YHK 12 1 Leaving home …or too attached?

Page 10

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