Saturday, 27 September 2008

Getting Nuts

No week has ever been as tough as the last.

Crisis after crisis, I feel too strongly that I have pushed myself over the limit. And so does this part of the world, my home of 35 years.

Surely this is not the first time to work long hours, but this is the first time I feel so nihilistic and clueless. There are too many things that I do not understand.

As any of us in Hong Kong knows too well, the planet does not stop rotating just because something has happened. There are plenty of things going on as they should be, awaiting to be addressed, managed and resolved. Nothing stops and waits for anyone, and all we can do is to catch up as fast as we can. That's why I have never felt so stressful and overdraft, both physically and mentally. I'm really worried that something much worse than Hepatitis A will hit me hard like it did four years ago (just forget about the medical bills for the time being). I feel my bones and brain melting fast in unbearable heat and roaring flames that I can see no sign of extinction.

The absence of a finishing line can be extremely depressing. It feels like running for a marathon that never ends. You can't drop out, and every single leap requires extraordinary effort and determination.

I must be getting nuts. I'm desperate to see the finishing line but it is still not there. I want to be healthy with good sleep and workout but time is not at my disposal. I want to do a great job and then go and have some fun but I can't withdraw my thoughts from work.

Perhaps I'm just an idiot bothering too much about the impossible.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Abundance Does Not Last

I am not an economist, nor do I know a lot about how the economy works. But the downfall of the 158-year-old investment bank Lehman Brothers and the wild-running rumours about other leading financial institutions does stir up some thought inside me.

The first thing that pops up my mind is the old Chinese saying from the Book of Change, "Abundance does not last." It seems consumption and investment on credit has exceeded the boundaries of reason to a point where a complete meltdown is not only irresistible but also expected. Of course someone may say this is simply an indication of human greed, but I still feel sorry for and disappointed at our failure of learning the lessons of our forefathers on many occasions.

Many of us seem to have forgotten what "credit" actually means. "Credit" used to be a positive word that compliments those who have achieved something good. It also denotes a high level of trust, backed up by substantial financial strength. People with credit are those whom we believe will be able to pay later and therefore deserve some flexibility in payment terms. By this definition, credit used to go to a small number of people with sound finances, rather than every man and woman on the street who may or may not have a reliable and continuous source of income. If you think it is ridiculous to issue credit cards to children at the age of seven or eight, you should also understand why it is both irresponsible and senseless to issue credit cards to university students and any bank customer with little proof of economic stability.

The sub-prime crisis in the United States that has evolved into a global financial crisis is an excellent example of lax credit control and excessive credit approvals. From the borrower’s point of view, easy borrowing often encourages careless and sloppy investment decisions that end up with losses and bad debt. From the lender’s standpoint, there is simply little room for second thought because so many competitors out there are fighting brutally for the business. Risks can be diversified with other financial institutions, rather than rigorous and time-consuming approval procedures.

What is even more alarming to me is that in the highly capitalistic and materialistic world, economic growth is too often driven by ruthless and non-recurrent consumption, losing sight of long-term and sustainable existence of the planet and its tenants. By definition capitalism works on consumption. The more people consume and produce, the faster and greater the economy grows.

This is why the so-called durables, such as cars, electrical appliances, electronic devices and even computer hardware, are no longer durable as they used to be. Manufacturers are under enormous pressure to end the product life cycle prematurely and launch new products for new profits. To achieve this, they have to shamelessly deprive the earth of its limited supply of resources for the so-called innovations and technological advancements. At the same time, they have to create new demand for new products by brainwashing consumers with irresistible advertising. Advertisements are deliberately designed to blur the line between needs and wants, so that consumers are made to believe that their wants equal to their needs. Consumption is portrayed not as an essential way of living but a cool and gorgeous way of life. The food you eat, the clothes and accessories you have defines who you are, rather than you are the one in charge. (By the way, why should we express ourselves in clothing and accessories rather than the way we speak and behave?) It doesn’t really matter if your 20-year-old television set is still running fine and you need to replace it with an LCD television simply because you have to watch high-definition broadcasting as your friends and many other people in this city do. You should find no guilt in disposing of non-degradable appliances and devices that are still operating perfectly because new things would never come if old stuff don’t go. In essence, everything new is good and cool and old is bad and rotten. Even if you are not convinced, don’t worry, too many people around you will make you believe as they do some day.

