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a quarterly journal from the hongkong federation of youth groups



Volume 7 Number 2



How Do
They Feel?

Elaine Morgan (Editor)

Ada Chau (Assistant Editor)
Angela Ngai
Lakshmi Jacot
William Chung
Henry Poon
CIRCULATION (unaudited)
11,000-12,000 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

Eric Chui
Carol Yew


permission from the publisher is prohibited
Elaine Morgan

Ada Chau, Angela Ngai & Henry Poon

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June 2015
Volume 7
Number 2


by Webber Huang

Ada Chau
Joey Wong
Connie Yau
Henry Lui
Sam Ip
Diana Han
Jonathan Ching
Seraph Wu
HKFYG unit staff

Hong Kong

by Naomi Young

Rosanna Wong




by Jacky W.




by Joel Carillet

YOUTH HONG KONG published quarterly by

The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups

Staying positive under pressure
Teenagers and contentment

Eric Chui

City University
Restoring balance

Carol Yew

United Centre of Emotional

Health and Positive Living
Peter Tsoi

Psychiatrist and former

HKFYG President
Terry Ng

Gratia Christian Docent Institute

Tracking lifes ups and downs
Feelings to share
Wellbeing in the world of youth

Jennifer Lam
Anger at the tipping point

Wilson Chan

Youth Crime Prevention Centre
Inspiration not stage fright

The HK Rep
Thangka Buddhist painting

Ada Chau with Kim Chong Yin-kim
10,000 Horses

Guinness World Record
Should you get your

genome sequenced now?

Diana Han
Goodbye fantasy, hello fame

Jonathan Ching
Creation to innovation

Seraph Wu
Hong Kong General Chamber

of Young Entrepreneurs
Summer Youth Programme
The Last Crayon: new film from M21
Creating Social Value:

Social Innovation Centre
China Week 2015: Diplomacy

June 2015 | Youth Hong Kong

by Rich Trenholm


n 1948, the World Health Organization spoke of health as a state of complete

physical, mental and social wellbeing not merely the absence of disease or
infirmity. Nearly 70 years later, this definition has even greater meaning, as we
see how rapid social, economic and technological changes have affected wellbeing
and the ability to cope with daily life. This seems particularly true of todays young
people, faced with constant pressures, dramatic changes, adult expectations and a
competitive environment, all of which can result in imbalances to emotional and
psychological health.
So, how do they feel?
This issue of Youth Hong Kong explores the facts of the situation, with reference to
survey data and a range of professional perspectives. The wellbeing of Hong
Kongs youth is central, not only to their attitudes and motivation but also to the
citys success. To put it in jeopardy is to risk a generations happiness and
contentment. To nurture it will benefit us all.

Dr Rosanna Wong, DBE, JP

Executive Director, HKFYG
June 2015

Youth Hong Kong | June 2015


Staying positive
under pressure

by Elaine Morgan

What does it feel like to be young in Hong Kong

today? Is life enjoyable and satisfying? If not, what
are the reasons? Does the daily grind of school or
work, the pressure to pass exams, build portfolios
and match expectations get young people down to
a serious extent? If so, what can be done about it?
A recent, well-publicized story of such overload
concerned a five year-old child whose parents
enrolled him for 40 kindergarten interviews and 20
summer activities. Such excess causes grave concern.
Fortunately, it was an extreme case, albeit one that was
indicative of the burdens that over-anxious parents
place on their children. Such problems and their
consequences are the main focus of this issue, along
with the preventive measures that can be taken and
the therapies that counsellors can offer when needed.

Pressure and failure

Local surveys (see box) indicate first and foremost
that the pressure to perform well academically in
order to meet high expectations at home as well
as at school is the key element. The pressure, and
the stress to which it leads are compounded by
the citys highly competitive environment and
stagnating upward social mobility, for young men in
particular. Such an overload can lead to a multitude
of emotional problems, some of them very serious.5
Second, the surveys bring out strongly the
dissatisfaction and discontent among young
people, who feel their views are not being
taken into consideration by policymakers.
Whether the bone of contention is housing
or democracy, the root cause is the same: lack
of civic engagement and empowerment.

Three Hong Kong Surveys

The Chinese University of Hong Kongs Youth
Quality of Life Index of 15-24 year-olds covers
psychological wellbeing, social wellbeing and
overall wellbeing. As of a year ago, respondents
were optimistic about the future. On average they
had a positive self-image and felt fine about their
relationships with family members and friends.
On the other hand, they considered the Hong Kong
governments performance marginally acceptable
and said they had limited influence on policymaking which failed to take care of their needs.
The Hong Kong Happiness Index has been compiled
by the Centre for Public Policy Studies at Lingnan
University since 2006. Findings published in 2014
with a category for the under 30s reveal a general
downward trend in happiness since 2011, with lows
in 2008 and 2010. Since 2012, the Centre has also
compiled a Childrens Happiness Index of students in
late primary and early secondary education. It showed
a drop in happiness levels last year from 7.23 in 2013
to 6.74 on a scale of 0 to 10. Researchers suggest this
may be related to the Occupy Central Movement
and the political controversies arising from it.

A City University survey published in early 2015 and

explored in detail in the next article, looks specifically
at psychosocial and emotional wellbeing, rather than
the political or economic sphere. It has some very
interesting findings, including one that girls are more
satisfied and happier than boys. The underlying cause
of these feelings appears to be different levels of
expectation. This view is corroborated by an earlier
City University study showing that teenage boys are
twice as likely to suffer from depression as girls.
Researcher Sylvia Kwok attributed this to Chinese
culture, and again to overblown expectations.

June 2015 | Youth Hong Kong


Feel-good factors

Anxiety, money and security

When most young people are asked to describe

feeling good, they speak in terms of wellbeing,
happiness, optimism, self-esteem, self-confidence
and fulfilment. Getting satisfaction out of life,
on the other hand, is generally thought to be
a more profound feeling. It includes delayed
gratification and the achievement of goals.

Insecurity, loneliness and isolation, contribute to

loss of wellbeing. Although doubts remain about
whether unhappiness or the lack of wellbeing
can be accurately measured, certain factors are
used widely in academic research. Regardless
of age, not having enough money for basic
needs, feeling insecure at home and lacking a
supportive social network are at the top of the
list of negatives for most people of all ages.

by Henrik Berger Jrgensen

Psychologists call these emotions subjective

wellbeing and their surveys try to measure it by
asking how satisfied people feel and how much
positive and negative emotion they experience.
Achievement of personal goals and the approbation
that comes from matching parents and teachers
expectations are also undeniable feel-good factors.
For young people in Hong Kong however,
anxious about how well they match up with
their age cohort, one overriding element recurs
over and over again: doing well academically.

Andrew Oswald,6 a behavioural economist who

says that, recent happiness research findings
have been to found to generalize across countries,
also found that, in general, contentment begins
to decline in adolescence. As self-awareness
grows, feelings of stress and anger, typical of
rebellious youth, are less likely. However, in
cities like Hong Kong, where there is continued
dependency on the family home and income,
this change may be postponed, and anxiety
about doing well enough to get a good job and
become independent may be accentuated.

Youth Hong Kong | June 2015















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It is thought that genetic influences have a role

to play in how satisfied one is with life: there are
some people who are just more likely to be cheerful
than others. It is also thought that these influences
determine a set point of happiness or wellbeing,
from which we vary and to which we return over
time. This theory suggests that subjective wellbeing,
determined also by personality traits ingrained
early in life, remains relatively constant. Levels of
happiness may change briefly in response to events,
but almost always return to the baseline level as we
adjust to change and its consequences over time.9

However, academics have found that being overly

optimistic is not necessarily helpful, and a certain
level of pessimism is not unhealthy. In fact, over-


All in the balance: the wider context

Nevertheless, optimism, whether it be

about exam results or health, marriage or
investments, tends to be more consistent
in those who are young and those who are
seniors.10 Perhaps the views represented by the
surveys will change as the participants grow
older, and perhaps the next cohort of under25s will be troubled by different problems.

Age + g

Oswald concluded that the better-educated and

better-paid you are, the better you feel up to a
point. This bears out the data from Hong Kong,
showing how important doing well academically is
to the vast majority. Nevertheless, other specialists7
argue that wealth is of declining marginal utility
and satisfaction with life, over time, has little if
anything to do with income. Other studies have
shown that although wealth is strongly connected
with life satisfaction it does not make people happy.8

June 2015 | Youth Hong Kong


Where subjective psychosocial and emotional

wellbeing is concerned, a quantum of realism
and balance is needed. Happiness and wellbeing
come from attunement between the individual
and his or her sociocultural context, where
expectations are as closely aligned with reality as
possible. However, experience of both positive
and the negative emotions, sadness and happiness,
make it possible to understand both better.

Stress relief
Hong Kongs youth in a time of transition
need ways to relieve stress. They also need the
equilibrium which tells them that no matter
how they feel today the future can be in their
own hands. This message can be emphasized by
parents and teachers so that when the question,
How do they feel? is asked, the answers remain
predominantly positive and the pressure to
perform never becomes an impossible burden.

by Aldas Kirvaitis

confidence may make you perform worse.11

This echoes the findings of critics of the positive
psychologists, also discussed later in this issue.

Sources and further reading

3. Chui, Wing-hong & Wong, Mathew YH. Social Indicators Research, January 2015 DOI 10.1007/
6. Oswald, Andrew
7. Easterlin, RA.
8. Kahneman, D, Deaton A.
13. Wu, Y. Shang shu xing ban. Taipei: Taiwan: Tong Da Books, 1991.
Further reading
Aristotle. The Nichomachean Ethics. Ross, D (ed.). Oxford University Press, 1986.
Diener, Edward. Subjective wellbeing. American Psychologist, 2000. 55, 34-43.
Henriques, G. Happiness Versus Wellbeing.
Kahneman, Daniel, Diener, Edward, Schwarz, Norbert (eds). Wellbeing. Russell Sage, 1999.
Seligman, M. Flourish. Simon and Schuster, 2011.

A good and auspicious life

There is wide agreement among philosophers from
Christian, Aristotelian, Confucian, Buddhist, Hindu,
Muslim and humanist traditions that a sense of
wellbeing depends on exercising certain personal
virtues and strengths. In Chinese, the term fuk, or fu
denotes happiness. It is also used to mean
fortunate, lucky, smooth and free of obstacles. In
other words, anything positive and good in life.
Confucian philosophy emphasizes the collective
welfare of the family or clan as a route to happiness,
stressing integration and harmony with other people,
society and nature. Philosophers such as Aristotle
define happiness as living a good life. He uses the term
eudaemonia. Literally, it means harmony/balance of
the moving self. A good life has meaning and goals
and is only attainable through the exercise of reason.
Aristotle says, Happiness depends on ourselves.

Youth Hong Kong | June 2015


Teenagers and contentment

how gender and parents matter

ow do happiness and satisfaction vary among Hong

Kongs teens? Professor Eric Chui in the
Department of Applied Social Sciences at City
University of Hong Kong talks about his new research and
unexpected finding that girls are happier than boys.
We were amazed to find that females were
so much happier than males.

