Journal of Youth Studies

January 1998

Volume 1 . Issue No. 1

Serial No. 1

Theme of the Issue: Youth Policy in the SAR Administration

Youth Development in the 21st Century - Rosanna WONG
Rosanna WONG
Executive Director, The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups

[Abstract] Youth education and development are critical to the future of Hong Kong. In order to prepare our young to meet the challenges of changes in the next century, the author urges that we should break free from the constraints of the colonial era. She also suggests that our future policy on youth should consider the following aspects:
(1) Youth should not be treated as a social problem but as leaders of tomorrow. Apart from the existing preventive and remedial youth services, development and educational services should be further enhanced.
(2) A sound and all-round education not only needs to instill skills and knowledge in our young people but also needs to help them to recognize and concentrate on the moral, ethical, cultural and patriotic aspects.
(3) The caring function of families must be further strengthened. As working parents, family breakdown cases, single-parenting have had impacts on the time and degree of caring given to children by the parents, fostering family education and providing adequate counselling services to family members are imperative.
(4) Youth development must keep up with the changing needs of youth so as to maintain our world competitiveness and to meet the higher value-added economic development in the 21st century.
Hong Kong SAR Government and Youth Policy
Jane LEE
Chief Executive, Hong Kong Policy Research Institute Ltd.

[Abstract] Hong Kong Government has never had a clearly spelt out youth policy. The government considers that it is not necessary to have a youth policy because many of the services for youth have already been covered by other policy areas relating to youth services and discusses their inadequacies from a youth policy's point of view. The paper shows that many youth services in the private and voluntary sectors have been proliferated in the past. They serve to compensate for inadequate youth services provided by government agencies. The paper also analyses the pros and cons of establishing a youth policy, and concludes that it would be helpful for the SAR government to clearly spell out policy on the youth. A youth policy should be commensurate with the government's overall plans and vision for Hong Kong in the medium and long terms. The government should also take advantage of the many services existing in the non-government sector, and hence better mobilize their resources by coordinating activities organized by associations, business sectors and youth organizations.
Political Participation and the Youth - Eric K. C. LI
Eric K. C. LI
Chairman, Commission on Youth

[Abstract] This article discusses the key considerations and principles involved to facilitate young people in their political participation. It argues that the establishment of the Hong Kong SAR has in fact offers more opportunities and room for our youth to participate in social and political activities. However, the past colonial environment had probably, impaired the attitude of our young people in their sense of national and ethnic identity. Political apathy and materialistic values also make young people less inclined to take part in wider community issues. To guide young people on political participation, greater patience is perhaps just as important as the much needed additional resources. The writer further considers it a crucial task to cultivate a sense of national pride and better understanding about China amongst young people, if the concept of "One Country, Two Systems" is to succeed.
New Directions for Youth Work in Hong Kong - Nelson W. S. CHOW
Nelson W. S. CHOW
Department of Social Work and Social Administration, University of Hong Kong

[Abstract] Welfare services for young people have developed in Hong Kong ever since the beginning of the Century. For those services subisdized by the Government, their main purpose has been to help the youth "at risk" to go back to the right track. Youth services are thus often perceived by the public to have performed a "remedial" role, as distinct from the developmental functions performed by the schools. The paper argues that with the establishment of the Special Administrative Region Government and the return of Hong Kong to China, time has come for youth services to review their purposes. It is suggested that other than helping the "wayward" youth, youth services should also venture into new areas in assisting young people to understand their identity as a Chinese national and to make their contributions as a member of the Chinese race. It is also proposed that there should be closer co-operation between youth organizations and the school system in educating the young to become responsible members of society.
Revolution in Education and Youth Development
TAI Hay Lap
Principal, Yan Oi Tong Tin Ka Ping Secondary School

[Abstract] This article maps the worldwide trend of global integration and the emergence of the Cyber age. Becoming citizens of SAR of China, people in Hong Kong oblige to contribute to the home-country. Civic education becomes more important for the young. Also, there would be pressure of competition and cooperation coming from neighborhood mainland cities and provinces. It is necessary to equip the young people with higher capacity in economic, cultural and technical aspects. Thus, revolution of education and youth development would be timely. The author proposes changes to the education system in the following aspects: (1) cultivate global perspectives; (2) formulate policy of information technology; (3) put more effort to develop students' positive value and attitude; (4) strengthen basic education; (5) prepare manpower according to the need of economic transition; and (6) further develop civic education. Besides, the author proposes social workers to supplement education system in four areas: (1) aid the underprivileged; (2) fill the gap of informal curriculum; (3) train young leaders; and (4) enable life-long learning.
The Implications of Population Health Conditions to Services for Young People - Sophie S. F. LEUNG
Sophie S. F. LEUNG
Associate Professor, Department of Paediatrics, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

