Hopes for myopes With more people becoming nearsighted, there is a lot of interest in finding ways to control the progression of myopia in childhood. A number of different techniques have been tried — including fitting children with bifocal lenses, progressive lenses or gas permeable contact lenses. All of these have delivered mixed results. l Some clinical trials have shown that low-dose atropine eye drops could slow myopia progression in some school children. l A dual-focus daily disposable contact lens decreased the progression rate of myopia in children aged eight upwards when compared to a single vision lens. l Researchers at the Zhongshan Ophthalmic Center of Sun Yat-sen University, have identified the stages and the rules for myopia development and built an AI model to predict its progression in children and teenagers. The study involved over 1.25 million 5-18-year-olds in Guangdong Province. They discovered that short-sightedness usually first occurs at the age of 7 and develops rapidly up to the teenage years. It is hoped that specialists who use the AI model will be able to make earlier, faster diagnoses in future. Read more aoa.org/patients-and-public/eye-and-vision-problems/glossary-of-eye-and-vision-conditions/myopia allaboutvision.com/conditions/myopia.htm xinhuanet.com/english/2018-11/20/c_137619636.htm scmp.com/magazines/post-magazine/long-reads/article/2085125/chinas-myopia-epidemic-why-simple-solution-being chinadaily.com.cn/a/201903/12/WS5c8705e2a3106c65c34ee0cd.html economist.com/china/2020/01/18/most-12-to-14-year-olds-in-china-are-short-sighted

41


Advertorial March 2020 | Youth Hong Kong

Innovation and Creativity Inno Tech Solutions Pitching The ability to use digital data and computational thinking is essential in the 21st century. The younger generation uses the internet to search for information and absorb knowledge while matching what they learn with innovation and technology. This enables them to find solutions to real social problems. A.I. Future Tense Sponsored by HSBC, the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups (HKFYG) has launched the “HSBC Future Skills Development Project” to focus on “Financial Capability”, “Future Skills for Employment” and “Innovation and Technology.” The Project equips young people with skills that match the development of Hong Kong and the world.

One of the project activities organized by HKFYG’s Creative Education unit (CE) is called “A.I. Future Tense”. At a recent pitching event, 29 teams of tertiary students came up with innovative solutions to daily life problems by fitting together creative ideas, digital technology and computational thinking.

Champion: EC Bank

First runner up: Foodi

Second runner up: Luk Advisor

Team member: Chloe Chan

Team members: Lee Gong-

Team members: Shaun Tsoi

Lok-wing, Enoch Yeung Tszlok, Iverson Wong Chun-ming Jasmine Poon Chi-man

kuen, Luk Man-sin, Wang Zhichun, Yeung Tsz-ching

Ho-ching Samson Lam Fongpui, Patrick Lam Chun-tung


Champion

First runner-up

Second runner up

EC Bank’s aim is to provide a reliable reference for injured workers, NGOs and lawyers so that informed decisions can be made in personal injury claims. The Hong Kong Employees' Compensation Ordinance allows injured workers to claim compensation. However, they are often faced with a dilemma. Should they accept the settlement offered by the insurance company or appeal against the Assessment Board’s decision? The AI system designed by EC Bank, combined with advanced NLP technology, reads details of court cases and apportionment decisions, identifies factors that affected outcomes then presents relevant findings to users.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, health conditions can sometimes be better understood by examining patients’ tongues. By combining big-data analytics and AI tongue imaging, Foodi analyzes images and suggests foods that suit health conditions. The concept also uses high-end technology in the Chinese medicine industry with the goal of helping users understand more about traditional Chinese culture.

Deep learning, a class of machine learning, is used by Luk Advisor to analyze health data for monitoring purposes. While emphasizing the importance of being observant in daily life, its uploaded images of movement in elderly people can assist those who monitor their health status.

EC Bank: Employment Compensation and Personal Injury

Foodi: Food & health industry

Luk Advisor: Health monitoring

Free online InnoTech course

Teams of tertiary students find innovative solutions for social problems by using “Future Skills” : creativity, problem-solving, digital ability and computational thinking.

Improving people’s lives with technology and innovation is a global trend. HKFYG’s CE unit offers free online InnoTech courses for tertiary students in Hong Kong that courses cover topics such as artificial intelligence, data science, machine learning and disruptive technologies. Online sessions will be available in April and students are welcome to interact with instructors online.

Judges Mr Kenson Chung, Angel Investment Foundation, Mr Steve Lam, Hong Kong Cyberport and Mr Kenneth Lee, HKFYG

More details hkfyg.org.hk/futureskills


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Advertorial December 2019 | Youth Hong Kong

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Strengthening Intergenerational Understanding

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ecent protests triggered not only vigorous discussion but arguments and conflict between Hong Kong’s generations. The young people had distinctly different views, values and attitudes from the older generation. This study, conducted from October to November 2019, reflects the strained relationships that resulted.

Differences usually result when generations grow up in a rapidly changing political, economic, social and technological world. When those generations live together or in close contact with one another, the differences can become acute.

Well known Hong Kong sociologist, Professor Lui Tai-lok, defined the city’s generations according to stages of population development 1 and current social status. For example, second 2 generation baby boomers, born after World War II, want stability above all. Those born since the 1990s, in a more affluent period for Hong Kong, value their way of life more highly. For them, it comes before economic growth. Report No. No.48 HKFYG Youth I.D.E.A.S. Society and Livelihood group Published title Strengthening Intergenerational Understanding Respondents 300 18-29-year-olds, 302 parents aged 54-73 and four professionals/ experts. More details

Enquiries Beji Ho 3755 7042 1. 呂大樂。《香港四代人》。香港:進一步多媒體,2007。(Four generations of Hong Kong People. HK Stepforward, 2007.) 2. T he second generation of baby boomers is defined as those born in Hong Kong between 1946 and 1965 who were aged between 54 and 73 in 2019.

