A Hong Kong blog that does a lot more than blog
Normally, I publish impactHK on Saturdays, but I just couldn’t wait for this one.
This past Tuesday night, myself, our streetSNAP photographer and Mr.Lion Rock News headed out to Mongkok and Sham Shui Po to hand out the $10,000 we raised at Event 3.
We purchased gift certificates from Park n Shop and started our walk with Miss Sze, a very nice lady from SoCO, the Society for Community Organization.
Our first stop brought us to what are called, “Coffin Homes”, and that’s a very accurate description. These tiny cubicles are ridiculously small and stuffy. Many of the men who were living in them indicated to me how hot they were, but it was already very obvious.
We were told that these individuals pay around $1800 per box. We could see that the small apartments had roughly 15 Coffin Homes in each of them.
Quick math indicated that the landlord could bring in up to $27,000 with a full house. Which is pretty amazing for a 7 storey walk up in a very old and beat down building. These rates included electric, wifi and air con, but with these boxes closed up with wood, the air con is basically only air conditioning the outside space.
We continued our walk from Mongkok towards Sham Shui Po, coming across so many grateful families and individuals.
Some lived in caged homes like this.
Not only is it tough living in a coffin or a cage. These people also had to share some of the worst household facilities imaginable.
We spoke with one individual who is a cleaner in a restaurant making around $8,000 per month. He is paying $2000 for his caged home. Some pay as much as $2400!
Now it’s very easy to point a finger at the landlords of these places. They are clearly not humanitarians. We even spotted a electronic neon sign outside advertising caged homes and other coffin like homes for rent. They are in it to make money and in my opinion that is their right.
My problem lies with the HK Government. Obviously nobody should ever sleep in a cage. How demoralizing is that?! How can something so unjust be allowed to happen? How can any government worker in a position of power sleep at night knowing that this is happening where they live?
I have lived in Hong Kong for nine years now, and I have just been woken up to this problem, that has been going on for way too long.
You see a problem, you fix it! Especially when it is so easy!
I got the “bureaucratic red tape” speech from a guy working at the public tennis court the other day. He told me that I’m not allowed to bring my bicycle into the court to put it next to the bench. To top it off, of the four courts there, we were the only people playing! The other three courts were empty and this guy came out and made me move the bike!
I’m getting off topic… but,is the Hong Kong Government that incompetent and afraid as well?!
We have thousands of empty properties in Hong Kong. We have old industrial buildings empty in excellent locations for residential use. We have a huge surplus in Hong Kong almost every year. How hard is it? Do these government workers just not care?
This problem can and should be fixed! There are so many options to doing so. However, I think the first option we should try is to write to these individuals in the government. If you feel as strongly as I do that this situation is sad and needs to stop, please write a letter and send it to these individuals.
The Chief Executive, Mr CY Leung – firstname.lastname@example.org
The Chief Secretary for Administration, Mrs. Carrie Lam – email@example.com
The Financial Secretary, Mr. John Tsang – firstname.lastname@example.org
The Secretary for Development Bureau, Mr. Paul Chan – email@example.com
The Secretary for Transportation and Housing Bureau, Mr. Anthony Cheung – firstname.lastname@example.org
If you don’t have time to write a full blown letter, please feel free to copy the link to this blog and just send that to them.
Also, please share this blog with as many people as you can. Help create dialogue and bring as much exposure to this cause as you can.
Thanks again to all of you who attended Event 3 raising this money. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to go out and help these people and I can’t wait to go do it again and again.
All photos were taken by Sean Creamer. Check out his amazing work in his streetSNAP blogs on this site!