Face Off: Is Hong Kong a good place to raise a family?

Face Off: Is Hong Kong a good place to raise a family?

Hong Kong is, without a doubt, a vibrant and dynamic city ... but is it a good place to raise a family? Two junior reporters duke it out

Sonali Gidwani, 19, University of Warwick, UK

Let's count our blessings before we criticise Hong Kong. It is safe, fairly clean, vibrant, diverse and full of opportunities. I have compared Hong Kong to living in Britain, India, and other countries I've travelled to and where I've stayed in people's homes. I promise you, there's no place quite like Hong Kong for living and raising a family.

First of all, how many cities are safe enough for a nine-year-old to travel on a minibus by themselves? Answer: not many. I first took a minibus by myself at that age, and started travelling on my own on the MTR soon after. Hong Kong's streets are safe to walk at any time of the day, which is great news for parents. Such an environment allows parents to let their children be more independent.

With Hong Kong's superb transport system, you don't really need a car. Hong Kong's bus, train and taxi fares are very low compared to other developed countries.

Hong Kong's rule of law also means that families who come here legally have stability and security. Plus, they can gain permanent residency after just seven years.

Also, parents can choose between a wide range of local and international schools for their children. Then there are many opportunities to learn outside the classroom. Extra-curricular activities can mean anything from helping Hong Kong's poorest to sailing, and from exploring the mountains to spending hours at our world-class museums. In this city, there is always something for everyone.

Hong Kong has so many advantages that it is an ideal place to raise a family. There aren't many cities in Asia - or anywhere in the world - that can match this "sparkling jewel".


Wincy Leung, 18, University of Hong Kong

Hong Kong, the Pearl of the Orient. Millions visit Asia's so-called world city every year, for business as well as for pleasure. Although many people may argue that this is the "best city to live in", is it a good place to raise a family?

As an international hub, Hong Kong has benefited tremendously from both Chinese and British influences. But the competition is so intense here, raising kids has become an Olympic sport - meaning every parent wants their child to be No 1. So they will do anything to enrol their children in elite schools.

From the tender age of three, toddlers will learn how to swim, dance, paint, play two musical instruments, and speak three languages. You name it, there's a class for it. Today's kids are under huge pressure as they seek to become "perfect students". In the process, many are left behind. They lack social skills and cannot deal with failure. Their situation is worsened by Hong Kong's exam-oriented education system.

Space is another big problem. Because of the sky-high property prices, many families share a tiny flat. Some children don't have space to do even their homework, let alone play. Then there is the serious pollution, which can cause health problems, such as asthma, among children.

Politics is another major concern. Clashes between pro-Beijing groups and pan-democrats have spoiled the city's image as a peaceful place. The Umbrella Revolution ended, but the focus is now on the economy. With stock prices plummeting and a recession looming, the outlook is gloomy.

Hong Kong's future remains uncertain, so I don't think the city is a good place to raise a family.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Is Hong Kong a good place to raise a family?

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