Gender expectations

In fact, according to the research, girls are both

happier and more satisfied with life than boys.
The cause appears to lie in varying expectations.
Overblown, unrealistic expectations lead to stress,
and failure brings conflict, disapproval and tension
- especially at home. Hong Kong parents usually
expect boys to do better than girls, and the boys
feel the pressure and consequences of failure more.
If they do well, thats fine. Balance is maintained.
By contrast, when a girl performs well, she has
the chance of making her family unexpectedly
happy. Furthermore, irrespective of wellbeing in
the children, according to the study, parents with
daughters are happier if the girls succeed at school
than parents are with sons who get good marks.

What difference does gender make? The

findings1 showed that while higher marks
made boys happier than girls, they made
girls more satisfied. Why should that be, and
what conclusions does it suggest? Is it because
boys raised sense of self-esteem at seeing good
results is only briefly felt? Professor Chui
suggests that from a girls point of view, good
academic performance is a portent of future
success and satisfaction, rather than something
to be enjoyed in a transitory moment.

We were amazed to find that females were so

much happier than males, and these findings
were confirmed by results on the eight different
standardised scales or measurements we used.
Something very interesting is going on. It
probably concerns interpersonal relationships
in the family. Guys are not meant to cry,
want a hug from mummy or reveal emotions.
With the more demonstrative girls, stronger
bonds tend to form. When the girls do
well, those social bonds are reinforced.

Adolescence is a time of emotional upheaval

so it is not surprising to discover that there are
dramatic fluctuations in teenagers feelings.
However, Professor Chuis recent study on
psychosocial subjective wellbeing came up with
very interesting findings about gender and the
marital status of parents. Academic achievement
was the other key psychosocial factor. The sample
group of about 1,500 10-19 year-olds came from
several schools in Central & Western District
and mostly from middle-class backgrounds.

June 2015 | Youth Hong Kong

by Rex Pe


Changing places

One parent or two

I always thought males were more privileged in

a patriarchal society like ours, Professor Chui
continues, They always used to be considered the
stronger sex, the leaders, and so they were supposed
to be happier and more satisfied with life because
they had greater opportunities. This is changing
in Hong Kong, even at secondary school. Now, the
stereotypes are changing, in more ways than one.

Another surprise finding concerned teenagers

with divorced or separated parents. They develop
a stronger sense of purpose and higher selfesteem. Perhaps this is because their upbringing
forces them to be independent relatively early in
life.2 Since both purposefulness and self-esteem
contribute to a sense of wellbeing they may
mitigate the adverse effects of being less happy or
satisfied with life as a result of a parental breakup.

Maybe males are losing their edge, he suggests.

The economic market means their prospects
may be poorer than in the past. Females,
once stereotyped as emotional, weak and lowachieving, now show they are good at school as
well as at home, and that bodes well for future
employment. As far as I know, this is the first
research of its kind to reveal such a trend in a
Chinese society. Parents used to prefer boys.
Now they prefer girls. They are less trouble!
Not only in Hong Kong but elsewhere in the
developed world, there is an upward trend in
female achievement and the studys findings reflect
this trend. Professor Chui agrees that interpersonal
and communication skills are very important today,
skills at which females excel more often than boys.

On the other hand, social relationships, especially

with the family, are more important to girls than
boys, according to Professor Chuis research,
although the role of the family is crucial in the
subjective wellbeing of all adolescents. If girls
parents are married, the girls are both happier and
more satisfied with life in general, whereas the
marital status of parents matters much less where
boys wellbeing is concerned. The same applies to
the number of close friends: they make girls happier
than they do boys, although they dont necessarily
make them feel any more satisfied with life.

Teenagers with divorced or

separated parents develop a
stronger sense of purpose and
higher self-esteem.

Youth Hong Kong | June 2015


Pressure, results and vanity

The significance of academic achievement reflects
Hong Kongs cultural climate, says Professor
Chui. My first-year students think their parents
and grandparents were happier than they are in
their teens. Despite greater affluence, todays
students feel their prospects are not as good as
those of their forebears. They say that they
dont like going to tutorial classes and piano
lessons. Instead, they want freedom and space
to breathe. Parents would probably consider
this to be ignoring good opportunities.
The pressure on students to work hard and
pass examinations permeates their lives. It
dictates relationships at home in the present and
chances of security and success in the future.
It is also a major factor in family harmony
which in turn affects quality of life. While all


by Rex Pe

One wants ones children

to do well. It reflects on
oneself. It also reveals
parental vanity.

parents want their children to do well, a socalled tiger mother style of parenting is the
main source of pressure. When children dont
match up to expectations either their own or
their parents what do they do? Try harder.
Trying to do well for the sake of the family can
upset a teenagers sense of wellbeing and delicate
equilibrium, especially if the effort turns out
to be futile. If expectations were too high in
the first place it can cause serious distress. Yet
adolescents, for whom family ties are particularly
important, feel they must try because if they
have indeed disappointed their parents, there
will be inevitable negative consequences.
I would say that Hong Kong education places too
much emphasis on academic achievement.
I have an eight year-old and however hard I try
I cannot avoid this social climate. One wants
ones children to do well. It reflects on oneself.
It also reveals parental vanity. The change in
todays family structure contributes to this.
Most families have only one child. This child
represents a great investment and if they dont
do well at school, they hear the underlying
message that there is no hope for them.

June 2015 | Youth Hong Kong


1. Chui, Wing-hong & Wong, Mathew YH. "Gender differences in happiness and life
satisfaction among adolescents in Hong Kong: relationships and self-concept." In Social
Indicators Research, January 2015 DOI 10.1007/s11205-015-0867-z
2. Chui, Wing-hong & Wong, Mathew YH. "Association between parents. Marital status and
the development of purpose, hope and self-esteem in adolescents" in Hong Kong.
(Forthcoming in Journal of Family Issues.)
3. Chui, Wing-hong & Wong, Mathew YH. "Gender, academic achievement, and family
functioning among adolescents" in Hong Kong: the role of parental expectations.
(Unpublished. at time of writing)
Further Reading

More research to follow

The importance of precise age during adolescence
is also revealing. Happiness and satisfaction
dwindled markedly in the teenagers studied
after the age of 16, the point at which they
prepare for the public Diploma of Secondary
Education examinations. This is when pressure
becomes increasingly intense, both at school
and, often at home, again underlining the
significance of academic achievement for these
youngsters. Even external examiners who
come from Britain cannot understand why
there is so much pressure on students here. To
change this system needs strong leadership.
This research is just a beginning, says Professor
Chui, as he talks about his next, territory-wide
survey. My first study was not representative of
older suburbs or new towns. He stresses that
quantitative, qualitative and longitudinal studies
are needed in future. As with all research, it cant
give all the answers. For now, we are making
conjectures based on initial findings.
Scales and questionnaires used in the study
Eight standardized measurement scales were used by
Professor Chui and a strong correlation was found
confirming the above findings on all of the scales.
Chinese Family Assessment: Shek (2002)
General Health Questionnaire: Goldberg & Williams (1970)
opelessness Scale: Shek (1993) [Chinese version]
based on Beck et al (1974)
xford Happiness Questionnaire:
[Chinese version for Hong Kong] Hills & Argyle (2002)
Positive and Negative Affect Schedule: Watson et al (1988)
Purpose in Life Questionnaire: Crumbaugh (1968)
Satisfaction with Life: Diener et al (1985)
Self-Esteem: Rosenberg (1965)

Agliata, AK & Renk, K. College students affective distress.

Journal of Child and Family Studies, 18, 396-411. 2009.
Chua, A. Battle hymn of the tiger mother. New York: Penguin, 2011.
Costigan, CL, Hua, JM & Su, TF. Living up to expectations.
Canadian Journal of School Psychology, 25, 223-245. 2010.
Guo, K. Ideals and realities in Chinese immigrant parenting: Tiger
mother versus others. Journal of Family Studies, 19(1), 4452. 2013.
Ho, DYF, & Kang, TK. Intergenerational comparisons of child-rearing attitudes
and practices in Hong Kong. Developmental Psychology, 20, 10041006. 1984.
Kwan, YK. Life satisfaction and self-assessed health among adolescents
in Hong Kong. Journal of Happiness Studies, 11, 383393. 2010.
Li, AKF. Parental attitudes, test anxiety, and achievement motivation:
a Hong Kong study. Journal of Social Psychology, 93, 311. 1970.
Li, J & Wang, Q. Perceptions of achievement and achieving peers in U.S.
and Chinese Kindergartens. Social Development, 13(3), 413435. 2004.
Lopez, N. Hopeful girls, troubled boys. New York: Routledge, 2003.
Ng, F et al. European American and Chinese parents responses to childrens
success and failure. Developmental Psychology, 43(5), 12391255. 2007.
Shek, DTL. The Chinese purpose-in-life test and psychological
wellbeing in Chinese college students. International
Forum for Logotherapy, 16(1), 35-42. 1993.
Shek, DTL. Measurement of pessimism in Chinese adolescents. The Chinese
Hopelessness Scale. Social Behaviour and Personality, 21(2), 107-120. 1993.
Sun, RCF & Shek, DTL. Life satisfaction, positive youth
development and problem behavior among Chinese adolescents
in Hong Kong. Social Indicators Research, 95 (3), 455-474. 2010.
Tran, QD et al. Ethnic and gender differences in parental expectations and
life stress. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, 13, 515526. 1996.



Youth Hong Kong | June 2015


Restoring balance

arol Yew, Hong Kong Psychological Society

Registered Clinical Psychologist and
Expressive Arts Therapist, answers
questions about her work with depressed and
anxious youth. She suggests ways to restore
their balance.
In your experience, which emotional
disorders and psychological problems
are common among Hong Kong youth?
Depression and anxiety, especially social
anxiety, and performance or exam anxiety are
the more common kinds among my young
clients. They often lead to deterioration
in academic performance, less interaction
with classmates, and even truancy.

They can be conceptualized as the 3 Ps. The

first P stands for predisposing factors. These
include a family history of mental illness, parental
style of upbringing, negative early childhood
experiences, and a premorbid personality.1
The second P stands for precipitating factors.
These include events which trigger the onset
of emotional disorders. They are often called
stressors and can be major life-changing events
such as changes in family dynamics and divorce.
Extreme stress in the public exams, a sudden
drop in school grades, being bullied at school, or
unfortunate, traumatic events are other examples.


The third P stands for perpetuating factors

which maintain and sustain mood problems.
Some examples are maladaptive coping strategies
such as smoking and drinking, negative attitude
and lack of social or familial support.

by Rachel Lee

What are the underlying causes?

In what ways do you help

these young people?
One of my patients skipped classes for almost a year
because of extreme anxiety. Treatment for students
like this usually begins with cognitive-behavioral
therapy2 then goes on to positive psychological
interventions in order to try to prevent a relapse.
Therapies like these help you to identify and own
your strengths, to appreciate others, be grateful
for what you have, and be more optimistic. One
strategy is to write a gratitude journal every night,
describing things you are grateful for and why,
focusing on the good parts of life and appreciating
them more. Over time, those who feel more grateful
generally become happier and more positive.

1. A premorbid personality is one that is characterized by early signs or symptoms of a mental disorder.
2. Cognitive-behavioural therapy is a talking therapy that can help you manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave.

