Hot Topics takes an issue that’s discussed in the news and lets you compare and analyze different news articles and viewpoints on the topic. Our questions encourage you to dig deeper and can be used alone or with a friend.
Background: Hong Kong official says city’s youth are ‘lying flat’ and ‘self-indulging’
Hong Kong Education Secretary Kevin Yeung Yun-hung accused the city’s young people of ‘staying flat’, rejecting hard work and adopting a carefree attitude towards life in a blog post last November. He described this mentality as “passive and complacent”.
“This passive mindset makes people discouraged, and it… hinders the development of society,” Yeung warned in his blog post.
The flat lie has become very popular in mainland China, especially among the younger generation, after it went viral online in April 2021.
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On social media platform Baidu Tieba, a man in his twenties named Luo Huazhong wrote about how he embraced this minimalist lifestyle for two years. Luo explained how he lived a desireless and pressureless lifestyle without a steady job while staying with his parents in Zhejiang Province.
“Lying flat is a state of mind…I feel like a lot of things aren’t worth my attention and energy,” Luo said.
His mood has affected much of mainland China’s young and disenchanted workforce which had been hit particularly hard by the country’s economic downturn and the coronavirus pandemic. From white-collar workers to university students, frustrated young people have taken to social media to declare themselves “young flat out”.
The “flat” attitude is characterized by a mindset of doing just enough to get by and doing nothing more. Photo: Shutterstock
Authorities have worked to suppress the trend, fearing it will upset the social and economic order. According to economists and social commentators, staying flat in the long term could affect mainland China’s economy. It could also lower the country’s birth rate and threaten its welfare system.
It even earned public condemnation from President Xi Jinping.
“It is necessary to prevent the stagnation of social class…and to form an environment of improvement in which everyone participates, avoiding…being flat,” Xi said in comments posted in October 2021 by the Communist Party’s newspaper on political theory. , Qiushi.
What is your opinion on Luo Huazhong’s lifestyle and the “lying flat” trend? Explain using the context, the glossary and your knowledge.
Identify and expand on ONE factor that influenced the flat trend in mainland China.
Illustration: Lau Ka Kuen
What is shown on the screens represented in this cartoon?
Based on your answer above, explain what this cartoon suggests about why the “flat” trend has been frowned upon by mainland Chinese authorities. Use the context and glossary to support your answer.
News: Young Hong Kongers’ diverse life choices don’t mean they lack drive or creativity, experts say
Some young Hong Kongers are embracing the “flat” lifestyle, choosing to reject the rush and hard work and prefer to earn just enough for their basic needs.
One example is University of Hong Kong student Tang Tsz-wa*, 22, who said he was not bothered by what life might hold after graduation.
Tang said, “I will not seek a job with a high salary or high status. As long as I’m not starving or working too hard from work, I’ll be okay with that.
Tang Tsz-wa* enjoys reading books as part of his laid-back lifestyle. Photo: Sammy Heung
Education Secretary Kevin Yeung Yun-hung called staying flat “passive and complacent”.
However, some experts disagreed with Yeung on whether young Hong Kongers were lazy or flat-footed. They underlined that the lifestyles of young people could be different, but that they lacked neither dynamism nor creativity.
Veteran social worker Chan Ka-ling, deputy executive director of Youth Outreach, an NGO that helps young people at risk, dismissed criticism from young people for choosing a different pace of life.
She felt that part of the reason young people were making different choices these days was that more came from complex family backgrounds. These complicated arrangements left some young people distressed and distorted their values, which also impacted their relationships.
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Teacher Amy Chan*, a counselor at a Kowloon West secondary school with mostly low-income students, said lying flat doesn’t mean laziness.
Chan said many of his students who came from tiny, cramped homes desperately wanted to climb the social ladder, but struggled to cope with the demands of six years of secondary school. More teenagers were stressed and struggling with mental health issues these days, she added.