Key points from the research ● 42.4% of youth had argued with parents occasionally or frequently in the previous six months. Major trigger points:

w 70.9% Social issues/political standpoints w 59.1% Economic/spending issues ● 31.2% of parents said family relationships had deteriorated in the previous six months. ● The younger generation rated freedom, equality and democracy as the most important core values for Hong Kong. ● The older generation considered social stability, the rule of law and equality to be the most important core values.

Comments from Youth I.D.E.A.S. think tank members Alan Yip, convener “Most recent intergenerational conflict has been between parents and children. Better communication should alleviate the problem and since respondents of all ages who had argued with each other were willing to change, more government resources should be allocated to support them, including professional family mediation where necessary.” Carly Liu & David Li, group members “We suggest starting a movement for positive family communication where parents and youth learn the relevant skills. They could then become ambassadors and share what they learn with their community. District councils could also organize regular dialogue between people of different generations to break down barriers.”

Comments from experts The professionals interviewed said that social media has changed young people’s concept of equality, thereby breaking down the hierarchical structure between generations. Differences in sense of identity have also emerged whereby young people identify themselves more as “Hong Kong people” or “global citizens” rather than “Chinese people”, also accentuating the difference between generations.

45


HKFYG March 2020 | Youth Hong Kong

PH2 essentials HKFYG’s youth hostel, dubbed “PH2”, is a first for Hong Kong. The goal is to create a residential community for working young people aged between 18 and 30. The hope is to help them build stronger life skills and social networks as well as better financial planning. Rents are set at 60% of local market prices. Purpose-built on the foundations of a former Federation Youth SPOT, the 20-storey building still has a youth centre that is open to the public on the ground floor and first floor. PH2 communal facilities are sited on the second and third floors. All other accommodation is on the upper floors. Location 2 Po Heung Street, Tai Po Market

Eligibility

Accommodation 78 units for 80 persons

 Age 18-30

Including:

 Total net asset limit for an individual tenant not to exceed $364,000

 Total income and net asset limits for two joint applicants is double that of individuals

Monthly rent HK$4,248-HK$5,831

 Double units also suitable for the disabled approx 398 sq ft

Monthly rent HK$8,670-HK$8,711

 Co-living units for three with shared living room

Monthly rent per person HK$4,606-HK$5,671

First tenancy duration Two years Renewable For a maximum of five years

46

initial income level not to exceed HK$21,000

 Single units [approx 187232 sq ft]

 Existing Hong Kong residential property owners excluded  Aspirant applicants are selected by lottery and then by interview  Application is open annually for a specific period  Current year [2019] applications closed  First move-in date March 2020 More details visit PH2.hkfyg.org.hk


There were 900 applicants in the first round of selection out of which 300 for single units and 10 for double units were drawn by a computerized lottery system. In the final round, assessment will be according to several criteria including the space currently available at home and the conditions in which applicants live, their urgency of need for alternative accommodation and the affordability of PH2 rents. HKFYG’s goal includes building PH2’s tenants’ financial planning and other life skills. Therefore, applicants’ attitudes and their readiness to take up opportunities for creating and expanding networks with other people also count in the selection process.

Hong Kong’s Youth Hostel Scheme The Youth Hostel Scheme [YHS] was launched to tackle the problem of unaffordable housing for 18-30-year-olds. It is administered by the Home Affairs Bureau as a project for youth development rather than poverty alleviation. PH2 is the first hostel under the scheme to open. Other youth hostels are being built by NGOs with government funding but also run on a selffinancing basis. The scheme, which will deliver seven hostels in total, aims to provide young adults with their own living space and an opportunity to save for their future. The Chief Secretary for Administration noted in his blog in June 2018, “The YHS provides youth with transitional support in terms of time and space so that they can better prepare themselves for personal development in the future. The time-limited tenancy ensures the turnover of hostel places, thus allowing more youngsters to benefit from the scheme.” Goals of YHS  to target young working people aged 18 to 30  to offer hostel places at lower than market rents to youngsters who have just left school and are finding their feet in the job market  to give young working people who wish to have a place of their own the chance to pursue their aspirations while saving for their future development More hostels to follow  Jordan [Hong Kong Girl Guides Association]  Ma Tin Pok Yuen Long [Po Leung Kuk]  Mong Kok [Hong Kong Association of Youth Development]  Sheung Wan [Tung Wah Group of Hospitals]  Wan Chai [Salvation Army]  Yuen Long Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui Welfare Council Ltd Read more cso.gov.hk/eng/blog/blog20180603.htm 47


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DSE Online Examination Tips Study Tips of ex-DSEers

Hotline Details http://

.hk

Publisher : The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups

香港青年協會

hkfyg.org.hk.m21.hk

Youth Hong Kong: 21/F, The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups Building, 21 Pak Fuk Road, North Point, Hong Kong Tel : 3755 7097.3755 7108.Fax : 3755 7155.Email : youthhongkong@hkfyg.org.hk.Website : youthhongkong.hkfyg.org.hk The title of this journal in Chinese is Xiang Gang Qing Nian 香 港 青 年

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