Hong Kong – Xianggang (fragrant harbour). One of my favorite cities of the world. A magnificent financial hub of towering skyscrapers and a 24/7 mentality. If you thought New York was the city that never sleeps…..think again.
I’ve been visiting Hong Kong for the past few weeks on vacation, which has been quite a different experience than purely attending business meetings, events and conferences. I’ve had time to get to know the lay of the land, walk the streets and even practice a little of my Mandarin Chinese.
Last night, I attended the Hong Kong Art Walk, an event which is held once a year. Art galleries open their doors to the public, showing special exhibitions and the evening is made quite festive by music, snacks and refreshments wherever you go.
One of the galleries I visited, served as my wake-up call. No matter how beautiful a city is at first glance and no matter how shiny the surface, there are always many dull cracks and crevices and an abundance of duct tape serving to hold it all together.
I’ve experienced the enormous valley between rich and poor in many countries around the world, so I’m no longer naive. I understand that whilst wealthy business people enjoy the fruits of their hard labour, many less fortunate hard working people live a very different life.
The Society for Community Organization drove the hard facts home by exhibiting photographs and film of marginalised groups, living in cage homes, cubicle apartments and roof-top flats. In Hong Kong 20% of the population lives below the poverty line. Whilst, I understand the challenges that the government is facing with respect to illegal immigrants, one can’t help but wonder how many of these people are actually of Hong Kong descent.
I’m happy that something is being done to raise awareness; fighting for the rights of the elderly, health rights, the working poor, civil rights and education. I’m also happy to say that everyone who attended the Art Walk, supported the Society for Community Organization (even if they had no idea). I can only hope that the government may also take an example from more social states around the world. For more information visit the SoCo website, where you can also make a financial donation to this worthy cause.