Archive for November, 2013
It seems that more and more young people in Hong Kong are taking an active interest in social and political issues in Hong Kong, to the extent that they are participating. It also seems the young people taking part in social movements are getting younger. This issue of Periscope looks at several aspects of this […]
After years of being seen as politically apathetic, increasing numbers of Hong Kong’s young people are participating in social movements and doing so at a younger age than in the past. Some have suggested this could be partly due to the introduction of Liberal Studies as a compulsory school subject in 2009. Varsity asks students and teachers what they make of the suggestion and talks to the critics who claim the subject is too political and too biased.
Hong Kong’s young people may be getting more involved in politics and social movements but contrary to common perceptions, they are not all radical or pan-democratic. In fact, some of them are proud to call themselves pro-establishment and conservative although as Varsity discovers, they are not afraid to adopt to learn from some of the more outspoken ways of their pan-democratic counterparts.
Over the summer, groups of younger alumni from some of Hong Kong’s top schools launched high-profile, and successful, campaigns to prevent their alma maters from joining the Direct Subsidy Scheme. Add these to the many alumni concern groups that formed to oppose the government’s proposal to mandate compulsory national education last year – and it seems we are witnessing the emergence of a new alumni movement. And as Varsity discovers, these groups are very different to traditional alumni associations.
Pollution, the high cost of property and living expenses, political discord – all are push factors for young people in Hong Kong who dream of emigrating to what they believe may be greener pastures overseas. A Varsity poll found that more than half of Hong Kong university students surveyed would like to emigrate. Here, we talk to those who want to leave, those who have left and those who have come back.
More than 170 school buildings are standing abandoned and idle across Hong Kong, even as the increasing number of cross-border students has led to a shortage of school places in parts of the New Territories. There have been calls for the government to reopen some school buildings to ease the pressure, and also to provide much needed community spaces. But as Varsity learns, attempts to put the buildings to use are mired in red-tape.
When is a landowner not a landowner? According to the law of adverse possession, squatters can claim ownership of land they have occupied without the owners’ consent after a statutory period of time. Advocates say squatters’ rights ensure land is used while critics argue it is a kind of theft. Whatever the case, it seems adverse possession disputes are set to increase Hong Kong continues to press ahead with urban redevelopment and the development of rural areas.
Crowdfunding, already popular overseas, is making inroads in Hong Kong as a way to raise money for charities, artists, filmmakers, programmers, entrepreneurs and others interested in creative projects. But can it really succeed here? Varsity talks to people who have managed to fund their projects through clicks on the internet.
For some, they are like squalid shanty towns. For others, they are rooftop sanctuaries – a home to call one’s own. But one thing they share, is that residents of Hong Kong’s illegal rooftop huts face an uncertain future in the face of redevelopment and eviction. Varsity captures scenes from life at the top.
Simon Chung Wai-keung flirted with fame after beating Leslie Cheung Kwok-wing in a talent contest 36 years ago, and then faded into obscurity. Varsity meets the 60 year-old rocker who is enjoying his second brush with celebrity despite being knocked out of the national singing contest “Voice of China”.