Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Poll of university students finds more than half want to emigrate from fast-paced, polluted and expensive city

By Rachel Cheung and Cindy Ng

Frederick Au Tsz-ho was 15 and a Form Five student when his family left Hong Kong for Canada. Not wanting to leave his friends and his hometown, he decided to stay behind.

That was five years ago and Au is now studying Civil and Structural Engineering at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Looking back, he regrets his decision. “I feel Hong Kong isn’t right for me,” he says.

It is not the having to look after himself, the cooking, cleaning and other chores that have put Au off life in Hong Kong. What bothers him is the prospect of life after he graduates. “I hadn’t realised there would be so many practical problems after graduation. For example, it is hard to buy a flat in Hong Kong, the high property prices, the price of goods is high.”

The breakneck pace of life, long working hours and the pollution are also things Au says he can do without.

Despite the fact that his mother and sister are thinking of returning to Hong Kong, Au is considering emigrating, preferably to a European country, where he thinks he would not have to contend with so many people and so much pressure.

Au is not the only disillusioned Hong Kong youngster yearning to leave the city. Many are increasingly fed up with the high property prices and fast-paced lifestyle, the frequent social and political conflicts and constant scandals concerning government officials.

A survey conducted by the Hong Kong Institute of Education and other organisations in July this year, found that nearly 40 per cent of the respondents aged between 15 and 34 believed Hong Kong would become more corrupt in the next five years.

With society seemingly more divided and tensions between Hong Kongers and mainlanders increasing daily, emigration has become a hot topic in the city. In order to understand how local university students view emigration, Varsity surveyed 207 students at five local universities (the University of Hong Kong, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Hong Kong Baptist University).