Monday, February 9, 2015

Mémoire Monday: Hundreds Upon Thousands

Throughout my time spent in Hong Kong, I've come to learn about how the living spaces are incredibly small for the majority and how it is tough to get a little bit of privacy sometimes.  

I've read articles in the paper about how there was a ten year waiting list for public housing.  The public housing estates that I've visited over the years always reminds me of college dormitories, but, instead of one roommate, a family of four would be living in that tiny space.  

I've read how it was common for micro-mini apartments to be further subdivided into 3 - 4 smaller rooms-for-rent.  Heck, when I first moved to Hong Kong, I was living in a 140 square foot subdivided apartment.  There was a young husband, wife, and their infant baby living across from me, who had the smallest room (smaller than my 140 square feet).  And there was an abusive couple who was living in the bigger room.  It was not the most ideal living condition, but I stuck it out for the year, gated front door separating my apartment from the others'  and all.

I have read a lot of stories about how migrant workers would live with 20+ people in a 600 square foot apartment divided into who knows how many cubical spaces.  In my old building, I used to think that there was a commercial business that was set up at the end of my hall.  When I think back, I often wonder if it was an apartment which rented out several beds for the night/week/month.  Looking back, I really wonder if that was a cubical apartment.

In the DailyMail, there was an article where people were literally living in cages.

Over the past few years, there were circulating photos of some of Hong Kong's cramped apartments.

And, with the anniversary of the demolishing of the Kowloon Walled City a few years ago, stories of the living conditions of Its residence resurfaced.

All these thoughts were swarming in my head today because of a recent urban hiking expedition.

As for today's blog photos, a friend and I were down in Quarry Bay.   Our hiking trail ended here at this expanse of buildings.  The vision of these living quarters left me in awe of the majority of Hong Kong's people.

I think about how I grew up in the suburbs, with my own bedroom, with the ability to be able to walk around my bedroom (which I don't have the ability to do now in my current apartment, as our bed literally is wall-to-wall-to-wall-to wall), and with the ability to spend time in our craft room/study…

I guess, today, is just one of those days when I was severely reminded at how fortunate I have been.