Teenagers could develop a more positive attitude if teachers had more time to talk to students, she added, but most teachers were already overloaded with responsibilities.
Meanwhile, a recent study from China University found that 803 respondents between the ages of 15 and 30 gave average scores of just 2.95 and 4.76 out of 10 for their level of optimism about Hong Kong. and their future, respectively. Both scores rose from 4.37 and 6.02 in 2018.
* Names changed at the request of interviewees.
“Young Hong Kongers are opting for a different lifestyle out of necessity.” How could News support or debunk this claim? To explain.
In News, what is the point of including the Chinese university’s survey on optimism about Hong Kong? Based on your answer, explain what the relationship between optimism and hard work motivation might be.
Problem: Hong Kong schools must instill civic and moral values in all subjects to beat laziness
To address a ‘passive and complacent mindset’ among some young people, schools in Hong Kong will have to infuse all subject areas with civic values such as diligence, under a revised civic values framework released in November 2021.
Replacing the eight-page “Moral and Civic Education Curriculum Framework” from 2008, the revised guidelines add three new values, namely respect for the law, empathy and diligence, to the existing seven values: perseverance, respect others, responsibility, national identity, commitment. , integrity and concern for others.
In an earlier blog post, Education Secretary Kevin Yeung Yun-hung wrote that the new framework was needed because he was concerned about the indulgent attitude of some young people and the trending idea of ”going to bed at flat”.
Education Secretary Kevin Yeung attacked the idea of ”lying flat”. Photo: Xiaomei Chen
The “Values Education Framework”, as the new guidelines are called, echoed this language, suggesting that today’s youth had expectations of “reaping without sowing”, and a “mindset of chance” which left life to chance. He also expressed the hope that the students would work hard and contribute to their families, society and the country.
However, Gary Tang Kin-yat, an assistant professor in the Department of Social Sciences at Hang Seng University, disagreed that adding “diligence” to the list of values that schools should teaching would solve the problems of inertia, or lack of motivation or ambition associated with lying flat.
“We don’t train students to be diligent, but motivate them to discover their passions and interests,” he said.
If young Hong Kongers rejected the usual choices, Tang added, it may be because they were desperate for recognition in the non-academic fields in which they excelled.
Ask a friend: help! I’m totally exhausted and can’t study
Emalia Au Yeung*, 22, a final-year sociology student, said, “It’s important to teach students about diligence so they can survive in society, but I don’t think diligence and doing to stay flat have a cause and effect relationship.
A student at the University of Toronto in Canada, she said her priority after graduation would be comfort, not a high salary or a promising career.
“I won’t say I’m lazy,” she says. “I just don’t want to compete with others. I don’t want to make money that I won’t have time to spend.
* Name changed at the request of the interviewee.
What are Emalia Au Yeung’s reasons for her post-graduation plans? What could be the societal factors behind his choice?
Identify TWO methods mentioned in the issue to address the phenomenon of “flattening” among young people. Which of the two do you think is more effective and why? Explain using News, Issue and your own knowledge.
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Lying flat: also known as ping-tang in mainland China. This means doing the bare minimum to get by, and only aiming for what is absolutely essential to its survival. This can include rejecting societal norms and expectations of studying hard, buying a house, or even starting a family. The term originated from a viral online post in April 2021 on social media platform Baidu Tieba.
Rat race: refers to a way of life in which people are caught in a fierce struggle for power and money
Social protection system: government programs that provide assistance to individuals and families in need, such as seniors, retirees, and the unemployed. These are usually tax funded.
Values Education Curriculum Framework: refers to an 89-page guide on education for cultivating positive values and attitudes in Hong Kong students. It aims to cultivate 10 priority values and attitudes in students.
According to the Office of Education’s website, values education serves to develop students’ ability to “objectively analyze and make reasonable judgments about various problems they may encounter at different stages of development so that they can take the appropriate measures to face the challenges of their future life”. .