June 2015 | Youth Hong Kong


Can schools and the community help?

by Stefano Corso

We strongly support incorporating positive

psychology, positive virtues and character
strengths into the school curriculum. We believe
that prevention is better than cure and positive
psychology helps in this respect. In fact, research
has shown that certain strengths correlate with
better grades, so it is very worthwhile to teach
and cultivate them from an achievement point
of view. The community at large can help in the
same way, by embracing positive psychological
concepts such as altruism and hope.

Today, the concept of health has evolved to

include physical, mental, social and spiritual
health, namely holistic wellbeing. If we believe
that happiness is more than the absence of
depression, and health is more than the absence of
disease, then we should do more to promote both
individual and community positive psychology.
The United Centre of Emotional Health and Positive Living
(UCEP), where Ms Yew is the Clinical Director of the
Psychological Service, publishes books on emotional health
education and positive psychology. For young people whose
emotional health has been badly affected by social or exam
anxiety, Ms Yew recommends, a self-help book
on anxiety, , a basic text on positive psychology,
and 360, easy and light-hearted reading
with short articles on positive psychology.

With thanks to both Ms Yew and Dr Anthony Tong,

Clinical Psychologist at UCEP.
More information /
Further reading

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy CBT

Positive psychology
Positive psychology focuses on human wellbeing. Its roots are in humanistic psychology. It uses a quantitative approach and
is intended to complement and extend conventional psychology. There is division among psychologists as to its application.
Advocates believe that psychology has been too focused on mental illness and insufficiently focused on mental health.
Critics say that interpretations of positive psychology overemphasize the power of the positive and do not take individual
difference sufficiently into account. A counter argument, based on the theory of defensive pessimism, while not denying
that optimism and positive mood can help some people, indicates that being optimistic may not benefit everyone equally.
The proponents of positive psychology believe that it benefits the majority and its value, while still debated, has been made
evident by scholars who have conducted rigorous and creative work on the origins of happiness and related feelings.

The optimist thinks this is the best of all possible worlds.

The pessimist fears this is true.
J Robert Oppenheimer


Youth Hong Kong | June 2015


When the world

gets you down

evere social withdrawal by young people is a

subject of real concern in Hong Kong.
Dr Peter Tsoi, a psychiatrist who works
with young people, is a former President of HKFYG.
He tells Youth Hong Kong that he believes the roots of
the problem lie in the stressful education system.
Who are the hidden youth, known in Hong
Kong as teenage hermits or , in Japan
as hikikomori and in Britain as NEETs (not
in employment, education or training)? These
reclusive adolescents, who are neither at school
nor at work, spend their time at home, mostly
playing video games. Some stay there for months,
even for years. The phenomenon may start with
dropping out of school or failure to get a job
but then, gradually, the young person become
increasingly withdrawn from the world.


Although it is possible that some of them might

actually be addicted to the internet before they
become socially withdrawn, I would say sitting in
front of the computer all day is predominantly an
effect of social withdrawal rather than a cause.

Underlying causes

Those who have no specific mental disorder just

use social withdrawal as a way to maintain their
balance. Theories on as the underlying causes of
the hikikomori phenomenon in Japan include
conformity and collectivism, overprotective
parenting and particularities of the educational
system. Many of these also apply in Hong Kong.

What causes their problems? Although many

of them are difficult to categorize, some fit the
diagnostic criteria of psychiatric disorders, the most
common of which are depression and generalized
anxiety disorder. These hidden youth may also
give the impression of being addicted because
they are likely to kill time with their computers.

In Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore and

South Korea, even the very young have to
start learning how to compete and succeed. In
middle class families especially, parents have
high expectations and tend to put too much
pressure on their children to achieve. They
overprotect and over-provide at the same time.

June 2015 | Youth Hong Kong

by L'h


Reaction and transformation

Youth experiencing overwhelming stress react
according to their different potential, talents,
personality and social background. Most find a
way to balance the various demands and conflicts.
They learn how to navigate between the values of
parents and their expectations while discovering
who they are and what they can realistically do.
Achieving this kind of balance means resolving
an identity crisis. This is a prerequisite for
successful transformation into adulthood and
opens up the route to happiness, contentment
and wellbeing through self-actualization.
Those who fail to find such balance as they grow
up and become adults may take different paths.
The ones who have an in-born tendency to develop
psychiatric disorders become mentally ill. Others
who have personality defects develop behavioural
problems or delinquency. Some react by simply
withdrawing from the world, as in the hikikomori.

Society should not label them as

abnormal. Indeed, in some ways,
it is society that is abnormal and
that is why some young people
nowadays choose to shut themselves
away from it.

How to help them

Cases of hikikomori seldom appear in psychiatric
clinics as both the young people concerned and
their parents may not think there is a mental
problem. In fact, a socially withdrawn youth
will usually resist any suggestion of seeing a
psychiatrist. When I encounter this kind of case,
regardless of whether the parents or the young
person seeks a consultation, it is important to
distinguish those with mental illness who need
psychiatric treatment from those who have only
a psychological problem. I would refer those in
the latter group to a psychologist colleague.

Successful treatment of an underlying psychiatric

illness, such as anxiety or depression, usually
ameliorates social withdrawal. For example, I have
encountered several cases of university students
who suddenly became withdrawn and disappeared
This is only possible if a certain set of conditions
from the campus for months. Later, they were
prevails. These include parental tolerance of the
found to be suffering from depression and after
social withdrawal, by at least one parent. In the end, successful treatment they resumed their studies.
the parent cannot accept the failure of their child
and tries to hide it. Another necessary condition
Treatment includes individual psychotherapy
is sufficient resources in the family to support a
and family therapy. The former usually adopts
socially withdrawn youth. Less accepting and less
a cognitive-behavioural approach. In family
affluent families would not permit hikikomori to
therapy, there are different techniques according
develop. In such cases, the mounting stress would
to different schools of thought and training. There
probably create another problem or mental illness. was a case report some years ago by a Japanese


Youth Hong Kong | June 2015


therapist who successfully treated a hikikomori

youth with solution-focus family therapy.
Success of treatment hinges on the resolution
of underlying psychological conflicts and
family psychopathology. If the problem is
developmental, being able to overcome obstacles
in the transformation to adult life and integration
into society mean recovery and good prognosis.

System at fault
The hikikomori phenomenon illustrates the pitfalls
of the current education system in many countries,
especially in Asia and Hong Kong. Cutting oneself
off totally from the outside world can be seen as
a response to the tremendous stress of having to
compete from a very early age. But they are not
the only ones who suffer from this pressurecooker educational environment. Perhaps they
are actually luckier than those who become
mentally ill as a result of too much study pressure.

It is obvious that the education system needs to

be reviewed with the aim of promoting health,
wellbeing and wellness among Hong Kong youth
instead of damaging it. My opinion is that society
should not put all the blame on the hidden youth
for their problem by labelling them as abnormal.
Indeed, in some ways, it is society that is abnormal
and that is why some young people nowadays
choose to shut themselves away from it.

by Paranoid Monk

Mental illness in Hong Kong youth


In Hong Kong, a survey of 1,120 young people aged under 25 found that 32.5% of
them showed symptoms of depression, with the youngest aged only 12. Recent
statistics confirm that the trend for 10-14 year-old males and 20-24 year-old females
having worsening mental health, and an annual study put the index of mental health
among 15-24 year-olds at 53 this year on a scale of 0-100, down from 64 and 63 in
the past two years. Researchers have found that the phenomenon of socially
withdrawn youth is as common in Hong Kong as in Japan. Prevalence rates among a
sample group of 1,010 12-29 year-olds was 1.9% and 2.5% for more than six months
and less than six months respectively.
Helplines for youth mental health
Wong, PW et al. Int J Soc Psychiatry. 2014 July 24.

June 2015 | Youth Hong Kong


Forgotten smile

r Terry Ng, of Gratia Christian Docent Institute, is a

professional counselling tutor for students with special
needs. He writes here about training them to cope with the
demands of life at school and the confusion and unhappiness they cause.

Kids from all sorts of schools come to me: local

government schools, DSS schools, international
schools. Their intelligence varies like their
personalities. But in one way they are all the same:
unhappy about school. I show them how to look
for joy in their bogged-down education by teaching
them skills to achieve at least the minimum.

byDaniel Foster

Ill give you an example. Lets call him David, a

Secondary 6 student referred by an educational
psychologist. He was completely silent in class.
Nobody could get any response. It was almost as
bad at home. He seemed indifferent to everybody
and everything.

I dont pretend I can solve

problems through positive
thinking. People like David
have to help themselves.
The public DSE exams were looming. Since the
results are the benchmark for university and jobs,
they cannot be avoided. We started planning and
setting goals. The exams were a tough test and
David had a crisis in the middle of them. He came
to see me, frustrated and pessimistic about his
performance, convinced that he would fail. I
reminded him of his abilities and eventually he left
with more confidence.

When he joined my group he was just the same. So

I talked to him about comics. No serious subjects or
school work, just light-hearted nonsense. Gradually In fact, David had very good results and is going
he relaxed and responded. There was no threat. He on to do a higher diploma in tourism this year. I
accepted me and the others and started talking.
dont know if his problems have gone away. One
must be realistic. I dont pretend I can solve
He told us that he didnt know when, but he had
problems through positive thinking. People like
forgotten how to smile.
David have to help themselves. When I talked to
his parents again they said communications had
Eventually, he admitted his worst fears. He didnt
improved and they are now cautiously optimistic.
think he could match his familys expectations. He
came from an ordinary middle- class background
When I last saw him, I asked David why he had
and was convinced that his family would waste all
chosen to study tourism, which demands good
their money on him.
communication skills. He answered with a
thoughtful, casual smile.
I tried to explain this to his parents, who were
open-minded, well-educated and ready to lower their He had remembered.
expectations. They told me they hadnt expected top

marks anyway. They didnt understand their son, the

size of the problem or the cause of his emotional
disturbance. I told them not to think about academic

performance but to concentrate on building Davids

self-confidence and skills of self-expression.


Youth Hong Kong | June 2015



tracking lifes ups and downs

any websites, apps, and devices exist to help

keep track of psychological health.
Information collected can also help doctors.
We look at some of these online services and how well
they work.
For those with psychological problems, common obstacles to
getting better, have, in the past, included lack of accurate and
complete information, costs of treatment, effects of stigma, and
beliefs such as nobody understands me or this is just the way I
am. The internet can be used to remove some of these hurdles.
Here are some examples of recent developments.



E-hub is an initiative of the National

Institute for Mental Health Research
at the Australian National University.
Its developers and researchers are
internationally recognized experts
in the field of mental health and web
service delivery, some of whom have
personally experienced depression.
E-hub develops and evaluates websites
that deliver psycho-education and
psychological interventions for
common mental health problems,
as well as clinical and consumer
networking. It has developed five
innovative online self-help services
that can be accessed anonymously,
free of charge, 24 hours a day, from
anywhere in the world. MOODgym
for learning cognitive behaviour
therapy skills is one example. It is
designed to help prevent depression
and provide coping strategies.

WalkAlong is a mental health

companion website, a community
where young Canadians can explore
their mental health amongst peers.
The portal is a Canadian-based mental
health resource that also provides
information and links to existing
mental healthcare resources for friends
and family members. The WalkAlong
team is a group of researchers and
practitioners located at the University
of British Columbia. Examples of
services are an online mental health
assessment and a Life Chart that
keeps track of users wellbeing.

