As hundreds of millions around the world celebrate the Lunar New Year this weekend, Hong Kong religious leaders are sending their blessings to all its nations citizens, wishing to see a more stable society by promoting family values and youth education.
In a joint statement made earlier this month by six major religious leaders of Hong Kong, religious leaders expressed concern over the prevalence of family problems in Hong Kong triggered by violence, divorce or excessive gambling. In particular, many excessive gamblers have suffered from immense physical and emotional pain due to gambling debts and pressures from loan sharks, thus devastating their family lives.
"We believe that the virtues embedded in Chinese culture and tradition are the building blocks of harmonious families, and families make society. Yet, we see that many among our younger generation have a greatly-eroded sense of responsibility toward their family and the society they live in," the leaders lamented in the Jan. 11 statement released on the Hong Kong Christian Council (HKCC) website.
They expressed "distress" over the frequent reports of suicide and youth violence, with extreme cases of children grouping into gangs to bully and extort.
In addition, many young people are drawn to "many unwholesome messages" on the internet as the use of information technology becomes part of their lives in this era. These messages have cancelled efforts of parents and teachers to guide and teach the youth. The phenomenon poses "a lethal silent threat" to the well-being of the society, the leaders stated.
Looking back at the previous year, the religious leaders expressed "buoyant anticipation" following the installation of the new Chief Executive of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Donald Tsang. Tsang, widely-known to be a devout Catholic, has pledged "to strive for strong governance for the betterment of the people of Hong Kong."
According to their statement, the religious leaders have a strong hope in Tsangs administration.
In face of various social challenges in Hong Kong, religious leaders urged authorities "to halt any further spread of gambling as one of its governing priorities," "to make speedy measures to upgrade the education offered in schools," and "to effectively remedy the grave abuse of the use of internet."
In concluding, the religious leaders promised to cooperate with the Hong Kong government to create a positive society.
"We in the religious sector take this opportunity to declare once again our dedication and commitment to inspire and safeguard the inner spiritual wholesomeness of the people we serve, and pledge our close cooperation with the SAR government in affirming the positive and uplifting moral standards," they stated.
The leaders that have signed the statement include the Rt. Rev. Thomas Soo, chairperson of the HKCC; the Most Rev. Joseph Zen, the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong; Ayub Yuet Che Yin, chairman of the Chinese Muslim Cultural and Fraternal Association; Dr. Tong Yun Kai, president the Confucian Academy; Tong Wai Ki, chairman of the Hong Kong Taoist Association; and the Ven. Kwok Kwong, president of the Hong Kong Buddhist Association.