At a time when people do not mix up what their needs and wants, capitalism may be the best option to promote the common good as people have more incentive to work hard and improve their living standards. But we shall never forget how excessive production at home centuries ago had driven expansion and colonialism abroad, creating enormous hardship and suffering for people in the so-called "developing world", where development by Western and capitalism standards still seems unattainable these days.

In addition, the capitalistic model has now become so successful that few of us would bother to take a step back and question whether or not there are other alternatives. When communist regimes collapsed physically or nominally, we are even more convinced that capitalism is the only solution.

But is it true? When we are facing challenges of unprecedented scale, such as a global financial crisis that only the tip of the iceberg has been revealed, extreme weather conditions that are threatening not only our assets but also our lives in different parts of the world, how can we still be so sure that everything will be alright as they used to be?

I do think it is time to rethink capitalism as the preferred economic system for the long-term and sustainable development of mankind. At least some sort of serious adjustments and modifications will be required to help us address the forthcoming challenges and sustain the well-being of this planet as home for us and our next generations.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Thoughts on the LegCo Elections 2008 (Part 4 - Final)

Some commentators said Hong Kong voters are desperate for change by replacing one-third of the legislators in the 7 September elections. Perhaps so, but I think it would be a bit too optimistic to proclaim the success of the youth or new generations, whatever you may call.

If you look at the affiliation of the youngest legislators elected, they all come from the conservative political parties dominated by Boomers and personally the young candidates have shown little innovation in what they do. There is little evidence, if any at all, that they can think outside the conventional box and be bold enough to push forward reforms that we have waited for too long.

Succession planning is also a pressing issue for political parties in Hong Kong, and, unfortunately, we have seen little success. The embarrassing defeat of the Liberal Party is partly due to the absence of succession planning. The lack of young talents and presence at the geographical constituencies simply detach the party from its voters. The Democratic Party also has a similar problem. Can you imagine people like Kam Nai-wai, 47, or Joseph Lai Chi-keong, 60, who resigned from the Democratic Party before the elections, claim to be the "second generation" of the Democrats? What do you think of the Democrats when you see that the second generations of other political parties are only in their thirties?

For some, age may not mean anything, but the generations to which people belong have a great impact on how they think and behave. Age somewhat indicates the generations to which people belong. At the same time, we don't need to plough through a mountain of psychological research to understand how childhood and schooling helps shape who we are. For example, people in their late 40s grew up in 1970s when Hong Kong witnessed the first wave of intellectual-led social movements. People in their late 50s and early 60s also witnessed the post-war hardships and the early economic takeoff of Hong Kong. But these are what people of my generation, born in the 1970s and grew up in the 1980s, take for granted or find unfamiliar. What we face was economic fluctuations and social unrest due to the Sino-British talks over the 1997 handover. We also faced drastic changes and uncertainties in personal relationships when our friends, classmates, teachers and relatives moved to a foreign country. We grew up at a time when people were too busy to make a fortune so that they could abandon Hong Kong and start a new life somewhere else. Those who talked about the future and criticised people of giving up the interest of Hong Kong often found themselves laughing stock of the majority. How can you expect people who grew up under these circumstances to think and behave in the same way as their predecessors, whom more and more of us are reluctant to trust and agree with?

Someone also feel sad for veterans like Lau Chin-shek or Chan Yuen-han who failed to secure another term in the legislature. To be honest, I don't really feel the same. They have worked hard for so many years and I do appreciate their contribution. But more importantly, I think it is time for new blood to pick things up. At a time when sensation supersedes senses, when convention takes it all, I believe we do need some sort of more profound changes to make Hong Kong a better place for everyone. Old tricks may not work well anymore, and we need new people to give us new ideas and work in a new way. Unfortunately I don't have much confidence in the newly elected except for a few mavericks, which can probably make little difference as they are the minority.

However, I know too well that it is not about my confidence. I'm just looking forward to seeing my scepticism broken and expectations exceeded.

Thoughts on the LegCo Elections 2008 (Part 3)

As many of us know, peace and harmony is always valued in our tradition. Over time, unfortunately, the value for peace and harmony has become the pretext to prevent change or revolution to rectify things that have gone wrong simply because some vested interest and privileges will be wiped out by those changes. The recent concern and criticisms that three representatives of the League of Social Democrats were elected to the Legislative Council just remind me of this conservative mentality.

The most common criticism of the League of Social Democrats is radicalism. Leung Kwok-hung, Tsang Kin-shing and chairman Wong Yuk-man are always criticised of being too radical in their expression.

