Hong Kongers need a brain change!
Update on 12 Nov. 2021: The co-founder of Linkedin, Reid Hoffman, has written an article about the importance of philosophy for the tech industry. I hope an authority voice like him will be enough proof that we will need an open mind to succeed in life!
This Instagram comment says, “At that time, you would be considered a weirdo as long as you didn’t choose business as your university major.”
I have talked about my experience of close-mindedness from the “adults” in Hong Kong (here). I have also expressed my empathy with other Hong Kong youths. Here, business, economics, law, medicine, engineering and anything that is directly related to getting a job (read: practical) are still considered the right subjects to study at universities. But in the post-2010 era, we can see more Hong Kong youngsters studying a wider range of subjects. In other words, they refuse to follow the crowd and make an effort to craft their own path.
Even in supposedly creative industries like advertising, except for designers/art-base creatives, you often see Hong Kong natives with an economics or business degree. Nothing wrong with these subjects if they are your interests. The problem lies in doing it just because everyone else is doing so and criticising other people for not doing the same.
As someone from a social sciences background, I have my bias and believe that our training helps us write better essays/articles and form tighter arguments. Take a look at this paid opinion-piece from INSEAD (or here if you experience difficulties accessing the article). I don’t know the authors besides their affiliation with INSEAD. But I have expected a more insightful piece from such a reputable business school. Instead, the articles reads like a series of facts.
Starting with a debate between optimists and pessimists, I expected to read the authors’ views about where Hong Kong’s role might be. Could we be a bridge between both camps? But the article concludes that whoever you side with, the future is set and automation will replace humans. So this means that Hong Kong can only accept our fate?
The article also explains that:
“The good news is that Hong Kong already has experience in shifting the way it works: in the 1980s, factory jobs moved to Mainland China and Southeast Asia.”
This does not seem convincing that Hong Kong will be able to brace the impending replacement of human jobs by automation because our past experience was to move the factories to another market (mainland China) in which case jobs were lost here, unless people could move to mainland China and accept a much lower salary.
And then there is this incomprehensible sentence: “Although the emergence of technology aimed specifically at the retail and financial sectors, both of which are fundamental to Hong Kong, could lead to faster rate of change.”
The final paragraph is a collection of facts, hardly any conclusion that makes a strong, convincing argument about what Hong Kong should do.
So I read the sub-headline again for some clues: “The government has a role in countering the ever rising costs of living and doing business in the city to give people the confidence to take risks”. Yet, the article has mentioned nothing about costs. I would also say it’s much more than that. Hong Kong people need to change our mentality. Perhaps start with dropping the assumption that only economics or business are the proper subjects to study at universities?