NHS Choices, while stressing that

self-help cannot usually provide all the
answers, has links to pages such as
a cognitive-behaviour therapy-based
computer self-help course called
Beating the Blues for the treatment
of depression and a similar course
called FearFighter for generalized
anxiety disorder and panic disorder.


These are available around the

clock and are easily accessible via a
computer, tablet or smartphone. One
service for the under 20s is Kooth,
which offers emotional and mental
health support for children and young
people. Those who sign up can choose
an avatar, have a drop-in chat with a
counsellor or therapist, book a oneto-one session or contact other young
people anonymously on the forums.
Kooth is free in certain areas of the UK.

continued on page 50

June 2015 | Youth Hong Kong

Youth speak

Feelings to share

any of the same problems, doubts and worries plague youth now as ever,
as well as the same incomprehension of parents. Life is better for those
with fewer illusions. Eight youngsters reflect on how they feel.

Pressured but coping

Wistful dreamer

dont think of myself as being particularly happy

or unhappy, but to be honest, to be really happy
would mean having my own set of drums in my
own studio doing what I really want to do supported by
people I care about. But I know that my parents would
never let me. As soon as I discovered playing the drums,
they told me to just get through the public exams and
dont think too much! Well, an older school friend taught
me the basic drumming techniques and I practised with
her every day after class but it all stopped when she left
school and my exam results werent very good anyway.
That was ten years ago. I feel that because I am not
fulfilled in one area of my life, other areas are affected. I
keep thinking that maybe, if Id had my familys support,
maybe I could have been a professional drummer by now.

'm a post 80s girl and like most of my friends

I feel OK. We know were a lot better off
than any generation before us. But it seems
that much unhappiness stems from the unrealistic
pressures that parents place on us. We are expected
to get a job right out of university and start earning
significant income straight away. We are also raised
thinking we are special and so we think that we are
better than everyone else which is obviously not true.
I do wish parents would stop telling us these things.
They spoil us too. Think of that bratty child, the one
who didn't get their Christmas present handed to them
on a plate but was told they would have to do some
volunteer work or something like that first. It makes
him impossible to live with.Yes, hes unhappy. Well,
some of us are like that. One thing Ive learnt is that
if you want to be happy, lower your expectations.

In Hong Kong, most parents would prefer their

offspring to do something conventional like
accounting or medicine but making the right decision
for a career path that will set a course for life is a
huge step, and one that some take too soon.

by Bertram Ng

by wsilver

Certainly it seems that parents push their children

hard to achieve and many adults acknowledge the
fact. But not all young people force themselves to try
harder just in order to please and some, like this young
lady, adopt a hard-edged attitude early on in life.


Youth Hong Kong | June 2015

Youth speak

Anxious but determined

Unhappy and sensitive

always feel worried when faced with the

unfamiliar. It happens all the time now that I
am a nursing student and my patients keep
changing. I lack confidence in clinical skills and in making
decisions and I dont know how to cope sometimes.
Recently, all these negative thoughts affected the way
I did an exam. There were so many unknowns and
uncertainties. But beyond all that, I try to remind myself
that the reason I am doing nursing is because I want to
help people. Helping people makes me feel better. I just
need to learn how to balance this with self-doubt.

dont have a happy family life and Ive never had

any really close friends. My grandmother hates
us all and I have to force myself just to smile at
her. It disgusts me. Once, when I was a child, she threw
me and my mother out of the house. The most pathetic
thing was that my father totally supported her. She was
his mother and he never said a thing to help. After that,
my mother has always expected me to do what she says.
Its actually because she needs to feel in control. In fact,
she has no control except over me, but this means I cant
control my own life. I dont really want to share my feeling
with others. I just want to forget all those bad memories.
It is very sad when a home life has badly affected selfconfidence and led to such tangles as this young
person writes about. When others seem to be
having fun with their friends or family, being the odd
one out is upsetting. However, research has shown
that people with children are not necessarily happy
about it and parents certainly can contribute to their
childrens unhappiness by being unhappy themselves.

By Tommy Wong

by aaron gilson

Tackling a difficult subject for a vocational degree

is a hurdle that Hong Kongs youth seem often
willing to take on, sometimes for heartfelt reasons,
but not for the sake of happiness. Helping people,
on the other hand, though demanding, can be its
own reward and lead to great satisfaction.

hat do I feel pessimistic about? Housing. Even with a

great job, how can you ever buy your own home in
Hong Kong? The government could do something about
housing but they are just unwilling. Not only that, but I think it is very rare
to see people in Hong Kong really happy, doing what they want to do. I
think they compensate by buying the latest thing, an iPhone for example.
They will queue for days, but really, it won't make life any better.


This young person wrote to us on a brilliant spring day. He also said he felt joyful
to see the clear skies. On the other hand, he has grave doubts about his prospects.
Respondents to surveys in other sections of the magazine have similar misgivings,
and they believe their views are heard by nobody with any power or influence.

by Joe Hastings

Realist at heart

June 2015 | Youth Hong Kong

Youth speak

A bit out of the ordinary

Conquering depression

Feeling different from the crowd can work both

ways, making people feel satisfied because of the
freedom and independence it brings but uneasy
and isolated if they are not well-liked. To achieve a
balance between the two is rare in a young person.

Focusing on the positive side of life is a good

coping strategy. Smile, they say, it will make
you feel better. For some, perhaps, in the
end, being realistic is what matters most.

used to feel negative about everything. I felt totally

redundant at home and had no confidence at
school. I still think my mother wished shed never
had me and really only loves my sister. It helped when
the social worker sent me to a counsellor. Thats when I
realized I love making films. When I make a good one its
so satisfying. Even if its not very good it doesnt really
matter. The main thing is never to spend a whole day at
home. Always go out, get some fresh air, have a coffee with
a friend. Then the depression stays away. Ive even done
some volunteer work and life is looking up although my
relationship with mum is still terrible. If I distract myself
from the sadness by doing things I love, then I can get by.

Pursuing goals

ome people believe they can buy happiness, but for me, happiness
comes with a sense of achievement. It could be simple things,
like scoring a try in rugby or finishing a long essay. These
small things give me a positive feeling and I think that kind of happiness
cannot be measured by any universal standard or scale. It is all about
what you feel inside. Having said that, happiness is a short-term feeling
for me. I have always loved pursuing goals but once I achieve them the
happiness fades. I remember how happy I was when I found out that I had
a place at university. That feeling will never come again. It was unique.
The experience, if not the self-knowledge of this 21 year-old student, is
representative of his gender and age group, [see the article on pages 8-11]. Fleeting
happiness comes and goes. Contentment and satisfaction are altogether different.

by Mark Johnson

by digital cat

by Heather Ruiz

am doing quite well at school and life has felt

good since I started going out with my new
boyfriend. But my parents dont seem very happy
and they dont like him much. I think me and my brother
cause problems for them, although they like giving us
treats and taking us on holidays in new countries. Thats
fun for us but they seem to disagree a lot. The families
who seem happiest are always doing the same things
together. They go to the same restaurants and watch
movies together. I dont think we are like that. Maybe
being different can make you discontented. For me, my
friends are the most important thing and I feel lucky
when we are together. But I also love being on my own.


Youth Hong Kong | June 2015

Youth watch


in the world
of youth

he media often dwell on the dark side of being young, with stories of
stress and suicide, but are todays youngsters really that miserable? In this
round-up, Jennifer Lam takes a look around the region and at Britain,
beginning with Hong Kong and ending with Bhutan.

The Global Youth Wellbeing Index1 (GYWI), the primary source for this article,
ranks youth aged 10-24 in 30 countries. Its approach, informed by the Human
Development Index,2 uses 40 quality of life indicators, including subjective outlook
and satisfaction as well as objective and behavioural factors across six interconnected
aspects (domains): citizen participation; education; economic opportunity; health;
information and communication technology (ICT); safety and security.

Hong Kong
not very happy
Hong Kong youth were happier in 2014 than
2013 according to the latest Chinese University
of Hong Kong Quality of Life Index,3 which uses
similar domains to GYWI. There were reports of
overall improvement in psychological wellbeing,
society, education, living environment, youth
crime rate, mental health, drug abuse, economic
conditions and environmental quality. There were
fewer reports of high pressure from school and
extracurricular activities. Good relationships with
family and friends improved wellbeing the most.
However, youth were already feeling less happy
with government performance, public expenditure
on education, and opportunities for development.


Scores on Lingnan Universitys Happiness Index4
fell from 7.23 in 2013 to 6.74 in 2014. The
index was compiled in September-November
at the time of the Occupy Central protests.
The decline was sharpest in 15-17 year-olds,
for whom the index slipped from 6.58 to 5.83
on a 1-10 scale, a drop of 11.4% in a year.
City Universitys 2015 Happiness Index5 recorded its
lowest findings, with a top score of 6.98 compared
to 7.32 ten years ago. A Hong Kong Ideas Centre
study,6 conducted from January-March, noted
that social dissatisfaction was highest among
20-24 year-olds, because of social conditions,
including housing and mainland visitors.

June 2015 | Youth Hong Kong

Youth watch

pleased to have a voice
India rates 26th overall in the GYWI, lowest
in the Asia-Pacific region, but it comes 3rd for
citizen participation. In general, Indian youth
are realistic about their challenges. Both their
perceived stress levels and levels of self-harm
are below average. In 2006, a study of 16-34
year-olds in 14 countries found Indian young
people had the greatest perceived sense of
wellbeing, but a 2013 youth survey14 found that
41.5% of the surveyed youth said the pursuit
of happiness still topped their wish list.15

The incidence of suicide among Hong Kong youth

is very high. In 2012 it was 8.3 for every 100,000
youths.7 According to the University of Hong
Kongs Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention,
suicide is the leading cause of death for those the
same as aged 15-24, the same as the US.8 A 2012
Baptist Oi Kwan survey found that of the 2,500
A 2013 Lancet study found India had the
high school pupils surveyed, 44% had symptoms of highest suicide rate in the world.16 One-third
depression, with 6% showing serious symptoms.9
of suicides are young people aged 1529.17
36% of Indians are likely to suffer a major
depressive episode in their lifetime, with the
average age of the depressed being 31.18
top score, but some way to go

GYWI rates Australia 1st overall for youth wellbeing.
Among other Asia-Pacific countries it ranks highest
for citizen participation. It also comes top in the
education domain, borne out by a 2013 study10
that found 75% of teenagers and 32% of young
adults were in full-time education. The proportion
of young people who reported being very satisfied
with life has increased over the past decade and
was higher among teenagers than young adults.

According to the Australian Research Alliance for
Children and Youth,11 30% of young people aged
15-24 are overweight or obese, and 18% had used
illicit drugs. The rate of youth suicide is falling,
but in 2013, 108 males aged 15-19 and 148 males
aged 20-24 committed suicide. In the same year,
40 females aged 15-19, and 52 females aged 20 to
24 killed themselves.12 Its estimated that 6-7% of
young people aged 16-24 experience depression.13

positive but still problems
GYWI rates Japan 7th overall, confirmed by a
2012 survey conducted by the NHK Broadcasting
Culture Research Institute, in which 94% of
junior high school students said they were happy.19
Young people generally have a positive outlook
and a government-run survey20 reports levels
of youth life satisfaction over 78% by 2014 the highest since 1967 and higher than during
Japans booming economy of the 1980s.