[Abstract] Our youngsters are indeed fortunate to grow up in a region where the infant mortality rate is among the lowest in the world, and the life expectancy is among the longest in the world. However, like those in some of their neighbouring Asian cities, they are also faced with the problem of transition, and the related diseases of affluence. Most children born in the eighties and nineties belonged to the second generation of migrants from the Mainland. With the influence of rapid urbanistation and westernisation, their lifestyle differed markedly from the previous generations, particularly in two aspects: 1) marked increase in the consumption of animal foods in the diet. 2) marked decrease in physical activity. These changes predisposed them to be at risk of chronic illnesses like diabetes mellitus, coronary heart disease and cancer when they grow into adulthood. Such implication is not just on the individual, but also on the society: a reduction of labour force and a upsurge of medical cost. Prevention is the only cost-effective way to ensure the long term health of our population.
Several concepts should be established or strengthened. They include:
1) Many adult illnesses have their origin in childhood. Establishing a healthy lifestyle among our youth is essential. 2) The problem of obesity must be tackled in a sensible way. 3) Exercise is not for the elite, but for all. 4) Dietary advice must be based on scientific evidence obtained both internationally and locally. 5) Preserve and explore our Chinese tradition and beliefs on food, health and lifestyle. Health promotion should best be performed through various disciplines and sometimes with co-ordination. Among all the institutions and groups, schools should be the best place to implement the concept and practice of healthy lifestyle.
New Positioning in the Asia-Pacific Era - CHOI Yuen Wan
CHOI Yuen Wan
General Secretary, Breakthrough

[Abstract] This article supports John Naisbitt's prediction of the 21st Century as "Dragon Century". The economic and social force of the 50-million-people "Chinese Commonwealth" generates economic and political influence all over the world. As Hong Kong becoming the SAR of China, the author suggests young people pick up the bridging and exchanging roles between China and the international arena. Young people should also prepare themselves with global and China horizons. With the observations of economic uncertainty in Asian countries, the author states the challenge in youth training. Despite the technocratic and professional skills training, youth workers should pay more attention to work ethics, values, interpersonal relations and family support. Besides, the author also states the importance of care and service to the underprivileged.
Analysis of Young People's Sex Attitude: the Implications of Youth Sexuality Study 1996 - Susan FAN
Susan FAN
Executive Director, The Family Planning Association of Hong Kong

[Abstract] The Youth Sexuality Study 1996 Reveals Increasing Openness in Sexual Attitude and Behavior Among Youths: The Study consists of two parts, a "school survey" on 5979 in-school youths in Forms 1 to 7 and a "household survey" on 517 males and 447 females aged 18 to 27. Form 3 to Form 7 respondents have inadequate sexual knowledge on sexual intercourse and pregnancy. Yet compared with previous years' studies, higher proportions of respondents accept behaviors of cohabitation, pre-marital sex and induced abortion. There are also a higher percentage of respondents purchasing and using pornographic materials. Similarly, there is an increasing trend in acceptance of pre-marital sex among the youth aged 18 to 27.
Dating is a common experience among students and physical intimacy has intensified. About 5% of the Form 3 to Form 7 respondents have experienced sexual intercourse, and 56% of girls who have experienced sexual intercourse did so when they were less than 15 years old. Of the 80% that practiced contraception, the male condom is the most commonly used method, followed by coitus interruption and safety period. Implementing Sexuality Education in Hong Kong: The revised Guidelines on Sex Education in Schools by the Education Department have extended sexuality education from secondary to primary and pre-primary levels, in line with the developmental stages of young people.
Yet the guidelines are advisory rather than compulsory, and schools are still advised to adopt a cross-curricular approach to integrate sexuality education in various lessons. Consequently, schools may place low priority on sexuality education in the face of a tightly scheduled examination-oriented syllabus. Teachers lack active encouragement from school principals to implement sexuality education programmes. Inadequate training and experience are other excuses given for teachers' reluctance to teach sexuality education. Suggestions for Future Development:
Continued support from the government is necessary to strengthen resources and training on sexuality education. Schools are encouraged to set up committees to coordinate various parties in providing sexuality education. In the long term, a more balanced curriculum is needed to promote all-round development of young people. We suggest combining Sexuality Education with Civic Education and Environmental Protection Education etc., in the format of "General Studies" as a compulsory subject for all students. Parents are the most influential persons in young people's lives. We call on parents to address the sexual changes and concerns of their children and to actively cooperate with schools in their children's sexuality education.
Sketching the Faces of Young People Over the Pan-Chinese Communities - NGAI Ngan Pun
NGAI Ngan Pun
Associate Professor, Department of Social Work, Chinese University of Hong Kong

