The Guest Room

A Hong Kong blog that does a lot more than blog

myHK: To Give or Not to Give?!


photo by @ayeshasitaraa

When we hand out food to the homeless in the Nam Cheong area we encounter a wide variety of individuals, from elderly women, to young children, drug addicts and the cutest puppy ever!



photo by Rebecca Gow

Many people have issues with giving food to drug users. Some are worried for their own safety and some feel that giving them food is simply encouraging their bad habits.

I can understand that you do need to be aware and a bit more cautious when handing out to those with drug addictions. We have seen some pretty rough scenes there, including someone injecting something in the last place i’d ever want a needle!

However we have not seen any aggression, from anyone we’ve helped. In fact, almost every, “hello” given is received and reciprocated.

It reminds me of an incredible TED talk I watched recently on addiction by Johann Hari. I highly recommend it! Check it out HERE (after reading this post!!)

Johann discusses how the only way to overcome addiction is through connections. Whether that be a connection with a friend or family member or it be with society through having a job, etc. (my description doesn’t do the video justice! Please watch! Later….;)

People get high to blur and forget. They want to mask pain that they feel which could have been caused by a multitude of reasons.  You may see them with smiles on their faces and see them as if they chose to be there, but could they be in a worse predicament?

I think if anyone needs some kindness and a bit of connection, it’s them.  I’m in no way saying that us handing out some food and smiles once or twice a month is going to give them that motivation they need to get healthy. But kindness is kindness and honestly I’m not there to judge them for who they are and why they’re there. I just want to provide a touch of relief for those in need.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!

Cheers and have a great one!



photo by @ayeshasitaraa

5 comments on “myHK: To Give or Not to Give?!

  1. brielle8383
    September 1, 2015

    Everyone deserves kindness and compassion, especially those who are addicted. As you said, they are trying to blur and dull the pain of reality, so maybe a but of kindness could help them feel less removed from society. It is truly such a terrible thing to be addicted to anything, especially injected drugs, but there is always a sad path that led these people to where they are. We just have to realize we all have some type of pain or stress we are dealing with daily, sadly many succumb to it and seek escape. Just try to empathize and feel for them as fellow human beings, that is all anyone can do.

    • theguestroom
      September 2, 2015

      Well said Brielle!
      Showing them that they are thought of and apart of society may be making a bigger difference than we realize.

  2. Martin C.Y. Lai
    September 4, 2015

    Mr J well knows my thoughts on this ‘issue’. When i started doing the homeless rounds, the percentage of, lets say regular homeless to drug addicted homeless in that area was around 80-20. When The Guestroom started joining me, it was around 50-50. Unfortunately now its probably around 30-70 or higher. A lot of the regular homeless, the ones who actually work during the day, I feel have been driven away because of the change of their ‘neighbours’.
    While the Guestroom indeed has a loud voice now, it shouldn’t be forgotten that the homeless in HK are much better looked after than in many countries (mainly because of the numerous charity groups, not the Govt help I should say) Yes, they are not aggressive, as many of them are so high that they don’t even know we are there and yes many of them say ‘thank you’, which is always welcomed, but I must say I do think we are encouraging their habits with providing food for them.
    There’s a high percentage of people who have joined us in the last year who we haven’t seen again. Several people I have brought along have said they were expecting more regular homeless and not drug addicts and have not returned because of this.
    For myself, I’ve been doing this a long time now and have met some great people through it, but I have to admit that I’m sitting on the fence now. If it’s about doing something that can make a real difference, then there are many more worthy causes out there.

    • theguestroom
      September 5, 2015

      Hey Martin,

      I sure hope it’s not us that’s turned the percentages so drastically!!;)

      First of all, there are obviously so many worthy causes out there. Some more important than others. And perhaps we should look at other causes.

      But I definitely don’t want to stop helping those in the Nam Cheong area because of the looks and smiles we get every time we go there.

      Yes, there are many other kindhearted Hong Kongers going to that area to offer donations and friendship, but thats just a drop in the bucket.

      Unlike in Canada where the welfare system gives them enough to live and an accommodation, these people are given almost nothing, if anything. They’re forgotten.

      The people on the streets are not taken care of! They’re not “living the life”! These people are getting the odd dinner and handouts in the evening.

      This small amount of kindness isn’t the reason they continue to use drugs!!

      Do you think if there were no people like us giving them what we do, that they’d just decide to quit drugs altogether?!

      “Nobody’s giving me Oreo cookies anymore… I think I’ll pass on the meth and buy my own food!”


      Until the HK government makes it a priority to help the poverty problem here, I’d like to keep doing what we’re doing, and more.

      And as I said in this blog, I for one am very firm that I do want to feed all the homeless there. Whether they be workers or drug addicts because I do believe that this kindness is appreciated.

      Cheers Martin! I know you care a ton about making impact on the less fortunate. Your support is always appreciated!

      Have a good one!

  3. busanbridge
    January 31, 2016

    Good one Mr J. Keep on giving.

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