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The ceremonial banging of a gong by CityU President Professor H K Chang and Professor Wang Gungwu heralded the official opening of Hong Kong's first formal institute dedicated to research on Southeast Asia on 27 February. Guests, including the Consuls-General of Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore and Myanmar, and the Deputy Commissioner of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, packed the SCOPE Lecture Theatre for the inauguration of the Southeast Asia Research Centre (SEARC).
The "age wave" has already hit Hong Kong. Government statistics show that the population ratio of those who are aged 65 and above, currently 11%, will rise rapidly. The average life span will also be considerably extended. Most people will probably have 10 or even 20 more years to live after retirement, assuming the retiring age to be 60. These two demographic changes in combination are set to have a profound impact upon individuals, families and society.