Week 3: “Post-80s” by Karen, Janice, Vanessa & Yannie

“Post-80s” is a newly risen term in Hong Kong and it becomes a hot and controversial issue recently. After a series of political incidents such as the consultation of political reform and the protest of express rail, this term is being further emphasized and concerned in the society. In Mainland China, the term, “post-80s”, has appeared a few years ago simply meaning the generation who was born in 1980s under the one-child policy. On the other hand, it has just become popular in Hong Kong since the late 2009. During the demonstration on the New Year’s Day outside the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government, it is not difficult to find more youngsters in the procession. For opposing the construction of express rail, a group of youngsters originated the post-80s anti-express rail group. They did not only protest in front of the Legislative Council building, some of them even launched hungry strike and penance in order to express their opinion and try to stop passing the funding. After a series of actions, the post-80s are generally described and stereotyped as radical and irrational. Even the Chief Executive, Donald Tsang, has also strongly criticized their behaviors to the public.

Some people comment that the post-80s only request and try maximizing their rights without devoting themselves to the community. Such an argument may easily fall into hasty generalization. Even if the young adults who recently appear in the controversial news of the anti-express rail are those who try speaking up and drawing the society’s attention meaninglessly, they cannot represent the whole population of the 80s.

The destruction of Choi Yuen Tsuen in the plan of the express rail has made a group of teenagers stand up to against the construction. Gradually, the phrase, “post-80s”, is widely used by the Hong Kong media to initially describe Hong Kong teenagers and young adults who are born in the 1980’s. In a clearer definition, “post-80s” are the local youth who actively participate in political and social campaigns. However, this term has fallen into the fallacy of hasty generalization. The Hong Kong media has over generalized this particular population. Some news agencies use this term as a gimmick to arouse public about the anti-express rail assembly. All the post-80s have been forced to be engaged in the incident and assumed to more or less support the anti-express rail group. Therefore, this term is not fair to those juveniles who were not involved in the campaign. Now more and more youngsters have started to state that they are not violent. Some of them even support the construction of express rail.

Meanwhile, there is always some criticism stating that the young generation is not initiative enough in participating in the work of creating a better future for the community. Hence, it should be a pleasant phenomenon to witness those young adults assemble together and express their opinions. Unfortunately, their action was interpreted as immature and helpless by most of the media.

There is no doubt that the demonstrants have made disharmony to our society. However, as inspired from history, march or revolution are common milestones before one nation evolved. A variety of diversified ideas and comments can hence help paving the way to the community’s development. The young, energetic, creative and courageous group of people is usually the invigorative party to help the government ruling the community by responding to the government policies. Similar to the post-60’s or post-70’s, the post-80’s is just one of the parties described as above who attempt to devote themselves to the society and bring themselves a better future.

In fact, the Hong Kong young generation has always been labeled who is not caring about the social and political issues. The Financial Secretary, John Tsang, criticized that the local youth are good at nothing but “expecting too much” from the society and “only focusing on the facilities of club house”. After the anti-rail express incident, more and more youngsters have increased their awareness of current affairs. Their movement has encouraged young people to concern more and be critical to the government policies. Being the masters of future, youngsters’ participation is crucial to the development of Hong Kong.

As we are being one of the “post-80s”, indeed our generation is now facing more and more difficulties. Though we are better educated, it does not mean that we will have a better prospect. From 1997 handover, 911-terror attack, SARS attack to the later financial tsunami triggered in 2008, Hongkongers are encountering even more challenges nowadays as the future is unforeseeable. Comparing with the previous and the later generations, the post-80s is a relative weak group who does not have much power to say. However, as we have nothing to lose so we dare to fight for truth and justice and our conscience is clear. Though we cannot totally agree with the actions that some of the post-80s have taken, but their courage and faith are definitely demonstrating the preciousness of being youth. A healthy and sustainable society undoubtedly needs this kind of people and voices to maintain the balance.

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