Well, perhaps so. Sometimes I also find it very annoying to see them pointing fingers at someone else's nose and scold them as if they are quarrelling with housewives in a wet market for stamping on their toes. But if you pay enough attention to what they say instead of how they say it, you will find them more reasonable than anyone mild and mannered in expensive outfits in Central.

The reason why the Social Democrats have taken such a "radical" approach, I reckon, has something to say about the mode of information consumption in Hong Kong. Being creative and act out of the box (not just think) is the only viable way of grabbing attention. Don't you think so? You may be reluctant to admit, but let's face it, don't you ever think it is more entertaining and interesting to see people pointing fingers at each other rather than discussing important issues with pure reason and theoretic arguments that you will never understand? Don't you think it is a far better photo opportunity on the media for Long Hair to put on all the colourful props in his demonstrations than the boring photo-shoot of well-dressed idiots shaking hands and smiling like programmed robots?

As Ivan Choy Chi-keung has documented in his analysis of the election results, the League of Social Democrats have actually succeeded in canvassing support from a wide spectrum of voters from the low-income grassroots to the better-off and well-educated middle class. To the surprise of many, these gentlemen who have been labelled (not by third parties but also by themselves) as "grassroots" are actually quite representative of different segments of Hong Kong.

Is that really a surprise? I don't think so. To me the unexpected victory of the League of Social Democrats actually makes more sense than ever. It simply shows how desperate and frustrated most Hong Kong people are. It shows that reasoning doesn't work anymore with the authorities. While many of those rich and powerful complain from time to time that many Hong Kong people have lost their sense when it comes to addressing issues, how well have they done? We have seen little more than spending billions of dollars to exploit the loopholes of laws and regulations and to brainwash people with fake reasoning and emotional whines in the business-controlled media. As individuals, many of us know there is no way of changing how things work and no one bothers to listen to us, and therefore all we can do is to get someone to express our resentment to make a stronger impact.

If this is the case, then you may ask, why was the turnout rate so low?

Again, it depends on your perspective. If you feel negatively about the so-called pan-democracy groups in Hong Kong, you are not going to change your mind whatsoever. It takes so much time to change people's attitude and perception that perception is the reality, as we often say in communications and opinion research. Having said that, as mentioned in my blog yesterday, I don't think a turnout rate of 45.2 per cent is very low under the crippled system in Hong Kong. Many of us are simply too fed up and extremely sceptical to believe that the legislators would be able to achieve anything under the current administration and circumstances. (Think about the high-sounding hopes and plans that pop up from time to time but often end up with nothing. Think about the rotten rhetoric of the authorities and public opinion that often falls on deaf ears.) Yet nearly half of the voters still believe they can try to make a small change by casting their ballots. Quite a substantial number of them also voted for candidates who are well known as mavericks. I believe this is a noteworthy achievement rather than a soft spot for criticism.

Monday, 15 September 2008

I Love Mamma Mia!

趁著中秋節的長周末,看了著名音樂劇《Mamma Mia!》的電影版,非常開心。

全片歌舞連場,笑料不絕,充滿百老匯式音樂劇的熱鬧和活力,差不多兩個小時很快就過去了,真是難得的減壓良方。無論是希臘小島的取景或是老中青的選角,同樣賞心悅目,尤其是Meryl Streep和飾演她兩位老友的Julie Walters和Christine Baranski,又唱又跳,活力十足,搶鏡異常,難怪一向貪新厭舊、勢利無情的八卦雜誌也聲明幾位大姐的演出「絕不趕客」,再次印證「薑是老的辣」這句老話。

說來奇怪,小時候不是瑞典樂隊ABBA的歌迷,但他們有好幾首名作都是耳熟能詳的,例如《Dancing Queen》、《Mamma Mia》、《Money, Money, Money》等,只要聽到了,身體就會不由自主的跟著搖晃。好些年前在香港文化中心看音樂劇原版,已是開心到不得了;如今忙裡偷閒,看看年屆耳順的「梅姐」(Meryl Streep的香港譯名為梅麗史翠普)施展渾身解數,更是佩服得五體投地。連老媽也覺得絕無冷場,從頭笑到尾,又問我這部電影的歌曲有沒有出版CD,難不成她也想買來聽聽?乖乖不得了!