[Abstract] For the past centuries, Chinese people have spread all over the world. Those who resided in Mainland China, Taiwan, Macau and Hong Kong comprise 95% of the total Chinese population. Young people in these places make up one fourth of youth population in the world. Sharing similar cultural heritage but different social, economic and political environments, young people in the four places develop in various manners. Therefore, it is worthy to study the current faces of young Chinese within the social context so as to gain a comprehensive picture of their need and development. This article examines the young Chinese, with statistics, research findings and observations, in the aspects of: education, work, marriage, disability, moral values, political participation, leisure and crime. In addition, policy implications are highlighted to address the needs and problems of the young people.

An Overview of Youth Research in the Pan-Chinese Communities

An Overview of Youth Studies in China - LU Jian Hua QU Li Qiu
LU Jian Hua
Institute of Sociology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
QU Li Qiu
China Youth Research Centre

[Abstract] This article briefly reviews the history and development of youth research in Mainland China. Starting from 1980s, academics has paid much attention to studying youth problems and issues, as well as building up specialty in youth study. The authors also list out the major organizations that running youth researches in China and related publications/journals. In the second half of the article, the authors introduce some major findings of recent studies. They include (1) social characters of young people; (2) youth values; (3) social behavior of young people; (4) social systems and youth development. At the end of the article, some possible directions and development of youth research in China are proposed.
A Review and Projection for Youth Studies in Taiwan - Richard P. S. WANG James J. H. KUO
Richard P. S. WANG
Sociology Department, National Taiwan University
James J. H. KUO
Department Head, Department of Youth and Child Welfare, Chinese Culture University

[Abstract] This article describes the status of youth and youth work in Taiwan. The authors list the major organizations running youth researches and their recent work. A major part of the article shares the various topics and concerns of youth studies, which include: (1) occupation; (2) leisure; (3) education; (4) counseling; (5) crime prevention and treatment; (6) welfare; (7) youth development and needs; (8) politics; (9) nutrition and health; and (10) others (including family and special groups). Also, the future directions for youth study in Taiwan are proposed.
Directions in Youth Research and Preventive Services in Singapore
A. E. Y. LEE
Lecturer at the Dept. of Social Work and Psychology, National University of Singapore
Head of the Dept. of Social Work and Psychology, National University of Singapore
An Overview for Youth Studies in Macau - Penny Y. Y. CHAN
Penny Y. Y. CHAN
Chair, Executive Committee, The Macau Juvenile Delinquency Research Society
Associate Professor, Macau Polytechnic Institute

[Abstract] This article points out the insufficiency of literatures and studies in youth related topics in Macau. Due to the emerging public concerns of youth issues, social workers, teachers, sociologists and the general public have paid more attention to youth researches and studies, especially about social adjustment, life styles, values and behavior of the youth. To introduce the recent development of youth studies, the author lists the organizations running researches and studies about young people in Macau. The major findings of recent researches are also introduced in four major aspects, including (1) leisure activities; (2) youth values; (3) deviant behavior; (4) services and policies for deviant youth. The author also advocates the establishment of integrative youth policy, in order to study youth issues objectively, and to coordinate various government departments and social resources in more proper manner. The use of social studies on youth issues, in the future, becomes more important for developing youth policy in Macau.
Overview of Youth Research in Hong Kong - Jacky Pang
Jacky Pang
Senior Research Officer, The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups

[Abstract] This article outlines the arena of youth research in Hong Kong. It starts to describe youth studies in different typology, identify organizations that are involved in conducting research, proposes various stages of development in the field of youth studies, as well as observing trends of these studies in the last decades. Using the Youth Research Centre of The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups as a case study, the author also attempts to illustrate the function of youth research with respect to policy advocacy for young people in Hong Kong.

