Hello, I am Park, a Politics major student at HKU
The least likely place I expected to visit in the metropolitan ‘World City’ with fantastic night view and sky rocketing buildings, was a slum. As an international student being new to the city, the sharp contrast between the slum and the well-off houses neighboring each other seemed cruel and inhumane.
The sense of hopelessness was portrayed by our guide who took us around to three slum in Nai Wai, introducing us to his friends. They all seemed to be either far worse or similarly lost.
It would be useless to describe the surroundings, let alone the enclosed spaces or so called rooms, because a description will be inadequate to explain the horrible conditions. I would highly recommend a visit to the compounds because it may change ones perception towards the whole issue or refugees and the way Hong Kong treats them.
The refugees fled their home country and parted with their families to save their lives, but the current situation raises questions whether their run for their life was really worth it. During the tour the refugee showed us his food supply for the next five days; ice tea packets and a piece of chicken.
Another refugee said that rather than living in Hong Kong in such conditions, he’d prefer to return to his home country despite the high threat and risk of death that awaits him. However, for the refugees getting only 1200 HKD from the ISS-HK for rent and a sentence for 2 years if caught working illegally, their lives show no signs of improvement in the future.
If the government can be more attentive to the situation, or at least allow them the courtesy to live a decent life by granting work permits, there’s nothing that will stain Hong Kong and its reputation of being a ‘World City.’