其實有時候看電影真的不要煞有介事,好端端的甚麼也要正經八百的研究一番,看戲的樂趣自然大打折扣。難怪有人說研究電影就像把情人逼成老婆或老公,未免大煞風景。如今流行講文化、講社會、講教育,也許有人看了《Mamma Mia!》要投訴女主角Donna未婚懷孕、連孩子的父親是誰也搞不清楚,肯定是「教壞細路」;但她母兼父職,一手撫養女兒成人,在希臘的荒僻小島經營小飯店,箇中辛酸實不足為外人道,何嘗不能媲美傳統婦女堅忍刻苦的「美德」?不同的是,Donna曾經做過活色生香的嬉皮士,粵語長片的白燕卻是徹頭徹尾的賢妻良母。至少在未婚懷孕的事情上,也沒有Donna那樣在短時間內和三個男人一起那麼「濫交」。

也許又有人會說,《Mamma Mia!》是一部計算精準的電影,片中有歌有舞、有笑有淚、親情、愛情、友情一應俱全,商業味道濃得化不開。站在觀眾的立場,那又如何?最重要的問題是電影好看不好看。好看之後才輪到一點點更深入的分析和感受。近年在電影節上被那些故弄玄虛的電影嚇怕了,總覺得電影應該回歸基本,從好看不好看著眼。且不管甚麼深度不深度、理論不理論,多少人只管賣弄攝影技巧,連個簡單的故事也沒能講得條理分明,電影作為一種表達方式,完全與觀眾的接收能力脫節(好吧,我承認我很膚淺,不懂的東西太多),更遑論引發甚麼共鳴和思考,那還看甚麼電影?還不如去看有形無神、混雜無方的炒雜碎MTV省事。

很久沒有買電影DVD了,我想這部《Mamma Mia!》絕對不能錯過。

Thoughts on the LegCo Elections 2008 (Part 2)

Another noteworthy observation at the Legislative Council elections this year is the much-touted low turnout rate, which stands at 45.2 per cent. There were many interpretations of this figure, but the most common verdict is "low".

Is this really a low turnout rate?

Again, my favourite argument of Laozi sets in - it really depends on what you mean by "high" or "low" and what benchmark you compare with. If you compare with 55.64 per cent of the last elections four years ago, it was certainly lower. If you compare with the first Legislative Council elections since the handover in 2000, which stands at 43.57 per cent, it was actually higher.

You may also think that less than half of the voters turned out to vote indicate some sort of indifference. But I do think nearly half of the registered voters, meaning more than nine in every 20, turned up isn't really that bad. You may also want to compare Hong Kong's turnout rate with other developed democracies around the world, but are we really comparable? Aren't we little more than a crippled quasi-democracy with half of our seats dominated by a bunch of Boomers who think functional constituencies serve the interest of the privileged rather than sharing their expertise and professional insight for the common good? Not to mention that in some jurisdictions, voting is compulsory - something unthinkable in Hong Kong where freedom is the most convenient defence against regulation and intervention.

In any case, what does the "low" turnout rate mean? One possibility is the lack of interest in public affairs among the youth, just as Dr Jean Twenge argues in her book Generation Me.

Look at the number of registered voters by age and you will find some truth in Dr Twenge's analysis. According to official figures, the lowest number of registered voters is found in age groups between 18 to 40, most of which were born since 1970s and belong to Generation Me. If you compare the age groups of 18-25 and 46-50, arguably the age groups of fathers and sons and mothers and daughters, the number of registered voters stands at 296,891 and 440,696. For the age group of 18-20, only slightly more than 100,000 people have registered as voters, less than a quarter of those of their parents' age. While it is still unknown how many of those in early twenties actually cast their ballot last Sunday, the prevalent indifference and ignorance of public affairs among the youth requires some attention. As far as I am concerned, the lack of effective communication with the youth shares at least some blame. Who bothers to watch television at home when we have to work until late at night? Who bothers to read newspapers when so much news and information is free on the internet? Who bothers to think about politics and hardcore subjects when we are overwhelmed with information about gadgets, fashion, make-up and lifestyle choices that make us look good and confident as if we were truly special?

If you still don't understand how serious the issue has become, let me tell you another interesting fact. Believe it or not, even registered voters aged 71 or older total 414,311, making them the second largest group of voters in Hong Kong and the number even exceeds the combined figures of 61-65 and 66-70 age groups!

