In a post-modern city like Hong Kong, basic values are often being questioned today, and factual data are manipulated and filtered by interpretations. Although we are overwhelmed by news and information, we are often left uncertain of the truth. Joseph Nye, a contemporary writer, commented that in the information age, “credibility is the scarcest resource”. Our younger generation often has a hard time discerning the essential objectives in life and how to reach self-fulfillment in their family lives and society.
In addition to the above phenomenon, families bear the brunt of the negative impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic: many family members suffer the loss of their loved ones; unprepared as they are, many of them have to brace for sudden challenges of various types, including financial, emotional, and even relationship crises. Therefore, knowing how to bear the family burden and accept the differences in viewpoints and feelings of others is easier said than done. It is always sad to see Hong Kong families engulfed in a never-ending scapegoating, blaming or even family violence and child abuse.
Couples today struggle to maintain a homeostatic balance between providing care and attention, especially towards the young and the elderly, and achieving personal fulfilment. In one way or the other, sacrifices are made by one or more members to keep the family going. More often than not, the question is about who should pay the higher price of a “balanced family”?
A teaching in the Chinese tradition suggests that the cultivation of virtues or self-discipline is closely related to knowing how to establish a good family and to build up harmonious social relationships. The focus is put on the common good of the family and society. But, under the influence of individualistic mentality, the importance of the other family members may sometimes disappear from our personal concerns and priorities. Consequently, the type of family bonds that characterize our post-modern society is a ‘loosely knit relationship’, marked by non-commitment, instability and ‘liquidity’ as Zygmunt Bauman puts it. However, life experience tells us that nothing can provide us with greater satisfaction in the family when members can keep their mutual commitments and their sacrificial love is appreciated and reciprocated.
The Catholic Church believes in the value of stable marriage and family life and that self-fulfillment of a person really lies in a reciprocity that favors the achievement of positively identified objectives in life. Family unity and harmony are the rewards of such commitments on the part of the couple.
This is also the goal of CMAC: to walk together with the Hong Kong families in transforming their ‘loosely knit’ type of bonds into ‘mutually committed’ families, so that couples and children alike may grow happily together. In fact, through long years of serving families, the staff and volunteers of CMAC have gained a great deal of precious professional experiences. They have been generously sharing their specialization with other social workers through their publications and training courses which are very well received among other social agencies. They have proved that a “Happy family life” is an achievable goal.
Therefore, I congratulate the staff and volunteers of CMAC for their commitment to working with couples and families in these challenging times in Hong Kong. Needless to say, all these could not have taken place without the guidance of the Agency’s Chairman and Executive Committee members throughout these years. May God bless you and preserve your concrete services for the Hong Kong families!
*The English translation is prepared by HKCMAC for reference purpose.