I left Korea for many reasons before coming to Hong Kong. The biggest realization: it could never be home. The restrictions on residency are tight. As well I could never be fully part of the culture no matter how fluent I got with the language and how long I lived there. For many reasons I came to Hong Kong and have loved it ever since.
Now I am a permanent resident meaning there is no need for work visas, a way to buy property without the tax, and easier to do some banking things without the need to use my passport or employment records. It is easier but living here is still hard for the majority.
The cost of housing continues to go up and up and up to record levels. Stories of people living in cage homes because the cost of living is out of control are common. The MTR (the subway and train system in the city) is crammed making overcrowding an issue. There have been a number of going away parties I have attended and more coming as people are trying to get out of here. I have just signed up to be here longer.
I am lucky with a job paying me enough to survive and where making a difference every day is the norm, not the exception. I am lucky to be making enough money to survive this city. Others are not with a minimum wage at HK$34.50 (US$4.42) that is insufficient for living in this city unless you live with family or friends. If I didn’t have this job; there would be no way to live here and make enough for retirement.
It is tough living here for the majority, and the focus needs to be on that. The political system is retarded by focusing on people respecting the Chinese Flag and Anthem instead of trying to deal with the real issues of Hong Kongers. Everyone knows the issues, but it feels the government doesn’t want to deal with them and just building bridges, trains, and runways to link the city with China instead of building affordable homes and providing a living for a majority of its people.
Programs and organizations have responded trying to address these issues. Food Angel tries to feed the homeless and those on the verge of being homeless. Impact hands out food to those living under the overpasses and under the pedestrian walkways around the city. These organisations and many more are doing good work, but more can always be done to help bridge this gap and to create a stronger home.