The country comes 23rd in citizen participation
due to the absence of a youth policy and relatively
low volunteer rates. It is home to the reclusive
hikikomori and a survey of 6-12 year-olds reports
high stress levels.21 Suicide is the leading cause
of death among Japanese men aged 20-44.22


Youth Hong Kong | June 2015

Youth watch

Wellbeing Rankings
Dark green: best
Tan: moderate
Red: worst

Mainland China
mostly optimistic
GYWI ranks mainland China 14th overall and
10th for economic opportunity. Of the nine
countries in the Asia-Pacific region surveyed,
Chinese youth report the greatest optimism
and satisfaction in economic opportunity,
and safety and security. A 2013 Ipsos AsiaPacific survey23 found 27% of 18-29 yearolds were very happy and 60% rather happy.
Chinas suicide rates have declined to be among
the lowest rates in the world, according to a 2014
report from the University of Hong Kong. The
most dramatic shift has been for rural women under
35, whose suicide rate appears to have dropped by
as much as 90%.24 Moving to the cities to work
has liberated many rural young women from
parental pressures, arranged marriages and poverty.



China ranks 22nd in the GYWI education domain

and 28th for citizen participation. Reasons
given are its lack of youth policy, lower levels
of youth volunteering, and more pessimistic
outlook on government. It is below average
for prioritization of healthy living. Of the nine
countries in the Asia-Pacific region, China ranks
6th overall, scoring only above Indonesia, the
Philippines, and India, according to GYWI.

safety and security worries
GYWI rates the Philippines 22nd overall among the
30 countries surveyed, and 8th in the nine countries
of the Asia-Pacific region. Young Filipinos are
smoking slightly less, drinking less alcohol and drug
use has plummeted, according to the Young Adult
Fertility and Sexuality Study25, which surveyed
just over 19,000 respondents aged 15-24 in 2013
when only 4% of young Filipinos admitting to
taking drugs, compared to almost 11% in 2002.

With the exception of the education domain, lower
youth satisfaction drives down the Philippines
scores. Filipino youth express their greatest
dissatisfaction with safety and security. Suicide
rates, while lower than in many other countries,
have gone up in the last 21 years, with the majority
of cases being young people aged 24 or less.26

Youth Hong Kong

Youth watch

South Korea
technology scores,
but youth not happy
GYWI rates South Korea 3rd overall and top
in the ICT domain. It also ranks top in the
Asia-Pacific region, and does well in terms of
youth wellbeing. In each domain, excluding
citizen participation, it is in the top ten.

However, not everyone is happy in South Korea.
Youth happiness stands at 74 in an annual index27
with a median of 100. Only two-thirds of Korean
youth said they were satisfied with life, much
less than the OECD average of 85.8%. A 2014
poll by the Korea Health Promotion Foundation
found that just over half of South Korean teenagers
had had suicidal thoughts,28 while nearly one
in three said they had felt very depressed. The
suicide rate for people aged 15-24 in South
Korea was 13 deaths per 100,000 people.29

Map source Global Youth Wellbeing Index 2014

challenges in security
GYWI rates Thailand 10th for youth wellbeing
overall and 6th for providing youth with economic
opportunities. Across all the six domains studied,
youth are generally optimistic about their
circumstances and future prospects. The Thai
Government has established Children and Youth
Councils at national, provincial and district levels.30

Thai youth experience their greatest challenges
in safety and security. Thailands Mental Health
Department says suicide is the No 3 cause of
death in Thai teenagers31 with 852 teen suicides
from 2007 to 2011. In 2011, the suicide rate
among Thais aged 15-19 was at 3.43 per 100,000.
Male teens are three times more likely to kill
themselves than female teens, who are three times
more likely to injure themselves than males.35


Youth Hong Kong | June 2015

Youth watch

How many 10-24 year-olds in the overall population?

31% 28% 26%
22% 22% 20% 19% 18%
14% 12.6%






dissatisfied about
participation and jobs
GYWI rates the UK as the 4th best country
overall for young adults and 2nd among
the European countries. The UK achieves
strong results in the ICT, education and
health domains. A 2013 Unicef survey32
found that wellbeing of British children had
risen over the past decade, from the bottom
to 16th out of 29 developed countries.

Young people are not happy with levels of
citizen participation, economic growth or
opportunities. A YouGov poll33 reported that
40% of jobless young people had experienced
symptoms of mental illness, including suicidal
thoughts or feelings of self-loathing and panic
attacks, due to unemployment. Of those
polled, 9% said they did not have anything
to live for. According to official figures,
10% of British children aged 5-16 have a
recognizable mental disorder, with 4% suffering
from an emotional disorder such as anxiety
or depression.34 In 2012 male suicide was the
single biggest killer of 20-49 year-old males.35







optimistic about prospects
GYWI rates Vietnam 11th for youth wellbeing,
and 5th among the nine countries in the AsiaPacific region. Vietnam achieves particularly
strong results in the economic opportunity and
health domains. Across the domains, youth are
generally optimistic about their circumstances
and future prospects. A 2012 survey found
young people were confident that life would
be much better than it had been for previous
generations, and 73% considered happiness and
family values more important than money.36

Several surveys in 2014 found high parental
expectations were fuelling increased anxiety
and depression among school students, with
26% of just over 1,700 students suffering from
mental problems.37 In 2010 a government
survey found more than 4% of 14-25 yearolds had suicidal thoughts or attempted suicide,
double the 2006 figure. Females are twice as
likely to attempt suicide than males. More
than 7% of the surveys 10,000 participants
said their self-harm was caused by stress.38

June 2015 | Youth Hong Kong

Youth watch

Notes and sources

Apart from the countries chosen for this article, GYWI looked at Brazil,
Colombia, Egypt, Germany, Ghana, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Mexico,
Morocco, Nigeria. Peru, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden,
Tanzania, Turkey, the US and Uganda. It found that most of today's youth
are experiencing lower levels of wellbeing than hitherto, and how young
people feel about their wellbeing does not always align with objective data.
1. Global Youth Wellbeing Index. Center for Strategic and International Studies &
International Youth Foundation, 2014.
6. [in Chinese]

not everyones happy


Bhutan measures quality of life according to

Gross National Happiness (GNH), rather
than GNP. It has rapidly reduced poverty and
its GDP per capita was US$2,584 in 2012.39
84% of the population have mobile phones
and about 29% mobile broadband.40 Bhutan
is one of the worlds youngest democracies. It
held its first parliamentary elections in 2008.
Youth participation is stressed as an important
policy objective, although young people
have few channels for voicing concerns.
Despite the GNH philosophy, which aspires
to development encompassing environmental,
spiritual, emotional and cultural dimensions,
Bhutan faces big challenges. Youth unemployment
in 2013 stood at 9.5% for males and 11.6%
for females, with rates as high as 29.5% for
males in urban areas.41 Rural-urban migration
and the mismatch between available jobs and
the aspirations and skills of applicants are
causes. Youth self-harm, drug abuse, alienation,
depression and suicide are also growing
problems, with suicide the second most likely
cause of death among the under 25s.



Youth Hong Kong | June 2015


at the
tipping point

any youngsters get angry with family, teachers and peers. Anger leads to
problems at school, in personal relationships and in overall wellbeing.
Wilson Chan, a professional social worker who works with vulnerable
youth, gives some advice.

Bouts of rage in adolescence are not unusual.

Often the cause is frustration or too much
pressure. Problems arise when emotions become
uncontrollable. Then there can be verbal or physical
aggression. Young people who are prone to behave
like this can learn techniques for self-control.
The roots of anger may be genetic or physiological;
some people are born more quick-tempered
than others. They may also be sociocultural;
some societies prefer non-confrontation and
try to bottle up emotions. Family background
may also contribute; people who are easily

angered tend to come from families that are

not skilled at communication. However, one
of the most common causes of anger is seeing
things too much in black and white, jumping
to conclusions and then overreacting.

Cognitive therapy for self-control

Cognitive therapy, sometimes referred to as CBT,
is used by HKFYG counsellors with those prone
to outbursts of anger to build self-awareness and
improve self-control. There are four steps. The
key to all is self-awareness and internal dialogue.

What makes people angry?

Triggered memories


Threats of any kind

Alcohol / drugs
Being criticised
Combined effects of medication,
additives, alcohol etc

Additives in food / drink

Protectiveness (of self / loved ones)

Critical judgments

Projection (projecting feelings on to

other people / things)

Fear of rejection

Not accepting responsibility

Feelings of shame and vulnerability



Failed expectations


Feelings of inadequacy and


June 2015 | Youth Hong Kong


Reasons for anger

Attention Sometimes, when young people seem
angry they are actually seeking attention.

Boredom Anger may alleviate boredom through

excitement and a rush of adrenaline.

Criticism In highly sensitive young people anger

can be a natural response to criticism.

Habit Sometimes anger can be an ingrained behaviour pattern.

Injustice Anger is a natural reaction to
perceived injustice to others or oneself.

Low self-esteem When confidence is undermined,

anger may be a defence mechanism.

Self-protection Anger is natural when a person

or property is believed to be under threat.

The first is being aware of feelings coming

to a head and of the bodys reaction. With
awareness, the mind can regain some control
over the body and try to prevent over-reaction.

Changing mindsets: ten key points

1. Acknowledge the existence of a problem.
2. Understand causes of anger.
3. Use techniques to interrupt anger.

The second involves pattern-recognition.

This means observing ones own behaviour
and seeing the vicious cycle it can lead to.
Counsellors recommend drawing a diagram
of the process: what caused the anger in the
first place, the young persons reaction to
it, the results of that reaction both in the
angry young person and their protagonist.

4. Keep a hostility log.

The third step involves analysis and identification

of the advantages and disadvantages of being
angry. Can it lead to any positive outcomes?

9. Build trust and reduce cynicism.

The last step encourages seeking alternatives to

react at the point when anger is about to be acted
out. This involves not only recognizing the internal
alarm signals when they ring, but also knowing
that they can be turned off. Strategies include
finding distractions like playing a computer game,
hitting a tennis ball or listening to music.

5. Learn to relax and laugh at yourself.

6. Listen effectively, miscommunication
contributes to frustration.
7. Try to see the situation from
another perspective.
8. Take exercise, go for a walk,
stretch and breathe deeply.
10. Forgive those who make you angry.

How to control anger

STOP Put your right hand on your left shoulder.
WAIT Put your hands in your pockets or by
your sides.
THINK Consider the consequences of losing
your temper.
TALK Find a sympathetic ear and talk it over.


Youth Hong Kong | June 2015

Arts & culture

Inspiration not stage fright

ood actors hold us spell-bound. For them, it seems

as easy as breathing: making us laugh or cry, leaving
us angry or sad, bringing us to our feet with
thunderous applause. How do they learn to do it?
Chow Chiu-lun, HKReps Deputy Head (Outreach and
Education) explains.


YHK How do young people learn to act

with you?

YHK Do you think that drama teaches

young people how to be creative?

CCL You learn best by observing other people.