Arguably this is the age group that are most likely to be parents of those aged 46-50, the largest chunk in Hong Kong voters. If the hypothesis that family education plays a part in encouraging registration and voting were true, what has gone wrong with the parents of 46-50 and their children in early twenties?

Having taken a closer look at the figures available, I'm just not concerned about the low turnover rate. A more pressing issue is to get more young people registered and keep up their excitement about voting that will eventually translates into action. There is little point of focusing on the middle-aged or the elderly because if they were convinced of registration and going to vote, they would have done so already. To speak the young's language (mine too because I'm also an early member of Generation Me), forget about the traditional or rotten ways of communications that were adopted since 1960s. We should at least start thinking of launching a communications campaign that positions voting and engaging in public affairs as a "cool" thing that makes us feel good about ourselves.

Pardon me for the absence of depth, but this is simply the way we have been taught and exposed to since we were born. Tough luck.

Thoughts on the LegCo Elections 2008 (Part 1)

Perhaps the greatest news in the Legislative Council elections on 7 September was that all candidates of the Liberal Party, led by former chairman James Tien and former vice-chairwoman Selina Chow, failed to win any seat in the geographical constituency. Mr Tien and Mrs Chow resigned after the party's embarrassing defeat.

I must admit that I couldn't help gloating over their failure. Mr Tien and Mrs Chow's resignation may come a bit late, but better than never. This bunch of Boomers, best represented by the second generation of wealthy industrialists who never know that their economic success has been more coincidental than the achievement of their hard work, simply have no clue of what they have been doing. They think their names would be more than enough to serve them well. Everything aside, can you imagine this bunch of veteran businessmen and women didn't even think of succession planning until the last minute? What kind of managers are they? It has also been unclear what they do for the common good of Hong Kong and what they mean for the electorate, especially the young, most of whom have been working in different positions in the business sector since graduation. Why should the employer and the employed always be positioned as foes rather than partners? Why can't the political parties stop polarising members of the same organisations simply because they have different roles and positions? The Liberal Party's total defeat in the geographical constituencies is the best lesson ever taught.

And the credit goes to our fellow voters.

What amuses me though was Mr Tien's admission that he didn't know he was going to lose. Or more precisely, he thought he was going to win, no matter what. He then admitted that he might have a problem with his judgment. Then his younger brother Michael Tien complained that Beijing has offered no support during the elections.

I'm glad that elder brother Tien finally realises his weakness, even reluctantly. At the end of the day, who do you think you are? A sweetheart of your Beijing comrades who will do anything to secure you a seat at the legislature? Too simple and naive. What have you done to receive their by-all-means support in the first place? Why should they intervene in the elections of Hong Kong knowing that this violates the policies and principles they made for Hong Kong?

Of all the political parties and organisations in Hong Kong, the Liberal Party seems to be the least popular and capable. At least as it appears in the media, the Liberals would do whatever they can to maximise the interest of the business sector that is defined by their own standards. Very often the so-called business sector only confines to the well-established conglomerates or the family business that their fathers built bare-handed since the end of the Second World War. Seldom do the small family-run grocery stores or craftsman shops at the corner of Sham Shui Po or Kwun Tong have the privilege of making themselves heard by, let alone access to, the blue-blooded circle at the Liberal Party.

Some commentators went that far to proclaim that there is alarmingly strong resentment towards the business sector in Hong Kong. What a joke. Those idiots should beware that most of us in Hong Kong are sick of the rich and powerful, not the business sector at-large that they claim they represent, because we have seen too many cases of the rich and powerful's unscrupulous actions to defend their enormous interest at the expense of justice and reason. We have seen too many cases in which shop owners who have worked hard to support their family are forced out of business because of the ruthless expansion of the chains and profit-driven urban re-development. If business is truly what the Liberal Party represents, why didn't we see their legislators coming out to help the small business owners when it was the most difficult? Why are they always paying attention to the conglomerates and their own family businesses rather than the business sector as a whole?

It was also interesting to see how disappointed Allan Lee, political veteran of Hong Kong and the founding chairman of the Liberal Party. He told reporters that the Liberal Party had better merge with the pro-Beijing Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB).

I'm afraid this is quite impossible, Mr Lee. Now that we know your former comrades are so obsessed of securing seats and attention from Beijing and paying no respect to the rules of the game, do you really think it is feasible for this group of jealous and narrow-minded opportunists would live in harmony with the pro-Beijing camp under the same roof?

