Lamenting the English proficiency in Hong Kong has become a sort of national sport. The Chinese proficiency, in contrast, seems to garner less attention. That does not necessarily mean the situation is more satisfactory in Chinese. Compared to the mainland and Taiwan, my impression is that Hong Kong students are much inferior in the use of Chinese.
When I was in Beijing last October, I found this lady shopkeeper sitting on the sidewalk outside her store reading. It was not a big book, but it was all words and seemed to contain no pictures. I challenge you to find a young shopkeeper in Hong Kong reading anything other than comics, gossip, or trendy magazines.
When I was in DingXi, Gansu this January, the driver of our minivan was reading “Romance of the Three Kingdoms”(三國演義). It was the original literal version, not the abridged or comics version. And he had read it three times already. I challenge you to find a minibus or taxi driver in Hong Kong reading 三國演義. There are probably not that many professors in Hong Kong who have read it three times!
Hong Kong people, and not just students, talk a lot. But we rarely read. Except gossip, of course. Not just in English, but also in Chinese.
It is a rare person/machine/system that can keep on generating output without a way to replenish itself by taking input. But we HongKongers seem to thrive in it. Or do we? Perhaps much of the output is just hot air!