Understanding yourself is important as well.
Sometimes I have the feeling that young people
here dont really understand who they are or what
they want. They tend just to listen to teachers or
family and let them decide what fits them. For
the stage, the better you understand yourself, the
more elements you can put into your role because
every role you play comes from within yourself.

CCL I think the first thing is to understand

what creativity is. From my point of view,
creativity means having new ideas or developing
a concept based on an existing idea. Creativity
is not pure fiction and again, where drama
is concerned, the most important element in
being creative comes from observing oneself
and others in daily life. Once you have enough
source material, you can create your own play.

June 2015 | Youth Hong Kong

Arts & culture

YHK Do young people change a lot after

coming to classes at the HKRep?

YHK How does the HKRep inspire young

people to become socially aware?

CCL There are two types of students. First,

there are those who are not really interested
in the theatre. They have been pushed into
it by teachers and parents. For this type of
student, a transformation can take place as a
result of learning how to act well. It is as if a
door opens which lets them enter a new world.
They find great inspiration and as they begin
to understand drama better some choose to
learn more because they realize they want to.

CCL For me, drama is all about change and

transformation. In a play, the characters have roles
where they face adversity and strive to make things
better by transforming their existing unsatisfactory
circumstances. After watching our plays, we always
hope that the audience will gain personal strength
from witnessing the characters on stage. Perhaps
they will also be inspired to make changes for the
better that will transform their own daily lives.

The other type of student has already been

in a play at school, maybe in a leading role.
This kind of student is self-motivating. They
can tell the difference between a professional
play and a school play and it drives them to
want to learn and improve their acting.

YHK How do you build young peoples

CCL The most important thing is
communication and interaction with other
people, and that includes friends and teachers. If
your mates and teachers give you good feedback
from time to time, that will really build your
confidence. But some teachers push young people
to act on stage when they arent ready. That has
the opposite effect. The stage is not like a magic
wand. The teacher has to give students time,
understand their strengths and then guide them.

Call for Youth Talent in Theatre with

Hang Seng Bank and HKRep
This new drama training programme, co-organized by HKFYG and the HKRep, is
sponsored by the Hang Seng Bank. It aims to build self-confidence and develop latent
acting talent. Training is now underway in Sham Shui Po for performances on 1920 September in the Hong Kong Polytechnic University Jockey Club Auditorium.
More details
Enquiries Alice Lui 3755 7067

Full details of the 2015-2016 programme and theatre education offered by the HKRep at
Illustrations in this article are for coming productions. They are by Vivian Ho, courtesy of the HKRep.


Youth Hong Kong | June 2015

Arts & culture

Treasure from the Buddhist Arts

by Carsten ten Brink

thangka is a Buddhist wall hanging, usually painted on cotton

or silk, mounted on a textile backing and kept rolled up
when not on display. Chong Yin-kim (Kim) tells Ada Chau
how she wants to preserve this ancient Tibetan art form.

Love at first sight

When Kim graduated from Central Saint
Martins College of Art and Design in the UK as a
modern graphic designer she knew nothing about
thangka, even though her mother was Buddhist.
When they went to Tibet together she was
astonished. I had no idea about the vibrant colour
combinations and the modern drawing structure.
In the past, thangkas were used for mediation
and Tibetans took them everywhere on their
travels. As Kim said, Thangkas have to be rolled
up many times. If the paint is too thick it will
crack and fall off. Thats why the layers of paint
have to be as thin as possible. This also keeps the
colours vivid and produces a translucent effect.


Kim always felt something was missing from

her artistic life and the images of thangkas she
had seen went round and round in her head.

In the end I asked a Buddhist lama in Hong

Kong where I could learn how to paint them.
He told me the best place was the Tsering Art
School in Kathmandu. Without giving it a second
thought, I started planning to study there.
Kim thought she would master the art of thangka
quickly. After training in Britain I was so
confident of my skills, I thought I could learn the
new technique in six months. In fact I couldnt
even paint a single leaf! She studied the techniques
for six years and then she wanted to share what she
had learned by setting up a school in Hong Kong.

How to preserve this ancient art form?

Because the art of painting thangka is so time
consuming, artists find it difficult to make a
living and Kim is concerned that the ancient craft
will be lost. It takes months, sometimes years

June 2015 | Youth Hong Kong

Arts & culture

Tsering Art School, where Kim learned the traditonal

Karma Gadri lineage thangka, was established in 1996
by Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche at the Shechen Monastery
in Kathmandu. Its aim is to preserve authentic Tibetan
Buddhist culture. Many giant silk appliqu thangka in the
same tradition did not survive the Cultural Revolution.
More details

to paint one good thangka, and an enormous

amount of patience. Some of my Hong Kong
students loved drawing the outlines, the flowers,
the patterns and the Buddha, but many left when
it came to completing the colouring. They did not
understand why it took so long, or why the paint
had to be so thin. Now, I only teach Buddhists
who are passionate about the art form. I hope
they see their progress as a form of meditation.

More details
Munsel Thang-ka School of Art (Kims Workshop)
2/F, 14 Queen Victoria Street, Central District, Hong Kong
Tel 2696 0008

In Nepal many are turning to producing nontraditional thangka, but Kim is keen to learn
more about the authentic craft and wants to
promote interest in this precious art form. She
has just returned from a study trip to India
and will put on a thangka exhibition in Hong
Kong which she hopes will stimulate more
interest in this delicate painting skill.

Photos courtesy of Tsering Art School


Youth Hong Kong | June 2015

Arts & culture

Ten Thousand Galloping

This massive art installation and educational project set
a new Guinness World Record this spring with over
10,000 decorated eco-horse sculptures. The sculptures
were inspired by Xu Beihongs famous paintings and
were decorated by over 10,000 Hong Kong pupils. 18
famous designers and celebrities added their special
touch by decorating eight 6-foot high horses as well.
New Guinness World Record for
The Largest Display of Sculptures made from Recycled Materials


With thanks to our partners

Co-organizing partner: Xu Beihong Art Committee
Main sponsor: The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust

June 2015 | Youth Hong Kong

Arts & culture

United with One Heart
Upcoming exhibitions
This fine exhibition was inspired by Xu Beihongs famous
Galloping Horse. The models of thousands of horses
in the display are made of recycled papier mach. A
much-applauded tour at the Racecourse in Shatin and
the Sky Dome in Tsuen Wan is now being extended
so that more people can enjoy this fabulous sight.

IFC Shopping Mall
27 July to 2 August 2015
More information


Youth Hong Kong | June 2015

City space

Should you get your

genome sequenced now?

magine a future where getting your genome sequenced is as

easy as getting a CT scan. With sequencing costs now
reported to be less than US$1,000 per person, this scenario
may arrive faster than you think, writes Diana Han.
Whole genome sequencing is the process by
which your DNA, the three billion base pairs of
your genetic blueprint, is read and recorded. By
definition, genome sequencing does not involve any
genetic manipulations and is meant to be purely
informative. However, while this information is
indisputably useful for research, obtaining such
information for routine healthcare could be a
double-edged sword. Should healthy people get
their genome sequenced? If so, who should have
access to that information? And should parents
sequence their childs genome before giving birth?

Ethical dilemmas


The ethical dilemmas inherent to healthy people

getting their whole genome sequenced are
nuanced. Ideally, people should be able to find
out about their own genetic predispositions.
That way, they can preemptively manage their
own health. The most popular example of this is
Angelina Jolie undergoing double mastectomies
and removal of her ovaries and fallopian tubes after
discovering that she had the BRCA1 mutation.

On the other hand, why we get sick, in terms

of susceptibility to cancer, heart disease, mental
illness and so on, cannot be easily determined
from our genome alone. The vast majority of
human disease is caused by a complex interaction
of multiple genes, the environment and many
other cellular mechanisms that we have yet to
fully understand. The BRCA1/2 mutation found
in hereditary breast cancers actually accounts for
fewer than 5% of all diagnosed breast cancers.
Simply put, genomic information
may not be all that informative about
ones future health. Our genomic
sequence often gives confusing
results of slightly increased or
slightly decreased probabilities
of various diseasesambiguous
information that may do more
harm than good. What would
be the consequence of your
knowing that you have a risk
of kidney disease that is 10%
higher than average? People

June 2015 | Youth Hong Kong

City space

can have unpredictable responses to information

like this. Practically, how do we decide how much
increased risk is significant? 10%? 5%? 1%? 0.1%?
Even if a genetic variant could predict the chance
of a person getting a disease with 100% accuracy,
more ethical dilemmas arise. Potentially, a genetic
disorder can be discovered before treatment
is available or even before symptoms occur.
For example, Huntingtons, characterized by
a progressive decline into dementia beginning
around the age of 40, is a disease with no known
cure. If a teenage girl had genome sequencing in
order to find out her risk of breast cancer, but was
actually found to have the variant for Huntingtons,
shouldnt she be told? Who else would have the
right to know? While she has a right to privacy,
do her relatives not also have the right to know
that they may have the genetic variant as well?
What about insurance companies? Do they
too have a right to this kind of information?

Do you really want to know?

With the growing popularity of prenatal testing for
genetic diseases, what are the ethical considerations
of sequencing a childs genome prenatally? While
pregnant women have the right to make informed
decisions about reproduction, how does one

balance the potential harm that can arise to society

from decisions made for non-medical reasons such
as fetal sex selection? Other concerns are that some
genetic conditions have widely variable clinical
manifestationsa child with XXY chromosome, for
example, may grow up to be completely normal or,
alternatively, be infertile with learning difficulties.
Yet a potentially healthy foetus might be terminated
on the basis of genetic information alone.
Ultimately, with the availability of direct-toconsumer sequencing services, the choice to
get your genome sequenced is yours. Before
you do though, think hard. Do you really want
to know if you have a 30% increased risk of
dementia or a 5% increased risk of cancer.
How would it change your life if you knew?

Diana Han Year 3

The Chinese University of Hong Kong,
Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery.
Winner of an Innovation & Technology Scholarship
Award 2015, a programme organized by HKFYG,
supported by the Innovation & Technology
Commission and sponsored by HSBC.

Genome Projects
The Human Genome Project sequenced DNA pooled from a range of
individuals to create a reference genome. However, every genome is
unique, and with the development of DNA sequencing technologies, it is
now becoming affordable for individuals to choose to get their genomes
sequenced. This is called personal genomics. Steve Jobs had his genome
sequenced for US$100,000 a few years ago. A number of public and private
companies are competing to develop a full genome sequencing platform
that is commercially viable and the Personal Genome Project was founded
in 2005 dedicated to creating public genome, health, and trait data.


Youth Hong Kong | June 2015

by Ed Schipul

City space

Goodbye fantasy
hello fame
echnological entrepreneurship can turn sci-fi ideas into
realities, as well as hard cash, says Jonathan Ching. What gives
some people a head start and wheres the best place to be?

As children of the nineties, we grew up watching

futuristic, visually captivating sci-fi movies
like Transformers, Batman and those starring
Marvel superheroes like Iron Man. Many of
us must have dreamed of building those cool
toys ourselves, but when the time comes for
charting our own directions, most of us will
opt for the popular and the mainstream.

The time: now


Today, however, those sci-fi dreams are becoming

realities. The laser canon, as featured in the
Star Wars movies starships, is already being
deployed by the US army and by 2020 we
could be seeing Iron Mans 3D printing and
holographic displays. Innovative technology
entrepreneurs around the world are taking these
seemingly impossible fantasies, turning them
into real inventions and earning good money.