Of course we would be more than happy to see the opportunists struggling among themselves and giving way to those who are more committed and capable of serving Hong Kong. My only concern is that this would be too good to be true. The most likely outcome is that those opportunists would fail to compete by merit or resolve their differences and seek Beijing to intervene. This is certainly not something we would accept.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Why We Think the Youth Suck? This May Be an Answer

For two hectic months I have been reading an old book that was new to Hong Kong as I commuted on the underground, Generation Me: Why Today's Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive and Entitled - and More Miserable Than Ever Before.

This well-researched book provides another strong proof to the fact that the Boomers in Hong Kong have been blindly following the practices of the United States without bothering the keyword: Why. The economic success and political prowess that the United States have mesmerised so many people in this part of the world that they would take for granted almost everything there as the best and worthy to copy. Few would realise that they are being trapped into a fallacy of their own fabrication.

The author, Dr Jean Twenge, associate professor of psychology at San Diego State University, provides a detailed analysis of the prevalent personality traits and behaviour of Generation Me, which refers to the young people born from the 1970s onwards. Of course, the United States and Hong Kong are very different cultures and communities, but our youth have shown stunning similarities in what they think and how they behave - self-centred, individualistic (often taken to the extremes that results in poor interpersonal skills and even narcissism), vulnerable to the mildest form of criticism and adversity, extremely sceptical and even apathetic to the well-being of society-at-large. When you think of the common criticisms of the young in Hong Kong, you will be surprised that the root cause might be traced back from the other side of the Pacific.

Both the author and I are early members of this generation in our mid-thirties. I can't agree more with her argument that the Boomers' education of their young children has gone terribly wrong, which causes the so-called "problems" with the young today. By emphasising too much on the self, children are taught to feel good about themselves genuinely without the basis of any achievement or capabilities. They are told that each of them is very unique and they can achieve anything they want as long as they believe in themselves and be persistent in pursuing their goals. This means children don't need to study hard and read as many as they can to become little sponges of knowledge to build the foundation for their future. This means children can't be criticised for their mistakes or lack of a sense of duty or responsibility because it will give them hard feelings and their self-esteem will suffer. This means every child is taught to believe that they are the king and queen of the world and can do whatever they want. This means they are concealed of the harsh reality that values not self-esteem but tangible results and only a tiny minority can succeed with a combination of factors, including luck.

Isn't the rhetoric sound familiar? Our government officials in charge of education told children that learning is not about grades, but as adults, we are all know this is damning not true. The so-called parenting consultants also tell mothers and fathers not to criticise their children or they will suffer low self-esteem or respond radically. But why don't they just ask this simple question: Why our children behave like this? Are they born a different species or are they taught to be so?

Not surprisingly, the super-egoistic Boomers fail to realise their own fault. They spare no time to blame the young of being unable to attain the standards but fail to realise that they are not told to perform or behave by the rules they have set.

I have been tirelessly criticising this form of sheer hypocrisy of the Boomers simply because they are so obsessed with their authority as parents and teachers to determine how their children should live or make them achieve the unrealistic ambitions that they can never do. For some reason they are too adamant to give the "best" to their children by creating a utopian environment, depriving the boys and girls of the opportunity to learn how to cope with difficulties and challenges, which are inevitable in life anyway. The enormous gap between the brutal reality and the bullet-proof greenhouse environment, as Dr Twenge convincingly argues, is the root cause of youth anxiety, depression and suicide.

Even though I very much enjoyed Dr Twenge's detailed analysis of how Generation Me comes by, I'm convinced that education is only one of the manifests of the deep-rooted problem - the Boomers - but not the problem itself. Dr Twenge only touches on the Boomers on a few occasions but fails to realise that it is the previous generation that has to take the major responsibility for setting this all up. This can be attributed to the nothing-but-profit capitalist mindset, the inertia to change, the complacence for the status quo and the failure to treat people as human beings.

This is especially true in Hong Kong where the media and the academia are so appallingly weak and incapable of reminding us from time to time to stop and reflect. While I agree with Dr Twenge that there is no better starting point than education, pardon me for my Generation Me scepticism, I can foresee little change or effect given the current inability to reflect among many in Hong Kong. Ideally, the media and the academia are the true opinion leaders who are relatively independent and critical in thinking and can push forward important social agenda for the benefit of all. When the media and the academia are also brainwashed to disarm for economic benefits and spotlight, what can you expect?

Sunday, 7 September 2008






Saturday, 6 September 2008





Friday, 5 September 2008