Tuesday, April 22, 2008

"M" shape society

Similar to Japan, Hong Kong is becoming a 'M' shape society, according to the Japanese Sociologist 大前研一 Kenichi Ohmae. Namely, the population of the riches and the poors are expanding while the middle class is shrinking. Certainly, it depends on how you define who are the middle class. Also, the other phenomena is that the upward mobility of middle class is diminishing, that's why the poors are growing.
Last night I watch a program in local TV which is called 'The story of a million'. It is about the livelihood of poor people who are accounted for 1/5 of the population here. I love to read news and quite sensible to what's going on the in society, though I'm kinda passive in doing/expressing anything about any social cause. Thus, the miserable lives that those poor people are living in are not something that I've unheard of before. The program has 5 episodes and the one showed last night was just a preview of the rest. The scene that was most vivid to me was about a kid who used to be very active and cheerful, described by her mom, became introvert and dares not to ask anything anymore as she grows older. Cos, whatever she asked, she was not gonna get it. In order to avoid being disappointed, she stayed away from asking for anything. I think that's very sad, she is still a kid.
I think it is very tough for being kids these days, actually it applies to adults as well. In our materialistic society, everything is about money, everything has a price. Even some intangible things like art, love, happiness, hope, shame, etc. are all being measured and expressed with a price tag. How to teach kid about value become so hard to the parents! My wife and I went to a department store at lunch time today to look for stuff for our boy. She came across a brand named necking that she wanted to buy. I ended up convinced her to buy a cheaper one which also look pretty. Cos, our boy of seven months old wouldn't know it is a branded good or not. It is up for the adult to judge subjectively. Brand name stuff has value, but whether it is justified for anyone is different story. There are so much packaging, branding, marketing that fill up the media and in the marketplace which I think many of them are scams to make money off people and they are wasting natural resources as well.
I hope our family's living standard won't slide down to become as poor as those folks in the TV show that I mentioned. However, sometimes you never know...
Can insurance guarantee and compensate in case of accidents or illness that we may encounter in future?
Would any kind of natural disasters can affect us?
Would any bad thing happen to our other family members?
What about job security? There is no such thing this days....
So, there is so much unknowns that I just don't feel secure financially to deal with those possibilities. Therefore, investing, savings and selective spending are all I'm trying to do, though I have to admit that there is so much to learn and to improve on all those fronts. Anyway, to manage the life of oneself is tough enough, let alone about a family of members who have different views on things. How much you can 'shape' your kid to think certain way is no guarantee neither. We can only do so much........

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