Technological entrepreneurship like this involves

the process of identifying high-potential,
technology-driven business opportunities, and
then building a feasible product by gathering
together the necessary resources and talents.
Famous tech entrepreneurs including Mark
Zuckerberg, Elon Musk and Steve Jobs made
their names by pioneering in this field and
they share some attributes. These visionaries
could all identify a new market or technology
opportunity before others had understood it.
A successful entrepreneur also needs technological
expertise, the capability to apply technological
advancements to the real-world, an entrepreneurial
spirit, and the mental strength to handle
enormous pressure and high risks. Added to
this, it is vital to have the ability to lead, to
attract funds and to market a product.

June 2015 | Youth Hong Kong

The place: Hong Kong

Being a tech entrepreneur is definitely not an easy
option, but the excitement and challenges can
be more rewarding than those offered by stable
jobs. So the question remains, does Hong Kong
have the environment for start-ups to thrive?
It seems the answer is yes. Hong Kong was
ranked as the top Tech Capital to Watch in a
Forbes article1 and Huffington Post has dubbed
the city the Silicon Valley of the East.2 One of
the indicators of the rising popularity of startups here is the proliferation of co-working spaces,
where entrepreneurs can network to realize their
plans. In 2013 there were only a handful of such
spaces in the city. Now there are more than 40.
Meanwhile, incubator programs and accelerators,
in which start-ups are offered funding, business
advice and connections, have proliferated
thanks to the orchestrated efforts of universities,
government sponsored programmes such as
Cyberport and HK Science and Technology Parks,
NGOs like HKFYG, and venture capitalists.

by Apionid

by Ed Schipul

City space

The booming start-up scene has also been

fuelled by success stories such as GoGoVan,
Insight Robotics and Shopline. The achievement
of DJI Phantom, a HKUST spin-off robotics
drones company, set an even higher standard for
Hong Kong companies. So, if you are bright,
keen to master new technologies, willing to
challenge the status quo, and have a passion
to change how the world works, technological
entrepreneurship could be the right role for you.
Who knows, you might be the one who turns
Luke Skywalkers sabre into a saleable product.
Jonathan Ching Year 2
The University of Hong Kong,
BBA (Information Systems).
Winner of an Innovation & Technology
Scholarship Award 2015, a programme organized
by HKFYG, supported by the Innovation &
Technology Commission and sponsored by HSBC.


Youth Hong Kong | June 2015

City space

by Dominik Schwind

by European Commission DG ECHO

Creation to innovation

pp Problem: Polluted water

pp MSG testing

Imagine seeing your 6 year-old daughter mixing

different shampoos in the sink, with lather
and water overflowing onto the floor. She tells
you she is trying to create the best mixture for
making long-lasting bubbles. What would you
say? Most Hong Kong parents would think
she was being mischievous or wasteful, but
mine would ask what I was doing and why,
then let me go ahead, knowing that unusual
behaviour can stimulate creativity. Only when
children are given sufficient freedom can they
think outside the box and invent something.
Innovation involves reflecting on the current
situation and coming up with ways to improve it.
Widespread concern about water pollution and
drinking water contaminated with heavy metal
ions made me want to create a handy test kit,
something everyone could afford instead of costly
equipment. My simple kit uses MSG. It shows
up metal ions in water in different colours. If the
water turns pink, that indicates cobalt (II) ions.
If it turns blue, there are copper (II) ions present.


pp Showing up different colors of metal ions

Although good academic

performance is fundamental,
only by exposing yourself to
different disciplines can you
develop an innovative mind.
This low-cost test kit can be used to identify
not only the type of metal ions but also to check
concentrations by matching colour intensity with
a prepared colour chart. In order to discover which
kind of chemical substance reacts with metal
ions to form complexes with the most prominent
colours, I tested over 20 lab reagents with 5 metal
ions, creating over 100 combinations. Only
this kind of persistence and repetitive analysis,
tedious to some people, can ensure success.
Although good academic performance is
fundamental, only by exposing yourself to different
disciplines can you develop an innovative mind.

June 2015 | Youth Hong Kong

City space

by Gabriel Rocha

hildren need understanding parents and freedom to explore

if they are to cross new frontiers, says young scientist
Seraph Wu.

pp Findings complete

Being open to new adventures is vital. So last year

I headed to Beijing to join the China Adolescents
Science and Technology Innovation Contest
and then in October I went to the mainlands
Awarding Program for Future Scientists. On a
trip to Israel I visited the Technion-Israel Institute
of Technology, where I could talk to young
entrepreneurs like Rami Kasterstein and Joey
Simhon who won the Webby Award for their
mobile phone application Everything.Me. In
May this year it was the International Sustainable
World Energy Engineering Environment Project
(I-SWEEEP) Olympiad, where I could swap ideas
with young people from 67 other countries.
Mind-expanding experiences not only give insight
into science and innovation, they can also help
you to appreciate cultural differences and enlarge
your social circle. There were 427 projects to
look at and one in particular interested me: an
innovative project using mandarin peel to remove
metal ions from soil. It was created by high school
students from Tajikistan and the ideas were
similar to my own for analyzing water pollution,
so we had a lot of fun discussing the issues.

pp Result: More clean drinking water

As well as studying science, I love painting and

playing the piano and guzheng, but I have always
wanted a career in medical research. For this,
Professor Rossa Chiu, winner of the 2011 IFCC
Young Investigator Award for research on noninvasive prenatal diagnostic approaches, is my
inspiration. However, it was American politician
John S Herrington who gave me a motto:
There are no dreams too large, no innovation
unimaginable and no frontiers beyond our reach.
If you want to achieve something,
just be bold and do it.

Seraph Wu, Secondary 6

St Pauls Convent School.
Participant in HKFYGs Hong Kong
Young Ambassador Scheme (2013-2015)
Leadership Programmes (2014-2015) and
volunteer network (2013-2014)
Among the best three in the 2014 National
Awarding Program for Future Scientists


Youth Hong Kong | June 2015


Youth entrepreneurship
New Chamber of Commerce Launched

he Hong Kong General Chamber of Young Entrepreneurs brings

together business people aged 18-45 who are dedicated to
promoting entrepreneurial opportunities and networking.

Entrepreneurs are often good at using their initiative and, as more and more enterprising young
people explore the idea of setting up their own business, the time came this year for a brand new
idea. The Hong Kong General Chamber of Young Entrepreneurs (HKGCYE) was established
by young entrepreneurs for young entrepreneurs, with the Federation as its founding sponsor.

Hong Kong General Chamber of Young Entrepreneurs Board of Directors

by linuts



Vice-Chairman (External Affairs)

Vice-Chair (External Affairs)

Rono Kwong

Jerry Chan

Eva Chiu

Founder and CEO, Best Video Ltd

Founder and CEO of Mediaon Ltd

the first production company to

introduce high definition technology
for corporate video production

a leading online marketing network

in the Asia-Pacific region

Founder and Managing Director

Etin Hong Kong Ltd



Director (Membership)

Joyce Wu

Calvin Tse

Felix Chung

Co-founder and Director, Cana Academy Ltd

Founder and Director

Visio Catering Management Group Ltd

Cana offers academic consultation and

education services for
international curricula

a company which manages ten

Hong Kong restaurants

which uses trendy umbrellas for advertising

Co-founder, EcoSage Ltd

a recycling company that launched the

first app for recycling in Hong Kong

June 2015 | Youth Hong Kong


What do they do?

Believing that a thriving young entrepreneur community will generate a more dynamic economy and
provide greater employment opportunities in the city, the aim of the Chamber is to create a stronger
community of young entrepreneurs, to gather greater support and acknowledgment from society for youth
entrepreneurship, and to promote greater business networks and opportunities for young entrepreneurs.
Its twelve founding directors are committed to five main strategies:

Organizing exposure

business leaders with enthusiastic young entrepreneurs

creating an interactive platform for sharing experience

for members wanting to expand into

overseas and regional markets

holding events which network people

from diverse industries

with mainland business opportunities


members with investors

exhibitions and pitching sessions

the Chambers e-channels

Advocating entrepreneurship

Fund matching

in the community
at workshops in schools

How to find them

HKGCYE is open to all young entrepreneurs in Hong Kong.

It organizes training and education for its members, opening
up new prospects and exciting windows of opportunity.

Phone +852 3595 0945


Vice-Chair (External Affairs)

Vice-Chairman (Internal Affairs)

Vice-Chairman (External Affairs)

Viola Lam

Johnny Luk

William Shum

Founder & CEO of FS Education

Co-Founder and Director

Speedy Group Corp Ltd

Founder and CEO,

Memorigin Watch Company Ltd

an IT service contractor for

the HKSAR Government

the first Hong Kong high end tourbillon

watch brand designer and manufacturer

Director (Events)

Director (IT Apps)

Director (Publications)

Loson Lo

William Tsang

Sam Wong

Founder, Synapse Design

Co-founder, Mr Web Ltd

a shopping mall renovation and

design company that also provides
venue design services

a web design company which provides all

round I.T. services to over 1,000 clients

Founder, New Verdure Printing

& Design Services

offering tuition services,

an online learning platform and
mathematics problem-solving lessons

for books, magazines, packaging leaflets etc


Youth Hong Kong | June 2015


Joy of Summer
HKFYG Summer Youth Programme 2015
Summer creations
Calling for creative projects
Young people often show great
creativity. Now we invite them to share
their creations and win HK$2,000 to
turn imaginative ideas into reality.
Entry deadline 5 July
Ages 6 to 35
Apply at
Contact Mandy to sign up
tel 3755 7072

he Federation has organized loads of fun

activities for young people this summer.
There are more than 4,500 activities lined up
for youngsters of all ages. Not to be missed!

Summer life
Alans Kitchen Series Latte Art
This class on preparing and appreciating coffee is
taught by well-known tutor Alan Lee.
Participants learn how to make patterns
in the foamy milk topping of latte.
Dates 5 sessions every Friday 17 July to 14 August
Time 7.30pm-9pm
Venue HKFYG LOHAS Youth SPOT, Sai Kung, NT
Ages 13 to 35
Fee HK$490
Programme code LS-S5-220
Contact Man Leung to sign up
tel 2702 2202
Certificates are given on completion of the course

u.Kitchen Desserts
People always joke that women have two stomachs, one for
the main dish and the other for desserts! If you want to make
yummy desserts for the ladies in your life, come and join us!
Dates 5 sessions every Friday 24 July to 21 August
Time 2.30pm-4pm
Venue HKFYG Jockey Club Wang
Tau Hom Youth SPOT
Ages 14 and over
Fee HK$520
Contact Vanessa to sign up
tel 2337 7189


June 2015 | Youth Hong Kong


Summer green
Save food for the hungry

Adventure training and teamwork are great for both character

building and bonding and this summers water sports with HKFYG
have just the right mix.

About 3,600 tonnes of food is thrown

into Hong Kongs landfills every day.
Volunteers on this programme
save it to take to the needy.