Professional Exchange

A Longitudinal Study of the Relations of Family Factors to Adolescent Psychological Symptoms, Coping Resources, School Behavior, and Substance Abuse - Daniel T. L. SHEK CHAN Lai Kwan
Daniel T. L. SHEK
CHAN Lai Kwan
Department of Social Work, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

[Abstract] The purpose of the present article is to report research findings on the relationships between family factors and adolescent adjustment in early adolescents. Over two consecutive years, 378 adolescents in Hong Kong responded to instruments measuring their family environment (including measures of specific parenting behavior, global parenting styles, parent-adolescent conflict, and family functioning), general psychological symptoms, coping resources (sense of hope, life satisfaction, self-esteem and purpose in life), school behavior (perceived academic performance and conduct), academic performance (grades in Chinese, English, and Mathematics) and substance abuse (smoking and psychotropic substance abuse). The participants’ subjective perceptions of the family atmosphere, parent-adolescent relationship, and parent-adolescent communication were also assessed via structured in-depth interviews. Results showed that family factors based on questionnaire and interview data were concurrently related to adolescent psychological symptoms, coping resources, school behavior and substance abuse at Time 1 and Time 2. Longitudinal and prospective analyses (Time 1 predictors predicting Time 2 criterion variables) based on simple bivariate, partial, and canonical correlation analyses similarly showed that adolescents who perceived a more positive family environment at Time 1 had: (a) lower levels of psychological symptoms and substance abuse behavior; (b) higher levels of coping resources; (c) more positive perceptions of school behavior; and (d) better academic performance at Time 2. Since multiple measures of family factors and adolescent adjustment were employed, the data arising from this study can give us a more comprehensive and holistic view about the linkages between family factors and adolescent adjustment over time. This study is also important because this is the first known scientific attempt examining the links between several family factors and adolescent adjustment in the Chinese context adopting a longitudinal design in which both quantitative and qualitative data were collected. Practically speaking, the present findings highlight the importance of: (a) understanding the families of adolescents when working with adolescents; (b) changing the family environment of adolescents when we attempt to change the behavior of adolescents; and (c) cultivating a positive family environment for adolescent development. As far as primary prevention in adolescent maladjustment is concerned, it is suggested that family life education programmes that focus on enhancing the specific parenting practices, global parenting styles, family functioning, family atmosphere, parent-adolescent relationship, and parent-adolescent communication, and reducing parent-adolescent conflict in families of early adolescents should be designed.
The Development of Restorative Justice in Hong Kong
Dennis S. W. WONG
Assistant Professor, Department of Applied Social Studies, City University Hong Kong

[Abstract] Based on the Western experience and the Chinese cultural characteristics, this paper argues that restorative justice is an appropriate approach for treating juvenile delinquents in Hong Kong. To begin with, victim-offender mediation service can be incorporated into existing services for marginal youth such as Youth Integrated Team and Police Superintendent Discretionary Scheme. This paper also suggests to set up a mechanism, such as Family Group Conference, to provide pre-court mediation service to young people who are in trouble.
Rethinking Indigenous Youth Research - TING Wai Fong HO Wing Chung
TING Wai Fong
Assistant Professor, Department of Applied Social Studies, Hong Kong Polytechnic University
HO Wing Chung
M. Phil. Student, Department of Applied Social Studies, Hong Kong Polytechnic University

[Abstract] As professional social workers, we concern about not only the content of the theories but also their "origins", and their building process(es). Empirical research is extremely important in process of edifying theory and professional knowledge. Regarding the scope of youth social work, in order to understand what the youth think and (re)construct how the youth is perceived in the society, we must look into the various problems manifested in the youth-related-researches (YRRs). This paper attempts to start by following the foci of indigenous YRRs, their methods and results, to examine how these researches have shaped a negative perception for the youth. Besides, the constraints originated from the "inaccuracy" of certain research methods, as well as the research results cannot help the front-line social workers provide professional services. We try to voice out our examination on some typical indigenous YRRs so that the researchers can rethink the problems we raise. It is hoped that the indigenous knowledge, theories, and social work relating to the youth can grow, and progress healthily in the future.
Youth Work in the Youth Support Scheme - Bonnie M. W. CHENG
Bonnie M. W. CHENG
Youth Social Worker, Youth Support Scheme, The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups

[Abstract] The Youth Support Scheme is a pilot project which mainly serves children and youth who are at risk or have been cautioned by the police under the Police Superintendent Discretionary Scheme. The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups has started the operation since December 1994. This article mainly concludes author's working experiences of the past three years. To start with, some guidelines are suggested when initiating case contact and home visit. Four group examples are shared to illustrate the group dynamics and interventions. Some issues and concerns are further highlighted in managing case supervision and intervention. At the end of the article, the major findings in the Report on the evaluation of the Scheme are listed out to demonstrate the effectiveness in reducing service targets' likelihood to commit any offence again. They had achieved positive changes in eight dimensions which include deviant behavior, family values, sense of social responsibility, life aspiration, attitudes towards authority, social skills, attitudes towards studying and attitudes towards working.
A New Direction for Civic Education in Hong Kong SAR - LAI Kwok Hung
LAI Kwok Hung
Civic Education Coordinator, Vocational Training Council
Ph.D. Candidate, University of Hong Kong

