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Bishop Michael Yeung: Hong Kong's youth face tough times

Hong Kong's new bishop says for the sake of society, young people need opportunities

ucanews.com reporter, Hong Kong

ucanews.com reporter, Hong Kong

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Bishop Michael Yeung: Hong Kong's youth face tough times

Bishop Michael Yeung of Hong Kong says that young people in the city are finding it difficult to get ahead. (ucanews.com photo)

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High levels of disparity and low social mobility is the living reality for most of Hong Kong's young generation which Bishop Michael Yeung says does not bode well for the city's future.

Earlier this year, Hong Kong ranked as the world's least affordable city to buy a home for the seventh year running, according to the U.S. Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey.

"The younger folks have to stay with their parents even at the age of 30 something, because they have no place to set up their own family. And the original flat [with their parents] is already very small," Bishop Michael Yeung of Hong Kong told ucanews.com.

The 71-year-old bishop further pointed out that young people in the city don't have the space to raise a child and have a proper family life which is affecting society.

"We have high-rise buildings in Hong Kong but they're mainly bought by mainlanders with cash. But lots of people in Hong Kong are just in a ‘coffin flat' and it creates a lot of problems," Bishop Yeung said.

The bishop believes that a sole focus on economic growth will not solve the problem.

The resulting pressure also plays a role in how families relate to each other, he said.

Young people always have a problem with their parents and even when they live together "they don't really talk to each other," said Bishop Yeung.

"Meanwhile the older folks face a kind of loneliness. Nobody cares about them, even if they are still able nobody is willing to provide a space for them to survive," he said.

In recent times, there has been less social mobilization in Hong Kong and young people find difficult to get ahead in society. Bishop Yeung believes it may cause a lot of frustration which could become anger.

"I understand why they are not happy with the government who should be fixing these issues from the very being," he said.


Preparing younger generations 

Bishop Yeung said one day those under the age of 30 will be the main force in society but they must be better prepared.

"I must ask do you [older generations] think you have prepared younger generations well enough for them to take over [the society]?" he said.

Bishop Yeung takes the Hong Kong Church as an example to explain how preparations need to be put in place in relation to the young generation.

The bishop said he may be only in the office for 3 years but he is concerned it may be difficult for him to find a successor since because of a lack of young priest who are suitable.

"You have to start the training or formation now! Otherwise you will not have one in the future," Bishop Yeung said.

However, the bishop believes these challenges may be opportunities and warnings for society to look at how they can better prepare its young people for challenges ahead.

Bishop Yeung was coadjutor bishop of Hong Kong and succeeded Cardinal John Tong Hon as bishop of Hong Kong Aug. 1. Previously, he was the chairman of Caritas Hong Kong.

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