On the water

Date Tuesday 21 July

Time 6.30pm-7.30pm
Venue HKFYG Jockey Club
Hung Hom Youth SPOT

Date Saturday 8 August

Time 8am-6.30pm
Venue HKFYG Tai Mei Tuk
Outdoor Activities Centre
Ages 14 to 20Fee HK$200
Programme code KF-S15-004
Contact Patsy Lee to sign up
tel 2423 1366

Collecting leftovers
and distribution

Fee includes shuttle bus, lunch, camp book, badge and certificate

Contact Yan

tel 2774 5300

Participants must be able to swim 50 metres

Briefing session

e M flic

Date Saturday 1 August

Time 6pm-7pm
Venue HKFYG Jockey Club
Kwai Fong Youth SPOT

by Coo

Pre-camp gathering


Water adventures for teens and twenties


Summer adventures

Dates Every Tuesday 28 July to 11 August

Time 6.30pm-8.30pm
Venue Hung Hom market and HKFYG Jockey Club
Hung Hom Youth SPOT
Ages 15 and overFee HK$20
Programme code HH-S15-513

Bring spare clothes and shoes to wear in the water

My Fotomo in the wetland

Water adventures with friends for the young

Ecotourism, picnicking, photo taking and Fotomo all included.

Trainers will teach elementary skills for canoe, trainees

will be able to move forward, backward and horizontally.
Finishers will get certificate, badge and camp book.


Date Tuesday 4 August

Time 8.30am-5.30pm
Venue HKFYG Tai Mei Tuk Outdoor Activities Centre
Ages 8 to 13Fee HK$200
Programme code TY-S15-002
Contact Kwan to sign up
tel 2445 4868
Participants must be able to swim 50 metres
Bring spare clothes and
shoes to wear in the water

Dates 4 sessions every Tuesday 28 July to 18 August

Time 5.15pm-6.15pm
Venue HKFYG Heng Fa Chuen Youth SPOT

Outdoor photography day

Date Thursday 30 JulyTime 9am-5pm
Ages 10 to 13Fee HK$250
Programme code HH-S15-002
Contact Tao to sign up
tel 2557 0142
Fee includes travel and lunch
Participants should bring
their own cameras

Fee includes shuttle bus, camp

book, badge and certificate


Youth Hong Kong | June 2015


The Last Crayon

The story
This is the story of five primary school children in Hong Kong who
take on a challenge and survive. The children, two of whom are from
the mainland and one of whom has just come back from the US with
her family, have lunch together one day and then get food poisoning.
They suspect there may have been something wrong with the bean
curd in their lunch boxes and decide to track down its source when
they go on a school exchange trip to the mountains in China.
On the last day of their trip they get lost. Night falls. All they
have with them is a box of wax crayons, miraculously used
as candles. This gives the children hope, but it seems shortlived. When only one crayon is left, they start to think they
might die, but then come up with a plan. If one of them is
prepared to make a sacrifice for the sake of the others.


Want to find out what happens next? Go and see the movie!

The show
From now till 10 July 2015
MCL Telford Cinema,
MCL Kornhill Cinema and
MCL Metro City Cinema
Yuen Long Cinema


Groups and schools HK$30

Individuals tel 3979 0000
More details

June 2015 | Youth Hong Kong


The message

M21 video production for the young by the young

Directors Jeremy Yung Wai-mi and Henry

Poon say the message behind the movie is one
of love for parents and children standing at a
crossroads. They see both the best and the worst
of Hong Kong, the trouble facing the city, the
prejudice and hatred of some of its people, and
the ways in which this may have distorted the
way children think. The plot of The Last Crayon
portrays city kids who face problems together
in wild mountain country up north. They too
see that they are at a crossroads and find that
their friendship matters more than anything.

Jeremy Yung Wai-mi

Henry Poon

Young ideas, inspired by growing up in the

city and transformed into film for the wide
screen, have been generated by young people
at HKFYG's M21 since it opened in 2013.
The first independent movie from M21 to go on general
release was When C Goes With G7. Released in late 2013, it
is all about a heartbroken graduate of film school meeting
aspiring young musicians. It has a very catchy soundtrack and,
like The Last Crayon, it met with industry and media acclaim.
More details of M21
HKFYG Jockey Club M21 multimedia centre

2015 IndieFest Film Award Winner

by HKFYG Jockey Club1 Media21

11:41 AM

Made by iUmedia and FILMSKOUT

Youth Hong Kong | June 2015


Creating social value

HKFYG Jockey Club Social Innovation Centre

en Ngai, who is in charge of the HKFYG Jockey Club Social Innovation

Centre, explains that it is a co-working space dedicated to those who
create social value with technology as the key driver. Rick Lam, the
centres designer, comments on his concept for the facilities in the photo captions.

Defining social innovation

Innovative social solutions today cut across the traditional boundaries between
government, NGOs and profit-making businesses. In the context of HKFYGs
centre, newly established in 2015, social innovation can be defined as the
application of innovative, practical, business-like approaches that achieve positive
change for society or the environment through the use of technology.

The centre seeks start-ups with socially-oriented objectives and the
commitment to work for the benefit of society. Since this can be achieved
more easily when entrepreneurs cluster together and spark ideas off one
another, the centre provides space for them to generate breakthrough
business ideas together and develop financially viable business plans.
Rick Lam, the designer of the centre comments, Society is now
more connected than ever thanks to innovative technologies, but
the irony is that instead of being more close-knit, our social fabric
is growing thin because of factors such as wealth disparities
and ethnic disputes. We need not only social services but
also innovative social businesses that are sustainable and
One-stop services
can address the issues of a society in constant flux.
A pleasant working space with furniture and office equipment. This
facilitates the execution of business plans by providing essential
support, plus seed funding, business mentoring and networking.

p The HKFYG Jockey Club Social Innovation Centre is an incubator for

social businesses. Correspondingly, the incubators design conveys a sense of
youth and optimism that is vital for our target group.

Key features

Youth orientation
Targeting young people aged 18-35, the centre enables them to
contribute ideas from their individual perspectives, collaborate
on social change and cooperate on business ventures.

Step-by-step support
A stepwise approach inspires, incubates, and
invests in aspiring young social innovators.

Social innovation via technology


Advancements in technology and communication lower

start-up costs and let more people become their own boss.
Enabled by technologies such as the mobile internet, social
value through social innovation can be encouraged.

p Simultaneously, it provides a sense of privacy for

peripheral programmed spaces. Other features include
a phone booth, pantry, private oces and meeting
rooms to ensure that social businesses of all sizes and
categories can operate and thrive together.

June 2015 | Youth Hong Kong


Asia saw the success of early social innovators in 2006 with Nobel Peace Prize winners Muhammad Yunus and the
Grameen microfinance bank. Social innovation then took off in 2010 with the Obama Social Innovation Fund and
the Big Society of British prime minister, David Cameron. The underlying aim of social innovation is to seek
a novel solution to a social problem that is more effective, efficient, sustainable or just than existing solutions
and for which the value created accrues primarily to society as a whole rather than private individuals.

Five core areas

The centre offers special encouragement to start-ups and social
ventures in five areas concerned with social wellbeing.

Innovative design for enhanced, effective learning
Help for evaluating the teaching-learning process
Assistance and support for social integration via education and e-learning

Raised public awareness about health
Mindfulness about healthy habits
Awareness of medical care and healthcare

Environmental protection
Green measures to reduce waste and carbon emissions
Educational programmes to increase environmental awareness
Encouragement for recycling

Helping to ease the burdens created by a rapidly ageing demographic
Raised awareness of the needs of the elderly
Improved quality of life for seniors including social skills

Social inclusion
Strategies that cross the digital divide
Schemes to reduce the wealth gap and the ability/disability gap
Building a supportive, inclusive society for all

Address Units B-E, 11/F., Genesis, 33-35 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Hong Kong
Services The HKFYG Jockey Club Social Innovation Centre offers a
co-working space of 8,000 square feet for more than 70 entrepreneurial
social innovators at a low monthly rent of around HK$1,000.
Integrated support includes seed funding, incubation programmes,
business networks and capacity-enhancement programmes.
More details
Enquiries Ken Ngai, tel 3755 7062 or Miranda Wong, tel 3965 8001
p At the entrance is a large Event Space that
can hold 70-80 people for lectures, networking
and so on. Two super-sized swing doors create a
thoroughfare to the Central Workspace which
features a continuous piece of in-built furniture with
portals, desks, lockers, sofas and shelving.

Sponsor J.P.Morgan
Programme STartup Empowerment Programme [STEP]
Sponsor Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust
Programme Jockey Club Incubation Programme for Social Innovation


Youth Hong Kong | June 2015


tracking lifes ups and downs
continued from page 18

Some apps for anxiety, loneliness,

depression and suicide in Asia
Hong Kong At City University, the founders of a startup called are developing an app for teenagers as
an alternative to traditional suicide risk assessments.
Aimed at secondary school students it may reduce
the stigma attached to traditional counselling.

Mainland China An app with a test to determine if a user

is depressed and provide information on treatment options
is being developed by the psychiatry research centre of
Huilongguan Hospital in Beijing. Ongoing research is also
examining the use of WeChat, Chinas most popular social
network, for the promotion of psychological wellbeing.

Doubts and hype

One study testing the effects of internet-based positive

psychology interventions found there was a small but
significant effect. Another study suggests that a mobile
app game based on an emerging cognitive treatment
for anxiety called attention-bias modification training
(ABMT) reduces anxiety and stress among people
suffering from high anxiety. Nevertheless, both game
developers and medical professionals admit that apps
cannot replace warm human relationships.

South Korea More than 4 million South Koreans, 80%

of them teenagers, use an app to talk to an imaginary
friend. It is designed to send a supportive or reassuring
text message when a user expresses feelings of loneliness
or depression. The South Korean government has
been developing a number of other apps to help warn
parents when their child might be at risk of suicide.

by Nick Kidd


June 2015 | Youth Hong Kong



a new experience at China Week 2015

rom late June to early August, in Hong Kong and mainland China,
participants in this youth exchange and development programme will
get a taste of diplomacy and foreign policy.

by Wolfgang Manousek

At China Week workshops and competitions this

year, students in Hong Kong secondary schools
and universities have the chance to talk to experts
in diplomacy at the Office of the Commissioner
of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Peoples
Republic of China (PRC) in the Hong Kong
Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).
To begin with, they attend seminars,
workshops and visits as part of a oneday Youth Diplomat Academy in late June.
They meet personnel from the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs of the PRC in the HKSAR,
and are joined by experts in the media and
international relations. Enriched understanding
of Chinas foreign policy is the goal.

A 24-Hour Diplomatic Crisis Competition follows in

July. The competition is divided into a Secondary
School Division and a University Division.
In the first stage, each division is assigned a
crisis scenario involving a diplomatic incident.
Participants in both divisions are required to make
a short video, act as representatives of the PRC
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and give an official
response within 24 hours to the mock scenario.
Video uploads to the official event website
follow on 4-5 July. Outstanding teams in this
preliminary round go forward to the final
round on 10 July and winners go on a oneweek sponsored visit to the Beijing PRC
Ministry of Foreign Affairs in August.

More details
Rita Fan tel 2169 0255


Publisher :
The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups

Youth Hong Kong: 21/F, The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups Building, 21 Pak Fuk Road, North Point, Hong Kong
Tel : 3755 70843755 7108Fax : 3755 7155Email : :

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