[Abstract] As a result of the reunification of Hong Kong with China, the national identity of Hong Kong citizens is needed to be redefined. However, due to more than one hundred and fifty years of colonial rule which foster an "alien subject education" and the culture of "bureaucratic politics" is enhanced. Hong Kong people, as a Chinese are unable to build up a sense of nationalism, though local schools had already conducted "civics" as a separate subject in the 1930s. This subject was revised several times in content until it was renamed to EPA in 1965. However, the syllabus is very much emphasized on the knowledge of Government policy instead of promoting political participation. In fact, the Government has exercised tight control on the syllabus and curricula taught in schools. Until 1985, Education Department proposed the first "Guidelines on Civic Education in Schools" which recommended schools to deliver civic education through hidden curriculum. Effects are subject to queries. Research findings confirm that young people are a group of idealistic observers who have inadequate knowledge and skills to involve in public affairs. However, democratization and de-colonization processes are further speed up, especially during the late transition period, Hong Kong people were able to directly elect their representatives in the three-tier political structure. These mass political campaigns and mobilization could further promote a sense of social consciousness among the younger generation. In fact, political participation is the best form of political education. The author proposes that the focus of civic education should be on both nationalistic and democratic themes. Besides, as participatory-oriented approach should be adopted so that young people could be provided with ample opportunities to participate in the decision making process on issues directly affecting their well-being. Whereas, the Government should be responsible to enhance a sense of openness and accountability in the bureaucracy and to develop a fairly elected and pro-democratic political structure so that citizens could effectively exercise their rights to monitor the government for the consolidation of the concept of "One Country, Two Systems".
Youth Work: Postmodern Turn - Wallace K. C. SHIU
Wallace K. C. SHIU
Youth Social Worker, Tsuen Wan Integrated Youth Service Centre,
The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups
M. Phil. Student, The Hong Kong Baptist University

[Abstract] Youth service development in Hong Kong has undergone several stage of development which is given by the changing context of development of Hong Kong society. Meanwhile, during the past thirty years, youth social work has also grown steadily into a diversity of approaches. Starting from a historical perspective, the author reviewed the development of youth social work as a social construction process. An appraisal examining the ideological background of youth social work as positivistic scientism has also made.
Postmodernism has received greater attention in the academic field in Hong Kong. Postmodernist analysis has had little impact on theory and practice in youth social work. However, the author argues that there is not a systematic discussion on postmodernism and youth work in Hong Kong. Among the scattered literature, postmodernism is often stereotyped as an uniform entity which is disorganized, disruptive and destructive. The author further postulates that this is not true and contends that we need to have global understanding and evaluation of postmodernism and its impact on social work. Through this, we can have more value alternatives for contemplation on postmodernism, this is, to reflect on, to enrich, or even to replace, the tenets of conventional youth social work. If the postmodernist youth social work is not a myth, enabling the youth worker to share an challenging role is pertinent to its success.
Critical Approach in Youth Centre – Theory and Practice - MOK Hon Fai
MOK Hon Fai
Centre-in-Charge, Mei Lam Youth Centre, The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups

[Abstract] In the present practice in youth centre service, Developmental Theory, System Theory and Functionalism are the heritage of most of the workers. Such conventional wisdom bases on a positivistic assumption and leads to personalize the youth needs and problems. Under such practice, we neglect how the unevenly distributed power relations and the taken-for-granted ideology contribute to the definition and solutions of youth needs and problems. In response to these, author tries to construct a "Critical Approach" in youth centre service which based on hermeneutic and critical theory. Hermeneutics informs us the importance of individual interpretation and the dialogical process in understanding the youth. Critical theory informs us the importance of reflection and critiques of the status quo, and the communicative rationality instead of instrumental rationality. With seven years practical experiences, this article summaries the main concerns of this approach, its essential ingredients - Enlightenment, Empowerment, and Emancipation, its skills and techniques. In summary, Critical Approach aims at:
reconstructing a deeper understanding of the youth needs and redefining the youth problems based on a youth perspective; enhancing the youth's reflective and critical power in responding to their daily life practices, the changing social, economic and political contexts, and those "taken-for-granted" values and ideology; providing platform to empower the young people to express their own voice; and establishing a rational, non-dominating social relationship.