A Lost Generation

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Dear Editor,

I' m writing to express my dismay on the disappointing life attitude of students in this so-called world city.  It's really disheartening to see these future pillars of our society becoming so aimless.  If we do not fix this problem immediately, surely, our future generation will suffer from such a negative atmosphere and the quality of their spiritual life will decline.

To start with, we should first investigate why HK students are becoming so confused by the question – what is the most important thing in their life?

Australian youths treasure friendship very much and this indicates that they are good at social interaction and their emotional development will be much enriched.  Japanese youths are fond of their hobbies and this acts as a driving force to encourage them to develop their future careers related to their hobbies.  As for Singaporean youths, they are striving to excel themselves academically so as to catch up with the rapid pace of the knowledge-based trend in their home country.  All these show that these youths possess a clear goal (vision) they strive for.  But what about HK youths?  They regard ‘nothing’ as the most important thing in their life!  It’s because they are so aimless and they are not able to find anything or goals in their life that they think are worth treasuring or pursuing.

Besides, the typical parents, social values and lifestyle of Hong Kong also contribute to our youths’ ‘aimlessness’.  The technological and economic development in HK is soaring.  Youths here are provided with the best living conditions and recreational resources.  They are treated by adults too kindly.  Their minds are so flooded with computer games, comics, or MSN, that there is no room for ‘dreams’ and goals about their future.  Thanks to the overwhelming materialistic desires in HK, the minds of our youths have been eroded and they are too indulged in a fairyland (an ivory tower) where worries seem totally absent.  No wonder they are becoming lukewarm about their future (parents will pave the way for them) and they have never considered questions like ‘what is the most important thing in their life’.  They don’t have to.

I’m not encouraging HK students to burn the mid-night oil, fight uphill battles to achieve academic excellence or satisfaction so monotonously like their Singaporean counterparts.  But at least our government should adopt the following means so as to shape the mindset of these poor HK youths.

The government should implement a policy to encourage students in HK to do voluntary work to contribute to the society.  A timetable and schedule should be drawn up as a co-curricular activity (as in comparison to extra-curricular activities) at school.  All students must do a certain period of voluntary work, ranging from looking after play groups in kindergartens, to sweeping the floor in the homes for the elderly.  These heart-warming activities can raise their awareness of being themselves a part of the society.  Their materialistic minds may also be drawn to the needs of other people around them.  They will be able to feel other people’s feelings and learn to treasure the intangible but vital emotional elements built up during such interaction with people.  But of course, schools can reshape (mould) their mind through other means.

Promoting the development of students’ interests through extra-curricular activities is also a good idea to broaden students’ horizons so as to help them understand their potentials and strengths, and accordingly establish their own goals.  Through taking part in activities like basketball or football, students can learn teamwork spirits and develop friendship among their teammates.  They can learn to treasure friendship and to do things for the sake of other people’s betterment.  As long as they are immersed in such environment, I’m sure they can find a purpose, or a goal, in life, whether in the sports field, or in maintaining among teammates.  Hopefully, aimless students will soon vanish from our society.

The advanced technological and economic development in a society is not necessarily equivalent to the decline of developing goals among our youths.  If we can provide them with quality emotional education, let them feel the wonders of living a life for, and by themselves, they will find the most crucial things in their life ultimately and will strive to achieve them.

Yours faithfully,

Chris Wong